What to Wear when Cold Weather Hiking

Why not try a bit of cold weather hiking? After all, we all love getting outside and enjoying the beauty of nature, no matter what time year it is. Those of us with a bit of drive and enthusiasm will be out there playing in the hills one way or another, and in order for us to enjoy the outdoors all year round we need to make sure we dress appropriately for the climate.

If there’s one thing most Hikers do agree on, it’s that as long as you are properly prepared, you can go out at anytime of the year and in any weather conditions.

Cold Weather Camping

Stay Dry

It’s important to stay dry and also that you don’t overheat, even in the cold. So your target when outdoors should be to stay dry and cool but not cold.

Below are a few suggestions for what to wear in order to stay warm and dry without overheating when Hiking or Camping in cold weather environments:

Wear waterproof and breathable boots

These are absolutely crucial for cold weather hiking. Hike in a pair that are comfortable, broken-in, and at least ankle height. They can be insulated or not, the choice is yours, and could depend very much on your budget. You can always build up insulation layers using socks and sock liners, so don’t worry too much about the type of boots as long as they are suitable for Hiking. What is important is that your boots are able to keep your feet dry. There will be times during your hike when you’re likely to be ankle deep in water, so waterproof footwear is extremely useful.

Not sure where to look? Luckily RunRepeat.com have done the hard work for you with their post featuring the 10 Best Waterproof Hiking Boots in 2022

Wear Quick Drying Clothes

The term “Micro Fibre” is used in many brands of athletic clothing, all designed to draw the moisture or perspiration away from your body. Remember that an essential factor in being comfortable when cold weather hiking in cold weather is staying dry. Wear “Quick Drying” clothes that you can wear closest to your skin. You can then further layer with wool or similar material clothes which help draw moisture away from the body and also insulate against the cold. Stay away from cotton if possible as it absorbs moisture and holds it in like a sponge. We recommend to wear several layers of light clothing rather than a single bulky layer.


Bring a Backpack/Rucksack with lots of room for your extra clothing, drinks, food, etc. Make sure that it has lots of stowage straps too. A daypack is not recommended for cold weather hiking, these are generally more suited to warm weather hiking when you need to carry less safety equipment. Make sure that your backpack can be strapped in securely but comfortably to your body, in order to avoid constant movement and readjustment.

A Nylon Shell

Preferably lightweight, with a hood. It’s also called a windbreaker, since it deflects the wind too. It should also be breathable and waterproof, which allows moisture to escape from your body during cold weather hiking trips.

Hats, Gloves and/or Mittens

If possible, bring gloves with separate liners. A lot of hikers like hand warmers which can be bought at any good outdoors store. For hats, choose one that covers your ears too. Remember a high amount of your body heat is expelled through the head during cold weather hiking. Some people use scarves or balaclavas, but a nylon shell or windbreaker mentioned earlier will also work at covering your neck area.


Gaiters fit around the bottom part of your legs and partially cover your feet and boots. They are almost always waterproof too. They are used to keep your feet from getting wet and cold by preventing snow or water from getting inside the top of your boots when cold weather hiking. They also help in keeping the bottom of your trouser legs dry. Knee-high gaiters are the most suitable type.

Ice Cleats

If you are taking Ice Cleats with you, remember to get a pair with short cleats. Long cleats are definitely overkill in this country 90% of the time, unless you are planning on going mountaineering in extreme icy conditions. Cleats that are too long will make walking very awkward and will generally deteriorate and fall apart before long.


Generally, you don’t have to spend a lot of money when equipping yourself for cold weather hiking. With that said, you’re usually better off spending just a little more money to buy better high quality equipment that will last.

Certainly, never scrimp on your boots. Think about your hiking equipment as an investment in your wellbeing and as a type of insurance for your health, safety, and fitness.