27 Nov How to stay safe on your hike this winter
While winter might mean early nights in front of the fire for most of us, some still like to brave the great outdoors and venture out on a hike this winter! Hiking in winter can be breathtaking, with snow covered scenery and crisp air. However, it also presents unique challenges and can be more hazardous than hiking during the warmer months. Before you head out on the trail, be sure to think ahead and prepare for the prevailing weather conditions – expected or unexpected! We hope this article will provide some helpful tips and tricks for those planning on pulling their walking boots this winter. Follow this advice and ensure you can stay safe and active all winter long…
#1 Never venture out alone
Hiking alone is winter is extremely dangerous with the threat of getting lost or being victim to hyperthermia in the cold conditions. It is advisable that you do not venture out alone, if you do feel capable be sure to tell a friend or family member where you are going and your planned route so that they can track your progress and safety. Alternatively, join a club or hiking group to ensure you are not alone, because at the end of the day it’s always safety in numbers! What’s more, joining a group will typically mean there is a guide or group leader who has planned a route and knows the terrain well.
#2 Choose your route wisely
Know the dangers and plan your route accordingly before setting out on a hike this winter. Current trail conditions are paramount to consider when planning the suitability of your route. Winter can be unpredictable and conditions can change rapidly so be aware of this and seek advice if you are unsure about the safety of your route. Carry a map and compass will not only tell you where you are and how far you have to go, but it can also help you find campsites, water, and an emergency exit route in case of an accident. Setting out early in the morning can also be advisable to ensure you have the longest amount of daylight and avoid becoming stranded in the dark. In case this were to happen, carry a torch or headlamp with you at all times.
#3 Get good gear
Being equipped with the appropriate gear is essential when staying safe on a hike this winter. Firstly, because you can never predict weather conditions it is advisable to dress in layers, allowing you to adjust to changing weather and activity levels. Warm, insulated and waterproof clothing will ensure you maintain your body temperature. Having a hat and gloves on your person allows you to add further protection if necessary. In addition to dress appropriately for winter weather, proper footwear is imperative. Be sure to wear proper waterproof footwear with a sturdy tread. Here at Grisport, we carry an array of walking boots for men, women and children with features that will cover you for a range of terrain types and weather conditions. Adding a crampton or snow grips will give your hiking boots further traction and prevent you from slipping in harsh, icy conditions.
#4 Pack essentials
Packing your hiking bag or backpack with essential items is a crucial part of the preparation for a winter hike. Of course, ensure you are dress adequately but be sure to add layers in your bag incase temperatures drop and you need them. Extra water is also essential to ensure you stay hydrated and extra food supplies such as protein bars to keep your energy up. It may also be advisable to pack a small first aid kit, knife or multi-purpose tool and a safety whistle in case you were to become lost. Carry these kinds of items will ensure you are prepared if you were to encounter an emergency.
#5 Take poles
Hiking poles can be hugely advantageous for a hike during winter and provide additional balance in icy sections of your route. They are also helpful when walking downhill and are a practical addition to any hiking outing.
Ultimately, when in doubt, play it safe and don’t take your chances – hiking in winter can be very dangerous so be sure to prioritise your safety! We hope you enjoyed these Grisport top tips and now feel more prepared about taking a hiking this winter. If you are planning to hike this season, be sure to utilise our comprehensive range of winter walking boots, if you require any help with selecting the appropriate boot contact us on 01670 713 344.