Hiking in near freezing temperatures and when there’s snow or ice on the ground is completely different from other seasons of the year. The biggest difference is that you need to be a bit more purposeful with the gear that you use.
In this article, you’ll learn about the different techniques for how to dress and what to wear for hiking in the winter.
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Guide To What To Wear for Hiking in the Winter
Everyone has a different approach to winter weather gear for hiking. There’s the technical way to do it and the more casual way to do it. I’m somewhere in the middle as someone that appreciates quality gear while making sure that it’s as practical as possible.
To stay warm, you have to look at getting yourself covered from head to toe. My first choice is to go with a really nice and warm toque (pardon my Canadianism). I’ve gone through my fair share of toques over the years but I’ve learned that the key to it all is that it has good coverage around the ears. Keeping your head warm is a good part of the winter battle.
Insulated vs Shell Jacket
I don’t know how this phenomenon began but I’m sure it had something to do with Canada Goose. Everywhere you go in the winter (at least in Canada), everyone’s rocking some sort of poofy down feather jacket with furry hoods. Wanting to at least try to keep up the fashion trends, I made it a mission of mine to find something that would fit the bill for what I wanted to do this winter.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Columbia. In fact, I was pretty much fully outfitted with their clothing and gear for my recent trip to Peru. So with that, I knew that’s where I would look. One thing that really caught my eye this year was the Barlow Pass 550 Turbodown Jacket.
What really stood out to me was the fact that it incorporated their signature silver foil reflective layer on the inside (Omni-Heat) to keep you warm while also using their super fancy waterproof and breathable outer layer (Omni-Shield) that I had with my Columbia backpack and shoes. Beyond the fact that you get all of the features you’d expect from a jacket like this with uber warm down insulation, removable fur hood, and more pockets that you have use for. If you’re a snowboarder like me, this is the perfect balance of style and winter activity versatility.
Keeping Your Feet Warm
One thing I’ve always lacked year to year has been a solid pair of boots that look good. I don’t mean the crazy bulky boots that you’d go trekking with nor the super utilitarian construction worker’s boot but just a plain old leather you-got-some-style kind of boots.
It took a little bit of digging but I finally found a pair that I was looking for. It ended up coming from Territory Ahead again and a brand that I’ve never even heard of.
These boots you’re looking at are from Børn and called the Jax Chukka Boots. These guys are artisan crafted footwear where the focus is on using an age-old hand-stitching technique called Opanaka where the upper, insole and bottom of the shoe are sewn together. I was very happy to support an “back to the roots” shoe company and style wise, I love the rugged look of the full-grain leather uppers in combination with the burnished toes. I can finally make those skinny jeans look GOOD.
Frequently Asked Questions
One of the best in the industry is Arc’teryx which was started in Vancouver, Canada. They make excellent outershell jackets with Gore-tex fabrics.
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