That familiar chill is in the air, and the hiking enthusiasts among you might be considering a winter hike. But let’s be completely honest: winter hiking can be brutal. It definitely isn’t for the faint-hearted. It requires careful planning and all the right gear to ensure you’re not just surviving the elements but genuinely enjoying your time in nature. One piece of equipment that you’ll be glad to bring with you is a seat walking stick—a portable chair so you can relax wherever and whenever you like! But that’s not the only piece of equipment you’ll need. Let’s detail the other items you’ll need to have a memorable winter hike.
Winter hiking requires layering. The base layer requires moisture-wicking materials, which provide an effective means of protecting your core temperature. This helps to keep your skin dry and reduces the likelihood of friction or chafing, which makes for a more comfortable, enjoyable experience. Base layers include briefs, trousers, sports bras and tops.
The mid-layer is any piece of clothing worn over the base layer. The main role of mid-layers is to keep you warm by trapping body heat whilst still being breathable. Mid-layer clothing options include fleece, softshell and down jackets or merino wool sweaters.
The outer layer protects you from the elements. A good outer layer protects you from the rain and wind whilst ensuring excess heat and moisture can escape from your body. Choose from a range of clothing options, including fully waterproof hard shells, flexible soft shells for windy conditions and insulated jackets for very cold but dry conditions.
Of course, you can’t forget other winter hiking essentials such as hats and gloves. It’s always good to carry spares of these, as they tend to get wet!
When it comes to footwear, you need to think carefully about the terrain you’ll be treading. For trials with low elevation, walking boots with good grip and waterproof fabric should suffice. However, if you’re hiking higher elevations, where you may come across snow and ice, you should bring crampons with you. Just make sure they fit your books before setting out. It’s also a good idea to bring gaiters to keep your feet and legs dry and warm during your hike. Finally, make sure to bring plenty of thermal socks with you!
Now that we’ve covered clothing and footwear let’s think about the other essentials you’ll need to take with you on your winter hike:
For short hikes, a 20-litre backpack should be sufficient. However, if you’re going on a multi-day trek, a bigger backpack is required.
Trekking poles will give you added stability on your hike.
Seat walking stick
A walking stick that doubles as a seat allows you to rest and recharge whenever and wherever necessary. There’s no need to hunt for a good place to sit when you’ve got one in your backpack ready to use!
If the visibility is likely to be bad, make sure to bring a headlamp with you. Don’t forget the extra batteries!
First aid kit
Make sure to bring a first aid kit with you to treat minor injuries.
If you find yourself stuck for whatever reason, you’ll be glad you brought your emergency whistle to signal for help.
Multi-tools allow you to cut ropes, slide food, tighten loose screws and remove splinters. They’re an essential hiking companion.
Insulated water bottles
The last thing you want in the bitter cold is for your water to freeze. An insulated water bottle will stop your water from turning to ice.
You’ll need plenty of high-energy but convenient foods for your winter hike. We recommend protein bars, granola bars, dried fruits, nuts, sandwiches and other foods that are easy to eat on the go.
Waterproof matches and a lighter
Should you need to start a fire to keep yourself warm or heat up food, you’ll be pleased that you brought waterproof matches or a lighter.
It’s essential that you take your phone with you. You’ll want to take pictures of your adventure, but you also need a way to call for help, should you need it. Don’t forget your portable charger, too!
If you’re lucky enough to hike on a clear, sunny day, make sure to take sunglasses and sun cream with you to protect yourself from the sun.
Final Thoughts: Travel Kit for an Enjoyable Winter Hike
If you’re planning a winter hike, it’s essential to spend time planning and packing to ensure you’re prepared for anything. From a handy seat walking stick to a layered clothing strategy to keep you warm, each piece of gear plays a vital role in keeping you safe and comfortable. We hope this list helps you prepare for what we’re sure will be an exhilarating experience. Happy winter hiking!