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What To Wear Hiking in Winter – The Right Way To Go About It

Home » What To Wear Hiking in Winter – The Right Way To Go About It


It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as bad weather, but bad clothing. There are so many advantages of hiking in winter. For one, the scenery is often more beautiful during this time of year.

The snow-covered cliffs and trees make for a picturesque view, and the fresh air can be invigorating. Finally, winter hiking can help you burn more calories than hiking during other seasons. This is because the road is not so smooth and easy to go on.

What To Wear Hiking in Winter?
Stick to the winter hiking gear checklist and use the rule of layering. Three layers of outwear, right pants, boots, and beanie will let you enjoy a winter hike. Bring some extra warming items like toe warmer or earmuffs. Avoid cotton clothing because it loose heat easily.

Winter Hiking Clothes Layering Basics

When hiking in winter conditions, it is important to layer cold-weather hiking clothes. This will help you regulate your body temperature and prevent you from getting too cold or too sweaty.

A couple of winter campers

Base layer

A base layer that is form-fitting but not too tight will help to trap heat close to your body. Synthetic materials or Merino wool are good choices because they wick away moisture if you do start to sweat. Cotton is a bad choice because it will hold onto moisture and make you feel cold and clammy. If it is really cold outside, you may want to consider a heavier-weight base layer made from merino wool or synthetic fabric. These will provide more warmth and can be worn underneath another layer of clothing.


A fleece or wool sweater is both good mid-layer choice, as is a down jacket. It’s important to make sure the down jacket isn’t too bulky, so it doesn’t restrict movement. Down or synthetic jackets are common mid-layers that provide the bulk of your insulation, trapping body heat to keep you warm. You can also break your mid-layer into two parts: a fleece and a light puffy jacket. This will give you more layers to adjust with as your body temperature changes throughout your hike.

The outer layer or a winter hiking jacket

Some popular choices of outerwear for hiking in winter include jackets and parkas. It is important to have an outer layer that is both waterproof and windproof in winter. A waterproof and windproof external shell will keep moisture out and block the wind. If it is a calm clear day, you might not need to wear the external shell, but it is always recommended to have it with you.

When layering your clothing, it is important to keep in mind that you want to be able to adjust your layers as the temperature changes. You may need to add or remove layers throughout the day as the temperature fluctuates. It is also important to keep your head and hands covered. These are areas of the body that are particularly susceptible to cold weather.

climber without a jacket

Winter Hiking Gear Checklist

Let’s check if you haven’t forgotten anything for your winter hiking outfits:

To wear

  • Beanie
  • Earmuffs or headband
  • Buff or scarf
  • Base layer
  • Mid-layer
  • Outer layer
  • Sunglasses
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Hiking pants
  • Waterproof boots

To carry:

  • Sunscreen

What To Wear for Hiking in Winter

Now all the essential things for your cold-weather hiking garment will be listed. Also, we will give you some tips on what material to use. Thank it you won’t get in trouble with the wrong choice high in the mountains.


A good Merino wool or synthetic beanie is very useful. You lose a significant amount of heat through the top of your head.

Earmuffs or headband

Earmuffs can be a great way to keep your ears warm while still being able to wear your hair in a ponytail. Headbands are also a good option if you don’t want to wear a full hat.

girl with winter headphones

Buff, scarf

A wool or synthetic scarf or buff is a great way to trap warmth from escaping up your collar. You can also pull it up over your mouth and nose to cut down on the wind.


There are a few things to consider when choosing sunglasses for a winter hike. First, consider the amount of sunlight that will be present during the hike. If there will be a lot of suns, choose sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection. Second, consider the terrain. If the hike will be in a snowy or icy area, choose sunglasses with polarized lenses to reduce glare. Finally, consider the style of the sunglasses. Choose a style that will be comfortable to wear for the duration of the hike.


When choosing a sunscreen for a winter hike, you should look for a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher and is water resistant. You should also choose a sunscreen that is designed for use in cold weather and that won’t freeze when exposed to the cold.

