I’ve asked the members in our hiking group Hiking In New Jersey for some great tips for winter hiking and today I’m sharing those tips with you!
Winter Hiking Tips
If there are no footprints in the snow on the trail, consider doing an in and out vs a loop. You can follow your prints back. – Amy Switlyk
No matter where you hike, you’re footprints can disappear, just something to keep in mind. -William Demola
Especially if going out solo bring what you need to to survive a night. – Brian Altman
Research Before You Go
Start with reading a guidebook on the subject. Facebook is for tips, not instruction.
Read about places to go. Research. Sometimes they are close to home.
Bring paper or weatherproof maps, keep them dry and assume the phone will die.
Tell someone where ur going, when returning, always. Do not stray from intended route esp if alone.
Go out for short hikes first in all conditions. Get a feel for clothing, trail conditions, footwear. Go with a buddy. Lone hikes are fine when planned…
Be prepared w proper footwear – at least warm boots, microspikes, snowshoes; xc skis, etc. spikes are critical !! Even easy trails can become icy and dangerous. Crampons are not needed to start out. If you need them you also need training and an ice axe etc. dangerous if not trained. You are hiking, not ice climbing
Bring the 10 essentials or more as needed. Plan to start a fire if an emergency requires. Overnight unplanned stays require equipment and planning. Time the hike for daylight or be prepared with lighting if darkness descends….
Plan your distance and know your limits. Days are short and it gets cold. Know the signs of hypothermia. If the weather is bad and hypothermia is a risk, know what to do. Turning back is not being a sissy.
Plan for the car to be snowed in. Have a shovel ready. You mayhave to dig out to leave the parking area. Have winter driving gear (different subject) dep on locale/destination.
So much more. Just enjoy the silence and lack of people. – Jeffrey Entin
Here is what I’ve learned over the years… layers, layers, layers. Avoid cotton fabrics. I also pack an extra pair of socks and a mid layer fleece. I usually bring along a pocket stove to heat water for a mid hike hot drink which also comes in handy if you need to start a fire. The scout hiking badge post should be useful as that’s where I learned! Good luck. – Tom McGeee
Bring extra heavy socks, gloves and hand warmers (enough to stick in every pocket in case of hypothermia). a shot of liquor in your water bottle to keep from freezing in below 32° weather, let someone know what trail your hiking and expect to be back, last a charged cell phone. Hypothermia is a killer. – Charles Casey
If hiking in more than 5” of snow, wear snowshoes so you do not leave post holes for others to injure themselves in & to help maintain the trails for other winter hikers. -Kyle Pickens
My own tips: Dress warmly, wear appropriate shoes, the cold is one of the worst enemies when you’re hiking in the winter. Bring a buddy, two people or more are safer than hiking solo.
What are your Winter Hiking Tips?
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