Are you ready for your winter hike? Maybe this is your first-ever Winter hike.
Winter hikes are a great way to get outside and enjoy the beauty of the season. But before heading out, there are some essential things to keep in mind. You’ll want to make sure that you have all of the right gear and supplies to help you stay safe and warm on your adventure. That includes dealing with emergencies. Here’s what we recommend.
Make sure to pack extra food, water, sunscreen (yes, even in Winter), bug spray (if needed), a first aid kit with bandages/gauze pads/antibiotic ointment/pain relievers, an emergency blanket or space blanket (for warmth), matches, or a lighter (to start fires if necessary), an ice pick (in case there is ice on the trail) as well as crampons or microspikes if it looks like there will be snow on the ground. We also recommend packing layers – thermal underwear under long johns underpants over tights – because it can get very cold when hiking in winter conditions! Finally, don’t forget about your camera so that you can capture those beautiful moments along your journey! And remember – always check weather conditions before heading out into nature! If it looks too windy or stormy, then wait until another day when conditions look more favorable. It’s better not to go than risk getting lost due to poor planning! Have fun exploring this winter season but please be safe while.
Always, my final piece of advice is to let someone know where you are going, your planned route and what time you expect to get back. Please, don’t forget to check-in when you are back safe. No one wants to waste emergency services time or resources.
What are the best places to Winter hike?
There are plenty of Provincial Parks, Federal Parks, Conservation areas, and local managed walks/hikes in Ontario. The good news is that many are close to urban areas, well signposted, and with dedicated trails.
Plan on being more adventurous once you’ve gained more experience? You might want to try hiking Crown Land, and the Facebook group – Crown Land Camping Ontario – is a great starting point.
Wherever you live in North America, there should be plenty of options.
Pick a destination based on the weather forecast and conditions.
Do you head out for a hike even when it’s cold outside?
Before you leave, you should pick a destination based on the weather forecast and conditions. If the weather looks bad, it’s always a good idea to postpone your hike. It’s also good to know what outdoor hazards exist at different times of the year, which is why we recommend that you pack an emergency blanket or space blanket if you’re going on a winter hike.
You’ll want to make sure that you have all of the right gear and supplies to stay safe and warm on your adventure.
Food and Hydration Tips for Cold-Weather Hiking
Remember to eat and drink.
In the Winter, it’s vital to stay nourished on your hike. Drinking water is essential, as well as eating snacks. You should keep a thermos of hot chocolate that you can sip on, as well as granola bars and dried fruit for quick energy sources. Check out our article on “Hydration Basics” for more information on staying hydrated!
Keep food from freezing.
If you’re going on a hike and the weather is below freezing, make sure to take snacks with you that don’t need to be re-heated. Fruit, nuts, trail mix, and granola are all excellent options. If you bring meat on your hike, make sure not to store it in your backpack for too long because it could freeze!
Tips on how to prevent drink tubes from freezing
One of the significant dangers when hiking in the Winter is frozen drink tubes. There are a few things that you can do to prevent this from happening. One of the most important things is don’t let your straw freeze when it’s not being used. You can wrap it in an insulating sleeve or store it in your jacket when you’re not drinking! It’s also good to keep hydrated by paying attention to what your body needs.
Use water bottles
To avoid the risk of freezing, you should give up water reservoirs in very cold conditions. Bottles can also freeze, and it usually happens from top-down, which means bottle tops are prone to get stuck shut. Flip your bottles upside-down or put them inside packs where there’s more insulation around them so they won’t be as susceptible to sudden temperature changes
Pack warm drinks
A blissful way to keep warm on a cold day is by filling up your vacuum-insulated bottle with hot tea or chocolate. The warmth will go far enough that you can enjoy sipping from it while taking breaks from walking!
If you’re out for a long time, then a small stove might be worth the extra weight in your backpack.
Clothing and Gear Tips for Cold-Weather Hiking
One of the first things to consider when winter hiking is the use of layers. It’s important to wear multiple thin layers because it’ll be too hot to take them off if the weather changes. If you’re hiking in Winter, make sure to bring extra socks with you because it could get pretty cool, and there’s nothing worse than wet socks on a cold day.
Another important winter hiking tip is to use gaiters. Gaiters are made up of plastic or waterproof fabric that goes around your leg above your boot and prevents snow from getting into your socks. If there’s snow on the ground, they can also help keep snow out of your boots when you walk through it. Gaiters may seem bulky, but they’re worth bringing on a winter hike.
Say no to cotton
Cotton is not always a good idea to wear when it’s Winter. It absorbs moisture and will leave you cold and clammy. This can be dangerous if you’re hiking in the Winter because cotton also loses its insulating properties when it gets wet.
Cover your skin
If you’re going on a winter hike, make sure you’re wearing a hat and gloves. You should also be paying attention to what’s going on with your skin while hiking in the Winter. Make sure to put lotion on your skin, so it doesn’t dry out, and be mindful of any cuts or scrapes, so they don’t get infected while hiking.
Now that we are all getting used to wearing masks covering more of your face isn’t a bad idea.
For your hands
Bring a pair of lightweight or midweight fleece gloves with you to keep your hands warm and dry. You can also wear these as an extra layer if the ones on top get soaked through from rainwater seeping into them after time spent out under such conditions!
It’s a good idea to bring an extra pair of gloves with you, especially if the ones you have on start getting wet.
