Two people are hiking in the snow.
Don’t let the cold of winter keep you indoors! (For Spectrum Health Beat)

People who like to hike don’t have to stop when winter sets in, according to the American Hiking Society.

Winter hiking can be safe and fun as long as some easy precautions are taken. The group offers this advice:

  • Wear layers. Skip the fluffy coat and dress in layers that can be removed as needed. Your bottom or “base” layer should be made from a wicking fabric that will absorb sweat and keep your skin dry and your body warm.
  • Bring a hat. Keep your head covered so you don’t lose critical body heat. It’s a good idea to bring a heavier hat to put on if you stop to rest.
  • Don’t let your water freeze. Staying hydrated is important. An insulating foam sleeve for your water container can help prevent water from freezing. You can also keep your water bottle on the inside of your jacket.
  • Use a sleeping bag liner. If you’re camping in the winter, a bulkier or heavier sleeping bag may be unnecessary. Adding a liner inside a 20-degree bag is a cheaper way to make your bag about 10 degrees warmer.
  • Remember sunscreen. The sun’s glare can reflect powerfully off snow. It’s important to protect exposed skin even in winter.
  • Anticipate shorter days. Before you hike, be mindful of how many daylight hours you will have. Always carry a headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries.