The winter months are a great time to get out into the elements and warm up the good old fashioned way with some nature based exercise. There are many things you can do to stay dry, warm and safe throughout your winter hikes and here is a list of some of our best tips.
Check the Weather Forecast
Before heading out into the elements it is a good idea to check the temperature, the wind direction and speed as well as if any rain is forecasted so you can prepare both physically and mentally for the conditions.
Replenish Your Energy and Fluids
Sometimes in the cooler weather it can be more challenging to remember to drink enough water, but it is important to stay hydrated on a hike of any length. Your body also uses up more energy trying to stay warm so it’s important to bring a lot of high-energy foods like trail mix, fruit and bread to sustain energy.
Layer Your Clothing
Wearing the right gear while out in the elements can be the most important factor in determining your experience during a light sprinkle of rain, a storm or even snow. Generally, the modern technical clothing available to us in the 21st century is designed to the be used as a layering system where each layer is serves a purpose in retaining warmth. Therefore, you are able to combine different layers to tackle different conditions which is particularly important for activities like hiking so you avoid overheating whilst on the move but still stay warm when you are taking breaks. Typically there are three integral layers that you will need:
Base Layer: This is the layer closest to your skin so it needs to be breathable but moisture wicking. Your base layer should either be wool or synthetic, both of which have different advantages and disadvantages.
Mid Layer: Your mid layer should be used as insulation, but should also be breathable. Often, fleece, wool, synthetic or down are the top picks for hikers depending on the weather conditions.
Outer Layer: An outer layer should shield you against the rain and wind. Fitting snug over your base and mid layers, it is important to make sure your shell is comfortable and easy to access.
Small Pieces of Clothing Make a Big Difference
It is always a good idea to pack a beanie, some gloves and an extra pair or two of socks on your hike. These lightweight accessories are worth their weight in gold when you are cold.
Protect Your Pack
It’s a great idea to pack a waterproof cover for your pack, even if wet weather isn’t forecasted.
There is nothing like pouring a hot tea or coffee out in the wilderness while taking a break from a hike! It’s also handy for carrying soup which can make a yummy lunch teamed with some fresh bread.
Plan your Breaks
Take shorter breaks more frequently so that you do not loose too much heat. If you do require a longer break to eat or recharge, add another layer and remove it once you begin hiking and warm up again.
With some planning and the right gear, winter can provide some of the most rewarding and memorable hiking experiences. Cape to Cape Explorer Tours offer all of our self-guided walks throughout the winter months and we would love to help you stay warm and fit this season!