January 17, 2019
Cotton is not your friend in the colder temps and these guides are based on an aerobic pace that will trap body heat. It's always best to bring an extra layer though, just in case you find yourself needing it.40 - 50 degrees: Start with a base-layer closest to your skin, made of materials like Smartwool's 150 or 250 merino wool. Add a light jacket if you're the 'always cold' type. 30 - 40 degrees: Add an insulating layer over your base layer - something like a Patagonia Down Sweater that will help keep the warmth in. 30 degrees & below: Lastly, an outer layer (hard shell) will have your back against the elements. They're wind and waterproof so they are great for a mix of conditions and they don't add bulk. The Arc'teryx Beta SL jacket does a great job of this! The North Face Triclimate is a great 3 in 1 option! This jacket has the insulated and hard shell layer in one jacket that can be separated to wear individually or together.
Let's talk about socks, baby.. Wearing boots with socks that are too thick and constricting will cause blood loss faster and will have you wanting to turn back. Stay away from cotton here as well – moisture has nowhere to go and will cause blisters. Stick to those merino wools and synthetic blends that will keep you dry and warm! Darn Tough makes a great boot sock for $24 that'll work great.
With your awesome layering skills, you may not feel yourself sweating as much as you would during the warmer months but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to stay hydrated. We suggest bringing lightweight bladder like those that Camelbak and Platypus make - they aren't as bulky as the stainless steel options and you can pack an extra badder close to your body to keep it from freezing.
Heat will escape wherever your skin is exposed so don't skip a good hat or baclava that'll protect your ears as well. Hats like the handmadeSherpa styles we carry include a fleece lined inner headband for added warmth!
Not only are they great for balance, reducing the stress on your body and helping with icy or unsteady terrain but they create extra movement which in turn keeps you warmer!
Save the sandwiches for the Spring! You’ll want to keep it moving to keep your body temperature up and the best way to do this is with high calorie snacks like an organic Honey Stinger bar or your favorite trail mix that are easy to open and handle in the cold.
If you're looking for a new pair of boots, come see us to help make sure you're getting the best fit and right style!Don't be surprised if you end up with a size larger than you're used to. Our feet swell as we hike and going downhill without enough room will become painful. In the colder weather, it's also better to have a little extra room to trap heat. We like how the Keen Targhee III for men and Terradora for women perform in so many conditions and terrains.
For the over-nighters
Don't make the mistake of taking a 50 degree rated sleeping bag on a 30 degree night - just add a well insulated liner like the Reactor by Sea to Summit and you'll get up to 20 degrees of extra warmth.
Food = Fuel, and your body needs it in order to generate heat. Eating right before going to bed will allow your body to work on metabolizing while you sleep. Fats are metabolized slower than carbs so bring extra cheese and fatty foods! The Jetboil is very easy to use and heats up water for things like Backpacker's Pantry meals super fast.
The perfect set up can make all the difference after a long day's hike so to make sure you sleep comfortably sleep with your next day clothes as this will make changing into them the next day a little easier. As mentioned earlier, that warm bottle of water will help add warmth but you can also use hand warmers in the bottom of your bag. Lastly, doubling up a foam sleeping mat with a blow up one on top will create extra space and insulation between you and the ground.
Have questions? Great! Come see us to help plan your Winter adventure!
December 10, 2019
September 25, 2019
March 19, 2019