Winter is a fantastic time of the year to go hiking, but wearing appropriate clothing is an essential consideration to make before you head out of the door. Within this blog, we mention some handy clothing tips and tricks; alongside our reasoning why winter is such a good time of the year to put your hiking boots on!
– No Crowds: Cold weather tends to put most people off even considering hiking, but this is their loss and your gain! You won’t have to put up with overcrowded carparks or screaming children everywhere you turn, instead, you can enjoy nature in peace and tranquillity.
– No Pesky Bugs: Are you a magnet for bloodsucking bugs in the summer, in winter you simply do not have to worry about this as these bugs will not have even hatched yet for the next summer season.
– Good Air Quality/No Wildfires: Because fewer people are hiking in winter and the weather is more unforgiving it means that significantly fewer people will be setting up BBQs which have the potential to cause wider fires.
– Walking In Winter Allows You To Keep Up With Your Walking Hobby All Year Long:Many people who enjoy walking stop their hobby when the weather gets cold, this can mean that they are missing out on engaging in an activity that they enjoy, just because the weather is cold.
– Help Keep Your Physical And Mental Health Strong: During winter many people are less physically active which can be detrimental to their physical and mental health. During winter people get less vitamin D anyway but if they are inside more often because they don’t want to be out in cold weather their overall health may suffer. Vitamin D has a whole host of benefits that help support both physical and mental health. According to the NHS around 1 in 15 people have a mental health condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which causes people with the condition to become depressed and anxious. This condition is caused by people not getting enough sunlight and vitamin D during winter.
– Experience Your Favourite Walks For A Different Perspective: During winter your favourite walks will have a different feel to them, you will be able to gasp in awe as the snow covers your favourite walking destinations.
– Opportunity To Take Some Truly Stunning Photos: Winter is a fantastic time of the year for landscape photography, particularly when you are faced with snow-coated fields.
So, we have covered why you should go walking in winter but you may ask how to stay warm in colder temperatures for up to hours at a time. In this next section, this blog will cover how to dress to keep yourself warm whilst you are out walking.
Before you set out on your journey it is important to make sure that the clothing that you are wearing is waterproof. This is also an important piece of advice in summer, but in winter it is more likely to rain or snow which can mean that you are unable to prevent yourself from getting drenched. Water cools down your body significantly faster than air, meaning that if your clothing becomes wet you are going to feel the cold a lot more. If you are in the middle of nowhere in the middle of your walk this situation could potentially become dangerous. To Avoid this situation you should ensure that you are wearing a waterproof coat, waterproof trousers and a good pair of sturdy walking shoes.
Dressing in layers makes it easier to manage your temperature as you can add layers when you feel cold and take off layers if you become too warm. Carrying several layers around can also mean that you can lend extra clothing to your walking companions to ensure that stay warm themselves. There are 3 different main types of layers including:
– Baselayer: Baselayers provide an extra layer of insulation whilst wicking sweat away from your skin as you exert yourself. This reduces the amount of sweat that will stick to your skin and on your other clothing, meaning that you are facing less discomfort. Baselayers also help insulate your body against the cold, meaning that they are a fantastic choice to help your body maintain a comfortable temperature.
– Midlayer: A Midlayer is a piece of clothing that is worn as a second layer of clothing, which is known as the insulating layer. Examples of these include fleeces, jumpers and hoodies, these pieces of clothing are easy to take off and store in a backpack if you are feeling too warm.
– Outer layer: Your coat will be classed as an outer layer, it is important to make sure that you are wearing a waterproof outer layer thick enough to keep you warm for an extended period whilst you are on your walk.
Walking shoes are the best footwear option for hiking, you should ensure that the walking shoes that you buy properly fit your feet. An ill-fitting walking shoe can increase your risk of injury and can cause blisters on your feet which can make it more difficult and painful for you to carry on your walk. You should ensure that your walking shoes are waterproof to protect your feet from rain and any water you may come across. Additionally ensuring that the grip on the soles of your shoes provides enough traction to help prevent you from falling over is important, as there are many ways you can fall over whilst hiking, particularly in the adverse weather conditions of winter.
Accessories can make the difference between you feeling chilly and warm and cosy, here are some of the best examples of useful outdoor clothing accessories:
– Gloves: Wearing a pair of warm winter gloves is a good option as your hands and feet lose heat more than any other part of your body. This means that if you take steps to ensure that you reduce heat loss in these areas you are going to stay warmer on the whole.
– Thick Socks: Thick socks not only help keep your feet warm, but they can also help prevent your shoes from rubbing on your feet, meaning that you are less likely to develop painful blisters on your feet.
– Rucksack: For a day hike you should opt for a rucksack that is between 10-30 litres, this will allow you to take an extra mid-layer in your backpack, some food and a drink. If you are planning on camping we recommend that you take a backpack that is between 30-50 litres which will allow you to take more clothing, a sleeping bag and an adequate amount of food and drink.
– Change Of Clothes: If your current clothes become too wet having an extra pair of clothes can be very beneficial. You could simply bring a men’s full tracksuit in your rucksack.
Ensuring that you prepare properly for your winter hike can make the whole experience much more enjoyable.