Tip # 1: Dress like an onion.
Well, it’s a saying which means to add layers in your outfit. This is very significant while hiking in colder climate, since the temperatures at the bottom and the summit of a mountain are way different. Using warmer pieces of clothing will aid you control your body temperature and you will stay at ease. I usually wear long socks, gloves, turtle neck sweater, jacket, and waterproof pants. I also recommend that you keep a wrap in your backpack in case the weather gets crazier.
Tip # 2: Start hiking early.
While preparing for your first winter hike, keep this in mind that trails in winter are difficult. You must know the trail distance and location properly. As sun sets early in winter and daytime is really short, you must start your hiking early morning. Keep a head lamp and replaceable lithium batteries with you to avoid getting lost in dark or having an accident.
Tip # 3: Check the weather.
It may seem something very obvious to you but the point of adding this tip here is that you must check up with overall weather conditions not just the temperature. Research and know the precipitation level, wind speed, avalanche reports, and amount of daylight hours.
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This kind of weather information is easily accessible so in case you find out that the weather conditions are frightening, delay your hike.
Tip # 4: Hike with an experienced hiker.
Hiking with an experienced hiker is always more fun if you are a beginner. An experienced hiker knows the location, the right gear and use of crampons. Before going for this adventure, make sure one of your friends know where you are going.
Tip # 5: Keep Tea or Coffee.
It is important that you drink plenty of water during your hiking period. One hour of snow hike burns substantial amount of calories and it’s essential that your body is properly hydrated. There must be something nice and comforting to keep you going. There’s nothing like a hot coffee break to inspire you for the summit push. Keep a thermos for hot tea or coffee or a very light weight portable stove. I assure you a hot drink will make your adventure more desirable and fun.
Tip # 6: Buy some nice hiking gear.
Though packing lists are precisely the same, there are particular basic items that all winter hikers should be ready to purchase. Most enthusiastic winter hikers spend money on: crampons, waterproof jacket and pants, waterproof snow boots, an insulated jacket, a nice spacious backpack, hiking poles, a portable light weight stove, warm gloves, and sunglasses. Rent, borrow or buy skis or snowshoes. Post-holing is tiring and makes the trail unpleasant and dangerous for the next hiker.
Tip # 7: Learn to build an emergency shelter.
You can’t just trust fire or portable stove to keep you warm; you must know how to build an emergency shelter in case you run out of both the above mentioned options.
Tip # 8: You must have a hiking first aid kit.
Keep an eye on the symptoms of hypothermia, frostbite or a trench foot. Study a bit about these conditions before you leave for the hiking trip. You must take a first aid kit with you. That’s one thing you can’t ignore.
Tip # 9: Be prepared to hike back.
Mountaineer Ed Viesturs who is famous for climbing each 8,000 meter peak in the world has said “Getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory.” So, you must know that you shouldn’t hesitate to turn around and come back if you are facing circumstances which are dangerous.
Tip # 10 Give yourself a nice treat.
Make sure to reward yourself after a nice lengthy hiking experience. I normally like to enjoy hot pizza or a sandwich to comfort myself. You might want to stop by a restaurant on your way back home.
If you have more tips for safe winter hiking, do comment below in comment section!
Happy winter hiking! 🙂
About Shawn Michaels:
Shawn Michaels is a blogger who loves to write about his outdoor experiences. He is also a passionate rock climber and loves traveling. Currently, he is studying and spends his free time reading reviews and gear shopping! Read his latest post on best winter boots.
For more tips on winter hiking, check out:
- 13 Wonderful tips for hiking in winter
- Winter hiking essentials I add to my pack
- Top snowshoeing tips for beginners