As we start a new year, there are so many things to be excited about. Whether you're planning to start hiking or your New Years' resolution is to hike all your favorite trails in the snow, you'll want to bring everything you need to feel comfortable and confident in your abilities. Exploring new trails is a great way to create new memories, and it’s also the perfect time to contemplate new beginnings.
So what should you put in your backpack to ring in the New Year on your next hike? Read on to find out what to bring along as you head out on your adventure!
If you plan to hike in the snow, you should be hiking in boots that are both waterproof and insulating. You definitely want to stay warm, dry, and comfortable from start to finish, but water-resistant boots will only take you so far. Even if you don't see snow at the start of your hike, there's a good chance that if it snows in your region, you'll find some at some point on your trail. The higher in elevation you go, the more likely you are to find snow on the path.
Find the winter snow boots that suit your style and walk confidently on your new trail. The right socks will also do you all kinds of favors. Wear a pair that are snug enough so they won't shift too much during your hike, and look for materials that are sweat-wicking, like wool or polyester blends.
For a comfortable hike in cooler weather, plan your outfit for optimal warmth and ease of movement. You'll want to start with a thin base layer, like women's thermals. These should be made from moisture-wicking materials, so avoid all-cotton base layers if you think the weather will heat up at all during your hike. Next, grab a middle layer you can easily take on and off, like a zip-up women's fleece sweater. Your middle layer should be easy to maneuver in case the sun comes out and you need to adjust your layers at some point in your hike.
Your outer layer should be insulated to keep all the warmth in, with some breathable vents if possible. Unless you're hiking in subzero temperatures, you're probably going to warm up a bit during your hike. But the more you heat up, the more likely a cool breeze will send you an even bigger shiver. If you're able to get consistent airflow, your body will regulate more consistently. Choose a lightweight packable jacket that won't add extra bulk as you wind around the trail.
Winter accessories are the best items for your hike. They're lightweight, easy to store in your bag, and excellent at keeping you warm. Make sure everyone in your hiking party has a hat; a lot of heat escapes from the tops of our heads and chests, so bring a scarf or shawl for added warmth too. Of course, no winter hike should start without winter gloves. Even if your pair spends most of the time in your pockets, it's better to have them on hand (pun intended) in case the canopy of trees blocks out the sun's ambient warmth.
Be sure to bring snacks for you and your hiking partners. The work your body is doing in the cold takes a lot of energy, so you'll want to be fueled throughout your hike. Bring a mix of savory and sweet snacks, and listen to the cravings your body sends out as you make your way through your beautiful winter walk. Consider bringing along any of the following:
Don't forget about water! You might not be heating up the same way you do on summer hikes, but your body still needs hydration to keep your systems functioning at peak efficiency. If you love a cool sip of water, feel free to just bring your usual water bottle or jug along. However, if the thought of drinking cold water on a cold hike gives you the chills, bring a thermos with warm water, tea, or coffee to give you an extra boost of cheer. Keep in mind how long your hike is, how many people are with you, and how much you think everyone will need to drink.
You’ll start your new year off on the right foot knowing you've got an adventure waiting right around the corner. Whether you're starting a new tradition or continuing with one you already love, you'll have an incredible winter hike with these few essentials on hand. Walk on and stay warm!