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what to wear winter hiking

What to Wear for Winter Hiking: Tips and Clothing Guide

Choosing what to wear for winter hiking needs careful consideration as you need to be aware of the temperature.
Apr 29, 2024

While the allure of pristine snowy landscapes attracts you to head for winter hiking, the cold temperatures can pose a challenge, especially if you're not aware of what to wear for winter hiking. Fear not! With the right winter hiking clothes, you can conquer the trails in comfort and style.

In this article, we'll explore more about what to wear for winter hiking, ensuring that you're well-equipped to tackle any terrain and weather conditions – from base layers to outer shells, pants to footwear, and all the essential accessories in between.

What to Wear for Winter Hiking

Deciding what to wear for winter hiking includes everything from selecting the appropriate base layers to ensuring you have the right accessories to tackle the challenges of cold, snow, and ice. Here is a complete guide to what to wear for hiking you should take note.

Safety First

While assembling the perfect winter hiking clothes is essential for comfort and enjoyment, safety should always be your top priority. Before heading to your winter adventure, check weather forecasts, trail conditions, and avalanche risks. 

Pack essential winter hiking gear, including a map, compass, first aid kit, and emergency supplies. And remember, it's always better to overdress than underdress – layer up, stay warm, and enjoy the hike!

Layering: The Key to Thermal Mastery

The cornerstone of what to wear for winter hiking is layering. By strategically combining different layers, you can regulate your body temperature and stay cozy throughout your hike. Here's a breakdown of the essential layers:

  • Base layer: Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat away from your skin. Opt for materials like merino wool or synthetic fabrics that dry quickly and retain warmth even when damp.
  • Insulating layer: Next, add an insulating layer to trap heat close to your body. Fleece jackets or down vests are excellent choices for providing warmth without adding bulk.
  • Outer shell: Your outer shell serves as a barrier against wind, snow, and rain. Look for a waterproof and breathable jacket that offers protection without sacrificing mobility. Features like adjustable hoods, pit zips, and sealed seams are invaluable in harsh winter conditions.
  • Avoid cotton: Unlike materials like wool or synthetics, cotton absorbs moisture and takes a long time to dry. This can lead to discomfort and even hypothermia in cold, wet conditions. 

Read also: What to Wear for Hiking: Understanding the Essential Tips

Bottoms Up: Choosing the Right Pants

When it comes to cold-weather hiking pants, versatility is key. Opt for pants made from water-resistant or waterproof materials to keep your legs dry in snowy or slushy terrain. 

Consider convertible pants with zip-off legs, allowing you to adapt to changing temperatures throughout the day. Additionally, insulated pants or thermal leggings can provide extra warmth when the mercury plummets.

Footwear: Traction and Support

The next thing to consider in what to wear for winter hiking is your footwear. Choosing the right footwear is crucial, where slippery trails and icy conditions abound. Invest in a pair of waterproof hiking boots with ample ankle support and aggressive tread for traction on snow and ice. 

Insulated boots with Thinsulate or Gore-Tex lining will keep your feet warm and dry, even in the coldest conditions. Don't forget to pair them with moisture-wicking wool socks to prevent blisters and keep your feet comfortable throughout your hike.

Accessories: The Devil's in the Details

No winter hiking ensemble is complete without the right accessories to protect your extremities from the biting cold. Here are some essential accessories to consider:

  • Hat: A warm hat or beanie is essential for retaining heat and preventing heat loss through your head.
  • Gloves or mittens: Buy insulated gloves or mittens to keep your hands warm and dexterous. Consider wearing glove liners for added warmth and versatility.
  • Neck gaiter or scarf: Protect your neck and face from icy winds with a fleece-lined neck gaiter or scarf.
  • Sunglasses: Don't overlook eye protection! Polarized sunglasses can shield your eyes from the glare of the snow and prevent snow blindness.
  • Gaiters: If you will be trudging through deep snow, gaiters can prevent snow from entering your boots and keep your lower legs dry.

Read also: What to Wear While Camping for a Safety and Stylish Look

Watches as Winter Hiking Gear

Among the often-overlooked essentials in cold-weather hiking tips is the humble wristwatch, a tool that plays a vital role in navigating the frosty trails. Below are some watch recommendations that could be a reliable winter hiking gear:

Seiko Prospex “Save The Ocean Antarctica” Monster 200M Automatic Ref. SBDY105

Seiko Prospex “Save The Ocean Antarctica” Monster 200M Automatic Ref. SBDY105
Seiko Prospex “Save The Ocean Antarctica” Monster 200M Automatic Ref. SBDY105

When it comes to watches for winter hiking, the Seiko Prospex “Save The Ocean Antarctica” Monster could be your best choice. Crafted with a durable stainless steel case and a robust silicone strap, this timepiece exudes ruggedness, capable of withstanding the harshest winter conditions.

With its striking blue dial inspired by the icy depths of Antarctica's oceans, the SBDY105 not only pays homage to nature's beauty but also serves as a dependable companion for adventurers venturing into the winter wilderness.

Price: $410.00 USD

Mido Commander Lady Mother of Pearl Ref. M021.

Mido Commander Lady Mother of Pearl Ref. M021.
Mido Commander Lady Mother of Pearl Ref. M021.

The Mido Commander Lady Mother of Pearl exudes elegance and sophistication, but don't let its refined appearance fool you – it's also a capable companion for winter hiking.

Crafted with durability in mind, this timepiece features a robust stainless steel case and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, ensuring it can withstand the rigors of outdoor adventures. 

The luminous hands and indexes illuminate the dial, offering enhanced visibility in low-light conditions, while the precise quartz movement ensures reliable timekeeping throughout your trek.

Price: $1,033.00 USD

Hitori Habuka 39 Deluxe Snow White

Hitori Habuka 39 Deluxe Snow White
Hitori Habuka 39 Deluxe Snow White

Another reliable companion for winter hiking enthusiasts is the Hitori Habuka 39 Deluxe Snow White. Engineered with precision and durability in mind, this watch is designed to thrive in the most challenging alpine conditions. 

With its rugged construction and water-resistant design, it withstands the rigors of snow-covered trails and icy peaks with ease. Equipped with advanced features such as a built-in compass, altimeter, and temperature sensor, it empowers hikers to navigate confidently through winter landscapes.

Price: $339.00 USD


Choosing what to wear for winter hiking properly can help you maximize comfort, safety, and enjoyment on the trails. Remember to layer up for versatility, prioritize waterproof and breathable materials, and choose the best-quality footwear.

With the right winter hiking gear and preparation, you'll be well-equipped to enjoy winter hiking adventures. 

Read also: 9 Stylish Winter Outfits for Men 2024: Embrace the Chill

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