Tips for better Winter Walking
Check your Gear
Winter is hard on your body and hard on your gear so before you pull that down jacket off the hanger and dust off those winter boots make sure are they are fit for purpose. Give any down products a fluff up in the tumble dryer and check that your boots have not suffered in storage make sure they are proofed and clean ready to go. Decent preparation is key for any time of the year start making it a habit before a day out on the hills.
A bigger rucksack
More warm kit means you need more room to store it try a slightly bigger pack to accommodate it all. Spare gloves, hat, winter mitts and a cosy down jacket you will need the room and nothing give a boost to your morale more than pulling a big warm jacket out of your bag while you light your stove for a brew. Also the room is needed for all those extra calories try to pick stuff that will still be edible when frozen, frozen solid cheese sandwich? not for me thanks.
People who say they don’t like warm drinks have never been really cold. So if you are one of those people ignore what you feel like drinking sat in your living room and imagine what you want to drink when you are freezing cold and the heat and comfort of home are miles away the only thing you have is a stove or flask for a warm drink. For me it’s almost always a stove but when I do carry a flask it’s always wrapped up in my warm gear in my bag so when I stop I can get them both out and the flask also gets a little extra insulation. If you are carrying water on the outside of your pack and the temp dips below freezing keep your water bottle upside down this will prevent ice blocking the mouth piece as ice will usually start first at the surface.
Check the weather
It’s cold its winter we know that! but how cold? How wet? What do you need to pack? How much daylight have you got? All the information is at your finger tips and there are some great apps to help you get the conditions anytime you need them.
Try http://www.metoffice.co.uk who also have a handy phone app or http://www.mwis.org.uk that lets you down load forecasts to you phone both are free and very handy.
Pay attention to the details
The small things we can often forget can add up to a big problem down the line, bits of kit like lip balm face cream, good sunglasses or a set of goggles are always welcome or that all important spanner to adjust your crampons when using them the first time after lending them to a mate. Things like wet gloves can be a nightmare so packing those extra pairs is always worth it. Maybe a spare battery for your phone as the cold runs them down fast. Its these little tips and hacks that make hard conditions more bearable remember if you are not prepared the cold can be a brutal master so be smart and prepare well. .
If you have any tips or hacks for better winter walking please feel free to comment below otherwise i hope you found this helpful and have a great winter and stay safe on the fells and mountains