Essential Items for Hiking in Winter

Essential Items for Hiking in Winter

Hiking, is fun on warm, sunny days, whether with family, friends, or by yourself; but did you know it makes for a great, low-impact winter activity, too?

This list of essential items for hiking in winter will make sure you’re fully prepared for an invigorating, cold-weather hike.

Navigation Tools

No matter the season, navigation tools are an essential part of hiking. If you know where you are, you’re solid—if not, you might have trouble finding your way home. It’s a good idea to keep multiple devices, both electronic and physical, on hand.

Your smartphone or a portable GPS device are simple and intuitive to use, but if you’re hiking in a remote area, you might not have a strong, reliable signal. Winter is known for draining batteries, too. In case something goes awry, you should always carry a physical backup, like a map or compass, with you.

A Reliable Light Source

Another essential item for hiking in winter is a reliable light source. The season is known for being dark, foggy, and snowy, after all. Your phone’s flashlight will do in a pinch, but it’s not the most effective or dependable option.

Instead, bring along an adjustable LED headlamp or an EDC flashlight. These tools are bright, long-lasting, and easy to use. In case of an emergency, it’s a good idea to bring along a spare, or, at a minimum, extra batteries.

Insulated Clothing

In summer, you want to wear light, airy clothing. In the winter, you want just the opposite—something nice, warm, and insulated.

You’ll probably want to wear gloves, a hat, long underwear, hardshell or softshell pants, a fleece pullover, a hardshell jacket, warm socks, insulated boots, and high gaiters. It sounds like a lot, but when you’re out hiking in the freezing cold, you’ll be glad you dressed in layers.

Food and Drink

If you plan to hike for an extended period, you’ll want to bring some form of food and drink with you.

When it’s warm out, cold water and light, simple snacks, like granola bars, are the norm. When it’s cold, you’ll probably want something that’s hot and filling. You can carry a thermos with you and fill it with soup, hot chocolate, coffee, or a different kind of toasty snack or beverage.