Tips for Hiking in Cold Weather


Hiking in a cold weather or snow is very exciting and also tough. It is challenging to prepare for this condition because the weather may be completely different than what you experience at home. There are no accurate formulas to tell you what the temperature will be, and even going up a thousand feet can cause it to change by 20ºF.

So why would anyone want to do this? Well, hiking in cold weather is actually one of the best times of year! The higher up you go, the warmer it becomes – which makes sense because caves in nearby mountains top out at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remember to Take These Items When Going for Hiking in Cold Weather

1. Dress Right

​Layering is the most efficient way to stay warm. You want to avoid cotton as much as possible, because it doesn’t allow body moisture to evaporate. So if you sweat, then you will feel cold and damp. The key is having a fabric that carries heat between your skin and the next layer of clothing. Always have a backup layer in case you want to add or remove clothes on the hike up or down.

2. Sleeping Bag

​A sleeping bag is the obvious warm clothing item to bring with you. However, if it is 35 degrees out, and you are also wearing layers that keep you warm, a sleeping bag is not necessary. Also, there may be times when you have to camp out so plan your layering accordingly. There are many options to choose from in terms of shape and size.

3. Lite weight hot tent

A hot tent is a great way to stay warm while camping in cold weather. It is lightweight and easy to set up, making it perfect for hikes. The tent traps heat from your body and the fire, creating a warm and comfortable environment. Hot tents are also great for keeping out the wind and snow, so you can enjoy your hike without worrying about getting too cold. They come in various sizes and shapes, so you can find one that fits your needs.

4. Extra clothing

​Extra layers are necessary to spread out around your body consistently, but also because they help regulate your body temperature and insulate you against the elements. The last thing you want is to be sweating on the outside, and freezing on the inside. Pack extra socks because wet socks are cold and you don’t want that.

5. Cooking Essentials

​Camp stoves are perfect for hiking in cold weather because they provide hot food and water fast. But what happens if there is no wood? Or if you run out of fuel? It is a good idea to bring along some utensils for cooking over an open fire. This way, you will always have the power to warm up your food and water on cold nights.

6. Hiking Poles

​Hiking poles are great at relieving pressure off the knees, especially if you have been hiking for a while or it is steep terrain which makes it hard to walk down hill. They also help with balance and stability.

7. Food and Water

It is important to stay hydrated while hiking in cold weather, as dehydration can lead to hypothermia. Pack plenty of water and snacks that are high in calories and protein, such as nuts, dried fruit, and energy bars. Eating small meals throughout the day will help keep your energy levels up. If you plan on camping overnight, bring some hot food like soup or oatmeal to warm you up.

8. Headlamp and warm hat

​Hiking in a dark or snowy weather requires that you have extra equipment with you at all times. This way if you get caught in the dark, you are never left without the ability to see and stay warm. The key is to make sure that your hiking hat has a warm layer of material on it like fleece or wool.

9. Hand Warmers or a Frosty

​These are great for when the weather is so cold you will start to lose your fingers or toes. Just put some Hand Warmers into your gloves and they will warm up and melt quickly. Usually can be purchased at drug store, so you don’t have to carry around a fire or risk losing some fingers before you get there.

10. Extra eye shade

​Most sunglasses don’t really protect your eyes from the sun, but they do cut out the glare and is cool while hiking in a cold weather. The best way to stay comfortable during a cold winter day hike is by wearing long sleeves and headband with eye shades as well.

11. US Coast Guard Weather radio

​Most people think that they should not bring a weather radio because it takes them off the trail. However, it is the best way to keep updated with weather conditions while hiking and can help you avoid dangerous snowy areas. The Coast Guard will always listen to everyone who calls in and then call out when there is an emergency.

13. Hydration packs and water filters

​If you are hiking in rough terrain then water could be hard to find and travel with. This is why you should invest in a hydration pack and bring some iodine tablets. You can also find water filters that you can attach to certain water bottles, but it is much safer if you have a filter attached to your bottle, so you don’t lose it or have the water get contaminated.

14. Trail map or GPS device

​With all the technology today, everyone thinks they are supposed to rely on their phones and maps, but they are not always as reliable as they look. Bring your own map and make sure it is waterproof. When hiking be cautious of the weather conditions before heading out because snow and rain can cause a fog that makes visibility limited to ten feet and many more walkers with less experience are on the trial. Make sure you know where you are going if there is an unexpected change in the weather.

15. First-aid kit

​There are numerous injuries that could happen on the trail, so make sure that you have a first-aid kit with all of your supplies. It will help you get to a doctor if something happens and save precious time which can be used for hiking.


​When hiking in cold conditions there are ways to make it a little more comfortable. This can be done by dressing warmly, bringing waterproof gear, and reducing your body fat. If you follow these tips closely and make sure you are careful on the way down you will enjoy every minute of it!

Thanks for reading this far into the article we hope you found some great information on how to stay warm while hiking in cold weather conditions. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.