5 tips for Winter hiking for beginners

Posted by Gabby Tinner on

As we gear up for our winter explorations, we gathered some helpful tips to share some for those who are just starting to fall in love with snow. 

  1. Watch weather patterns.

Just like the mountain weather can change during the summer, it can in the winter too! You want to be mindful of when you will be headed out on your journey and the weather patterns that occur during those hours. It is important to know if equipment such as, mirco-spikes, crampons, snow shoes, an axe, trekking poles, or a combination are needed for the terrain you will crossing.   

  1. Dress like an onion.

Dressing in breathable, dry-wicking layers is vital to having a good time. Having a variety of insulated clothing on and with you allows you to be able to adjust temperature as needed. Generally lighter layers work well while moving, and have a pack-able down jacket handy for when you stop.  Key factors to consider while dressing for the cold are:

- Wear winter-weight socks. Your feet will be one of the first body parts to get cold. 

- Avoid cotton. Cotton collects moisture. If you are sweating you will be freezing as soon as you stop moving. 

- Don't forget a buff. A buff or bandanna will aid in protecting your face from wind burn or frost bit. 

  1. Start the hike cold. 

Most people will want to start off a hike as warm as possible, but will then overheat just minutes into your hike, causing them to stop and shed layers. This can then turn into a too hot, too cold game for the rest of your hike. To avoid sweating right from the start, it is best to start your hike slightly colder than you would like to be and let your natural body heat warm you up during the first part of your hike, as you get going you will have a better idea of layers you should add. 

  1. Hydration matters.

Although it seems obvious, staying hydrated while hiking is important. Colder temps naturally decrease thirst.  Often, people don't drink as much as they would if they were hiking during the summer, but even if you are not sweating, you are losing water through breathing and regulating temperature so it is important to pump fluids.     

  1. Be prepared, it takes longer than you think!

If you are new to trekking in the snow start out on shorter trails before pushing the distances. Moving across snow will take you longer especially if you are breaking new trail. Some basic things to also bring include: 

- A head lamp

- Extra socks

- Snacks

- First Aid kit with a space blanket


For more information, questions, or advice on winter trekking feel free to contact our expert customer service team on our chat line or in our Boulder, CO store.

Happy Trailing!  

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1 comment

  • Thanks for the information. I am relatively new to Prince George, certainly new to hiking in Prince George. I am a former member of WNMHIS in Tumbler Ridge and hiked most of the trails in that area. I hope to take time out from reno’s and join your hike this Sunday. Thank you for posting this information. Heather

    Heather Renton on

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