Originally posted January 24, 2020|Being Prepared
I love this time of year. With proper clothing and pre-planning, winter outings can be amazing! Trails that you have been on many times before take on a whole different feel. Recently I did an overnight in Dolly Sods, WV. This is one of my most favorite places, but I had never been here in the winter. It was 25 degrees with a very brisk wind, snow and sleet. I was nervous that I would not be able to stay warm and dry, but thankfully it was not an issue! I will be talking about specific clothing and even brands. I do not get any kick back (although if a company wants to send me money, I will happily take it). I am just talking from experience with those products.
Let’s talk proper clothing. I am sure that you have heard the phrase “Cotton Kills”. The reason we say that is because once cotton gets wet, it takes forever to dry and does not retain any heat. That is why you will never catch me wearing cotton out on the trail. We will go from head to toe. Always have a good hat with you. Wool is a good choice, as it dries quickly and even when it is wet, it can retain heat. I usually get so warm (even with sub freezing temps) that I have to remove my hat, but it is always within easy reach. I think I got my hat at Walmart. They have outdoor gear that can be just as good as name brand stuff for a fraction of the cost. I am also a fan of buffs. I used mine around my neck, then made it into a hat when my wool hat was too warm. For my upper body, I had on my 32 Degrees long johns with a wicking t-shirt over that. These long johns are super soft and very inexpensive. I got mine at Costco. I had both my “puffy” and a rain jacket. Shortly after beginning my hike, I was nice and warm except for the wind. I removed my puffy and wore my rain jacket to block the wind. On my lower half, I had my long johns and synthetic pants. Over that was my rain pants (which really helped break the wind and keep me dry when I intentionally (and unintentionally ) sat in the snow. My thick Smart Wool socks and gortex boots kept my feet warm and dry even in the super muddy and snowy conditions. I LOVE Smart Wool socks! I have never gotten a blister with them and they are great for summer and winter. They are on the pricey side, but worth every penny. Don’t forget the gloves too! I like the fingerless gloves with the flip over mitten. My hands stay warm and I don’t have to take my gloves off to do stuff, just flip the mitten back. In my pack I had an extra shirt, socks, and buff just in case.
Throughout the hike I had to make many adjustments. Remember that what you are wearing when you start the hike may need to be adjusted to fit the circumstances. The wind was a big challenge because when I was in the trees, it was blocked, but would whip up as soon as I lost that coverage. My rain gear really helped block the wind and was a huge asset even though it was not raining. I was relatively warm and dry when I finished the hike, but it felt really nice to have a fresh set of clothes to change into for the long drive home.
What are some of your favorite clothing pieces for cold weather hiking? Where are some great places to do some winter hiking? Don’t forget to subscribe 😉