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Walking in Winter

Staying dry and warm on a winter bushwalk can be challenging. Here are some seasonal reminders to make sure that you’re equipped with the right clothing, gear, food and knowledge to help you deal with whatever the weather throws at you.

  • Carry and wear suitable clothing to protect yourself from cold temperatures, particularly when combined with rain and wind.
  • Use layering under waterproof gear, but avoid wearing too many clothes, or you may become wet from perspiration and condensation.
  • Ensure a regular intake of high-calorie food and drink. Do not drink alcohol, which accelerates heat loss.
  • On overnight walks, be self-sufficient: you should not rely on reaching mountain huts for shelter.
  • Prevent physical exhaustion: walk within your party’s capabilities.
  • Know how to recognise and treat hypothermia. Be aware of its early signs; take into account that long stops, or immobilisation due to injury, increase susceptibility.
  • Take particular care when walking with more susceptible people, such as young children, slightly-built or less fit individuals.

The Bushwalking Manual provides excellent, detailed information and advice on how to keep warm in adverse conditions and the recognition and management of cold-related illnesses such as hypothermia and frostbite. If you love the high mountains in winter, there are sections on snowshoeing, ski-touring (or ‘bushwalking on skis’) and snow camping – this includes instructions and safety considerations for pitching tents on snow, and building snow caves and igloos.

Image: Border BC