With snowstorms and frigid temperatures taking hold across the country the past few weeks, many people have decided that it’s time to hang-up their backpacking gear for the next few months. While backpacking in the winter offers new challenges, the opportunity to have a trail all to oneself to enjoy the views and quiet can be too much for others to let pass. Winter backpacking does require a different skill set than 3 season backpacking, so before heading out it’s a good idea to brush up on some pointers to make your winter hikes a little safer.
Layering: Having a good layering system is key to maintaining a comfortable temperature from morning to nightfall, no matter what the level of activity. Here are a few tips to help regulate body temperature throughout the day:
In the morning when activity level and temperature is low use a lot of layers. Once you get moving after breakfast remove just enough layers until you feel a little cool, but not chilled. Taking off too much, or not enough, can result in overheating, sweating, or losing heat, all of which lead to potential problems.
If you do stop after you’ve been moving for a while, be sure to add another layer to keep from getting chilled.
At the end of the day as your activity level decreases and temps drop, add as many layers as you think you’ll need to stay warm. It’s easier to remove layers to cool off than to warm up after you’ve been chilled.