5 Tips for Staying Warm During Winter Hikes

Tips for staying warm during winter hikes. Bundle up properly and have bf’s to hug for warmth! Photo: Ben Matthews

Tips for staying warm during winter hikes. Bundle up properly and have bf’s to hug for warmth! Photo: Ben Matthews

**This post was originally published in November of 2015. It’s one of my most viewed articles so I wanted to update it with new images and information!

Since we’re moving to Australia in less than 2 weeks, I won’t be doing any winter hiking this year. I am very pumped to be moving to the Southern Hemisphere and jumping back into summer, but eventually I will experience a winter again.

Winter can be so beautiful, especially if you get to play in the sunshine and snow combo. But unfortunately, my body doesn’t react well to the cold. I’ve never been been diagnosed by a doctor but I’m pretty sure I have In Raynaud's disease. The disease causes the blood vessels to narrow when you’re cold and the blood can't get to the surface of the skin. Since moving to Seattle from Hawaii, anytime the temperature drops below 55 degrees, my fingers turn white and/or purple. They also go numb and when the blood flow returns, it’s incredibly painful and tingles.

So you see, staying warm while outdoors is incredibly high on my priority list and the inspiration for this post. :)

Here are 5 tips for staying warm during a winter hike!

1.) Layer, Layer, Layer. Your layers should go as follows...

  • Base layer- aka what is next to your skin. Wear a fabric like synthetic or merino wool to help wick sweat away. The last thing you want is to be sweating in a wet cotton t-shirt. I like to wear a lululemon's power Y tank (two thumbs up for the built in bra) and Smartwool’s Women's Merino 150 Base Layer Long Sleeve. The tank is made from Luon fabric, a lightweight material that is wicking and breathable, and the Merino top is a light wool that’s ultra durable and quick drying.

  • Middle Layer - I call this my marshmallow layer. The middle layer is your insulating layer where you retain heat. My winter life changed when I purchased Patagonia's Down Sweater Hoody. My warmth and comfort is worth every penny spent on that jacket.

  • Outer Layer- The last layer should be waterproof and breathable. I wear Marmot’s Minimalist Waterproof Jacket. It’s a lightweight shell made from GORE-TEX and great for wind and rain protection.

2.) Protect Your Feet, Hands & Head- Beanie, gloves, socks. Make sure you have them all and extras. I go the extra step and add hand and feet warmers to my gloves and socks. That may be a little extreme for some, but my poor fingers and toes need the extra love!

3.) Pack a Warm Beverage - In addition to enough water, pack a thermos of tea, hot water or hot chocolate. Ok, or coffee (that's what will be in MY thermos).. but just make sure to stay hydrated.

4.) Remember Nutrition- Eat to keep your energy up! Stay away from cooling foods like citrus fruits and opt for warming foods like nuts and oats. My favorite easy snacks include; Pro Bar, Clif’s Nut Butter Filled Bars , and Bobo bars. Depending on the length of the hike, I’ve also been known to make a vegetarian sandwich with all the fixings - toasted bread, grilled onions, avocado, cheese, tomato, kale, and hummus.

5.) Pack Spare Clothes- Pack an extra set of clothes for the car ride home. Nothing is better than fresh socks, a dry set of clothes and the heater blasting on the car ride home.

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