Trekking is a marvelous way to enjoy nature, have fun with your friends, and indulge in some physical activity. However, nobody said it would be easy. Trekking means you’ll have to walk for a long time, pack wisely, and be prepared for any weather conditions. Otherwise, a breathtaking trip may end in a disaster.
Trekking in winter can be quite challenging, as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder. Nevertheless, it can also be a fantastic way of staying active during the darker months, and a possibility to enjoy the spectacular sights. Of course, to marvel at the snow-covered mountains, you have to be prepared for the cold – whether you’re planning a Mount Toubkal winter ascent or a local tour around the hills.
To help you stay safe and warm on the trail, we made a short guide on getting ready for your first winter trek. Read on!
Get Yourself a Good Winter Jacket
Winter jackets are designed to protect you from the harsh cold. However, it’s not a good idea to go out on a hike without one. You may be warm and dry at first, but in a matter of minutes, you may find yourself shivering in the wind.
Good winter jackets are designed to deal with both: the cold and the snow. The best jackets have an outer layer that protects you from the wind, while the inner liner provides warmth. You may also want to consider a down jacket, which is a lighter option than other forms of insulation. This will allow you to keep your pack light.
Dress for the Weather
Like jackets, winter hiking apparel is designed to keep you warm and protected against the elements. In winter, you’ll need to take even more precautions, however.
While you may like being comfortable on the trail, comfort must give way to safety. When trekking in winter, you should wear layers of clothes. The inner layers should be made of wool, fleece, or synthetic material that provides warmth and moisture-wicking capabilities. These layers should be worn closest to your skin.
The next layer should be made of a material that has a waterproof exterior. This layer will protect you from wind and water, while keeping you dry and warm. The outermost layer is the protective layer that will keep you warm in case anything happens.
Prepare for Snow and Rain
Hiking in winter may mean dealing with snow and rain. While snow is a great pleasure, it can turn dangerous in a matter of minutes. A sudden storm may leave you lost in a blizzard if you’re unprepared. This is why it is important to prepare for snowy conditions. Wear gloves and boots that will keep your hands and feet warm even if you’re outside for a long time. Your boots should be waterproof as well as heat-retaining. Make sure that they are suitable for trekking and hiking in the snow. The same goes with your jacket – make sure it has a waterproof outer layer. Don’t forget your hat and scarf – both of them will protect your head from the cold. The sun tends to be quite strong in winter, which is why it is important to wear sunglasses and sunscreen. It may also brighten up your mood during the darker months!
Bring the Right Equipment
In winter, weather conditions can change very quickly, so it’s best to be prepared for all kinds of situations. Strong winds may blow over your tent and make it difficult for you to pitch it properly. You should take a little bit of extra equipment that will help you keep out of trouble. A pair of ski poles can be used to secure your tent, among other things. If you have some extra money to spare, invest in an emergency kit that includes maps, food rations, matches, and waterproof clothing.
Last but not least: GPS navigation is one of the most valuable pieces of equipment for winter trekking. It’s not just useful when lost or in need of backup – it’s great for when you simply want to find your way to the next town or settlement. Maps can be confusing when covered in thick snow, but GPS devices usually work just fine, even under such conditions!
Don’t Travel Alone
The best thing about hiking is that it allows you to bring your friends along with you! The challenge becomes twice as fun when you get to share the experience with your best buddies! However, winter trekking can be dangerous even for experienced hikers. It is best to travel in groups of two or more people to remain safe and protected from the cold and weather. Make sure that all trekkers know how to call for help in case something goes wrong! It may be helpful to have an expert among your group, such as a mountaineer or professional hiker, who can advise what to do when things get bad.
If you are planning on trekking this winter, you’ve made a great decision. Your experience of the landscape and nature will be transformed when enjoying the great outdoors in this season. However, it’s all about the preparation, find a friend to join you, wear the right gear, and power up your GPS before heading out, and you’ll have a fantastic adventure.