Winter Hiking Tips For Fun and Safety
Winter hiking isn’t the same as it is during the summer months and is a very special type of hiking experience. My winter hiking tips are important because hiking in snow, sleet and rain can be far more dangerous than just a summer rain storm. And safety should always be your first concern when hiking the trails anytime of the year.
Winter Hiking Tips for Safety First!
Knowledge is power only when it gets put into good use. This knowledge, for the record, might be all you need to get home safely after a long week in the winter wild.
Winter hiking trips are akin to a whole set of unique challenges. Therefore, you must be a badass wanting to spend an hour, a day, or even a week in some gruesome terrain where daytime and nighttime temperatures plunge into the negatives.
However, that does not mean that the impossible cannot become possible. With a few winter hiking tips, your dreams can become a reality.
You must, therefore:
1. Dress like your life depends on it – it does!
Dressing in layers can help advance your cause. You must from the get-go wear different attire types; clothes meant to insulate you from the extreme weather conditions.
Having waterproof garments also helps protects you from getting drenched in ice cold water during a storm. That is not all, you must also cover your nose and ears with a warm scarf to prevent the heat in your body from escaping.
Fingers and toes also need to get covered using gloves and thick socks and in that order. And don’t forget to do the same for others if you’re hiking with kids or other companions.
2. Prep early and start small
It is beyond the shadow of a doubt that winter hiking will take your will and stamina to the limit. You, as you plan for the hike have to be reasonable with distance, difficulty level, and time.
Thus, it is always good you find a nature trail you can handle. Doing so not only makes the whole experience manageable, but fun too.
That settled, you should also get out of your bed early on the day of the hike. Recall, the sun sets early during winter as opposed to summer meaning you must capitalize on the daylight.
Finally, it is always best you leave the trail before it gets dark to avoid putting your life in danger. Following these winter hiking tips is all you need to make a safe trip.
3. Carry safety equipment with you
Only a fool would not carry safety gear with him during a winter hike. Winter, being the most challenging season of all takes your survival skills to the limit.
Anyhow, survival is only made possible when you have the right gear with you. For instance, you need:
- A first aid kit
- A map
- A compass
- Basic hiking gear
- Pocket knife
- A couple of hand warming packets.
Having these items with you is essential as it prepares you for the unexpected. You should also be ready to spend the night in the wild whenever there is an emergency.
Therefore, having a sufficient amount of food with you is an added advantage. You should also be familiar with our list of essential camping skills. They can also help you stay safe and have a great experience no matter what the weather throws at you.
4. Pay attention to the weather
Winter, the cold, and the snow that comes with it is no child’s play. Thus, it is important that you keep tabs on current weather conditions before stepping out of the house.
Monitoring wind speed, temperature, precipitation, daylight hours, and avalanche reports can keep you safe during a hike. You not only dress warmly but also maintain a healthy distance between you and suspected avalanche prone locations.
Anyway, it is always advisable that you hike on calm days. Following these winter hiking tips can help save your life.
5. Take your crampons for a test drive
Crampons are devices fitted on your footwear to help add traction. Regrettably, crampons can injure you when used wrongly. Therefore, it is always good that you take these devices for a test drive.
Practicing before a hike not only keeps you safe but also builds your confidence. You can always consult an experienced friend to help you learn how to go uphill and downhill in these gadgets leave alone wear them.
6. Go hiking with an experienced friend
Never hike alone when winter arrives. The chances of you surviving a winter storm are nil. Experts recommend that you take an experienced hiker with you.
The hiker apart from offering you with companionship can help save your life during an accident. Your friend can also alert the authorities in times of an emergency to embark on an evacuation mission.
Better still; the experienced companion can help you choose the right hiking gear. Therefore, you gain more when you find the right company than when you are alone.
7. Carry or make some hot beverages
A cup of hot tea or cocoa never hearts during a winter hike. As a matter of fact, it is important that you rehydrate your body once a while and a hot beverage is all you need to get started.
Thus, it is important you carry a portable stove with you to warm up foods and drinks during the journey. You can also settle for a hot thermos flask whenever a portable stove is not available.
Eating warmed up foods also helps maintain body temperatures.
8. Find the best gear there is
Never buy cheap gear because it can cost you your life and all you hold dear. You, while working on a tight budget can capitalize on end-of-season sales and coupons. Your list should definitely include the best waterproof boots, or at least a pair of top of the line cold weather boots, hiking poles, a camp stove, a few pairs of socks (in plastic bags to guarantee they stay dry), gloves, goggles, waterproof pants, a waterproof jacket, and knee-high gaiters.
You also need to buy yourself a quality backpack that is lightweight enough for enhanced portability and before you buy one, find out how to choose one.
9. Always be ready to turn around
Whatever goes up must come down. Therefore, you must be more than ready to climb down a mountain whenever you sense danger.
Failure to do so not only puts your life at risk but also that of your partner. Recall, avalanches happen all the time. In short, they are real and deadly.
10. Eat, eat, eat
Eating brings heaven on earth. You must after a long day battling with rough weather and terrain have to treat yourself to a scrumptious meal.
Having a great meal at a restaurant is an excellent way of rewarding yourself. Additionally, healthy eating restores the lost nutrients in your body.
What You Have To Gain From Following Our Winter Hiking Tips
Hiking using the above winter hiking tips ensures you enjoy your journey along the nature trail. Encountering little to no resistance, your hike becomes one of the most successful ones anyone can ever have.
Additionally, you get home safe. Knowing what to do and when to do it helps protect you from physical harm. Remember, the winter jungle is so deadly that it has taken many experienced lives away.
To add the icing to the cake, you add some new skills and experiences to your portfolio. Let us face it. Winter hiking tips are not meant for the faint-hearted. In short, only a few individuals hike during winter meaning that you gain skills and experiences that are to die for.
It does not end there. Spending time in the wild helps clear your mind. You gain new perspectives; ideas that help you become a better person.
More so, you get to appreciate the value of teamwork. As you can recall, hiking alone during winter is never advisable. Experts recommend you join a group or find an experienced partner to keep you company. It is as you work together that you get to appreciate the value of teamwork. Surprisingly, teamwork always cements existing bonds.
Finally, following winter hiking tips to the letter grants you the physical fitness you need. The essence of hiking during winter is to test your body and mind. Instructions, once adhered to, help you reach your fitness goals and fast.
Winter hiking is for the few, not the many. It is an activity that only the brave embark on given the safety levels associated with the practice.
Therefore, it is necessary that you prepare thoroughly before embarking on your journey to minimize the risks.
Finding the right gear and hiking companion is an added advantage. You must also carry supplies with you to keep you warm and energized. As a cautionary measure, never shy away from turning back when you detect an anomaly in the landscape or weather. For the record, following your gut feeling might help save your life because avalanches happen without a sign or warning. As they say, it is better to be safe than sorry.