Our Top Winter Hiking Tips to Keep You Warm on the Trails
Winter is nothing new to us living in the midwest. Now that winter & colder temperatures are here, we can all use a good reminder about how to keep you and your family warm and safe from frostbite as we enjoy the outdoors. You can spend time indoors, or you can fully embrace the cold and spend your winter outside by taking a hike, building a snowman, sledding or snowshoeing. The key to having an enjoyable outdoor winter experience is being prepared, having the right gear and clothing, and a good attitude can help!
The following are 6 great tips that can help you keep yourself warm and dry while hiking during the most frigid months of the year:
- Wear Waterproof Clothes: If the chance of getting wet while hiking, waterproof clothes are vital. Keeping warm and dry is the most important part of avoiding hypothermia or frostbite in the frigid weather. Read more about what to do if you detect frostbite.
- Layers – You Need Layers!: The beauty of layers is that you can take off/add layers as the temperatures change throughout your hike. Wearing the appropriate amount of clothing will help you avoid overheating as well as being susceptible to frostbite or hypothermia. Wear 3 layers – a base layer, an insulating layer, and a shell. Avoid cotton and opt for synthetic layers that wick moisture and are quick-drying.
- Cover Up the Most Important Parts of Your Body: Covering your head, neck, and hands can help you avoid hypothermia or frostbite while you are out enjoying nature.
- Bring a Tarp or Space Blanket: If you are going to be hiking in remote areas, bring a tarp or space blanket to shield yourself from the wind. The wind is often what makes us feel even colder than the actual air temperature during the winter.
- Pack Water & Stay Hydrated: Consider wrapping your water bottle in wool socks & carry it in your backpack to help insulate.
- Have Basic Knowledge of Hypothermia: Hypothermia can affect your ability to think clearly as well as your ability to evacuate quickly to safety. Before you go winter hiking, it’s important that you know the warning signs and are able to recognize them if you or a friend start to show symptoms of hypothermia. Read more on how to take action if you notice any signs of hypothermia.
Be sure to keep yourself prepared for the chilly weather and enjoy the beautiful nature wintertime has to offer!