Tips for Winter Hiking

Keep Your Feet Warm

Keep your feet dry to keep them warm on the trail. A good pair of hiking socks, made of wool blends or synthetic fabrics wicks moisture away from your skin and, when wet, retains heat and dries quickly. Keep an extra pair in your pack, just in case.

You should also wear above-the-ankle hiking boots, which help to keep snow away from your feet. You may want to consider wearing gaiters, especially if there are several inches of snow on the ground.

More: 8 Must-Trek New Hampshire Hiking Trails

Consider the Terrain

In mid-winter, the snow may be too deep to hike high into the mountains. Hike at lower elevations, and wear snow shoes, to ensure safety on the trail. If you expect a lot of ice, especially in areas where there might be steep drop-offs, bring crampons specifically made for hiking. These are sometimes referred to as traction devices, or in-step crampons, which you can either strap-on or slide onto your boots.

Bring hiking poles, as well. These help you maintain balance on sections of trail with slick ice and snow.

More: How to Use Trekking Poles

Stay Fueled

Hiking in the cold, especially in the snow, burns more calories. By some estimates, hikers can burn as much as 50 percent more calories when compared to similar distances and terrain in the summer. Not to mention, if you don't have enough food for the trail, you may get cold faster. Avoid complications and bring plenty of high-energy snacks.

When packing your snacks, remember:

  • Watch out for foods that can freeze solid, such as power bars.
  • Instead of storing food in your backpack, put small snacks inside your fleece jacket. Your body should generate enough heat to prevent them from freezing.

Your body doesn't just need calories, however, it needs hydration, as well.

More: How to Create the Ultimate Trail Mix

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