Packing for a Winter Day Hike
The clothes you wear hiking are important. We've been able to find loads of hiking gear at Goodwill for fractions of retail price, so don't be afraid to wear something used! As long as you're following some simple guidelines, getting the right gear can be completely affordable.
Dressing in layers is key for maintaining a comfortable body temperature while hiking. Utilizing base, insulation, and shell layers is ideal so that no matter what weather you encounter, you're prepared for it. In the mountains of the North-East, weather and temperatures change quickly, especially above treeline.
While hiking, we layer-up and layer-down preventatively. Before we start sweating, we remove the insulation layer. Before we get to the summit or above the treeline, we put on our shell layer and gloves to protect against wind exposure. This way, our bodies never reach extreme high or low temps, and doesn't have to work so hard to regulate our body temperature.
- Athletic/synthetic base layer shirt
- Insulation layer (Investment: Puffy Jacket / Budget: Thick Fleece)
- Shell layer (Water & wind proof)
- Winter gloves
- Glove liners
- Warm hat
- Traction (Investment: Microspikes / Budget: Traction Cleats)
- Base layer pants (A warm pair of leggings is great, but make sure they're not cotton)
- Shell pants (Something wind resistant and waterproof. Cross-country ski pants are great)
- Wool/warm socks (With an extra pair or two inside your pack)
- Hiking boots (Waterproof & insulated, preferred)
- Neck warmer
- Hiking poles
- Snowshoes (Check the current trail conditions and forecast to know if there's enough snow to require snowshoes. Strap them to your pack just in case with bungee cord)
IN YOUR BACKPACK
- At least 32oz. of water. Camelbak-style hydration bladders aren't ideal in the colder months because they freeze easily. Stick to regular, Nalgene-style water bottles.
- Snacks / lunch (We love: trail mix, nuts, cereal, peanut butter sandwiches, burritos, fruit leather, the list goes on forever.)
- Enough room to pack away excess layers
We love this little "hike hack." Leaving a small bag of convenience items in the car has proven so handy for us. When you're hours away from cell service, it's really nice to have some extra stuff to make sure you're comfortable in the car.
- Dry socks
- Sandals / slippers / Crocs
- Make-up wipes