Packing for winter day hiking trips can vary from how you would normally pack for a couple hours in the mountains. Winter hiking has different dangers than summer/spring hiking trips. If you are planning a winter Rocky Mountain hiking trip then you need to make sure that your backpack is well stocked. Uncommon weather patterns have been known to plague the Rocky Mountains. Packing for the improbable may be exactly the advice needed. Visit Kirk’s Mountain Adventures to sign up for an expert guided hiking trip in Estes Park!
First, you should dress in layers. Check the weather and prepare for that temperature at the start of your hike. The Rocky Mountains have been known to have extreme temperature fluctuations at different altitudes. Dressing in layers will give you an insulating layer that can help with body temperature regulation. Hypothermia can set in quickly if an individual is improperly dressed. Hypothermia can also be an issue if winds are especially high. Start with a pair of winter silk leggings, long sleeve silk shirt, and thick winter-weather wool socks. Layer long (waterproof) pants and long sleeve shirts over your silks. Never forget your fleece and waterproof outerwear. Never neglect your feet, hands, or ears. Pack an extra pair of thick wool socks, extra gloves, as well as an insulated coat.
Second, do not try for a summer hike. This is a simple way to say “be reasonable.” Winter conditions can mean that the hikes you are use to completing in the summer are not possible in the winter. Winter days are also shorter so start your hikes earlier. Choose a shorter hike that is less difficult. Remember, hydration is still necessary even in cold weather!