Winter Hiking in The North
Gearing Up For Your Hike
Not much says Canada more than a crisp, snowy hike through an evergreen treed forest on a lovely winter’s day! The secret to enjoying your time in Manitoba’s North is to go out prepared for the weather and the duration of your adventure. With temperatures that can dip well below -40˚C, thinking about warmth and safety is paramount.
Safety: Something often overlooked when hiking in our area of beautiful, untouched wilderness are the pockets where cellular service is not available. It's wise to download your route to your device (or use an old fashioned paper map). Let someone know of your plans, where you're going and how long you expect to be gone so that they know to look for you if you don't return as expected.
When spending any extended time in the outdoors during the winter months make sure you have the essentials like a warm and waterproof jacket, footwear, gloves or mitts and headcovering of some fashion. Enjoy your adventure and remember to use the #DiscoverThePasOCN in all your social media posts so we can keep up with all the fun too!
LAYERS, LAYERS, LAYERS!
Another important part of winter hiking preparation is your clothing; layers are the key! Believe it or not, you can overdress just as easily as you can underdress for a hike. Having the option to take a layer off or open a jacket will help keep you comfortable. Here are a few clothing tips that can help you get the most from your winter hikes here in the north.
The Base LayerThis is the layer closest to your skin and should be snug fitting and made of a material designed to pull moisture away from your body, such as merino wool, polypropylene or other synthetic sport material. The thickness of this layer depends on how cold it is or how cold you tend to get. This goes much the same for both tops, bottoms and socks.
The Mid LayerDesigned to help pull moisture away further, the mid-layer of clothing is often made from a fleece material, tight fitting but not snug. It will also serve to help keep you warm.
The Insulation LayerMany people like a down (or synthetic down) filled jacket that will offer a lot of warmth without being too bulky. This will protect you from the cold. Though warm and often weatherproof, a winter “parka” might be too warm for this type of physical activity.
The Shell LayerJust as it sounds, this outer layer is lightweight, waterproof and breathable, made from materials such as Gortex. A nice feature in a shell is to have armpit vents that zip open if you get hot to help create airflow. For your bottoms, many people chose a light-weight insulating pant that are also waterproof and if they too have vents then you are well set for your winter hiking; protected & warm!
Do's and Don'ts
Do: check the weather before heading out
Don’t: hike in the dark
Do: wear a toque, buff or neck warmer and mitts (bring an extra pair)
Don’t: wear cotton (even for your undergarments) as it loses insulation properties when damp
Do: keep moving to stay warm
Don’t: work up a sweat or you’ll get chilled
Do: snack on nutrient rich foods like trail mix, cheese or jerky
Don’t: bring fresh fruits or veggies as they will freeze in colder temps
Other Useful Gear
- Insulated Hiking Boots
- Buff, Toque, Face Mask
- Hiking Poles, Walking Stick
- Sun Glasses, SPF (snow can be very bright)
- Maps or GPS (downloaded to device)
- Mitts or Gloves (pack extra)
- Water Bottle
- Extra Socks
- First Aid kit (even a simple one)
- Snacks (ones that won't freeze)
- Head Lamp, Flashlight & a Lighter