Winter Hiking top 5 essential items

Winter Hiking Essentials
Image Source: The Hungry Hiker

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Christmas time, there is bitter frost everywhere. However cold I find it, that’s not what holds us who love hiking back. In my opinion, the rain is the most challenging weather condition because staying warm with thermals is possible in the cold, but no clothing is truly waterproof, and when it’s both cold and wet, it can become a critical situation. When out and about, you need to take onboard the weather conditions and elevation. Planning ahead and being fully equipped is crucial for survival when hiking during these months. There are plenty of things that are needed, such as lightweight, quick dry clothing, a hat, gloves and snood combination. Here are my top 5 essentials for hiking in these cold months.

Thermal Clothing

Thermal clothing is an absolute must have; a decent base layer is ideal for trapping heat. If you happen to get caught in a storm, a good base layer will help you dry off faster and stay warm. It’s always wise to wear a wind and waterproof outer layer as a precaution.

Wind/ Waterproof Clothing

I will try to avoid the rain as much as I can when hiking. Sometimes you just get caught in it and there is nothing you can do. In situations like this, a compact and lightweight waterproof set is indispensable. We can neatly pack them into their own pouch and place them at the bottom of your day bag. When climbing a mountain, waterproofs can come in real handy. They can double up as windbreakers in the icy cold winds and help to contain precious body heat.


Warm, lined and waterproof boots, paired up with comfy gel insoles and some nice thick cotton socks. Or maybe 3 pairs sealed in sandwich bags. I find there is nothing worse than soggy feet, especially when you are halfway round a walk, and they blister, making the walk uncomfortable. Hindsight is great and I am glad I have it now. Although I have experienced hiking with wet feet a few times, I highly recommend using gators to keep your ankles and lower legs dry.

Communication Device

In a worst-case scenario, communication with the world is essential through a phone or GPS tracker. Top companies create impressive devices with built-in maps and essential adventure apps, boasting longer battery life than phones. Another brilliant investment is a solar power bank, which ensures your phone stays charged even without access to electricity.

Food and Coffee

Jet boil stoves are all the rage now, and you can certainly see why. They can boil a kettle of water in two and a half minutes, helping to warm you back up and keep you hiking. Personally, I prefer it this way; I have a water filter bottle, so I don’t need to carry much water, vastly reducing my pack weight. Although filling and taking a flask is a possibility, I have broken a couple of flasks out hiking and ended up with soggy gear. When packing food I like to bring noodles and other things that can be make warm, fully utilising the stove.

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