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How To Dress For A Snowy Hike

Dress For a Snowy

Wintertime hikes are one of the greatest delights in the world. Nothing can compare with crunching across freshly lain snow while talking with a friend or walking hand-in-hand with a loved one. 

However, before you head out on your idyllic snowy hike, you need to address what you are going to wear.

As it turns out, dressing for a snowy hike isn’t just about fashion, it’s about safety. The following tips will help you determine what to wear for your wintry walk.

Add a scarf and other accessories

It might seem obvious, but accessories like scarves and gloves are must-haves when you’re going on a hike during the winter.

One of the reasons these accessories are so essential is that they allow you to be prepared for a variety of different situations. If the weather turns out to be pleasant, you can always unravel your scarf or take off your gloves, but if things take a turn for the worse, you’ll want your Appalachian gear accessories on hand.

An important addendum to this tip is to expect the unexpected. Accessories’ size makes them easy to forget, so consider storing a spare pair of gloves, a scarf, and a hat in your car or bag.

Layers are key

The next tip for dressing for a snowy hike is to layer up for extra insulation and warmth.

A common misconception is that winter clothes are just outerwear like coats or jackets. The truth, though, is that you will be able to avoid cold exposure and all its associated health risks by wearing several modular layers of clothing. Instead of just wearing a large coat, wear a shirt, a sweater, a scarf, and a coat.

Remember that the first layer in your outfit will make a big difference in protecting your vulnerable areas. The chest and groin tend to be sensitive to the cold and aren’t always well-covered, so you should use your first layers to insulate these areas. 

Wear the right shoes

Next up, be sure to wear the right shoes when you go on your winter hike extravaganza. You might think that since you’re walking, you don’t need to be concerned, but poor foot care when hiking in extreme conditions can sometimes require a lifetime of physical therapy.

Run-of-the-mill tennis shoes or sneakers will not cut it during a snowy hike (not that they’re a good choice for ordinary hiking either). 

You should spring for special snow hiking boots over standard dry-weather hiking boots. Snow hiking boots feature durable materials, sturdy insulation, and treads that offer traction on slippery surfaces. All these features ensure that you’ll stay safe on the trail.

Protect yourself from moisture

It is easy to forget that snow isn’t just a fluffy mass of flaky goodness – it’s also frigid water. The water in snow matters because moisture is one of the worst hazards in any cold-weather situation. When you get wet in a low-temperature environment, the water can freeze your skin, putting you at risk for hypothermia.

To protect yourself from moisture, ensure your outermost layer is water-resistant. Pick a jacket and gloves with moisture-wicking properties so that your chest and hands don’t get wet. If you’re wearing a wool or cotton sweater, layer it beneath your jacket.

Consider your head, hands, and feet

Related to layering, be sure to cover your hands, head, and feet. Like the chest and groin, these areas (called your extremities) tend to get very cold when they don’t receive sufficient protection from the elements, leading to pain, frostbite, or worse.

To address these problems, wear sturdy boots, winterized socks, thick-lined gloves, and a warm hat that covers your ears. Since your hike might require you to grab onto trees or other environmental bodies, wear gloves with ridging to help you grip things. 

Choose gloves whose outer layer wicks moisture, rather than wool or cotton, which can become wet and make your hands even colder.

Bring sunglasses

Last but most certainly not least, bring sunglasses on your winter hike. No, this isn’t just to help you look cool. It also helps to protect your eyesight.

Because snow is white, it reflects the sun’s rays, as opposed to most ground surfaces, which absorb light. In plain English, this means you’re getting twice the light coming into your eyes when you walk in the snow. 

In the long term, this light can put a tremendous strain on your eyes. But in the shorter term, the intense amount of light makes it difficult to see, which can increase your risk of falling or hurting yourself. 

Grab a pair of polarized sunglasses for your winter hike to prevent this possibility.

Final thoughts

Although winter hikes might seem intimidating, they are one of the most delightful ways to spend a snowy afternoon. The tips on this list will help ensure your hike is safe and comfortable. Then, after you have finished marveling at a snowy and majestic nature scene, you can take the opportunity for post-hike care, like restoring your blood flow with a foot massage

Also, Read This: Pests That Are Active Even During Winters

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