The Most Important Winter Hiking Tips You Have To Know
When you are planning a trip during the cold months, there are some tips you should keep in mind. You should wear gaiters and pack extra water. You should also carry a headlamp and a first aid kit.
Despite the fact that hiking in the winter can be physically challenging, there are a few things you can do to make the experience easier on you. One of the best things you can do is to pre-hydrate.
Not only will this help you stay hydrated, it will also prevent inflammation. This is especially important if you are planning a long hike. The body works harder to humidify air when the weather is cold.
Besides drinking water, you should also carry a thermos filled with hot drinks. These can be taken along on the car ride home to help warm you up.
Another thing to remember is to not drink alcohol the night before. Alcohol contributes to dehydration, which is why it is a good idea to keep it to a minimum.
If you are going on a long hike, it is recommended that you hydrate every couple of hours. However, if you are on a shorter hike, you may not need to be as diligent. A liter of water in the morning is not over the top.
In the cold, you may not even feel the need to drink water. Instead, you may just want to focus on warming up. Having a warm cup of cocoa or tea to sip on while you warm up can be a nice treat.
Lastly, you should make sure you are properly insulated. Water bottles can freeze in very cold temperatures, so you should use an insulated one.
Avoid the wind
While it may sound like fun to take in the sights and sounds of the great outdoors, hiking in windy weather can actually be dangerous. Wind can create a number of complications, from hypothermia to avalanches. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to avoid the wind when hiking in winter.
The first step is to know what to expect. Check the forecast. If a storm is approaching, the sexy winds will increase. Similarly, you should wear a wind resistant outer layer to keep warm.
Keeping warm can be as simple as a pair of insulating mittens and a wool hat. In addition, you’ll want to wear an outer layer that’s waterproof. This is especially important if you’re hiking in exposed areas. Wet clothing can be more susceptible to evaporative cooling, which could lead to hypothermia.
In general, the more extreme the wind, the more dangerous it is. Even a moderate wind can create balance problems, as well as blowing sand and small debris. Be prepared to turn around if the wind gets too strong.
Choosing the right route is also an important part of keeping yourself safe. During a windy day, it’s best to walk down the windward side of a ridge. Alternatively, stay in trees. Depending on your destination, a scarf could be a worthwhile accessory.
You should also be aware of the Beaufort Wind Force Scale. It estimates the speed of the wind and can be useful for measuring the effects of wind on the environment.
Take a headlamp
Headlamps are a must-have item when hiking in the winter. Not only do they provide a bright light, but they also free your hands from holding a flashlight. If you don’t have one, it’s easy to stumble around the woods without being able to see where you’re going. Fortunately, today’s headlamps are efficient and lightweight.
Headlamps range in brightness from 15 to 500+ lumens. Each has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to decide which is right for you. Generally, low-power models are sufficient for most uses, but if you need a lot of power, an LED headlamp is the way to go.
Some people like to have two separate headlamps in their pack. One can be used during daytime hikes and the other during nighttime. You might even want to pack a spare just in case the first one breaks down.
The most important spec to pay attention to when shopping for a headlamp is the beam distance. Headlamps with a wide beam are ideal for camping or working on bouldering problems at the end of the day. However, if you plan to do a lot of walking or running in the dark, you’ll need a more powerful headlamp.
Some other features to look for include red light, a strobe setting and a headlamp’s battery life. Reactive lighting uses a sensor to adjust the brightness of your lamp to your surroundings. This type of headlamp is more expensive than a standard headlamp, but it can be useful for many activities.
Bring a first aid kit
If you’re planning a hike, it’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit on hand. You can get pre-packaged versions, but you may also want to construct your own. A homemade kit can be lighter, more flexible, and more customized.
For the most part, a first aid kit will contain the standard medical materials, such as bandages, a mouthguard, and antiseptics. However, you may have to supplement it with items suited to your specific medical needs.
The best way to keep your first aid kit safe is to store it in a soft, waterproof container. Then, make sure you know where to find it in case of an emergency.
It’s a good idea to make a checklist of everything you should have in your first aid kit. Keep in mind that a small first aid kit may not be enough for a long trip, especially if you’re traveling to an area with remote rivers or forests.
A small, lightweight first aid kit is a great choice if you’re taking a short weekend getaway. On the other hand, if you’re planning a more extensive trip, you might want to build a larger, more robust first aid kit.
While most travelers won’t use a first aid kit, it’s still a good idea to have one on hand. By preparing for emergencies, you can have peace of mind while traveling.
You should also take a training course in outdoor first aid before you head out on your next trip. After all, prevention is better than cure in the backcountry.
Gaiters are essential winter hiking gear, particularly when it comes to outdoor activities in snow and ice. They protect your feet from abrasions and cold weather, while also preventing insects from getting a hold of your legs.
Gaiters come in many different sizes and designs. You should choose the gaiters that are best for your needs. It is important to consider your climate, distance of hike, and activity.
If you will be wearing your gaiters while snowshoeing or cross country skiing, make sure that you are wearing a pair of gaiters with a breathable fabric. This will keep you dry, even when your pants get wet.
Gaiters also prevent water from entering your boots. Water can freeze on your feet and ruin your adventure. A good pair of gaiters will help to keep your shoes and socks warm, and they are ideal for wearing while skiing.
Gaiters come in two different heights, high and mid calf. Generally, high gaiters are more protective, while mid calf gaiters offer protection from abrasions in brush and less extreme conditions.
High gaiters are usually secured with a water-resistant zipper or velcro. Most can be worn while your boots are still on. However, they do not provide complete protection. Moreover, they can be a trip hazard when you’re wearing crampons.
Mid calf gaiters are 8 to 12 inches tall, and they are the perfect height for mild to moderate weather. These are often used by trail runners and mountaineering.