Hiking at a very beautiful place with cold chilling weather will be a completely different experience compared to the rest of the other hiking trips. For completing a hiking trip with 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 list are included to help you prepare for yourself 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 explained to help you cope up with cold weather. So, let us now go through an overview of details to learn what to wear when hiking and how to handle tough and harsh situations of cold weather, without any difficulty.
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 wear on the second layer to provide you 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 for staying 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 they get wet because of sweating a lot. This will result in making you feel very cold and you can catch various problems like coughing and sneezing.
So 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 part of your skin has to stay covered up. 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 are going to guide you about how you will be giving them protection from getting exposed to freezing temperatures.
- Protecting hands:
To protect your hands, you need to wear lightweight fleece hand gloves first. And then over that, you need to wear on waterproof shell gloves. Make sure that you always bring an extra pair of fleece gloves just in case the ones you are already wearing gets wet.
- Protecting your feet:
For protecting your feet from cold wear socks that are made up of synthetic or wool. The socks should fit you perfectly. You might try wearing on socks that are pretty thick however 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 need to also know how to keep your feet dry. Always carry an extra pair of socks to change if the ones you are wearing get wet. And to try soaking in moisture and sweat inside your soaks use powder to fill that up.
Besides, if you are hiking in a place where the tracks are covered with snow, make sure to wear waterproof hiking boots. For extreme chilling 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 up your nose and cheeks. The mask must be breathable so that you don’t feel suffocating.
- Covering up your ears:
For keeping your ears covered use a winter hat made up 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 frostbites. So ensure that you wear the right size of clothes.
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 that is ahead of you.
3. Keeping batteries warm:
Cold weather can cause batteries to die. So make sure that you provide necessary warmth to any of your battery-operated things like cellphone, GPS, torch, or your 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 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 sunburn. 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 on 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. For such situations, you might need to light up a fire by burning some pieces of bark and wood.
Also, if by any chance 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 water is the right way.
7. Prevent food from freezing:
It is always better to carry food that is high in terms of 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.
So carry food that doesn’t freeze very easily. Things like cereal bars, nuts, dry fruits, chocolate, and cheese don’t get easily frozen or hard even in cold weather. To analyze and figure out what kind of food will be able to withstand cold and will not hard. And a pro tip to keep food warm is to keep them close to your body.
8. Carry warm drinks:
To keep drinks warm, fill them in a vacuum-insulated bottle. You can fill in the bottle with hot coffee, hot tea, or even hot chocolate. Carry the kind of warm drink that gives a rush of energy within you. 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 as well to make you slow down. So to conquer all sorts of tough situations during cold weather some of the important tips that we included will come very handy. The tips that you learned from here will not only help you from getting out of tough situations but also your friends and family who tag along with you during a hiking journey.
Pavel is a true outdoor enthusiast with a passion for nature and a love for the great outdoors. He started Outdoor Fun Mag to introduce people from all walks of life to everything the outdoors has to offer and hopes that you’ll find something that excites you every time you stop by.
When not exploring nature Pavel works as an Electronics Engineer — a job that gets him thinking and makes sure he pays attention to all those fine details. This means that when he leaves work for the week, there’s no better contrast than the calmness and serenity of the natural world. By giving Pavel the chance to switch off and relax, his time spent camping and hiking allows him to feel refreshed.
In the future, Pavel plans to explore new areas and corners of the world with nothing more than a backpack and a tent. It’s an authentic way of seeing new places that allow him to de-stress and enjoy life, and he wants you to make the most of your life too.