For many, hiking is an incredible adventure that everyone in the family would be excited to participate in. It is the adventure that comes to many travellers’ minds when exploring a new place.
However, hiking in the winter may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Even though it has its fun bit, winter hiking can turn out to be problematic if you aren’t experienced. While some hikers may be glad to take up the challenge without a second thought, others would prefer to take things with caution.
If you are eager about taking your hiking experience for a challenge with winter hiking, here are tips to assist you in your newfound adventure. These winter hiking tips can be applied anywhere in the world but bear in mind some areas may require more caution and additional planning depending on their climatic conditions.
Therefore, if you want to avoid the summer hiking crowds and enjoy your winter hikes in the quiet, then remember to follow these tips.
Do your research
Before you head out, it’s important to do your research. Get to know the type of terrain and conditions you’re going to face out there. This is very crucial as it’ll help in your preparations. If you’re going to hike in the mountains for an entire day, then you’ll need to be well prepared and ensure you have the appropriate gear.
If you aren’t sure about the directions, most reserves and national parks have maps and suggested trails for hikers on their websites. This information is availed to you to help you enjoy your hiking with minimal hitches.
Plan and prepare
If you are going to succeed in your first winter hike, then you must ensure you haven’t left any stone unturned. Make use of the information you’ve gathered during your research to plan for your day right from the beginning to the end. Remember in winter days are shorter as the sun disappears more quickly than usual. So you must be prepared to on several safety measures in case darkness finds you in the mountains.
Over the same, if you make your plans well, you don’t have to worry about the sun setting earlier than usual because you will have reserved enough time to go back to your starting point on time.
So, don’t get scared by the mere thought of dealing with darkness out there and fail to enjoy your thrilling adventure. As long as you’ve done your research and prepared for the day, you’re good to go.
Wear appropriate gear
If you are considering winter hiking, then you must invest in the right winter clothing in addition to hiking gear. In addition to a warm jacket, make sure you have plenty of layers so it becomes easy to remove or add depending on the temperatures. Ensure your jacket and trousers are waterproof. Gloves, a big hat, and a buff to keep your nose warm also come in handy.
You must wear clothes that’ll keep your body warm at all times without sweating to avoid exposing yourself to hypothermia; a serious health condition associated with cold temperatures. Hence, ensure the kind of clothing you chose will help you stay warm and dry at the same time. You must also have your favourite drink with you as dehydration is something that can speed up the effect of hyperthermia in your body.
Consider weather warnings
If there’s a time you should be concerned about the weather forecast is when you are planning to go hiking during winter. Weather conditions in winter can range from mild to extreme within a very short time. It’s an absolute must to know the kind of weather to expect before heading out depending on the area you live in. keeping up to date with the weather forecast will make your hikes safer, more comfortable, and thrilling. Besides, the weather forecast will give you a good idea of what to pack.
Winter hiking is not for the afternoons and evenings. If you want to enjoy winter hiking, then you must learn to begin your hikes early in the day. Starting early will give you ample time to enjoy your hike and go back to safer grounds before darkness overwhelms you.
What’s more, when you start early you’re guaranteed to finish on time regardless of your age, physical fitness, or previous hiking experience. Plus, there’s no moment you’ll find yourself struggling to do something beyond your ability.
How safe is winter hiking?
Well, this is a question that many people including hikers ask. After all, no one is willing to risk their lives in an adventure that should otherwise be fun. No wonder most hikers hang their boots the moment weather cools and snow begins to fly. But should you completely do away with your passion every winter?
As a matter of fact, winter should be the sole reason why you can’t head to the mountains anymore if you love hiking. That’s because it’s very safe to winter hike as long as you’re equipped with the right gear and follow all the necessary precautionary measures.
Hiking in winter can be very enjoyable especially if you’re used to hiking in warm weather. The environment itself can give you a platform to learn new hiking skills as well as help you create unforgettable memories of your hiking journey.
To reduce hiccups when winter hiking for the first time, be sure to prepare thoroughly in adventure. Have your gear and all the other hiking essentials ready way in advance. On the hiking day, dress warm and make sure you bring on a warm drink. There’s nothing more fulfilling than indulging in a hot beverage when winter hiking.
All in all, as much as winter hiking is a great adventure, it’s equally important to appreciate the fact that it can also turn out to be life-threatening if you aren’t well prepared. For instance, winter hiking poses dangers such as hypothermia, avalanches, and getting lost in the cold mountains. All these are possible dangers hikers expose themselves to when they choose to hike during winter.
Good news there’s a solution to all of them. If it’s about getting lost because the snow has covered the trail route, have with you an alternative way to plot your routes like a map and a compass. Avalanches are a serious problem but you can avoid them by keeping away from steep trails with heavy snowfall particularly if the weather has begun to get warmer or avalanches have recently occurred in the area. More so, because spotting avalanches in advance is quite difficult, experts recommend taking an avalanche safety training course if winter hiking is something you intend to do more often.
Enjoy winter hiking
With the appropriate gear and necessary skills, you can enjoy winter hiking to the climax. If you are a beginner or this is not an activity you do often, it would be advisable to take things slowly. Make sure you familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Also, give yourself at least a mile per hour to ensure you have enough time to get off the trail on time. So you can work around that pace to decide how far you’re willing to go.
After your first experience, you can decide if this is something you want to do again and if so, for how long. Use the mistakes you made to make your next hike a better experience. If you’re determined and dedicated to your newfound outdoor adventure, you’ll soon be winter hiking like a pro.