Hiking Through the Snow – Tips for Winter Excursions

Hiking Through the Snow – Tips for Winter Excursions

The snow will be falling soon (or, maybe it already is where you live!). While it’s pretty to look at from inside your home, there’s no reason not to go out and have fun in it, too! If you love winter, getting outside for a refreshing, snowy hike could open up a whole new world of possibilities for you.

Far too often, people don’t think about hiking in the snow, but it can be a lot of fun with a little preparation. Plus, it will completely transform your favorite hiking trail into a winter wonderland.

With that, let’s cover a few tips you can put into practice for a winter hiking trip.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated during the summer when the sun is beating down on you seems pretty obvious. But, it’s just as important to keep your thirst quenched in the winter. Winter hiking typically takes longer than summer hiking, and you’ll have to work a little harder. Plus, you’ll be wearing warmer clothes. When your body is losing more sweat and putting out more effort, you need to stay hydrated and properly fueled to keep going.

So, in addition to having enough water with you, make sure you pack some high-protein, high-carb snacks that you can eat without stopping. Stopping for too long, even to eat something, will cause your muscles to become cold and stiff.

Dress Appropriately

What you wear is one of the most important aspects of winter hiking. Ideally, you’ll put on several layers, at least on top. You can take one off if you start to get too sweaty. On the bottom, one or two layers should be sufficient, but it’s a good idea to make sure your outermost layer is waterproof.

Not all materials are created equally when it comes to what’s best for hiking in the snow. Try to avoid cotton, as it absorbs moisture. As sweat cools in a cotton shirt, it can make you miserable and can even be dangerous. Opt for moisture-wicking materials whenever possible.

Have a Plan

Hiking can always come with some risks. But, there are a few more in the winter. It’s important to have a plan before you leave your house, and even more important to be flexible. That plan may have to change at the last minute, depending on the weather. Some quick tips to keep in mind include:

  • Checking the forecast every day leading up to your hike to plan accordingly
  • Telling someone where/when you’re going
  • Knowing how to use all of your gear and tools
  • Packing navigation devices, including a GPS

Your plan should also include frequent “checking in” with your own body. Winter hiking can take a lot out of you, and depending on the temperatures, it can pose some risks. It’s important to know some of the signs of early hypothermia, including extreme shivering or lethargy. The sooner you recognize the symptoms, the sooner you can get help or stop to drink something warm.

With a little extra preparation and planning, winter hiking is a beautiful, exciting experience. Don’t let a little snow stop you from hitting the trails this winter. 

Nov 23rd 2021 Stacey Koziel

Recent Posts