Don’t let the cold, snowy weather keep you cooped up inside your home. The winter is the perfect time to venture out and go on a gorgeous hike with family and friends.
Winter hikes make for some of the most beautiful sights you’ll see all year long. The snow-coated mountains and trails offer an entirely new perspective of your favorite hiking destinations.
Plus, hiking in the winter means you won’t have to worry about some of the usual downsides of hiking trips. There are far fewer crowds and creepy critters than you would typically come across during the warmer seasons. Moral of the story: if you come prepared with the right clothes and equipment, you will have a blast.
So, where do you begin? Here’s a checklist of essential items to pack before you head out for your winter hike.
Warm/dry clothes and extra layers
We’ll start with the obvious. You’ll want to pack plenty of warm clothes for your winter hike so you can layer up in the freezing temperatures. Whatever amount of clothes you normally would pack for a hike or camping trip, double it.
You’ll want to bring a winter hat, mittens, insulated pants and jackets, and cozy warm socks. For your base layer, be sure to bring plenty of tops capable of moisture-wicking such as synthetics or wool materials. You’ll also want to wear a warm layer on top of that, plus a water/windproof layer.
You can stock up on all of the necessary winter hiking attire by heading to your nearest outdoor sports shop or ordering online from a trusted hiking and camping store like REI.
Now that you’re all layered up, you’ll be able to brave the wind and cold air with no issues. However, if you don’t come prepared with the proper footwear, you’ll open up a whole new can of worms.
It’s imperative to pack some well-insulated, waterproof boots for your trip. There’s nothing worse than wet socks after walking in the snow, especially when you have to walk a long distance. That’s exactly what you will have to deal with if you fail to wear the right boots.
Fortunately, there are countless places to purchase the perfect pair of warm, waterproof boots. If you’re an avid hiker, it may be worth the investment to spend on a pair that will last you a long time. The rietmet snow hiking boots certainly fit that description and can be bought right on Amazon for a more-than-reasonable price.
Microspikes and Snowshoes
Good, you’ve checked waterproof boots off the list, but you aren’t done shopping in the footwear section just yet. Depending on the terrain you’ll be dealing with, microspikes and/or snowshoes might be a necessity.
Microspikes or crampons will give you traction and keep you from falling on slippery terrain. These will be needed in icy spots, regardless of how confident you are in the traction your boots offer. As for snowshoes, you’ll break those out in areas where deep snow is expected. Going on a winter hiking trip without either of these items could ruin your trip, so we’ll say it again – BE PREPARED!
Radiate Portable Campfire
Staying warm is the key to a successful winter hiking trip. With warm clothes and the proper footwear, you’re halfway there. But if you really want to get the perfect winter hiking experience, the Radiate Portable Campfire is a must.
The Radiate Campfire Mini is convenient, portable, and incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is light the paper pulp (don’t forget to bring lighters and matches!) and enjoy 3-5 hours of a campfire perfect for cooking, roasting marshmallows, or simply warming up. When you’re done, just put the lid back on to extinguish the fire. Yes, it’s really that easy.
You can learn more about the Radiate Portable Campfire here.
Insulated water bottle and a warm beverage
During a long and potentially grueling hike, you absolutely need to stay hydrated. This becomes tricky in the winter when the contents of regular water bottles or non-insulated containers freeze up and become impossible to drink.
The solution is bringing an insulated water bottle to keep your beverage warm and prevent freezing. Be sure to bring extra water along with you as you’ll be breaking a sweat, even in the freezing temperatures. A warm beverage like coffee or tea is great to bring along too.
There are countless quality insulated water bottles to choose from, but we go with ol’ reliable — the Thermos.
A map, compass, and/or a GPS is one of the more important items you’ll bring with you on your winter hiking trip. Don’t rely on just your iPhone to make it through the day as it won’t be of any use when the battery is dead.
One of the worst things that can happen on a hiking trip – especially in the winter – is getting lost and not knowing your way back. This is easily prevented with the proper navigation tools. A phone or GPS is useful, but nothing beats the dependability of a simple map or compass.
First Aid Kit
The chances of injury on a winter hiking trip are higher than normal. It’s incredibly easy to slip and fall (especially without microspikes!) and one could also get frostbite if not prepared with the proper clothing.
For these instances and many more emergencies, you will need to pack a basic first aid kit. Opt for one that is lightweight, well-organized and filled with all of the tools you think you could need in case of the worst-case scenario. A couple of popular options are the Adventure Medical Kits or the Surviveware kit.
So, you’ve got most of your essential items, but where do you put them all?
You’re going to need a comfortable but sturdy daypack. Rather than going cheap, you may want to splurge on a high-quality backpack that offers durability while being easy on your back throughout the trip. REI offers a wide variety of daypacks that fit this description, so choose wisely and enjoy a winter hiking trip of a lifetime.