I don’t think there is anything better than getting wrapped up and going out for a walk in the wintertime… I love getting out of my centrally heated house and blowing the cobwebs away with a long walk in the fresh air! And the countryside looks just as beautiful in winter as it does in summer… and probably even more so with a covering of snow!
The key thing to remember if you are planning on going out walking in the countryside in winter is to ALWAYS check the weather forecast before you leave the house. If the weather looks too bad, then don’t go out – it’s just not worth it!
And make sure you have good winter walking gear – going out wearing the wrong clothing/with the wrong kit can be dangerous, particularly if you are going walking in the mountains. If you don’t know what you should be wearing or what kit you need for your walk, you probably should wait for the weather to improve before going out!
But if you do decide to head out walking in the winter, make sure that you are prepared for ALL eventualities… the weather in winter can change very rapidly (particularly high up in the mountains) and can make any walk much more tricky if you don’t have the correct experience or kit to deal with it.
So here are my suggestions for basic winter kit for your backpack:
- Line your pack with either a dry sack or a bin liner to keep all the contents dry – and particularly any electronic devices!
- Plenty of food and drink (including lots of snacks and a flask of something hot to warm you up)
- Spare layers of clothing to put on if the temperature drops
- Hat and waterproof gloves
- Waterproof jacket and trousers
- Sunglasses/goggles (bear in mind that googles are more use if it starts snowing heavily)
- Mobile phone (make sure it’s charged, but bear in mind that you may not always have a signal so don’t rely on it too much!)
- Map, map case and compass (and make sure you know how to use them)
- Whistle (for attracting attention in an emergency)
- First aid kit (including plasters in case of blisters)
- Medication (if required)
- Survival bag (these are reasonably cheap to buy and take up very little space in your backpack – and they could save your life!)
- Torch/headtorch (light conditions can change very quickly in winter and you don’t want to be stuck up a mountain in the pitch black! A torch can also be used to attract attention in low/poor light)
- Crampons, helmet and ice axe (if conditions merit them AND you are experienced in using them)
Whilst you don’t want to be carrying a heavy pack, don’t leave items you may need out just because the weather is good when you set off… you just never know what might happen later on in the day!
So get out there and enjoy the countryside whatever the weather – but remember to always put the safety of yourself and your party first! I have a blog post coming soon on tips for walking in winter, so make sure you check it out!
Do you like to get out walking in winter or do you try and hibernate for a few months until he weather improves!? Is there anything you always take with you in your backpack that I’ve forgotten? Let me know…