Here’s our tips on keeping warm while hiking.
Winter in our country can get very, very cold. When you are out in the great outdoors you need to take measures to keep warm, even in the spring months. Always ensuring you are well prepared means you can enjoy nature's beauty across all its seasons. After all, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing. Warm hiking is happy hiking.
Layers, Layers and More Layers
# Base Layer
Fairly tight but stretchy material, base layers should form a second skin effect to really trap that air in and create your own mini heating system from your body-heat. This should be a breathable material that wicks away sweat, making this a ventilated heating system, otherwise you are going to be hot, sticky and chafing. The breathability will both regulate the temperature and avoid the build-up of moisture.
# Middle Layer
The middle layer will really insulate your body heat underneath. A thicker fleece or softshell garment is best used here, with the Quechua range a firm favourite among hikers. Here, you can also use a three in one jacket on top of your base layer, such as the Forclaz Travel 100, which will provide your middle and outer layers.
# Outer Layer
This is where the heavy-duty gear comes in, a waterproof jacket with breathable material such as GORE-TEX will serve you both to keep out the rain and keep you warm and ventilated throughout your trek. You can also select clothing which has ventilation zips on the neck and armpit areas for further temperature regulation.
You don’t have to stop here, if you feel you need an extra base or middle, don’t be shy! It always better to bring too many layers. You can put on another layer later on, but you can’t create one out of thin air - just don’t start removing or adding layers when it’s raining or snowing – that’s going to leave you damp and miserable.
Getting damp can also happen if you are too hot, through excessive sweating, so don’t head out with double base and middle layers - but do stick them in your backpack them if you think you’ll need them later on. Layering is possible for your upper and lower body with base layer tights such as those from.
Protect Your Feet, Hands and Head
Keeping the extremities warm is a must, make sure you have appropriate socks, boots, gloves and a hat alongside extras in case they get wet (or you need to double up).
Hiking specific boots or shoes are a must year-round, but when the weather turns cold, it’s even more important. Before you put on your boots, you want to make sure you have the right socks. Often people will assume “thicker is better”, here, but it's far more dependent on the material and fit in your boot. Make sure you have room to wiggle your toes with socks on and you aren’t experiencing any numbing of your foot or toes. We recommend merino wool socks, which are breathable, warm and antimicrobial, so you’ll be snug and stave off a smelly boot (for as long as possible!).
When it comes to your boot a big factor in the winter months is keeping your feet dry. While our country’s weather isn’t the driest year round, in the winter, wet feet can become a point of danger. The cold weather is unforgiving to damp areas and so a waterproof boot is a necessity here. Choose a good boot and take care of it with regular cleaning and reproofing and treatment to keep it supple and get the best out of its wear.
# Hands and Head
Again, waterproofing is going to be good idea when it comes to gloves, particularly if you know its going to be raining. Hat-wise, you are generally going to have a hood on your jacket, so you can get away with a fleece or wool hat here. Always remember spares and wait until it stops raining to check your WhatsApp, or you could get your inner glove wet and damage your phone.
# Hot Drink
Taking a thermos flask full of tea, coffee, hot chocolate or soup is going to be a great way to keep your whole body warm. Fill a flask or two up with your favourite beverages and you’ll thank us later. You could even take a baguette in the backpack and have some crusty bread and soup at the cairn.
Always Remember the Hiking Essentials
# Check the Route
Familiarise yourself with the route and map work (your phone can run out of battery and you likely won’t have signal).
# Check the Weather
Always check the weather regularly ahead of your trip.
# Pack Correctly
# Travel Light
Select smaller and lightweight options when you purchase and pack your kit.
# Double Up
Always take more food and water than you’ll need.
# Leave No Trace
Leave nature as you found it.