January 22

What Are Seven Cold Weather Hiking Tips To Know?

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Although summer seems like the best time to hike, there are still great trails that can be explored in fall and winter when the weather is cooler and the crowds diminish.

It will require more planning and preparation but the serenity that nature offers during the winter months is well worth the effort. Here are seven things to remember for cold-weather adventures if you are planning on going for a hike.

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what are the 7 cold weather hiking tips you should know

Stay Warm

Although this may seem obvious, it is worth mentioning. Even though the sun shines and the temperature is pleasant, temperatures can drop quickly.

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It's also the time of the year when it gets colder and the days get shorter. There is a chance of snow or ice depending on where you are and how high up you are.

You'll need to bring more than just your basic hiking boots, especially if they have good traction on slick terrain. Also, you will need to pack gloves, mittens, and thermal layers.

Practice Makes Perfect

You can take your camping or hiking gear with you, as well as tried-and-true items, on a trail run, before you go on your national park adventure.

It's a good idea to go on a short camping trip or hike near your home to get a feel for the terrain and what to expect. It's not a good idea to drive hundreds of miles through the wilderness of national parks only to discover that your hiking gear is not up to standard.

Plan! Plan! Plan!

Another important reminder is to always be prepared. If you feel you have everything planned out, make sure you plan again.

Double-checking the forecast at least 24 hours before your departure and arrival is a good idea to make sure you are prepared.

While it is fine to pack some essentials, such as layers, it is a smart idea to also call the ranger station before you leave to confirm conditions or to get any updates (e.g. road closures, trail closures, slick conditions, etc. ).

Pack Enough Clothes

Don't forget to pack plenty of clothes and layers. You can still go camping and hiking in a national park, no matter how cold it gets.

It is important that your tent is warm and durable, not lightweight for summer camping. Double-layer, water-proof doors with a tarp over top are the best options. You never know when snow or blustery winds might blow in.

It's worth investing in a quality sleeping bag. There are many options available at different price points that will keep you warm and cozy even at temperatures below freezing.

Eat More To Produce More Energy

This is a great one! Your body will work overtime to maintain a comfortable temperature when you are outside in colder temperatures. To maintain energy and strength, you will need to eat more calories, carbs, and fat.

Here's a simple tip: Bring lots of food and snacks. You can also indulge in hearty meals like stews, chili, and stacked sandwiches.

While you should avoid sugar bombs and empty calories, most times, this might be a great excuse to indulge in sweet treats and nibble all day.

Stay Dry

Hypothermia is something you should be aware of when visiting a national park during colder temperatures. It can sneak up on you even if you don't expect it, especially when there are colder temperatures and snow.

Your best defense is to keep dry. Be prepared for anything, even in sunny weather. You will need water-proof layers to protect your clothes, backpacks, hiking gear, tent, and other items. Cotton is not a good choice at this time of the year.

Keep Your Electronic Devices Dry

Our electronic devices are just like us in that they don't thrive in cold or wet conditions. It's crucial to keep your phone and other gadgets warm and dry, especially since we depend so much on digital GPS.

To protect your phone from possible precipitation or falling, always take extra precautions to keep it safe and secure when you are out exploring parks. Keep it in an inner pocket in a waterproof case.

When camping, keep your phone off the ground in a waterproof bag or in your pocket. 

Use these seven cold weather hiking tips to stay safe when out exploring state parks and other hiking areas this winter.


Tags

hiking, Tips, Winter Camping


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