Precautions When Hiking in Cold Weather
Hiking during winter is no joke. Even though weather conditions appear to be steady, Colorado winters are extremely unpredictable. Therefore, you should be in good shape and take all precautions needed.
Today, we are going to give you some winter hiking tips that will allow you to stay warm and safe while enjoying the outdoors at this time of the year.
- Rule number one of hiking in cold weathers is never stop moving. Keeping warm in nasty cold weather requires body heat. To generate body heat you have to keep moving. In fact, if you are not in good shape you should not be hiking in cold weather at all.
- The second rule is to wear several layers. The trick lies on being capable of putting on and taking off the layers of clothing as the weather conditions along the day require.
No matter when or under what conditions we are going to hike, being well prepared is essential. During winter and in cold weather, we usually need to pack some extra weight to stay comfortable.
Before, leaving your house you need to be already wearing several layers of lightweight clothes. The rest you can carry in your backpack. So you’ll want a comfortable and spacious backpack. At the bottom of your pack, put an extra change of clothes that you can wear when your hiking day is over. A light towel in case you need it. Place the clothes and gear that you might need in the same order that you will be wearing it until you reach the outer jacket.
A top layer jacket is key. Synthetic insulating fabrics allow heat to escape and reduce the effects of moisture. Wool jackets are not a good option because they are too heavy and bulky to be stored in the backpack when not in use.
Keep Your Head Warm
A substantial amount of generated body heat is dissipated from the head. A stocking cap or beanie is the most efficient method of temperature control for cold weather and high altitude hiking. A snug wool cap that covers the ears is best.
When hiking, especially on rocky roads, the arms are needed for balance and to break a fall if you stumble. Therefore, keeping your hands in your pockets is not an option to keep them warm. That’s why you need always to carry the right gloves. Mittens provide the best cold weather protection, but you can’t use your fingers. One system that works is wool fingered gloves with oversized synthetic windproof mittens that go over the gloves for extreme conditions.
Last But Not Least, the Feet
Synthetic hiking socks work well in cold environments. A spare set of liners and socks should always be carried, as you never know when your feet will get wet. Choosing the correct winter footwear is essential to healthy, dry feet. For slushy and wet roads, try to use boots made of rubber lowers and leather uppers. Waterproof leather boots are good options; nonetheless, after long, wet hiking days, some leather boots tend to get wet.
Other Important Stuff for Every Hiking Trip
Don’t forget essential equipment such as a cell phone or GPS, water, snacks, basic first aids and a flashlight. Remember days are getting shorter and in a blink of an eye, it gets dark.