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Walking in the Snow in Winter

Clothing Guide for Cold Weather Hiking

With snowy landscapes and dramatic skies, hiking in the cold can be fun and rewarding. The changeable weather and harsh conditions mean more preparation is needed than in the summer, especially if you’re hiking in hilly or elevated areas. So if you want to dust off your walking boots, here are some of our tips to help keep you warm and dry during cold weather hikes.

Snowy Walk by Lake

Layering Up

It’s important to use a layering system so that your body can regulate itself properly. If you wear clothes that are too thick and heavy, the sweat you’ll produce will actually cool you down, no matter how cold it is outside! Layering your clothes gives you a flexible solution to keeping comfortable. This is important, as the temperature on a walk can change quickly, depending on the elevation and how strenuous the route is.

Base Layer: This is the first layer, and should be thin. It will create a layer of heat between your skin and the fabric. It needs to be breathable, allowing sweat vapour to evaporate, so just the heat remains. Cotton isn’t a good option, as this isn’t breathable and will only make you sweat more. If the weather's really cold, you can get away with a couple of base layers. The base layer can be something like a t-shirt or a thin long sleeve top.

Midlayer: The midlayer is designed to trap the body heat produced by the base layer. It’s an insulating layer, and can be a fleece or a warm jacket. This can be wool or synthetic and is a really important part for keeping you warm.

Outer Layer: The outer layer protects you from the harsh elements outside, such as wind and rain. It should be at least waterproof, and windproof if possible. It should be breathable, trapping heat but preventing cold air from getting to you. A good outer layer should allow you to stay comfortable, whilst also protecting you from the worst that the weather has to throw at you!

cold weather walking hot drink

Socks & Gloves

Your extremities are vulnerable to the cold, especially if you have bad circulation. The right socks and gloves will be an essential part of your cold walking clothing, helping you stay warm and comfortable. In some conditions, it isn’t worth going out without thick gloves and socks. Your socks need to be able to properly insulate your feet, whilst also being light enough that they aren’t too tight for your shoes. Wool socks work really well for cold weather. For your gloves, consider a thin pair of silk insulating gloves to be worn underneath large mitten style thermal gloves. This will give you that extra protection and make sure your hands are nice and toasty.

Outerware

Two of your biggest investments should be your shoes and outer jacket, as these will be your first line of defence against the elements. Your shoes should be waterproof, preferably hard wearing leather. Fabric can be too light for heavier weather. The sole should be thick with plenty of grip for icy conditions and support on harder ground. Your outer jacket should be as multi tasking as possible. It needs to be waterproof and breathable at a minimum, with extra points for jackets that are windproof.

 

We hope this guide has been helpful if you're planning a hiking trip in the cold. Keeping everything in this guide in mind, feel free to check out our extenstive Clothing & Accessories Department.

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