As long as you remember all the important things, however, winter hiking can be a lot of fun, and a every unique experience. So plan ahead with a few winter hiking tips and enjoy yourself in the outdoors.
Winter Hiking Tips - GearBeing prepared in the outdoors is all about having the right gear with you. This is especially true in the winter months, when the weather can be much less forgiving and change very quickly. Here are a few winter hiking tips regarding the necessary gear to take.
- Winter Hiking Boots - First and foremost of the winter hiking tips regarding gear is the need to bring a proper set of winter hiking boots for your trek. Backpacking shoes are great during the summer months, but during winter you need something that is first, waterproof, and second, warm. A proper pair of winter hiking boots will do both.
- Hiking Snowshoes - If you plan to be out in the snow then you should definitely consider hiking snowshoes. One of the best winter hiking tips I can give you is to enjoy yourself in the winter conditions, and snowshoes are a great way to enjoy the snow.
- Sun Protection - Bad weather is typical for a day of winter hiking, which is why good weather is always such a welcome relief. Another winter backpacking tip is to plan for the good weather, and bring along a few things. Sunscreen, for one, to protect exposed skin from sun reflected off the snow. And similarly, you should bring sunglasses, as reflected snow can easily cause snow blindness.
- Insulating Layers - You may be nice and toasty while working hard, hiking, but when you stop, to take in the view or eat a bit of food, you will get cold quickly, which is when it's nice to pull out a layer insulation to slip on. Not all insulation is created equal, however, and so another winter hiking tip is to bring along down insulation, which is both lightweight, packs small and provides plenty of warmth. If you don't have any down insulation, Mont Bell is a Japanese manufacturer that makes great down products, including a men's and women's parka and a men's and women's matching set of pants. Also consider bringing a warm hat and a pair of gloves with you, to help keep your extremities warm.
Winter Hiking Tips - WeatherAnother good winter hiking tip is to be mindful of the weather. Consult a weather forecast before you step out the door, and be sure to bring along more insulation than you think you will need.
Of course the winter weather conditions are one of the main attractions of a day spent winter hiking, and if you can find a sunny day you will have great views and wont have to worry so much about winter weather turning ugly. A good winter hiking tip, then, is to pick the sunny day after a big storm, when there is plenty of snow on the ground but the sun is out.
Winter Hiking Tips - Sights and SoundsOne of the best things about winter hiking is that there are often very few people sharing the trail with you. You get to experience the natural world without all the overcrowding that can sometimes ruin summer hiking trips. The lack of people may help you see sights and sounds, like winter wildlife, that might otherwise be scared off by the large amounts of people.
Winter weather also offers up a few different sights that you wont see during the summer. Snow, for one, can create a lot of really stunning vistas that you wouldn't otherwise see.
Snow covered ground and a pair of hiking snowshoes can also give you access to a lot of places that would be difficult to get to during the summer months, when excess ground cover might block your path. The best winter hiking tip is to respect winter weather conditions, but to not be afraid of exploring them.