What to Wear Hiking in Winter to Stay Warm & Safe - FITS®

January 05, 2023

Winter is here, and it’s time to get out and explore the great outdoors. There are so many beautiful places waiting to be discovered, but if you’re planning on hiking in the winter, you need to make sure you have the right winter hiking gear. Knowing what to wear hiking in winter can be the difference between an enjoyable adventure and a potentially dangerous one. Keep reading to learn what to wear hiking in winter and find helpful tips for staying warm and keeping safe while hitting the trails this season. 

Layer Up for Comfort and Protection

The key to staying warm when hiking in cold weather is knowing what to wear hiking in winter. First things first, layer up for comfort and protection. Choose close-fitting clothes that won’t restrict your movement or cause you to overheat, but not too tight, as this can cause discomfort or chafing. Moisture-wicking layers made from wool or synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon are best because these materials will help keep sweat away from your skin and keep you warm even when wet. 

Base Layer Winter Hiking Gear

The most important element of winter hiking gear is your first layer, known as the base layer. This includes pants and a long-sleeve shirt made of thin, lightweight fabric–either merino wool or synthetic fibers to keep you warm and dry. Your base layer should offer good breathability as well as moisture-wicking capabilities to keep you from getting too cold or hot even when temperatures fluctuate.

Mid Layer Winter Hiking Gear

When it comes to a middle layer, look for breathable fabrics that insulate heat yet wick away sweat, such as fleece or wool. Be sure to pick mid layer clothes that fit snugly enough that they don’t trap cold air between layers but aren't constrictive.

Outer Layer Winter Hiking Gear

Opt for a jacket or parka made from a waterproof and windproof material for your outer layer of winter hiking gear. Layering can help keep you warm while still allowing ventilation, while a rain shell can protect against moisture and cold winds. Along with this, consider selecting apparel such as gloves and trousers that will retain warmth even when wet. Finally, don't forget to bring an extra pair of insulating socks so you can stay dry and comfortable on your adventure!

Choose the Right Footwear

When it comes to what to wear hiking in winter, the proper footwear is essential so that your feet stay warm and dry while out in the cold. Choose waterproof shoes with good traction. If possible, opt for insulated boots that provide extra warmth without sacrificing breathability. This is especially important if you plan on doing any snowshoeing during your hike. Lastly, ensure that your laces are securely tied, so they don’t come undone while walking on slippery terrain.

Don’t Skimp on Hiking Socks 

Wool hiking socks are an absolute must-have for any outdoor adventurer looking to take on cold temperatures and slippery terrain. Not only are they antimicrobial and odor resistant, so your feet won't stink after a long day on the trail, but they're also incredibly durable, breathable, elastic, and moisture-wicking–so sweaty feet won't ruin your trip either. With a good pair of wool hiking socks keeping your feet warm, you’ll be able to brave the cold, no matter how low the temperature drops. Don’t skimp on your socks–shop for men's hiking socks and women's hiking socks to prepare for your next cold-weather adventure.

Winter Hiking Gear Accessories

Layering is essential for winter hiking, as is ensuring your feet are bundled up and protected from the elements with wool socks and waterproof hiking boots. But before you head out on your hike, make sure you have all the right winter hiking gear accessories too. Beanies or headbands are essential for keeping your ears warm, while a neck gaiter is an added layer of insulation. Don’t forget to grab some polarized sunglasses; they will brighten up your environment and allow you to enjoy incredible views with crystal-clear quality. Last but not least, don’t go outside without gloves or mittens. Keeping your hands warm and safe during harsh winter conditions is essential to a fun and successful winter hike.

Pack an Emergency Kit

Even with the best winter hiking gear, accidents can happen while out in nature which is why it’s always a good idea to pack an emergency kit just in case. This should include items like a first aid kit, matches or a lighter for starting fires, a small knife for cutting rope or branches, a map of the area (in case you get lost without cell service), and enough food and water to last at least 24 hours. Having an emergency kit handy can help give you peace of mind knowing you’re prepared for any unexpected situations that may arise during your hike.  

Experience Comfort and Performance No Matter the Path with FITS Socks for Winter Hikes

Being prepared with the right winter hiking gear is essential when it comes to cold-weather treks. And FITS socks are the answer to comfort and performance when tackling the most challenging mountain trails in winter. These specialized socks are tailored with advanced technologies that provide a perfect fit, maximum cushioning and breathability, balanced temperature regulation, and tough anti-blister protection whether you're scaling Mt. Shasta or a moderate trail near your home. Know that whenever you're out on the trail this winter, FITS socks will be there to give you what you need: superb comfort during long hikes and exceptional performance on difficult terrain. 

Whether you're tackling snowy mountains or exploring icy forests this season, layer up properly, choose wool socks and footwear with a good grip, and bring along an emergency kit. With FITS, you can explore paths of all types with confidence! Shop our selection of top-quality wool socks and experience comfort and performance in the best winter hiking gear.