Gloves or mittens

You should consider whether you’ll need waterproof gloves or not. If it’s cold and you’ll be hiking in snow, you’ll want to make sure your gloves or mittens are waterproof. You’ll also want to consider the amount of insulation you’ll need. If you’ll be hiking in very cold weather, you’ll need gloves or mittens that are well-insulated. Finally, you’ll want to consider the fit. Make sure they’re not too tight or too loose so you can still use your fingers.

Winter hiking pants

blue winter pants

When it comes to winter hiking pants, the options are endless. There are so many different brands, styles, and materials to choose from. It can be overwhelming trying to decide which pair is right for you. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the perfect pair of winter hiking pants:

1. Choose the right material.

The material of your winter hiking pants is important. You want to choose a material that is durable and will keep you warm. Some good options include wool, fleece, and synthetic materials. Avoid cotton, as it will not keep you as warm.

2. Choose a style that fits your needs.

There are many different styles of winter hiking pants. Some are designed for warmth, while others are designed for mobility. Choose a style that fits your needs. If you are going to be hiking in deep snow, you will want a pair of pants that are insulated. If you are going to be hiking in warmer weather, you will want a pair of pants that are breathable.

3. Choose a color that you like.

Winter hiking pants come in many different colors. Choose a color that you like and that will go well with the rest of your winter hiking gear.

Waterproof boots

waterproof winter boots

Waterproof winter boots are not a luxury but a necessity if you want to enjoy a comfortable and safe hike during colder months. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right pair of boots for your needs:

Boot height

Depending on the terrain and conditions you’ll be hiking in, you’ll want to choose a boot with a shaft that comes up at least to your ankle. This will provide support and help keep your feet dry.


If you’ll be hiking in cold weather conditions, you’ll want to choose a boot with good insulation. This will keep your feet warm and dry even when the temperature drops.


Hiking boots can be heavy, so you’ll want to choose a pair that’s not too bulky or heavy. This will help you avoid fatigue and keep you moving forward on your hike.


Hiking boots should provide good traction and support, especially on uneven terrain. Look for a boot with a good tread pattern and a stable sole.


Hiking boots should be comfortable from the start. Avoid boots that are too tight or too loose. You should be able to wiggle your toes and have enough room to add an extra layer of socks if needed.

brown boots

Wool socks

When you are shopping for winter hiking wool socks, you should consider the weight of the sock. The heavier the sock, the warmer it will be. You should also consider the sock’s ability to wick moisture away from your feet.

Toe warmers

When choosing toe warmers, consider how long and how often you’ll be using them. If you’re an occasional hiker or camper, disposable toe warmers may be all you need.

If you’re an avid outdoors person, however, rechargeable toe warmers are a better choice. They’re more expensive, but they’ll save you money in the long run.

Be sure to read the instructions on the toe warmers you’re considering before making your purchase. Some types of toe warmers require special care, such as not getting them wet.

Most importantly, make sure the toe warmers you choose are comfortable. You’ll be wearing them for long periods of time, so they need to fit well and not cause any chafing or discomfort.

Shoe gaiters

Shoe gaiters are a very important piece of gear for winter hiking, as they help to keep your feet dry and warm. In addition, they provide an extra layer of protection against the elements and help to keep your shoes from getting covered in snow and ice.

whinter shoe gaiters

Microspikes or crampons

Microspikes or crampons are important for winter hiking because they provide traction on icy or snow-covered trails. This traction can help prevent slips and falls, and make it easier to hike on steep or icy terrain. They can help prevent falls and make it easier to hike on slippery surfaces.

