How to Dress for Winter Hiking
Winter hiking around the Cincinnati area doesn’t have to be chilly if you dress right.
Dress for the weather you have
Think air. Air is a great insulator for outfitting yourself for the perfect winter hike.
Cotton kills is a refrain you’ll hear from hikers and backpackers. That is because when cotton gets wet is SUCKS the heat away from your body. Not a good idea.
Follow these suggestions to stay warm and toasty on your next winter hike:
Winter Hiking Boots
Not fancy-schmancy boots but a good pair of waterproof boots with insulation. This is where Thinsulate grams comes into play. The higher the count the warmer the boot. Boots with 400-600 are along the lines of normal boots that you could also work in and not sweat; 800 grams is if you are going to be hiking in 30-40 degree weather; 1200 grams, if you plan on visiting Siberia.
Socks are just as important as boots. I see people put on too many layers of socks this doesn’t leave any room for air. Your feet will get cold. Wear a good pair of socks like SmartWools to keep those toes warm.
Under Your Coat
Layers. Layers are important with clothing. If you start to get hot, take a layer off or better still hike a little slower and enjoy the winter landscape.
Wear water wicking clothing or wool. I like a t-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, and then a pullover sweatshirt with a hood. Dress in lots of layers but not packed tightly together — remember air is an excellent insulator. I like my summer shirt (a Columbia fishing shirt) because of the venting and that it is water wicking and…OKAY..You got me — it has tons of pockets!
Your Winter Coat, Hat, Scarf, and Gloves
Get a decent coat. One that can handle the winter weather. Look for coats that have hoods, drawstrings around the waist, banded sleeves inside of the sleeves, pockets, and, of course, insulation!
Wear a hat. Not a ballcap and real hat. You lose a lot of heat from your head. A hat helps stop that from happening. I like to pair a hat with a jacket hood for extra warmth. And, I wear a pullover with a hood so I have on a hat, pullover hood, and the hood to my coat — oh so warm and lovely.
Speaking of warmth, add a scarf. A scarf wrapped around your neck and fluffed up before you put your coat on will help prevent icy winds from going right down your jacket and getting your cold.
Save the fingers! Wear gloves with Thinsulate. I have a pair of wool gloves with a Thinsulate lining and a pair of fleece gloves with a Thinsulate lining and I bring both. Why? Because — if I get one pair wet (say, for example, I fall and slid down an icy hill and into a creek, which of course, being a seasoned hiker never do), I don’t have to worry about wet gloves. I have a backup pair. 😉
Wear two pairs of gloves. Wear a thin pair inside of your large pair of fleece or wool gloves. This is an extra measure of warmth but you must have enough room for air because air to help keep you warm.
Ready, Set, Go Winter Hiking
Dress well for your winter hike and you’ll have a better time and be able to stay outside longer before heading back to the to-do list.
P.S. When you go winter hiking, tell at least three of your loved ones or friends where you are going (park, parking lot, and trails), when you will be done, and what to do if you can’t be contacted. That way, if you do get in some kind fo trouble, you have someone who will know you are missing.