Winter Adventure Tips – 6 Things to Know about Winter Hiking

In this post, I’m sharing my top 6 winter adventure tips to help you keep warm and safe this season. Whether you prefer hiking, skiing, or snowshoeing, these tips are sure to help you conquer those mountains with confidence.

No matter whether you are a well-rounded adventurer or just starting to dabble in outdoor winter exploration, we can all agree that heading out in the winter requires quite a bit more preparation and determination.

Although it does take a little bit more knowledge and preparation, heading out in the snow can be even more rewarding than summer months. There’s nothing to be scared of.

So let’s jump right in with my top 6 tips for a successful winter adventure!

Girl ski touring in the snowy mountains at sunrise on a winter adventure

Bags Always Packed is a reader-supported site which means some of the links on this page may be affiliates. I spend a lot of time researching these hotels, tours and products and only recommend those which I would use myself. Booking your trip through my links is a great way for you to support my work for free, as I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. ♡

1. Be Prepared

If you’ve ever seen my backpack, you’ll know that I am an avid believer in always being prepared. In winter, it’s even more vital that you are prepared for changing weather conditions.

Check the forecast and take extra layers as well as waterproofs. You never know what the mountains will through at you and nothing puts a damper on your day like being soaking wet.

Another aspect of being prepared is having the right gear. Knowing where to fork out the big bucks and where it is okay to skimp is key in creating the perfect, budget-friendly, outdoor wardrobe. Check out this post to find out what gear I use for hiking.

2. Avoid Sweating

Girl skiing in powder with trees, a frozen lake and mountain in the background.

I mentioned this to a new friend recently and was met with a confused look and “How do you not sweat”.

This sounds like an impossible thing to do and sure, you will always sweat a little, but the trick is to manage it as much as possible.

If your hike, ski tour, snowshoe, or general adventure will start out with a lot of exertion (such as climbing a hill), start cold.

Start your day with one or two fewer layers than is comfortable. As long as you start moving straight away, you will quickly be thankful you don’t have to stop 5 mins in, to de-layer.

As you continue climbing or as the temperature goes up, continue to remove layers BEFORE you are too hot. If you find you are needing to remove layers every couple of steps, take a minute to stop, breathe, and cool down slightly before continuing at a slower pace.

3. Keep Exposed Skin To A Minimum

Even if you are exerting a lot of energy in climbing the goddamn mountain and have taken off most of your layers, in negative temperatures it is still possible to develop frost nip without realizing it.

You will really start to feel this in temperatures below -15 ° C (5 °F). When your skin is exposed to the cold, it will start to go red and may get painful.

Make sure to have a long sleeve top and bottoms as well as gloves and buff at the minimum. If you feel any of your exposed skin starting to burn, cover it up.

4. Pay Attention to Your Body

As I have already mentioned about sweating, in extremely cold weather the key is to get ahead of the problem. In the same way, you should remove layers or slow down BEFORE you sweat, you should add layers and/or get moving at the very first signs of getting cold.

If you’re like me, in cold temperatures you might lose circulation to your fingers and toes. If you’ve ever had this happen to you, you’ll know that there’s no going back quickly. When you do eventually get inside it is a very slow and painful experience to warm up your extremities.

Learn which parts of your body get coldest quickest and make sure to adjust your clothing or activity as soon as the signs start showing.

5. Act Quickly

purple sunrise over snow covered mountains with a person on skis in the distance. Winter adventure Tips

You may be sensing a bit of a theme here with the whole, be prepared, and pre-empt changes in your body temperature. Keeping in line with all of this is to act fast.

This is applicable to your reaction when you notice yourself starting to sweat or cool down, but also when you take a longer break or reach the top and are preparing for the descent.

As soon as you stop for a break or when you reach the summit before you do anything else, start to put on some more layers. There’s nothing worse than being freezing cold and having to unzip your shell to add mid-layers underneath.

If it is really cold, limit your stationary time at the top, pack away your skins or do whatever you have to do to get ready for the descent, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Of course, you probably want to spend a little time up there to appreciate the surroundings as a reward for your efforts, but as soon as you start to feel your body temperature drop, be ready to get moving again!

6. Remember To Drink Water

girl smiling whilst ski touring in the sunshine. Showing some winter adventure tips.

Even though we are trying to avoid sweating and you are in a cold environment, your body needs just as much water to function.

In winter, many of us often forget to drink water, I’m certainly guilty of this.

The trick is to make your water as accessible as possible and take a sip every time you stop or pause.

I’ve found using a water bladder is the best way to ensure that I continue to drink water, even in winter.

Just remember to get an insulated tube cover or to drain the water from the hose after you have finished drinking to prevent it from freezing.

