Serious hikers walk miles uphill, carry heavy loads on their backs, and are excited by a challenge—so of course, girls are all in! Hiking is a great way to stay fit and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. But forget what you may have thought you knew about hiking, because the winter season takes hiking to a whole new level.
Beautiful snow-dusted trails and snow-capped trees make for a beautiful backdrop, but there are a lot of important things to remember when hiking in winter —like dressing appropriately, making sure to stay dry, and leaving enough time to get back before dark. We know that real women won’t let a little snow stop them, so we’ve assembled the ladies’ guide to hiking for tips and hacks to help you show up the boys.
Men are notorious for spur-of-the-moment decisions and little planning, but spontaneously setting off on a trail without a plan can be dangerous, especially in the winter. Do some research to find out the elevation of the trail, how many miles it is to the summit, what types of animals you might encounter, maps of the terrain and what the weather will be like. Knowing these things will help you to know what time you need to leave in order to make it back before dark, what you need to pack, and how much water you need to bring. Most importantly, always let someone know where you are and when you plan to return.
Lighten your load
Let’s face it—sometimes, as women, we tend to over pack— but hiking with an overstuffed pack can slow you down and make the trip less enjoyable. Try these packing hacks to keep your pack lighter without leaving any necessities at home.
Wear your coat or tie it around you waist.
Pack lightweight, prepackaged snacks like granola bars to avoid packing Tupperware or anything else to weigh you down.
Put on your sunscreen before you leave (yes, even in the winter).
Wear your hat, gloves and scarves or stuff them in your jacket pockets.
Create a space-saving first aid kid inside of a medicine bottle, including Band-Aids, Tylenol and a small tube of Neosporin.
Pack some DIY fire-starters like cotton pads dipped in wax or cotton balls dipped in Vaseline. You’ll win points for being prepared and crafty.
Wear the right shoes
Winter can bring with it slippery terrain and ice, making hiking even more challenging. Wear insulated shoes to keep your feet dry as well as ones that have treads on the bottom for a good grip. They don’t have to be fashion-forward, as long as they keep you upright and dry. It may also be a good idea to waterproof your shoes and jacket!