Hiking is great for your body. There’s nothing like testing your mettle against Mother Nature. A lot of people just quit hiking and camping altogether during winter, and that’s a mistake. Winter hikes are fun and challenging if you prepare and gear up correctly.
Tip 1: Get a map and formulate a game plan. Snow can get you lost because it changes both the look and lay of the land. You may think that you can Hansel & Gretel your way home by following your own footprints, but you would be surprised what wind and changes in temperature can do to footprints. You should also check weather and trail conditions online, if possible.
Tip 2: Remember that hiking is a pretty strenuous activity. If you’re bundled up like your Mama dressed you, you’ll be alternating between sweat-drenched misery and ass-puckering cold. Trying to cool down by shedding a layer or two will expose that salty moisture to freezing temperatures, and it will suck. Pack an extra layer, and put it on when you stop to rest.
Tip 3: Bring food, water, first aid, a charged smartphone, and some kind of emergency shelter. A space blanket, bivy, or tarp will usually be a great start to a quick shelter.
The Gear: 5 Cold Weather Hiking Essentials For Bros
Boots for winter hiking should be 6” tall or more, waterproof, warm, and have a good tread. The Sorel Men’s Conquest Boot is a good choice. Hiking injuries are more serious in the winter, when weather can kill you. Ankle support, stability, and warmth are absolute musts.
A winter hiking jacket should let you move in order to keep balance and catch yourself in case of a fall. Remember that you’ll be sweating, so you’ll appreciate some venting as well. When combined with sensible layering, gloves, a hat, and potentially a face covering, the Kuhl Spyfire is ideal.
Depending on the length of your hike, you’ll need to bring some stuff along. Bringing those extra layers, food, water, and emergency supplies requires a durable and well-made hiking pack. Osprey’s Manta 36 Hydration Pack is a solid choice. Featuring an internal reservoir for water, durable & lightweight construction, and a deployable rain cover, this pack will get you there.
You’re not bulletproof, and accidents do happen. Winter is a more dangerous time to hike than summer, and hiking without a kit like REI’s excellent Backpacker Extended First Aid Kit is like driving without a seatbelt: stupid.
Now you could get by with a Timex, Compass, and Altimeter (optional), but this is BroBible and we love cool tech. There are some incredible trail watches out there, like the Casio Protrek PRW-3000-1ACR. At under $200, this watch delivers the goods. You get atomic time, a digital compass, barometer, altimeter, thermometer, solar power, sunrise/sunset data, and more, all in one tough package. It also looks sick.
Christopher Earp is the founder of redhatchetoutdoors.com. Most of the time, you can find him meticulously sharpening his knives, cooking, planning a hike, taking a complicated object apart, cleaning his guns, or endeavoring to build something. He’s been fascinated with the wilder side of things for his whole life. He has a passion for risk, reward, fresh air, and exercise. He IS related to the Earp Brothers. His other hobbies include playing the guitar, watches, bourbon, working out, and great movies like Carlito’s Way. You can follow Red Hatched Outdoors on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram