Manual Guide to Cold Weather Hiking

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The easiest way to protect your face is to use a balaclava with a fully integrated facemask like the Serius Comboclava. This is a fairly advanced stage of winter day hiking, so its best to learn how to use these tools from a qualified instructor, either a mountaineering guide, or in one of the winter hiking schools run by outdoor clubs in the northeast.

This helps to keep our content free and pays for our website hosting costs. Thank you for your support. My knife gets bigger too.

Winter Hiking Clothes & Cold Weather Layering Basics

I change over to a bigger fixed-blade, in case I really need to make a fire. A short saw chain, and a stout green pine branch will get you a stack of wood quick for not much weight. Scott, You could use the snow claw obviously for digging a snow cave and as well a sled for an emergency descent. You need a metal edge to dig someone out. Do you have an estimate of your total pack weight for a typical winter day hike?

Winter Hiking Tips with the "Unprepared Hiker"

Similar to your excellent list for winter backpacking? Understood that it would vary based on above or below treeline, solo or group, etc. On a winter day hike, what I carry is not too different from your list, but I always end up north of 30 pounds, sometimes 35, which seems like a lot. Just wondering if this is reasonable. I am enrolled in the AMC winter hiking program. My current plan is to hike plan mostly below tree line but might want to go above tree line in the future. What is the best puffy insulated hood jackets I should be looking at? A down jacket with a fully adjustable hood.

Buy something you be willing to stand in at a Boston bus stop in winter…and you can afford. In wind, I use the hood of my wind proof layer above tree line with the ear muffs underneath. I carry a warm hat in case we have to stop moving. Great for using a camera or eating some food. I use fleece and wool gloves under mitten shells all the time.


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The extra dexterity os so worth it. I noticed that OR even includes glove primaloft liners on some of their high end mitten shells too.


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  • Your email address will not be published. John and June layered up for winter hiking When gearing up for winter day hiking you want footwear, clothing and traction aids that can be used across a fairly wide range of temperatures, wind speeds, sun, precipitation types, and surface conditions.

    Winter Day Hiking Gear List The following day winter day hiking clothing and gear will keep you safe and comfortable in below-treeline conditions. Insulated winter boots Winter hiking boots should be rated for 20 below zero Fahrenheit or colder. High gaiters High gaiters help prevent snow from entering your boots or making your socks wet.

    Hats A minimum of two hats is recommended for winter day hikes: Gloves A minimum of two pairs of gloves is recommended, although hikers often bring three or four pairs if their hands sweat a lot while hiking. Leather gloves absorb water and freeze and are not recommended.

    Hard Shell Jacket You also want to carry a windproof and waterproof jacket with an integrated adjustable hood that can be worn while you are hiking. Hard Shell Pants Hard shell pants are completely windproof and waterproof.

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    Softshell Pants Many hikers, myself included, prefer wearing softshell pants in winter because they are more breathable and form-fitting than full zip hard shell pants. Base layer insulation Most winter hikers wear a wool or synthetic base layer consisting of a long sleeve jersey, long underwear, and some kind of boxer or bikini underwear under that. Learn how to layer properly to maximise your warmth and comfort on the trail. Choose fast drying clothes for your hike to minimise heat loss from sweat or rain.

    Take a thermos with your favourite hot drink or soup.

    Winter Hiking Clothes & Cold Weather Layering Basics - Bearfoot Theory

    Your body uses up energy to stay warm in the cold. A simple but important thing to do is check the forecast. If you start to sweat, take a layer off. Maximise your warmth with a beanie, gloves, warm socks and a neck gaiter. The longer your break, the colder you get. If you do need a longer break to recharge, put on another layer until you start moving again. A good pack cover is lightweight and compact, making them easy to add to your gear. Being prepared for frigid and wet weather conditions is critical when exploring the outdoors in the winter.

    Staying warm and dry while hiking in the winter is important not only for your comfort but also to keep you safe from more serious issues like hypothermia. In this new blog post, we talk about winter hiking clothes and the cold weather layering basics for your winter adventures.

    For our other top winter hiking tips, head to this blog post. The key to winter hiking clothing is wearing layers that will keep you both warm AND dry — and that means from the elements as well as your sweat. In the sections below we discuss the details of each layer and include recommendations for each item. You next-to-skin cold weather base layer is all about regulating your body temperature, while also wicking sweat. Base layers should be made of synthetic fabric or merino wool that wick moisture and dry quickly.

    The thickness of your next-to-skin baselayer depends on how cold it is outside and is also based on personal preference. I tend to sweat a lot, so I prefer a lighter synthetic layer next to my skin, and then I wear a mid-weight layer over it. If you know you usually run cold, then you might start with a mid-weight base layer, like the SmartWool midweight layer recommended below.