Clothing and Gear Tips for Cold-Weather Hiking

Wearing the proper clothing and gear when hiking in cold weather is important to stay comfortable and safe. Here are some tips:

  1. Wear layers of clothing that you can adjust as needed to regulate your body temperature. Wool or synthetic fabrics are best as they will help to wick away sweat and keep you warm even when wet. A waterproof outer layer is also important in case you encounter any rain or snow.The layering system consists of three parts: a base layer that wicks away perspiration, a mid-layer that provides insulation, and a shell layer that protects against wind and moisture.
    The goal is to add and remove layers as needed to stay warm and comfortable without overheating or getting sweaty. Although it may be inconvenient to stop and change clothes, it is crucial to stay dry. Getting wet in cold weather can lead to hypothermia.
  2. Make sure to wear proper footwear that will keep your feet warm and dry. Hiking boots with a waterproof outer layer and good insulation are ideal.For your feet, wear socks made of synthetic materials or wool that fit well. Thicker socks provide more insulation but make sure they don’t make your boots too tight, which can cut off circulation. It’s also important to keep your feet dry, so carrying an extra pair of socks to change into is a good idea.
    Wear boots that are waterproof if you’ll be trekking through snow, and if you’ll be in very cold temperatures you might require boots with built-in insulation.
  3. Bring along extra clothing and gear in case you get wet or cold. This can include extra socks, a hat, gloves, and a change of clothes.
  4. Hand and toe warmers are a great way to keep your extremities warm, especially if you tend to get cold fingers and toes. Bring with the devices that will help you not to freeze.
  5. Wearing clothing or gear that is too tight can cause poor circulation, which can increase your chance of getting frostbite. Make sure your clothing and gear fit properly.
  6. When cotton gets wet, it takes forever to dry, which can leave you feeling damp, cold, and miserable. Synthetic and wool layers dry much faster and will move perspiration away from your skin.

By following these tips, you can stay safe and comfortable while hiking in cold weather.

Cold-Related Injuries and Illnesses

There are many different types of cold-related injuries and illnesses that can occur. Some of the more common ones include:

Frostbite – This is when the skin and tissue freeze due to exposure to cold temperatures. It can cause permanent damage and even amputation if not treated quickly.

Hypothermia – This is when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it, leading to a dangerously low body temperature. Symptoms include confusion, drowsiness, and slurred speech. Hypothermia can be fatal if not treated.

Chilblains – This is when the small blood vessels in the skin become inflamed due to exposure to cold temperatures. It can cause itching, redness, and blistering.

Trench foot – This is when the feet become swollen and painful due to prolonged exposure to cold, wet conditions. It can lead to tissue damage and even amputation if not treated.

Cold-related injuries and illnesses can be very serious, and even fatal in some cases. It is important to take precautions when spending time in cold weather, such as dressing in warm, layered clothing and avoiding prolonged exposure to the cold. If you do experience any symptoms of a cold-related injury or illness, seek medical help immediately.

Tourist with glasses in the background of the mountains

How To Prevent Cold-related Injuries and Illnesses

There are many ways to prevent cold-related injuries and illnesses. Some simple tips include dressing in warm, loose-fitting clothing; staying dry; and staying hydrated.

Dressing in warm, loose-fitting clothing is important because it helps to insulate your body and trap heat. Layering clothing is also helpful because you can remove layers if you start to feel too warm. It is important to stay dry because wet clothing will make you colder and increase your risk of hypothermia. Staying hydrated is also important because it helps your body to regulate its temperature.

If you are outdoors in cold weather, it is important to take breaks frequently to warm up. You should also avoid alcohol because it can cause your body to lose heat more quickly. If you start to feel cold, it is important to get indoors as soon as possible.

If you have a medical condition that makes you more susceptible to cold-related injuries or illnesses, it is important to take extra precautions. For example, people with diabetes may need to wear special clothing to prevent frostbite. People with asthma may need to carry an inhaler with them in case they have an asthma attack.

Cold-related injuries and illnesses can be serious, so it is important to take steps to prevent them. By dressing properly, staying dry, and staying hydrated, you can help to keep yourself safe in cold weather.

warm patterned socks


How to dress in layers for winter hiking?

Assuming you are going on a day hike, you will want to dress in layers. Wear a base layer made of a material that will wick away sweat, like wool or synthetic fabric. Add a mid-layer for insulation, like a fleece jacket. Top it off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer, like a shell jacket.

Is fleece good for winter hiking?

