In the winter months, dry air and cold temperatures quickly lead to dehydration. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need less water just because the sun isn’t blazing! When you’re heading out to hit the trails, whether that’s a one hour hike or a day journey, here are six things you should always do to make the adventure a great one:
1. Map out your hiking trails
The best adventures happen when you’re prepared for the unexpected. The first important part is to map out your trail—even if you’re familiar with your route. Why? Because your friends and family don’t know the trail like you do, and they’re the ones you’ll depend on if things don’t go as planned. Tell someone where you’re going and for how long. This becomes really important if things get blustery or a blizzard descends from the sky out of nowhere (and signs become blocked or buried). Safety first!
2. Carry enough water—and drink often
Don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink water. Carry 16 oz of water for every hour you plan to be active outside. ThermoFlask makes this easy with bottles ranging from 16oz–64oz so you can stay hydrated no matter the distance. And guess what? Our insulated bottles are the perfect way to guarantee your water doesn’t freeze when the weather drops to sub zero temps. Our Temp-lock™ technology works both ways: it keeps heat out but it also keeps freezing temperatures out too. So you don’t have to worry that your water will be a solid block of ice when you’re thirsty.
Bonus: You have peace of mind that you’re saving the trail you’re trekking on with sustainable gear over single-use plastic.
Extra tip: Think you might need to refill from natural sources? Pack purification tablets!
3. Bring snacks
Make sure you bring light food to refuel on your adventure. Trudging through challenging or snowy terrain burns a lot of energy. Small granola bars and apple sauce pouches are the perfect snacks to replenish the carbohydrates you burn while hiking without weighing you down.
Your mother was right: you can’t go wrong with layers. Layers give you options when you heat up on a cold day—because cold sweat isn’t the best feeling in the world, and it doesn’t work out well when your body starts to cool down. When you’re at the height of your hike, tie your outer layer around your waist, or stuff it in a backpack. And here’s a pro tip: stay away from cotton when adventure calls. Synthetic and wool layers wick sweat and dry faster, so you stay comfortable as your body burns the water you’re feeding it (like a good hiker should).
Your base layer should fit tight to your skin to lock heat in. This layer deals with perspiration. Synthetic materials like polyester make good base layers.
This thicker layer keeps cold out. Merino wool and fleece are champion mid layers that keep your core toasty and your feet from getting frosty.
The outer layer should be waterproof to shield you from wind, rain, and snow, keeping you dry and helping you happily avoid feeling damp.
5. Lights (and handy devices)
Cold temperatures kill batteries. Keep any devices in pockets close to your body to preserve their battery life. Optionally, bring a portable charger! Make sure you also anticipate the time your hike will take so you don’t get caught in the dark. If you know you’ll be out after the sun sets, bring a flashlight or, better, a hands-free headlamp with spare charged batteries.
6. Protect your skin
Just because the air is cold and the sun feels far away doesn’t mean your skin won’t burn. Apply sunscreen! Even on cloudy days, SPF is always a good idea to protect any exposed skin from light bouncing off the snow (or water). Cold, dry air also leads to chapped lips. Apply your favorite lip balm to keep your pucker from peeling. And if the temperature gets really, really cold, consider a balaclava and sunglasses—or even ski goggles!—to keep frostbite at bay.
These six tips will set you up for a wonderful day of winter play. It’s as simple as letting someone know where you’re going, bringing enough water in a winter-ready ThermoFlask bottle, layering up, and tossing a few necessary goodies in your backpack—or sling!
Now you’re ready for a great day outside winter adventuring.