Baby, it’s cold outside! This is awesome! No bugs! No spider webs! The poison ivy and brush is dead! Winter is also a great time to spot wildlife. Without the leaves on the trees, it’s easier to see wildlife. Eagles nest in the winter and are very active in Northeast Kansas.
We recommend dressing in layers for winter hiking. Start with a base layer of long johns or winter running tights with a long john shirt or winter compression shirt. Wear fleece, wool or synthetic poly blend fabrics. Wearing this layer of poly-blend fabrics close to your skin will keep you warm and wick any moisture away from your body. Cotton holds moisture and takes longer to dry it is NOT recommended.
Thick, cushioned socks: wool, polypropylene, or synthetic. You could consider a thin “liner” sock combined with medium to thick outer sock.
Follow your base layer with more layers, preferably more fleece! Finish with a wind/water resistant jacket on top and some wind resistant pants on the bottom – any pants will work but wind and water resistant are handy. Again, non-cotton fabrics – fleece, wool or synthetic poly-blend fabrics are best. They dry faster and move moisture away from your body.
We also suggest using hiking poles. Winter weather can create slippery spots and surprising places. If you know you will be hiking on an uneven trail, take your hiking poles to help you maintain balance on difficult sections.
Synthetic gloves or mittens – mittens are preferred for warmth. Wear a warm hat: fleece, wool or synthetic or possibly a head band that covers your ears. It’s also great to have something to cover your face, even a bandana helps.
It’s also handy to bring your backpack to put the layers into as you warm up along the trail! Depending on the distance you plan to hike, be sure to take water, snacks, a fully charged phone for emergencies and a friend!