10 Tips for Enjoying the Outdoors During Winter
It IS possible to get out there and enjoy the season while staying comfortable. Whether you're just taking advantage of the sun's rays for a day hike or you're over-nighting it, here are 10 awesome strategies for staying warm.
1. Layering – There’s a reason it’s a thing
Your body naturally generates heat while you’re moving, the trick is to trap it without adding moisture. Here’s where layering comes in
· Start with a base-layer closest to your skin, made of materials like capeline, a synthetic blend, or ones that say 'cool max'. Stay away from cotton, it doesn’t wick moisture away which will just leave you wet and cold
· Next add an insulating layer, something like fleece that will help keep the warmth in
· Lastly an outer layer which will protect from rain, sleet, snow and wind. We like how the North Face Triclimate jacket has an insulated and outer layer in one jacket that be separated to wear three different ways depending on mother nature’s mood
2. Strategic snacks
Burning those extra calories means you’ll need to keep your energy up with food but you’ll want to keep it moving to keep your warmth going. The best way to do this is with high calorie snacks that are easy to open and can be eaten with gloves if needed – save the sandwich making for Spring
After your awesome layering, 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. If it's below freezing, a water-filled backpack is likely to be tough to keep from freezing. We suggest bringing a water bottle instead and insulating it with something like a sock; then packing it close to your body or insulating it with an extra layer you brought just in case
Wearing boots with socks that are too thick and constricting will cause blood loss faster and will have you wanting to turn back. If you have a little extra room in your boots, try the layering technique with a thin base-layer followed by a thicker insulating layer sock. Stay away from cotton here as well – as your feet heat up, the moisture has nowhere to go and will cause blisters. Stick to those merino wools and synthetic blends that will keep you dry and warm
5. Head, neck and face insulation
While it seems to be a debunked myth that we loose half of our body heat through our heads, it’s still a source of generated heat you’ll want to trap. Balaclavas have multiple purposes depending on how the weather is behaving so you can cut down on how much extra to pack. Buffs are also great for keeping your neck warm while providing facial protection, especially their UV version!
6. Plan for your body type
Some of us always seem to be cold, while others are always hot – take this into consideration when planning. If you're always cold, take advantage of elevation to keep your body temperature up. If you're typically more warm then choose something less intense so as to not over heat
7. Trekking poles
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!
For the over-nighters:
8. A cozy sleeping bag
Before bed, heat up water to keep in a bottle inside your sleeping bag – it’ll act as another source of heat and wont freeze overnight
9. Eat right before going to bed
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 for intense dreams while staying cozy
10. Bring tomorrow's clothes with you to bed
Keep them as close to your body as possible so they’re benefiting from your body heat, or use them as your pillow - you’ll thank yourself in the morning
Whether you take just one or a few of these tips with you, we hope they come in handy!