Hiking is a wonder that everyone should try at least once, but cold weather and winter months can really put a damper on any plans. However, winter hiking in Georgia is still an option for anyone, but there are a lot more steps for preparation so you can be safe on the trek. As such, you can use this article as a guide on winter hiking safety tips to know about.
To start us off on the right foot, here are a few of the basic tips you should follow when going on any hiking trip. These tips are useful for warmer weather, but they’re necessary advice for anyone trying a winter hike.
First Rule: Travel Together
You should never attempt a hiking trip by yourself, as any issue that occur on the trip are usually too big for one person. Whether it’s injury or getting lost, it can be dangerous even in warmer weather; in the winter months, even a small accident can render someone helpless. Luckily, there’s safety in numbers and bringing a friend or two can save your life.
Before you go on your trip, you should inform someone of your plans and give them the time you expect you’ll be back. One of the biggest problems with hiking is the isolation that comes with nature, so people can’t tell when you’re in danger. Having check-ins with friends can save your life as they realize something has gone amiss in your hike.
The next big tip is about dressing appropriately for your hike and environment. Dressing lightly for a winter hike will only lead to hypothermia. Aim for multiple layers, with outer layers that keep moisture out and inner layers that trap heat inside. This will help keep you warm and dry, the only way you can stay safe during a wintery hike.
Invest in Footwear
Similar with dressing appropriately, your footwear is vital for a safe trip into the cold. With natural hazards like ice or snow, there’s an increased risk of falling or slipping that regular boots or shoes can’t keep up with. As such, you should find footwear that’s meant for the cold weather and conditions, as it’ll save your life and help prevent hypothermia.
Plan Your Route
Another one of the big winter hiking safety tips to know about is how you should plan your route when going for a hike. You can’t just wing it, as getting lost in the cold can be extremely dangerous and life-threatening. But listening to and applying these tips into your plans can save yourself a lot of trouble.
Give Yourself Time
The first thing is you should plan your trip with plenty of time left over. Hiking at night can be very dangerous and you should be out of the cold while there still sunlight. As such, plan around your walking speed and assume there will be delays during the trip. This will give you the time you need so you can deal with issues without risking overstaying on the hike.
A huge mistake a lot of new hikers will make is ignoring the weather forecast before a hike. Even if you plan on going despite bad weather, you should still know what you’re confronting so you can plan and pack properly. Snowy days or fog can slow down your walking speed and affect your travel time. Plus, your clothing might be insufficient for extremely cold or dangerous days if you go without confirming the weather.
When you’re making your plans, you should try plotting your rest stops and ending point the best you can. Find areas you can identify so you know if your keeping pace and spread out your breaks so you can keep hiking at the proper pace. Plus, you’ll need a place for rest at night, so think about contacting the local property management companies in Georgia for your best options for places to rest at night.
Gear You Need
You’ll need a lot of gear when tackling a winter hike, as the danger it presents can be life threatening if you’re unlucky. As such, you can use these tips as a starting point when figuring out what you should bring on your hike.
Although winter boots can really help protect your feet and give you traction in snow and ice, it’s not enough. Think about investing in snowshoes and ski poles for your trek, as they’ll help you stay upright as you walk. This is key for a safe trip, as falling can cause serious injury and getting wet is dangerous in cold weather.
Day Pack or Bag
You’ll likely need a backpack or bag of some type for the equipment and gear you should bring. However, it’s important this pack isn’t too heavy or else you’ll tire from carrying it. As such, think about getting a day pack for shorter hikes, as they’re light and can carry a good amount of equipment.
Food and Water
A key part of any hike is staying energetic enough during the trip. Cold weather can sap the strength out of your body, and you burn a lot more calories because of the weather. Bring snacks with high protein, fat, and carbohydrate counts for fuel. Also, dehydration can speed up hypothermia, along with dehydration being dangerous during regular physical activity.
You should ensure that you bring with you an analog method of navigation. This doesn’t include your phone, as you can’t ensure the battery will last in the cold and you’ll likely lose reception in a lot of places. Try bringing a map and compass at the very least, a guide can be extremely helpful in these situations.
Even the slightest injury can be deadly in the cold months, as a cut means you lose heat a lot faster and waiting for a rescue can be dangerous. As such, make sure you bring a first aid kit during your travels, so you can treat these issues if they arise and keep yourselves safe during your trip.
These are the basic tips you should ensure you follow when trying a winter hike. Although they can’t guarantee your safety, you can vastly improve your odds by using these simple tips. One last piece of advice for you: learn more about hypothermia, as this is the most dangerous part of a winter hike and is what all these tips are trying to prevent.