5 Essentials for a Winter Outdoors | Winter Hiking

I’m afraid it’s that time of year, the weather is changing and a new season is on its way in. With the coming of autumn and winter it also brings my favourite time of the year for hiking. It also means it’s time to sort the winter hiking kit out.

You probably think I’m mad to proclaim I don’t like hiking in summer, but being fair skinned and not really a big fan of going on a mountain walk in the blazing sun (it’s almost impossible to find shade on a ridge!) I am definitely more of an autumn/winter hiker. So this year we have our first big hiking trip coming up in late September, so we will be into full on autumn then. Now whilst I don’t have a winter trip lined up yet, it’s still good to sort out the winter hiking kit as well. So what are my essentials for autumn/winter hiking?

#1 – Making sure your outer layers are in tip top condition

There’s nothing worse than realising you should’ve treated your waterproofs before going away. I made this error in January on our wet holiday in Scotland. It was far from enjoyable hiking and being soaked through. Also remember to check your waterproof trousers for holes (I’m a sucker for sticking crampons/axe through mine) – if they’re not in too bad shape just stick them with a bit of duct tape.

#2 – New socks

Maybe you’ve not worn them much and you can escape this. But I found a heavy winter full of hiking warrants replacing my older socks with newer more padded ones. There’s nothing worse than super worn out socks causing rubbing and hurting your feet. Especially half way into a long hike. I swear by the thicker Bridgedale socks that are designed for winter, but they also do some great lighter summer socks.

#3 – Invest in ski goggles

This may seem silly, but a lot of people forget that snow storms are hard to see in. I saw so many people getting caught out last time I was hiking in winter conditions. We were just in the peak district but I’m so glad we had goggles after watching people struggle. The ski clothing department on Simply Hike has some great options to protect your eyes during hiking. It’s well worth investing in a pair, they will help you see in a white out. Hopefully that’ll help you not fall over/in a ditch/walking across something dangerous when you can’t see!

#4 – Try something new

I’ve not walked with walking poles much, occasionally I have used Dr W’s but not much. Recently I decided to invest in a pair of Leki walking poles from Simply Hike. I’m hoping they will be really useful for longer hikes but also for snowy mountain days.

#5 – Be prepared

Have you got all the maps you need? Have you planned how much food you’ll need for trips? Have you got enough kit? At the start of the autumn/winter hiking season I make sure I have everything I need for my planned trips. I also try and pack most of it up so it’s not too much of a faff when we do go away. I also check old fleeces, they lose their ability to keep you warm/wick after a few years so it’s worth making sure they’re still ok before packing.

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