How to Prepare for Hiking in the Winter

November 25, 2021by Mike Mayleben

Depending on your location, winter may have already knocked on your door. Are you feeling the winter blues? Are you foreseeing yourself stuck inside the whole season? Don’t worry, because these tips will help you prepare for hiking in winter, so you can stay active and explore some of the most magical winter hikes around.


winter hiking wear layers
Image Credit Unsplash

Dress in Layers, Especially Socks

Layers are critical if you want to enjoy your winter hike, instead of frozen into popsicles. Like we’ve mentioned in the fall camping tips, wear medium-weight layers such as light sweaters, undershirts, and cardigans.

And don’t forget your feet, as your body heat will leak from there the quickest. Wear multiple layers of woolen socks to keep yourself warm. Finally, make sure to cover yourself with a well-insulated coat.


Bring a Warm Drink

A thermos could make all the difference during cold weather. Bring hot cocoa or hot tea in your thermos, or simply fill it up with boiled water. However, don’t be a weirdo who brings soup on your hike. Or actually… go ahead. But make sure you have a bottle of water as well.

PS: The thermos could also serve as a handwarmer.


Image Credit Unsplash

Choosing the Right Trail

There are tricks behind what trail to hike in the winter, especially if you’re still kind of new to hiking. Winter hikes require more stamina, and you get tired more easily as well due to the weather.

As a general rule, choose a trail with a decent amount of elevation. Uphill hikes will stimulate your blood circulation and keep you warm from the inside. However, avoid large elevations if you’re going for an out-and-back trail. Steep downhills could get dangerous especially after snow and rain.


Hats and Gloves Are a Must

We talked about layering, but don’t forget accessories. In winter times, a thick hat and a pair of heat-preserving gloves could make all the difference for a hiker.

You can even layer multiple woolen caps and top it with one of those large fur stocking caps with earflaps. Or you can wear ear warmers separately.

As for gloves, make sure you can easily move in those. Depending on the difficulty of your trail, mittens may not be suitable for some occasions.


winter snowpeak trail
Image Credit Unsplash

UV Protection Is Just as Important

If you think the sun is 100% a blessing during winter days because of the cold, think twice. Because UV rays are just as harsh in the winter as they are in the summer.

Therefore, a common newbie mistake for those who started hiking in the winter is forgetting their sun protection. And oh trust us, nothing is worse than a sunburn when it’s 20 degrees outside.


How to Stay Safe When Hiking in the Winter

Finally, let’s talk about safety tips for winter hikes.

First of all, you should always be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to your footings because winter weather could make the trails slippery. It’s also easier to twist your ankles if the ground is soft and loose due to the weather.

If you use any hiking app, such as AllTrails, be sure to download an offline map for your reference, especially when you go onto less-trafficked trails. There will be even fewer people around those hikes than usual.

Then, we wish you a fun and safe winter adventure!


106 Lichen Rd. Myrtle Beach, SC 29588


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