Fleece is an excellent fabric for winter hiking gear because it is warm, lightweight, and quick-drying. It is also comfortable to wear and easy to care for. Fleece is made from polyester or other synthetic fibers that are brushed or sheared to create a soft, fuzzy surface. This surface traps heat and insulates the body, making it ideal for cold-weather activities. Fleece is available in a variety of weights and styles, so it can be easily tailored to the needs of any winter hiker.

Are jeans good for hiking?

It depends on the type of jeans. Stretchy jeans or jeggings would not be good for hiking because they are not very durable. However, sturdier jeans with a bit of giving, like selvage denim, would be better. For winter hiking you’d better assume other variants.

What to pack for backpacking in winter?

In general, you will want to pack clothing that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable. This may include items such as a down jacket, synthetic insulation, waterproof pants, a fleece or wool sweater, a hat, and gloves. You will also want to pack a pair of sturdy boots, gaiters, and crampons if you plan on hiking in snow or ice. Finally, you will want to pack essential items such as a map, compass, first-aid kit, and flashlight.

Products that might be helpful

How do I keep my legs warm in winter hiking?

There are a few things you can do to keep your legs warm in winter hiking. First, make sure to wear layers of clothing so you can adjust to the temperature. Second, bring along a pair of thick socks to wear over your regular socks. Third, consider investing in a pair of insulated boots to keep your feet warm. Finally, if you start to feel cold, make sure to stop and take a break to warm up.

high winter boots

How cold is too cold to hike?

There is no definitive answer to this question as everyone’s level of tolerance to cold weather is different. However, as a general rule of thumb, if the temperature is below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit), it is generally considered too cold to hike.

How do you keep your face warm while hiking?

There are a few ways to keep your face warm while hiking. One is to wear a scarf or bandana over your nose and mouth. Another is to wear a balaclava, which is a type of hat that covers your entire head and face.

Which fabric is warmest in winter?

Wool is often thought of as a winter fabric, but it is actually one of the warmest materials you can wear in any season. Wool is a natural fiber that is derived from sheep, and it has many unique properties that make it an excellent choice for clothing. Wool is able to trap heat very effectively, which makes it great for keeping you warm in cold weather. In addition, wool is also very breathable, which means it won’t make you sweat as some other fabrics can. This makes it an ideal choice for activewear or for layering in colder weather.

What pants are warmer than jeans?

There are many types of pants that are warmer than jeans, such as sweatpants, corduroy pants, and lined pants.

Is merino wool warmer than fleece?

Merino wool is warmer than fleece because it is a natural fiber. Merino wool is also more breathable than fleece, so it will keep you warm even when you are sweating.

Tourist mother and child on a winter camping trip

What should you not wear while hiking?

There are a few things that you should not wear while winter hiking. First, you should not wear cotton. Cotton will absorb your sweat and then freeze, which can lead to hypothermia.

Second, you should not wear jeans. Jeans are not very insulating and will not keep you warm. Third, you should not wear any shoes that are not waterproof. Waterproof shoes are winter hiking essentials for keeping your feet dry and warm.

Lastly, you should not wear any clothing that is not breathable. Breathable clothing will help to prevent you from getting too sweaty and will also help to keep you warm.

What to wear hiking in cold weather?

Question: “how to dress for winter hiking” has a more simple answer than you think. Warm, waterproof clothing is essential for hiking in cold weather. Layering is also important, as you can always remove layers if you get too warm. A hat and gloves are also essential.

Is fleece good for winter hiking?

Fleece is a good option for winter hiking because it is warm and breathable. It is important to choose a fleece that is wind-resistant and water-resistant to keep you warm and dry in the winter weather.


Proper cold-weather hiking gear is important when hiking in winter because if you are not properly dressed, you can get hypothermia. When you are hiking in the winter, you are likely to get wet from the snow and rain. If you do not have the proper clothing, you will get very wet and cold.

The main way to keep the warmth is to layer clothing. Do not use cotton and prioritize synthetic materials. You will need a base layer, an insulation layer, and a waterproof layer.

The base layer should be made of a material that will wick away moisture, such as wool or synthetic materials. The insulation layer should be made of a material that will trap body heat, such as down or synthetic materials.

Save the winter hiking checklist and enjoy your nearest winter hike.

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