How to Prepare for a Winter Hike?

How to Prepare for a Winter Hike?

Being Prepared to go for a Winter Hike is a Must if you Want to Stay Safe!

Being prepared to go winter hiking is a must if you want to stay safe!

Winter hiking is an extended journey mainly for leisure or sports purposes that people undertake during the winter season. The winter period falls between December and March in the northern hemisphere.
During winter hiking, hikers can decide to erect mountain huts or tents. During winter, temperatures may fall up to -40 degrees centigrade, far below the average temperatures.
If you want to have a winter hike, prior and adequate preparation is very vital.
Below is a list of things you need before you embark on the winter hike:

Any person planning for a winter hike ought to check on rolling storms or heavy rain. This information can get online, even on television. You need to check on the weather and prepare adequately for any eventuality during the hike. If need be, start the hike when the weather is a bit favorable.

  • Have the Correct Gear

This is an essential part of the preparation. When you have the correct gear, you may not have a hectic time during the winter hike. While hiking, one needs to be prepared for anything.
The right equipment for any winter hiker includes the following:

  • Headlamp-this is a flashlight that one can wear on his head.
  • Good winter shoes with proper traction
  • Enough food and drinks (enough for the hiking period).
  • Light camping cookware
  • Warm sweaters and jumpers- essential for the cold weather.
  • Enough socks- woolen ones are the best—pack several.
  • Whistle or an avalanche.
  • Water- drink more water during winter hiking to avoid dehydration (a major mishap for hikers)
  •  First aid kit-the first aid kit should have the required equipment.
  • Fully charged phone and a power bank.
  • Waterproof pack cover.
  • Drink mixes- necessary for hot drinks during the hiking trail. Having a thermo flask will be a necessity.
  • Sunscreen and a lip balm.
  • Lighter and some rope.
  • Compass and a map for the hiking area will ensure you are on the right track and avoid getting lost.
  • Heavy head hut and gloves- help in keeping warm.
  • Energy snacks

  • Adequate Knowledge of The Hiking Area

Get enough information on the area you wish to hike to during the winter period. In case you are accompanied by a friend, let them also acquaint themselves thoroughly with the knowledge of the place you intend to visit during winter.
As an explorer, always be prepared for any danger that can arise while hiking. Pick terrains that are safer still, if possible.

  • Dress in Layers

The dressing is an essential aspect while hiking during winter. This will help keep you warm throughout. Layering helps in keeping your body temperature balanced continuously.
Start with a light t-shirt, have a long-sleeved cloth that can be zipped, then you can add a heavy sweater. This way, you are assured of keeping warm during the entire winter hiking period.
Having a weatherproof jacket can be of great help if it rains during the winter hiking period. Finishing the layering with a head hat and gloves can be useful.
Be ready to add or reduce the layers of the clothes during the hiking period depending on the day’s weather. Softshells can be ideal layers while hiking as they are light and flexible. A waterproof jacket can be necessary, so ensure you carry one.

  • Waterproof Hiking Boots

Hiking footwear with gaiters is essential for the winter hiking escapade.  The gaiters will help keep your legs free from extreme cold that is evident during the winter season. This goes handy with warm woolen winter socks.
In case you are visiting an icy terrain, a pair of crampons will be of great essence. Crampons will ease your movement if by the time of hiking there will be snow. Familiarize yourself with crampons beforehand.

  • In the Snow, Be Safe

During winter hikes, avoid snow drifts like the plague. Some might have water and also can be deep, putting you in great danger. A walking pole with carbide tips will help to enhance your stability on the icy trails. Commonly used trails can be fully covered with snow, be sure to find your way home afterwards.


Always remember that hiking during the day is safer and more convenient.
Crosscheck your gear and ensure you plan before you start.
Ensure that your entire winter hiking gear is in order.
It’s crucial to tell a friend or a close relative of the place you intend to visit and the time you are expecting to return home.
In case something wrong or unexpected occurs, send a text message to the person you had informed of your winter hike.
While hiking in winter, your safety is paramount.

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Justin Archer
Hi, I'm Justin Archer a family man with 2 boys and a wife. I'm an outdoorsman who loves hunting, fishing, hiking and lots of other outdoor activities. I love testing new outdoor gear, learning new things and passing on the knowledge I have gained. Feel free to contact me anytime -