Hiking in a very beautiful place with chilling weather will be a completely different experience compared to other hiking trips. For completing a hiking trip in a tough, cold environment, you need to learn what to wear when hiking in cold weather.
Hence, we came up with this very helpful cold weather hiking gear guide that will enlighten you about all the essential clothing that you need to wear. And also, some important tips about winter backpacking gear lists are included to help you prepare for the harsh cold weather.
The tips include some important things that you should carry when going hiking in a cold place. Also, we have some instructions to help you cope with the cold weather. Let’s go over some specifics to learn what to wear while hiking and how to deal with difficult and harsh cold weather situations.
How to Prepare for Hiking in Cold Weather: Expert Tips
You need to wear three different layers of cloth. The first cloth that you will wear is called the base layer, and it will do the job of wicking sweat away from your body. Then put on the second layer to provide insulation so that the coldness of the weather cannot reach you. and then the last layer does the job of keeping wind and moisture away from your body. This last layer is known as a shell layer.
The purpose of wearing these 3 layers of clothes is to ensure that you feel comfortable during your cold hiking trip. And to stay comfortable, you need to feel warm; overheating yourself and getting sweaty can result in you getting hypothermia. Moreover, it is a chore if you have to change clothes from time to time when you find yourself drenched in sweat. So get clothes according to the features of the layers that we mentioned above.
2. Don’t buy cotton:
Don’t purchase clothes made of cotton. That is because cotton takes a lot of time to dry up once it gets wet from sweating a lot. This will make you feel very cold, and you can catch various problems like coughing and sneezing.
To ensure that the clothes you wear dry up quickly, you need to choose to wear clothes made up of synthetic and wool to wick away sweat from your skin.
3. Keep your skin covered:
Every inch of your skin must be covered. You cannot expose your skin to the freezing weather as it can result in frostbite; you need to take care of your hands, face, feet, and ears. We will instruct you on how to protect them from exposure to freezing temperatures.
To protect your hands, you need to wear lightweight fleece hand gloves first. And then, over that, you need to wear waterproof shell gloves. Make sure that you always bring an extra pair of fleece gloves, just in case the ones you are already wearing get wet.
Protecting your feet:
For protecting your feet from the cold, wear socks that are made of synthetic or wool. The socks should fit you perfectly. You might try wearing socks that are pretty thick; if they are too thick, they can cause your hiking boots to feel tight.
Other than just knowing what kind of socks to wear, you also need to know how to keep your feet dry. Always carry an extra pair of socks to change into if the ones you are wearing get wet. And to try soaking in moisture and sweat inside your socks, use powder to fill them up.
Besides, if you are hiking in a place where the tracks are covered with snow, make sure to wear waterproof hiking boots. In extremely cold weather, to prevent your feet from getting cold, use hiking boots that have built-in insulation features.
Protection for your nose and cheeks:
Use breathable face masks that cover your nose and cheeks. The mask must be breathable so that you don’t feel suffocated.
Covering up your ears:
Keep your ears covered with a winter hat made of wool. Keeping your ears warm will help you feel very comfortable and better during your hiking trip.
4. Wear clothes that fit right:
Hiking means giving your body a lot of workouts. And when you go on a hike during cold weather, you need to ensure that you don’t wear tight clothes. Wearing tight clothes can result in reduced blood circulation, increasing your chance of getting frostbite. So make sure you’re dressed appropriately.
8 important things to follow when hiking in cold weather:
1. Bringing goggles:
You need to give your eyes protection from the chilling wind blowing during cold weather. Hence, bring goggles and sunglasses to make it easier for you to see properly during your hiking trip.
2. Carry a headlamp:
Winter means that the sunset will happen very early. You will not get much daylight. So you need to keep yourself prepared and ensure that you can hike even when it is dark. So keep a headlamp with you so you can easily see the road ahead of you.
3. Keeping batteries warm:
Cold weather can cause batteries to die. So make sure that you provide the necessary warmth to any of your battery-operated things like your cellphone, GPS, torch, or headlamp. You can do that by keeping them wrapped in a warm cloth or by keeping them near your body.
It is better that you use lithium batteries for your equipment, as they have fewer chances of dying in the cold. Yet the chances are not zero. So keep them warm as suggested.
4. Use sunscreen:
Even if the weather is cold, you still have the chance of getting sunburned. That is because the rays of the sun will reflect towards you after hitting the ground covered with snow. So ensure that you apply sunscreen to your face, neck, and hands.
5. Keep a lighter:
Carry a lighter or a matchbox along with you. You never know when any of your friends or you might be in dire need of a lot of warmth. In such situations, you might need to light a fire by burning some pieces of bark and wood.
Also, if by any chance the battery of your headlamp or phone goes out, you might need to light up wood to help you see in the dark.
6. Keep yourself hydrated:
When hiking in cold weather, you might not feel like stopping yourself as the warmth of your body will calm down because of resting. So slow down your speed a bit while you walk and take slow sips of water to keep yourself hydrated. Keep the water bottle in a place that is easy to reach.
Also, some keep snacks that can be easily reached. so that you can take small bites from time to time while you are walking when you feel the need to satisfy your hunger. Eating and sipping slowly is a great way of utilizing the amount of food, and drinking water is the right way.
7. Prevent food from freezing:
It is always better to carry food that is high in calories. Forget about dieting during your hike. You will be using up a lot of energy anyway during the hike to keep your body warm.
Carry food that doesn’t freeze very easily. Things like cereal bars, nuts, dried fruits, chocolate, and cheese don’t get easily frozen or hard, even in cold weather. Analyze and determine which foods will be able to withstand the cold and not harden. And a pro tip for keeping food warm is to keep it close to your body.
8. Carry warm drinks:
To keep drinks warm, fill them in a vacuum-insulated bottle. You can fill the bottle with hot coffee, hot tea, or even hot chocolate. Carry a warm drink that gives you a burst of energy. The warmth of the drink will keep you going and make you comfortable during your hiking trip.
To sum up, we hope that you will be able to protect yourself from diseases like hypothermia and frostbite after getting to know what to wear when hiking in cold weather. Other than just enjoying your hiking trip, you must keep yourself protected from the cold weather.
The weather can be harsh enough to make you slow down. To conquer all sorts of tough situations during the cold weather, some of the important tips that we included will come in very handy. The tips that you learn here will not only help you get out of tough situations, but also your friends and family who tag along with you on a hiking journey.
Max, a passionate lumberjack and outdoors enthusiast, loves fishing, camping, and hunting. He has extensive experience in the great outdoors and is eager to join Outdoor Fun Mag to share his adventures and knowledge. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, Max promises to bring laughter, learning, and an unforgettable outdoor experience.