For those who love hiking, hitting the hiking trail in winter weather is not a deterrent. All it takes is a little understanding and preparation to make the outing a safe and enjoyable one.Here are some of the few things you should know before you go hiking in the winter.
What to Wear
Knowing how to dress properly and what additional items to include on the hike is essential. The appropriate clothing includes items such as waterproof, insulated hiking boots, hiking socks, and long polypropylene underwear in tops and bottoms. Do not wear cotton shirts or pants. The basic hat, mittens, and scarf are important. The hat helps maintain body temperature control as a lot of heat can be lost through the head. Mittens, instead of gloves, enable easy layering, and the scarf helps to maintain breathing ability that may be hampered due to the cold air.
Basic knowledge of the layering system will help limit overheating. Wearing multiple thin layers is better than wearing one heavy layer. It is important to make sure that the bottom layer of clothing is one that will keep the moisture away from the skin.
Protect Your Skin
Aside from clothing, there are other items needed to maintain a healthy trip on the hiking trail. While being outdoors in the winter, the sun is still shining, and skin protection is still important. The use of sunscreen and lip protection is highly recommended. Small items that can fit in a pocket such as hand warmers are also a good backup provisions.
Keeping the body energized and well hydrated is a major concern during the winter climates as it is during the summer. With the weather being cold, the body is using more energy and burning more calories by trying to keep itself warm. It is important to continue to eat more food but at smaller portions. Water is essential and should be readily available. Water tends to freeze from top to bottom. Turn the bottles upside down to avoid the mouth of the bottle freezing. Staying hydrated is important because of the added strenuous activity winter hiking offers, especially if there is snow.
Other safety precautions to be aware of is that during the winter the days happen to be shorter. It tends to get dark earlier during the winter season. Plan trips by starting out early and ending early and always take a flashlight.
One of the most important safety tips is to hike with a buddy. With a companion along, there is a greater advantage to getting help it there is an emergency. The use of cell phones is not always reliable when hiking.