A Hiking Checklist For the Cold Season


Fall/Winter is Around the Corner: Be Prepared!

What’s good in the mountain neighborhood my Road Trip Warriors!? Look, if you are like me then you are going to be hiking during the fall season. You might also be hiking during the winter as well. These are arguably my favorite seasons to hike in. There are many amazing visuals that the summer & late spring do not necessarily offer. Also, hiking in the colder season offers some benefits. Some of these include:

  • The colorful leaves during the fall paint a beautiful landscape, especially as the trees climb up the sides of mountains
  • The bugs are essentially nonexistent
  • The cooler weather can be more enjoyable
  • Hot coffee after a cool hike is AMAZING
  • The accumulation of snow on the trees and mountains creates beautiful scenery
  • Frozen waterfalls are mesmerizing

Despite these benefits, I have seen many people hiking in colder weather ill-prepared. People go out in shorts, t-shirts, and without enough gear in their bags to stay warm. The thing about hiking in the fall and winter is that the weather changes very rapidly. Last year when I was hiking in the fall, I would start out in minimal attire. Once I reached the summit, I would have to put on wind pants, a jacket, beanie, gloves…..the point I am getting at is that it is vital to be prepared.

Checklist For Fall

Giant During Fall

Scenery from Giant Mountain hiking trail during the fall

  • Warm clothes and layers, layers, layers!!!! When I hike during the fall, I always bring UnderArmour, extra pants, wind/rain/snow pants, lightweight rain jacket, heavy jacket, gloves, warm hiking socks (and a spare pair of hiking socks as well), and a warm beanie
  • Body warmers (the ones that heat up as soon as you open them) – I used these countless times when I worked construction during the winter. They work fast and definitely help with comfortability
  • Trekking poles
  • Headlamp (good to have when daylight hours are shorter)
  • First-Aid Kit
  • I still bring bug-spray, but it probably is not necessary when it is colder
  • Knife
  • Waterproof matches
  • LifeStraw Water Filter
  • Bandana (it can be used in so many different ways….and it looks cool)
  • Paracord and carabiners
  • A LOT OF FOOD
  • A LOT OF WATER

Checklist For Winter

Frozen Waterfall on Algonquin

Frozen waterfall along the Algonquin Peak trail

  • Warm clothes and layers, layers, layers!!!! When I hike during the winter, I always wear UnderArmour, bring extra pant layers, wind/rain/snow pants, lightweight rain jacket, heavy jacket, two pairs of warm hiking socks, and a warm beanie
  • Balaclava
  • TWO pairs of gloves (unless you are 100% sure your one pair will not get wet)
  • Body warmers (the ones that heat up as soon as you open them)
  • Trekking poles
  • Headlamp (good to have when it gets dark early in the day)
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Knife
  • Waterproof matches
  • LifeStraw Water Filter
  • Bandana
  • Paracord and carabiners
  • A LOT OF FOOD
  • A LOT OF WATER
Frozen Beaver Meadow Falls

Frozen Beaver Meadow Falls

Look, I am no professional so my advice and checklist is based off of my own experience. There are still items I need to purchase for myself such as an emergency blanket and perhaps a sleeping bag. I will continue to update this post with items I find essential. A good rule of thumb is to pack more than you think you will need. It is better to pack with the expectation that you could be out in the woods for a couple days rather than packing for eight hours.

There are plenty of other sources online that can provide hiking checklists as well such as REI. Here is the link

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/day-hiking-checklist.html

RTW Note

I know this post was a little different than prior ones, but I feel it is important to share information about items to bring, being prepared, and any tips that I can give. As hiking continues to gain popularity, the more individuals I see unprepared and more stories emerge of people having to be rescued. Please study up on the ten essentials, items to bring according to season, and safety tips. Stay safe out there and have fun adventuring!

-Ant

 

 

 

 

Categories: Hiking Tips/ChecklistsTags: , , , , , , ,

6 comments

  1. Great lists! I also carry a good compass in my kit. I once got lost in the snow and spent a lot of time wandering in circles before I finally oriented myself. I had a compass but it kept getting stuck. If I had known right away which direction was North, I would have saved myself a lot of time getting out of there.

    Liked by 1 person

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