A brisk hike through the woods on a clear, crisp, sunny day after a heavy snowfall is one of the simple delights of life. Hiking any time of year provides people with a robust, fun workout. Why bother with 45 minutes a day on the treadmill when you get in your car, drive to the nearest trail, and go for a long stroll or a jog through nature? Whether you are an avid winter hiker or you would like to start getting into hiking during this season, you will need to dress accordingly. In this post, we will take a look at some of the best items to wear to stay safe and warm on a winter hike.
Going for a winter hike on a 45-degree day won’t require you to layer up the same way you would have to if you were going on a hike on a 20-degree day. Check the temperature before planning what to wear for your hike. In cold climates, aim for three layers: a form-fitting base layer, a breathable second layer, and a heavy-duty outer layer.
On days when the weather is warming up, you may only need two layers: a base layer and a winter coat. Shopping for the right material is the most important thing to look for when it comes to top layers. Your winter coat should be water-resistant and wind-resistant, while your base layers should be made with materials that will wick away moisture and keep your skin dry and warm.
Just as you should layer up on top, you will likely need to layer on the bottom. As we mentioned in the previous point, the temperature outside will dictate whether or not you need to layer. For colder weather, have a base layer on the bottom like leggings or long Johns. Then you can throw on a durable pair of denim jeans or cargo pants. For really cold weather, you might want a pair of snow pants on top of two bottom layers
If you are ever outside for any extended period of time, having adequate protection for your hands and head is an absolute must. You never want to be caught outside (especially some place like the middle of the woods) without reliable protection for your extremities. Invest in a thick, wool winter hat and waterproof winter gloves. Even if you don’t expect to get your hands wet with snow or other natural elements, you will really appreciate having the thick layers that waterproof gloves have to offer. If it’s extra cold outside, think about wearing a hooded women’s winter coat, so you can have double the protection for your head: a solid wool hat and a thick, fur-lined hood.
Keeping your feet warm and protected is one of your top priorities when dressing for a long winter hike. Your feet are making direct contact with the cold, snowy earth, so keeping them dry and warm is a must. Invest in winter hiking boots that offer plenty of support and comfort. You don’t want to make the mistake of buying cheap boots that offer very little support; this could potentially lead to health issues and injuries to your feet. Take the time to try on a few different pairs and find something that is comfortable, supportive, and designed for rugged terrain. Paying a little more for high-quality winter snow boots will go a long way. They will last you for much longer and do a better job of protecting your feet. Finally, you also want to make sure that the boots are designed with water resistance. In addition to your boots, wear a thick pair of wool socks. If you have room in your boots, it doesn’t hurt to wear two pairs of socks.
If you are hiking in freezing temperatures for an extended period of time, you are going to need even more to bundle up than you would if you were going on a regular winter hike. In these situations, invest in a thick face mask to keep your face from getting frostbitten. To protect your eyes, wear a pair of polarized sunglasses that reflect off the snow. In freezing temperatures and harsh conditions, your face and eyes will need as much protection as every other area of your body; basically, you want to have every inch of exposed skin completely covered. And in extreme temps, every article of clothing you would normally wear for a regular winter hike needs to be even more durable and protective. Instead of one pair of waterproof gloves, you might want to wear a larger than usual pair of waterproof gloves and another thinner set of gloves underneath them. When hiking in extreme conditions, you can never go overboard with protection.
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