One of the best things about snow hiking, however, is the lack of other people on the trail. Summer hiking can often feel claustrophobic because of the large numbers of people who had the same idea to go for a nice day hike. Snow hiking, however, is not for everyone, and most other people will be indoors while you are out hiking.
And there are plenty of interesting things to see while snow hiking. Snow covered forests, for one, and winter wildlife, for another, are both fairly unique things that you just wont see in the summer months.
Snow Hiking - SafetySnow hiking, however, should be approached with a certain amount of caution, because snow, and the cold temperatures that follow, present a lot more challenges to hikers than summer hiking does. Part of preparing for that is doing obvious things, like checking forecast before you leave for the day and having some idea of the trail you will be travelling on, since snow can sometimes obscure what is an otherwise obvious trail.
Another big part of being prepared for snow hiking before you leave the house, though is having the proper gear with you.
Snow Hiking - GearHere are a few ideas for snow hiking gear that you should be bringing along with you when you leave the house for the day.
- Winter Hiking Boots - It should go without saying that when snow hiking, the most important part piece of gear you should be bringing is a good pair of snow hiking boots. They should do two things, which are keep your feet dry and keep your feet warm. Snow is wet, after all, and cold too, and wet, cold feet are a recipe for disaster. Consider bringing along an extra pair of socks too, just in case your feet do start getting wet.
- Sun Protection - Another key piece of snow hiking gear is sun protection. Assuming you have managed to pick a good day to go snow hiking, the sun will be out, and that means sun reflecting off the snow. All that extra, reflected sunlight can burn exposed sun quickly, which is why sunscreen is a good idea. Also worth bringing along are a pair of sunglasses, because adding sun blindness to a sunburn is even less fun.
- Insulating Layers - One more piece of snow hiking gear that should be brought is a half decent insulating layer of clothing. When you're hiking you wont need to stay all that warm, but during breaks, or if something happens and you need to spend more time in the woods than you thought, an insulating layer will be an important item to have with you. Down is a great option because it is lightweight and packs extremely small, so you don't even know you're carrying it until you need it. Mont Bell is well known for their down garments, and makes a down parka in particular, which comes in men's and women's models, and a pair of matching pants, also in men's and women's, that get particularly good reviews. You should also bring along a pair of gloves and a warm hat, for the extremities.
- Hiking Snowshoes - One more snow hiking item that you should consider bringing is hiking snowshoes. If the trail wont be well trodden, or if you are breaking trail, or even going off trail, then it will save you a lot of energy to walk across the top of the snow, rather than try and slog through the snow.