A Beginners Guide to Hiking in Winter

Hiking in winter? It sounds crazy, but there are many benefits to be had from this activity. We have put together a guide on how to plan for a winter hike, what clothes to wear, where to hike and what gear you’ll need. If you’re keen for an adventure but find yourself hemming and hawing when it comes time to plan your hiking adventures in the wintry months of the year, read on!

What to bring for your next hike

1. Wear right cloths

Women's Jacket

Most hiking enthusiasts know that they need to dress appropriately for the weather they are trekking in. When temperatures drop below freezing the outside of your body is at risk of frostbite. That being said, wearing appropriate clothing is a good start. Attaching patches from an old t-shirt with flannel or wool inside will help keep you warm as well as provide some insulation.

2. Wool socks

Wool Sock

The most important part of any hiking kit is, without a doubt, your socks. Wool is an excellent material for hiking in cold weather because it allows your feet to breathe while remaining warm – just make sure that you don’t wear cotton socks with wool over them as that will cause your foot sweat to soak through and make them damp.

3. Mountaineering boots

women boot

Always wear the latest version of boots for your next hike. If you’re heading into the Alps for a winter hike, then your mountaineering boots should best suited to those conditions, but if you’re heading somewhere in more temperate climates then your hiking boots should be sturdy and warm enough to deal with the sub-zero weather.

4. Camping cooking essentials

Camping Cookware Set

Being able to cook over an open flame is a vital skill for anyone who is hiking in the winter, especially if you are camping in areas that lack a fire. To start with you should bring a small stove, some fuel and lightweight cooking tools.

5. Protective gear

Manzella Women's Cold Weather Sports Glove

Just like we would wear a protective jacket against the elements, it’s wise to pack additional protection at the ready so that you are prepared for various conditions. Pack a waterproof jacket, a hat and gloves. If you’re heading into some harsh winter conditions you might also want to pack long underwear too.

6. Sunblock

EltaMD UV Sport Broad Spectrum

Yes, this sounds strange but it is important to keep your skin protected in the winter time too – even if you’re not going to be hiking outside much. UVA rays can get through the cloud cover and create damage under your skin that you might not notice until it’s too late. It’s also important to be aware of any invasive vegetation in your area. You don’t want to get stung by a nettle or a spider as they can cause serious scarring.

7. Backpack

Fjallraven Men's Sports Backpack

You’re going to need a reliable and durable backpack for your hiking adventures. Make sure that you choose one with plenty of room for all your gear and remember to keep your water bottles at the bottom where it’s coolest.

8. GPS

If you headed into an area where you might get lost, a GPS is an essential piece of gear to have. Especially if you’re hiking in the mountains or through remote forests as it allows you to know exactly where you are at all times and where the nearest way point is on your journey.

9. Water and Food

If you’re in a drought then always bring enough water for the days hiking ahead. The rule of thumb is to ensure you have enough for half a day’s hike and then half again as a comfortable minimum. Dry foods are also a great way of keeping your energy levels up – make sure that you pack deliciously ripe fruit to eat while you walk or keep some dry cereal bars with you in case of emergency.

10. First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is a great way of making sure that you have everything you might need to treat a wound or infection while hiking. Make sure that you bring enough bandages and dressings to cover any injuries that could arise while you are on the road. It’s also wise to pack a few tablets of Benadryl in the case of an allergic reaction.


Hiking in winter has its benefits for people of all ages. It opens up some spectacular hiking opportunities and gives you the chance to connect with nature. If you’re keen for an adventure but find yourself hemming and hawing when it comes time to plan your hiking adventures in the wintry months of the year, make sure that you take these ten essentials into consideration before you venture out.

There are many ways to enjoy the great outdoors without going hiking in winter. If you’re keen to experience some fresh air, however, then read on as we have covered everything you need to know to make the most of your time in nature in the cooler months of the year.

This article contains affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Check the disclaimer and learn more about us.