Though temperature drops as summer turns to fall, there are many wonderful changes that take place. The leaves begin to change and the air takes on a certain smell. If you don’t mind the cold, the fall can be a great time of year to go hiking. Keep reading to learn some cold weather hiking tips to ensure that your fall hiking trip goes well.
Simple Tips for Cold Weather Hiking
If you’re going to set out into the wilderness this fall or winter, you should be prepared for cold weather. As beautiful as the fall and winter can be, they can also be harsh in terms of temperature and conditions. To make sure you have an enjoyable cold weather hike, follow these simple tips:
• Dress in layers. It’s always easier to take a layer or two off when you feel warm than to add layers when you feel cold – you don’t want to lose your body heat and then start playing catch-up. Start with a base layer of moisture-wicking material then add heavier layers of fleece or flannel. And don’t forget your hat, scarf, and gloves!
• Eat throughout the hike. During the winter, your body burns extra calories to keep warm on top of the calories you burn hiking. To help keep yourself warm and energized, make sure you eat a hearty breakfast before you hit the trail then bring some healthy snacks with you. Trail mix is a great snack or you can go with something simple like a banana.
• Load up on plastic bags. If there’s one extra item you want to throw in your pack, make it a box of plastic bags. These bags can be used for everything from storing wet socks to keeping your valuables dry. If your hiking shoes aren’t waterproof, you can even put them on over your socks to keep your feet warm and dry.
• Keep your water bottle warm. Hydration is extremely important while hiking but if you do it in cold weather, you run the risk of your water freezing. It may help if you start with warm water – you can warm or boil it at the campfire in the morning. You can also keep your bottle tucked inside your jacket so your body heat will keep it warm.
• Plan ahead. When planning a cold-weather hike you want to think about all of the details because if you make a mistake, it could be dangerous. For example, keep in mind that the days will be shorter – you don’t want to get caught in the dark without a place to make camp. And remember that it will get colder overnight, so plan accordingly.
• Know your limits. Hiking in the cold weather is more challenging than hiking during the spring and summer, so pay attention to the cues your body is giving you and don’t overexert yourself. Make sure you stay hydrated and take breaks as you need them.
Whether you’re going out for a day trip or spending the entire weekend in the great outdoors, making some simple preparations for your cold-weather hiking trip can make all the difference. Follow the tips above to ensure that you have a pleasant and memorable experience!