Tips for hiking in cold weather for beginners

Stef Zisovska
 
Hiking in cold weather
Hiking in cold weather

Low temperatures, rainstorms, and cold winds are among the most challenging weather conditions that a hiking enthusiast can face. However, bad weather doesn’t mean you need to stay at home during the chilly months and wait for the spring to come. Getting out there when it’s cold and humid can make your hike more complicated than usual, but it can also be a great adventure. The thing about hiking is to enjoy the outdoors and discover a new trail every time you can. If you’re about to start with this activity and have no idea how to prepare, here are some useful tips that you can follow.

 

Forecast

Check the forecast

Check the forecast

Be respectful of the weather and always check the forecast. It’s good to know what kind of conditions you’ll have to deal with on the trail.

Awareness

If the weather conditions are awful and you don’t feel safe about going out, then you better go back or stay at home in the first place. Never put yourself in a risky situation as a beginner.

Right clothing

Wear layers

Wear layers

Extended walks in cold and wet weather mean that you will be exposed to moisture all the time. It’s crucial to understand that layered clothing is the key to a successful cold weather hike. Start with a wool long-sleeve shirt that will keep your body warm and won’t smell bad when you sweat. Zip-neck models are the best because you can open them if it gets hot. A waterproof jacket is what you need to wear on top of your other clothes. Your jacket should be quick-drying, lightweight, with zippers for ventilation, and adjustable hood. Quick-drying, waterproof pants are what you need for your lower body.

Umbrella

If you know that where you’re going to is rainy and wet all the time, then a small, easy-pack umbrella is a useful item to have handy. A rain jacket can protect you, but what if the rain doesn’t stops for hours, but you still want to go on? The good old umbrella will keep your head and back dry, at least until you reach shelter or the rain stops. It’s especially helpful to have an umbrella if the temperatures are low and the rainfall is cold.

Avoid sweating

Avoid sweating

Avoid sweating

Don’t think this one is weird or makes no sense because it does. Exaggerated sweating lowers your body temperature, and you don’t want that. Control your level of perspiration all the time, be prepared to remove or add layers of clothing depending on how your body feels. Don’t let it become wet because the sweat will make you feel colder.

Warm up your extremities

Pay attention to your hands, feet, and head as they are more exposed to the cold than the other body parts. Make sure you bring wool gloves, socks, and a hat that will protect you from the cold wind.

Take short breaks

Take short breaks

Take short breaks

Don’t stop for more than 3-4 minutes. The longer your body rests, the cooler it will become, and you’ll suffer for it. When the weather turns nasty just keep on moving and try to stay as warm as possible.

Food and water

When on track, make sure you eat high-calorie snacks each hour. A big meal is not a good idea while walking in the rain. First of all, you can’t sit and eat, and second, even if you do it won’t be a pleasant experience. Muesli bars with dried fruits are a good energy source that will keep you moving. Also, don’t forget to drink water, keeping  your body hydrated with small sips every now and then. You get less thirsty when it’s cold, but your body still needs the same amount of water. Good luck!

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