Outdoor enthusiasts do not pause their pursuits simply because of the weather changes. Their love for nature transcends temperature fluctuations and weather patterns, and they can adapt to new circumstances with ease. Snow, ice, and cold are merely new realities to adjust to as they continue to pursue their active outdoor lifestyles. Fortunately, the adjustments are easy to make with proper planning and gear. Hiking is increasingly becoming a winter sport, and what you wear when you go cold weather hiking is essential to your enjoyment of the activity. The fundamentals of what to wear for cold weather hiking are as follows:
Choose the Right Materials
Choosing clothing made from the correct material is key to an enjoyable hike. Suggested materials for cold weather hiking include merino wool and polyester. Merino wool is a good choice because it wicks water away from your body, helping you stay dry and warm. Similarly, polyester is water-repellant and dries quickly, which will also help you stay comfortable outdoors. Socks, hats, gloves, and base layers in wool or polyester are all advisable.
Although a good portion of most wardrobes consists of cotton, it is essential to avoid wearing cotton when hiking in cold weather. Cotton absorbs water, and clothing remains damp, causing it to cool off your body. This is not an ideal situation when you are in freezing conditions. Cotton also loses its insulating component when it gets wet, which can lead to hypothermia.
Dress in Layers
Layers are the key to a successful hike through rugged terrain, including snow, ice, and elevation changes. You will want to dress in three layers: a base layer, a mid-layer, and a shell (outer) layer. The base layer wicks moisture away from your skin and keeps you dry. The mid-layer provides insulation from the cold, and the shell layer protects you from the elements such as wind and rain. In combination, the three layers keep you safe from unpredictable cold weather and keep you dry. If the weather unexpectedly warms up, you can always remove layers so that you do not overheat.
Cold weather hiking can be an exhilarating experience for those who are looking for an adventure. With the proper clothing, hiking can be done safely and joyfully.