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How Can You Enjoy Your Winter Hike While Staying Warm?
There’s a certain beauty in parks covered in white that you must go out and explore. But how can you do so if it’s too cold outside? I live in Canada, where winter temperatures can go as low as -30C (-22F), ironically, when it’s sunny! So if you don’t want to miss out on a nice sunny winter day, I have the answer to what you need to wear for the winter hikes.
As someone who is constantly cold, I’ve discovered a solution to conquer those frosty days. The key is in the layers! But not any layers. After extensive research, I have highlighted the following split into what you need to wear and what you need to pack.
What Do You Need To Wear For Your Winter Hike?
The base layer is the first layer to wear and should be made of synthetic or Merino wool. You need that first layer to transfer your sweat to the second layer. On the contrary, choosing cotton holds in moisture, and you’ll end up feeling cold instead. So stick with synthetic or Merino wool.
I recommend a good, waterproof, breathable jacket for the outer layers. The job of this outer layer is to protect you from the cold, so invest in a good one. As for the pants, waterproof ski or hiking pants will do the job, but make sure you can easily walk wearing the base layer underneath.
I recommend doubling up for the gloves, starting with liners and then waterproof gloves or mittens (think ski gloves). I prefer mittens as my hands get cold very easily, but it’s a personal preference. The liners are especially helpful when you want to remove your glove and snap that picture ;). I usually wear hand warmers if the temperatures are below -15C (5F). You don’t want to ruin your winter hike with cold fingers or frostbite.
Hats And Neck Warmers
Depending on the cold, you can wear two neck warmers or one. If you wear two layers, let the first be synthetic and cover your head. The second one should be in fleece and cover your neck. If it’s below -15C (5F), I recommend you pull the warmer over your nose and wear a ski mask to protect your lashes. As for the hat, opt for a good wool one to keep you warm.
Your toes should stay warm, so wear hiking shoes made for the cold, not the ones you wear in the summertime! For socks, synthetic (nylon or polyester) or merino wool materials are the best as they dry quickly.
What Do You Need To Pack?
- Water, at least 1.5L.
- A hot beverage such as tea, hot chocolate, or a soup
- A protein-based snack such as a protein bar or protein-based sandwich
- Hand and feet warmers, in case you might need them
As you hike, you might get warm, so remove some inner layers, but keep the outer ones as they will protect you.