You can easily do this by holding the hose above your head and squeezing the nozzle until the water runs back into the bladder. It’s also a good idea to tuck the nozzle into a pocket if you can, to prevent it from also freezing.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hiking in Winter

How do you keep warm on a winter hike?

To keep warm on a winter hike make sure you know how to use layered clothing to maintain a good body temperature for your level of activity. Don’t stop for too long, avoid sweating as much as possible and wear good socks!

What are the best tips for winter adventures?

Drink lots of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty, layer your clothing for warmth, be prepared and listen to your body if you are hot, cold or exhausted.

Is it safe to go hiking in the cold?

Yes, it’s safe to go hiking in the cold if you take proper precautions, wear the appropriate clothing and have the knowledge to safely traverse through snow and potential avalanche country.

What are some activities I can do outside in winter?

There are many winter outdoor activities you can enjoy such as skiing (downhill, ski touring or cross country), hiking or snowshoeing, sledding, fat biking and much more!

There you have it, my top 6 winter adventure tips for hiking, skiing or snowshoeing!

Drop a comment below if you found this post helpful or if you have any questions for me. If you’re keen to learn how to properly use layered clothing to stay warm, check out all my secrets to the art of layering here. Hit subscribe if you don’t want to miss it and have it sent straight to your inbox. 🙂

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Helpful Resources - My favorite place to find the perfect hotel for any budget and location with lots of filters to easily narrow it down to a select few. - Another great place to find a hotel with specific requirements for your trip.
Agoda - Best for booking hotels in Asia. Has options worldwide however in Asia it seems to have the most options of all the booking sites.
Hostelworld - Perfect for backpackers, Hostelworld is my go-to to find dorm rooms and cheap, social accommodation options.
Rental Cars - My preferred place to find rental cars at great prices around the world.
Discover Car Hire - Another option to compare rental car companies and providers worldwide.
Sixt - Previously “Thrifty” car rentals.
Europcar - Offers car and van hire around the world.
AutoEurope - Best place to find RV’s to rent for your trip.
Paul Camper - Rent campervans directly from their owners at reduced prices.
Get Your Guide - My preference for finding and comparing city tours, day trips and attractions around the world.
Viator - Preferred by US providers so sometimes has a bigger range of activities in select locations.
Klook - Most popular in Asia, you will find a bigger range of attractions and tours in the region of Asia on Klook.
Civitatis - Specializing in European Cities. Although it provides tours worldwide, always check here for additional options if visiting Europe.
HeadOut - Best place to find discounted attraction tickets.
Tiqets - Offers a lot of combo tickets. Make sure to visit if you are planning on visiting a few iconic attractions within a city.
Tripaneer - Where to go if you want to book retreats of any kind (yoga, cycling, outdoors etc).
Guru Walks - Book your spot on a free walking tour.
G Adventure - Lets you compare multi day tours around the world to pick the right itinerary for you.
Cruise Critic - Check out the different cruise options for long or short trips world wide.
Cruise Direct - Another option for comparing and booking cruises for your trip.
Backcountry - The best place to buy quality specialized gear that will last you for years of adventures.
Helly Hanson - Norwegian based clothing brand which produces durable outdoor clothing, particularly ski gear.
The North Face - High quality clothing for all your outdoor adventure needs.
Decathlon - Has a great range of cheap equipment and clothing for a huge range of sports and outdoor activities.
Sport Chek - Everything you need for general sports and outdoor adventures under one roof (or website).
Skyscanner - My preferred place to compare and find the cheapest flights to different destinations around the world.
Kiwi - Best platform for comparing different routes and dates.
Flixbus - Cheapest bus service mostly serving Europe but available in a few other destinations.
Greyhound - US long distance bus transport service.
Busbud - Compare and find all the bus times and providers for your chosen route.
Trainline - Find train times and tickets for long distance travel around the world.
Save a train - Another place to get train tickets and compare services for your destination.
Welcome Pickups - Pre book your airport transfer to your hotel.
Get Transfer - Another option to find airport transfers within your destination city.
Kiwi Taxi - Find and pre-book a taxi service in your location (including airport transfers).
World Nomads - Great comprehensive worldwide travel insurance for adventure travel.
SafetyWing - Best for digital nomads, offers ongoing monthly travel insurance plans.
Bonzah - Rental car insurance. Cheaper plans than those offered by the rental car companies themselves.

Kate is the outdoor loving, mountain obsessed creator behind Since the age of 18 she has travelled to 50+ countries in search of the tallest peaks, new cultures, and the most off the track experiences possible. With over 10 years of adventures under her belt, Kate is dedicated to sharing all her experience through this website, helping you to plan your own trips and experience the world, no matter your budget!

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