For your feet
We all know that a good pair of socks can make the difference between comfort and pain, but it’s not just your feet. Synthetic or wool may be best for you depending on whether they’re going to get wet from snowmelt or sweat during an activity like walking in hot weather; overall insulation also matters! If this sounds like something important enough to take into consideration when buying new boots, then remember: waterproofing needs special care since moisture will cause them to come apart more easily than fabric made with ordinary fibers such as cotton-polyester blends do – so if possible, try looking out for models specifically marketed towards outdoor enthusiasts who often walk through ice-cold streams while carrying heavy packs weighing down their shoulders If hiking across.
For your nose and cheeks
A neck gaiter is an excellent accessory for your face mask. It will also protect you from any condensation or sweat that might build up around the strap and make breathing more comfortable under extra layers in cold weather conditions. You can also wear a face mask as another option.
For your ears
In addition to a winter hat or headband, you can also depend on a neck gaiter and face mask for ear coverage.
Avoid tight clothing
Wearing tight clothing can cause poor circulation, which is terrible for your body and may lead you to have frostbite. Make sure that all of the clothes on your back are not too constricting, or else they will hinder blood flow from moving around in different areas throughout your body.
Another great thing to bring along with you is hand and toe warmers. These are disposable heat packs good for around six hours of heat, so they’re perfect for winter hiking. They also come in different sizes depending on the place you want to put them. You can get them at any drug or grocery store and outdoor sports stores.
Wear a hat
One of the best things to do before going on a hike is to make sure you wear a hat. Wearing a hat helps by protecting your head from heavy winds and harsh sun exposure. Your head and face should be covered, and the hat mustn’t be too tight or too loose. It should also protect your ears to help keep your head warm while out in the cold.
Bring goggles or sunglasses.
Be sure to protect your eyes from the sun and wind. Swapping lenses in a pair of sunglasses can help you select precisely what tint is suitable for any day, so don’t forget those shades!
If you wear glasses, sunglasses, or contacts for your vision, put them on before you go hiking in the Winter. Make sure they are securely fastened so that they don’t fall off while you’re out in the cold. I use the same straps for my glasses as when I kayak. The same goes for goggles if you’re sensitive to light and need them to battle snow blindness.
Pack a headlamp
Headlamps are a great item to pack when you’re going out on a winter hike. They provide light in the places where you need it most, and they’re small enough to carry in your pocket without taking up too much room. Some headlamps are even water-resistant, so don’t worry about them getting wet if you happen to be hiking through snow or rain or if something spills on them!
Keep batteries warm
One of the best ways to keep batteries warm is to store them in a wallet with cash. The money will act as an insulator for the batteries, so they can’t freeze. Alternatively, you can keep them in your armpits or your gloves if you have them with you!
The most important thing to bring with you on a winter hike in the wintertime is sunscreen or sunblock. It’s crucial because you’ll be outside in the sun and not overheating, so it may be easy to forget that you’ll be burning in the cold. Make sure you put sunscreen on all exposed skin before heading out and reapply it every couple of hours if you want to maintain protection from harmful UV rays.
Don’t forget to fill up a big thermos with your favorite hot beverage.
If you’re bringing hot beverages with you, don’t forget that they will eventually get cold. You can combat this situation by either heating them again before taking a sip or bringing a thermos. The downside to a thermos is that it will make it harder to stay hydrated by going through the drink as quickly as you would without it there.
Cold-Related Injuries and Illnesses
Frostbite is the next stage up from ‘frostnip’ that you get on your skin when it’s cold. It can happen to almost any part of your body, and it’s caused by prolonged exposure to the cold accompanied by a significant drop in temperature. If you think someone has frostbite, they will have either red, swollen, and pale skin where it has been affected or numbness and tingling. For people with frostbite, we recommend that they head indoors as soon as possible and then remove any wet clothing as quickly as possible. The affected area needs to be warmed up again as soon as possible so that there is no more risk of permanent damage.
Snow blindness results from the sun reflecting off of snow, which can damage the cornea and cause temporary or permanent loss of vision. Symptoms include blurred vision, teary eyes, or sensitivity to light. To prevent this from happening, wear sunglasses with UV protection when you’re hiking in snowy areas!
One of the best things you can do to prevent hypothermia is to wear warm layers. Layering your clothing will trap heat next to your body and keep it close for as long as possible. It’s also essential that you stay dry because wet clothes lose their insulating properties. If you’re starting to shiver, it could be a sign of hypothermia, so begin making yourself warmer by adding more layers, taking off wet clothes, or even holding your hands over a warm object.
If you suspect that someone is suffering from hypothermia, it’s essential to act quickly. Get them out of the cold and into a warm environment where they can thaw out. Heat them with blankets or even your body heat if it’s available! Make sure to keep an eye on the person in case their condition worsens.
Start hydrating before heading out on your winter hike because it will be easier for you to start hydrating. Drink lots of water throughout the day, and make sure that you’re well past the point of being thirsty before heading out. Make sure to bring a reusable water bottle with you so that you can refill it as needed. You can also get a thermos with hot water or tea to stay hydrated and warm!
If you are experiencing symptoms of dehydration, you’ll want to start hydrating immediately. Look out for dizziness, fatigue, chills, nausea, headache, muscle cramps, or irritability. These are nasty symptoms, especially if you’re out in the cold.
Be prepared and keep learning. Start with easy Winter walks in designated areas before moving on to bigger things.
Winter hiking is a great way to enjoy nature and get some exercise. You can make it even better by following these Winter hiking tips! We’ve provided you with all the information you need, from what gear to bring to what clothes are best for winter hikes and also information on a few Cold-Related Injuries and Illnesses to keep you and your hiking friends safe and sound, so get out there and explore before the snow melts away next year!