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Winter Hiking Tips

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

Hiking is a great way to stay in shape and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. While most prefer to hit the trails during warmer months, hiking can be a great year-round sport with a little extra planning. If you’re considering hiking in cooler months, here are some top tips you can keep in mind this winter to ensure your hike is as safe and comfortable as possible.

Tip #1: Wear Layers

Any outdoorsperson knows the importance of layering. When hiking in the winter, particularly when there’s snow on the ground, wear layers. Opt for a layer of warming material like a wool sweater or a puffer, and a waterproof layer such as a jacket. Thermal wear like long johns can be a lifesaver in extreme temperatures.

Tip #2: Hide Your Face

While most hikers have plenty of layers to protect their core, faces are often neglected. Consider wearing a hood and scarf to keep yourself warm on windy days. Sunglasses are also a great way to protect your eyes from the glare of snow. You can even get sunburnt from snow glare, so if you should always wear sunscreen on your face, even if you’re not exactly taking a trip to the beach.

Tip #3: Stay On The Trail

There are dozens of reasons to stay on the trail year-round. One of the biggest is to preserve the trail for years to come—every time you’re off the trail, you splinter the path and degrade the original trail, making it much harder to preserve in the future. When it’s winter and there’s snow on the ground, it’s very important to stay on the trail so you can avoid any hidden potholes or other hazards the snow. Ice causes tens of thousands of injuries every year, so ice grips may be a valuable purchase if you’re hiking on well-packed trails and often cost less than $20.

Tip #4: Check The Weather

Weather is often unpredictable in the winter. What may start out as a sunny day can turn into a snowstorm in just an hour. Always check the weather before heading on a hike and prepare accordingly. Just in case, you should also tell someone you’re going for a hike, and tell them when you expect to be back. Days are shorter in the winter and you don’t want to be lost in the snow at night.

Tip #5: Drink Water

We often don’t feel as thirsty in cold weather when compared to the summer heat, but this doesn’t mean your body doesn’t need water. When you hike your body still uses energy, meaning your muscles will need water to function properly. The rule of thumb is if you’re thirsty, you’re already slightly dehydrated. Try to have one 16 oz glass 45 minutes before you leave and have one bottle of water per hour of hiking to stay properly hydrated.

This article was created by Personal Injury Help (, an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice, and it is intended for informational use only.

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