By Laura Wilmot.
Fall is drawing to a close and with it the go-to season for many for hiking. Today, I want to share with you some equipment that will make you want to extend your hiking season all winter long.
Of course, with the onset of winter comes many other activities, we look forward to cross-country skiing, cross-country skiing and skating, among others. However, I also like to explore my favorite trails in a completely different setting when the snow is appearing. Today I offer you some "musts" for your outings!
Okay, let's name the elephant in the room right away…. the crampons! There are several schools of thought regarding the famous crampons. Personally, I would not do without it! It allows me to go hiking anytime. I did Dome Mountain in January last year, and I honestly think without my crampons I wouldn't have made it to the top.
Here are my favorites, on sale everywhere, to help you feel comfortable and secure all winter long: https://www.sail.ca/en/hillsound-trail-crampon-hikings-cleats-395095
Here are some basic notions in order to fully enjoy your winter hikes:
In my opinion, the key is the multilayer. Winter conditions can really vary, a hike at -30 and a hike with a mild 0, it's not the same "game" at all. The intensity at which you want to do your activity will also have an impact. So prioritize pieces that you can either remove or put on easily (the onion technique).
For my part, my diapers look like:
- long sleeve sports sweater
-a merino wool sweater (merino wool does not absorb odors, so it's a pretty nifty investment to make)
-windbreaker (https://petitmontagnard.ca/collections/coupe-vent-grand-montagnard) .
You might get cold for the first few minutes of your hike, but you'll warm up pretty quickly trust me. Then when it's colder, I have my zipped puffer jacket in my backpack that I put on once at the top, because as soon as you stop moving + the wind factor, you cool down quickly.
As for the lower body, I always have winter leggings for cooler days and more athletic hikes. When we go for longer periods, I add small waterproof winter pants, in addition to being windproof and therefore warm the parts of the legs which cool down more quickly. At the socks, I also suggest merino wool socks.
To keep your head warm, a headband is perfect (hello Petit Montagnard headbands) or even a toque, again I would say depending on the intensity level.
- The mountain pass is a Must if it is cold at the Summit. Your head, your neck, your face stays warm!
Finally, I always have a spare kit in the car so that I can change my clothes at the end and keep me warm and dry. - your favorite little mountain dweller waiting for you in the car !!
My personal touch: I always have a small burner in my backpack, enough to make a hot chocolate once at the top or a soup to warm up when I get back to the car! It depends on whether you are a sweet or savory team;)
Have a good winter hike :)