When it comes to exercise, my favorite choice is hiking. In fact, I do it several times a week. It helps burn my calories, enjoy the day and gives me time to think. It would be surprising if I tell you that winter is the best season for me to do so.
Winter hiking may seem to be dangerous when you think about the snow and the cold outside. But really, winter hiking is so fun especially when you do it with some friends. However, it is important to be careful to avoid accidents.
Here are simple tips for a safe winter hiking:
1. Never go alone
It is advisable to go out and hike during winter with friends. Once I went out hiking with my officemates, the terrain was so slippery because of the ice. One tripped and hurt his ankle, and he can no longer walk properly. It was a good thing we were there to carry him.
Having someone to help you in times of trouble is important. Also, it would be great if you can bring along somebody that is experienced. He or she can help you out with the right gear and can tell if you are in danger.
2. Start hiking early
During winter, daytime is shorter than night. I like to make the most of the day by starting out early. I feel happy when the gentle and warm light of the sun touches my face.
During winter, it is common that usual trails might be closed for safety reasons. In daylight, it is easy to see the area. And if ever I get into trouble, it won’t be hard to ask for help.
3. Always let somebody know where you are going
I make it a point to call my mom or a reliable friend each time I go out for a hike. I tell them where I plan to go and the time I need to go home. I know that they will worry when I won’t come back as expected. If anything goes wrong, I am sure help will come.
4. Dress up to protect yourself from cold and bring safety gears
Do not underestimate winter. I dress up in four layers. Keeping our body warm would make our hike comfortable and keep our body temperature regulated.
Here is my checklist.
- Hats and gloves – I prefer a wool or fleece material. They are warm and light. Extra waterproof gloves and hat may come in handy to keep you dry.
- Base layer – I prefer Merino wool since it is warm, soft and does not have a weird smell. Do not miss to buy a longer top. Short ones will give chills in your back when you bent over.
- Mid layer – I consider this as the most important. You can choose what you like to wear but my choice is a light jacket with full zips. Some like sweat shirts or long sleeves that is thick.
- Shell Layer – since this would protect me from wind, snow, and rain, I choose the jacket and pants that are thick enough to let me breathe easily. I prefer thick and soft materials. They are not 100% waterproof but I am comfortable with it during locomotion.
- Socks and waterproof winter boots– I make it a point that I use the right kind of socks. My feet, after all, is essential for hiking. My socks are quite expensive since it is made out of wool but worth it. It absorbs the moisture from my feet, preventing the formation of blisters.
There are varieties of winter shoes available in the market but I prefer to use boots. Boots protect not only my feet but also the lower part of my legs. I am very picky when it comes to winter footwear since I know that the toes are the most sensitive to cold.
It does not end up with proper clothing. Safety gears are also a need. If you are a hiker, I am sure you are familiar with trail maps, compass and is well-informed in using first-aid. With your map, compass and first–aid kit ready, also bring a pocket knife and a headlamp just in case.
In every winter hiking, use a durable backpack to hold your belongings. Mine is the kind that is light, waterproof and pockets. The size depends on how long I plan to be hiking. Nevertheless, I advise you invest in buying reliable gears.
5. Be alert!
No matter how much fun I am having, I never forget to stop and evaluate the situation. I have this inner instinct to check the surroundings.
- Always on the lookout for covered trails. Check your map if you are on the right track.
- Mind the weather. Be prepared for a drastic change. I normally check the weather for the day before I decide to go but there are times that we can’t anticipate.
- Check for signs of frostbites. Treat it immediately.
- Do not hesitate turn around and go back! It is our survival instinct to think of going back when conditions start to be difficult and dangerous. I choose to turn around and go home if I can. There is always the next time.
6. Don’t forget about food and drinks
Dehydration is completely possible during winter hiking. The first time I did my winter hiking, I begged for water. I never thought I need water during the cold days when I don’t sweat that much. Now, I bring lots of water enough for a drink while walking and some for a warm cocoa as we stop.
What food do I bring for my hikes? Energy bars are practical – they are small to slide in my backpack’s pockets. They provide the calories I need. Sandwiches are my favorite too – they are yummy and does not take a lot of space.
My winter hiking tips are friendly reminders that would make your adventure fun and exciting. I hope you will keep in mind a thing or two. It helps to go out when you are prepared and confident. Before I forget, treat yourself for doing great and completing a wonderful challenge. A bite of your favorite food will do!
Guest author: Laura is the founder of CleverAdventurer, where she shares her knowledge, tips about hiking, camping, backpacking in the wild. She is a young blogger who is very passionate about outdoor activities. She wishes to share her experience during the adventure with people who have the same passion.
For more travel tips and stories, follow us on Facebook.