Winter Trekking 101 – A Basic Guide
During the winter season, there’s an abundance of exciting winter-themed activities you can take part in. We’ve already discussed why you should try winter white water rafting and winter rucking in previous articles, but now we are going to look at something a bit more suitable for any kind of person to take part in – winter trekking. Whether you are an adventurous person who loves spending time outdoors no matter the weather, or you are someone who made New Year’s resolutions to do more fitness this year but has been putting it off because of the colder weather, then winter trekking is the perfect activity to get you out and about.
Winter trekking is exactly that, trekking but in the winter. Simple enough and doesn’t sound that exciting but it’s a great way to get outside and be more active especially in these colder months. With this guide, we are going to go over the basic information you need to know before you go winter trekking.
Trekking in winter can be a completely different experience than trekking any other time of year, imagine trekking along with snowy mountain-like landscapes or frosty forests with sights straight out of Narnia. You won’t always be guaranteed snow but cold weather will still do wonders to clear the cobwebs out of your system.
Misconceptions About Winter Trekking
”Trekking in winter is too difficult” – While it is true most trails do get more difficult in winter months, the difficulty of your trek depends on the trail you pick. If you are someone at a beginner level do not jump straight in with a really difficult route, this goes for any time of year but especially winter when conditions are at their most extreme. Do your research beforehand to find out which route would work best for you at your current level, how different the landscapes are in winter etc. You don’t want to arrive and suddenly find out it is covered in snow, for example, you need to be prepared for that.
”It’s too cold for winter trekking” – Obviously there is some truth to this, weather is colder in winter, especially at higher altitudes. However the key is to dress appropriately for the conditions you are facing, layers are essential, the gear you wear is also the main factor in how warm you will be. If you dress correctly for the trek you should be more than fine.
This brings us to the next misconception of winter trekking perfectly which is ”I don’t need to dress in layers” or ”my big coat will be enough”. There’s a reason people continuously recommend wearing layers when it comes not just to winter trekking, but any winter-based activity. Even when just going outside for the day dressing in layers is important so it wouldn’t be any different for winter trekking.
Dressing in layers helps you to preserve your energy more, if you aren’t dressed suitably your body will spend a lot of energy trying to keep you warm on its own. This leaves you less energy you can use, which is important when doing an activity like trekking as you need as much energy as possible. Additionally, you will most likely get warmer as you go on, and with layers, you can remove clothes and add clothes again as you go, it is much more flexible than wearing just a jumper and a big coat.
What is the Main Winter Trekking Gear You Need?
Again, we will mention it one more time: in cold weather, you need to dress in layers and you need to be as efficient as possible with how you do this. This is the gear you will need to use to layer up with:
Jacket and/ or Windbreaker if you know it will be quite windy.
Sweater / Sweatshirt
Gloves – more than one layer if necessary
A scarf or Neck Gaiter / Buff
Socks – They need to be able to keep your feet warm and protect your feet from any rubbing/ blisters.
Boots – you should be wearing a pair that are made to be suitable for cold weather, snow, ice, slush, etc.
Top Tips for Winter Trekking
Before beginning your winter trekking adventure, it’s a good idea to check the fitness level you have matched up with the trek routes you want to take part in. Again, you should research the route beforehand and you should consider if it is suited for you. This guide here discusses possible exercises you can do to prepare for more intense treks to get you in the best shape.
The clothing and gear you chose to wear should be made from wool not, cotton, as wool is a good insulator hence why it’s usually used for winter items. It’s the best and most effective material for keeping you warm in winter as it can maintain its insulating abilities even when wet, unlike cotton which loses these abilities when it gets damp.
Another key tip is to carry lip balm on you, in cold weather, your lips can get dry and cracked which could lead them to split and bleed later on. As such carry some lip balm in your pockets and apply it when your feel your lips drying up. You can also use it on your nose if that also starts getting dry too. Tissues are also a good idea to bring with you, as you know as soon as you hit that cold air your nose will begin to run.