For those who enjoy hiking, there’s no reason to take a break during the cold winter months. There are additional precautions and gear you’ll need to ensure that your winter hikes are as safe as they are fun.
Hiking during the winter requires equipment not needed during the warm months of summer. What gear is considered “essential” depends entirely on the type of hiking you plan on doing, and what kind of cold temperatures you’ll be hiking in? Consult an expert to determine what kind of gear is best for your particular hike.
Before even leaving for a winter hike of any kind, check the weather. Hiking during the summer leaves a little more leeway for bad weather, as getting caught in the rain isn’t always that dangerous. However, during the winter fun in the Triad months, being uniformed can be much more dangerous. If you’re hiking on a mountain of any kind, check the avalanche conditions before heading out, and always verify that there aren’t any dangerously cold weather warnings set for the day.
If your hike includes a visit to alpine territory, make sure you have an ice axe with you and know how to self-arrest. You want to practice this skill in safe a area before visiting an area where you may be called upon to put this skill into practice.
Winter fun in the Triad hiking requires the proper attire. This doesn’t mean just bundling up in layers of the same warm clothing. A winter hike should always start with a wicking base layer. This will keep your skin dry, as you will get sweaty during the hike. This layer allows the skin to breathe while still keeping it warm. This layer should be covered with an insulating layer that holds in the heat, and an outer shell to protect you directly from the elements. It’s always best to carry extra wicking and insulating layers.
Some hikers have no need to worry about avalanches, but for those who regularly hike in avalanche territory, it’s necessary to always have a small shovel in your pack.
Also in your pack should be plenty of water and snacks that are rich in carbs and protein. Hikers tend to forget to hydrate regularly during winter fun in the Triad, as they might not experience the same thirst as they do during the warmer summer months. Hydration is key to keeping energized during a winter hike, as are the appropriate kind of snacks. Hiking during the winter can help you beat the winter blues but doing so should be done with caution and the right gear and information before heading out. Even the most seasoned hiker can neglect things like packing the right snacks or drinking enough water. While investing in the appropriate attire for hiking can cost a little money upfront, you’ll be glad you made the investment. Wicking base layers and insulating clothing specifically meant for hiking is designed with the elements in mind. This keeps you not only warm, but also safe from the elements. Never skimp when it comes to hiking clothing!