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Winter long-distance hiker Emily Ford loves the fourth season. She and her Alaskan husky, Diggins, have accomplished thru-hikes throughout the coldest months of the yr, together with the 1,200-mile Ice Age Path in Wisconsin. She makes the case for attempting winter treks. Take heed to the podcast or learn on for her gear suggestions and different suggestions.

Podcast Transcript

Once I discuss to folks about mountain climbing in winter, the principle response I get is, “However it’s so chilly!” It is chilly, however that’s the good half about it. Chilly means no mosquitoes. There will not be as many individuals on the paths. Lakes freeze and you’ll primarily stroll on water—or skate, play broomball or hockey, and even fish in the course of the lake and not using a boat.  

You may construct shelters out of snow. You may convey completely different meals in your expeditions as a result of they by no means go dangerous. And heat sleeping baggage are even cozier; I sleep so effectively out on the snow. 

The sky is tremendous clear as a result of it’s chilly exterior, and in lots of locations, winter is an excellent time to see the northern lights. The record goes on ceaselessly. It’s so good.   

Emily Ford

Gear Up Like Emily

As an individual who grew up within the throes of Minnesota winters, I’ve all the time liked this season.  Through the years, I’ve compiled suggestions for layering and a gear record to assist me keep heat.  

I attempt to dwell by the runner’s mantra “costume for mile 2.” It’s OK to be chilly firstly. You don’t need to be frigid and unbearably sad whereas winter mountain climbing, however a wee bit chilly is sweet. The purpose of understanding our layers and the way our our bodies do within the chilly is in order that we don’t overheat and sweat. Sweat shortly turns chilly and might ship you into hypothermia with out you even understanding. So, as quickly as you are feeling sweaty, both take off a layer, open a vent or expose your neck or wrists. Modify the next record per how your physique heats as it’s shifting.

Base Layer

The aim within the winter is to be like a fantastically layered butter biscuit. You need a bunch of skinny layers (the dough) with warmth trapped in between (the butter).  You may select any model of base layers right here. I select ones that individuals give to me as items, or no matter is already in my closet. For those who are likely to get chilly simply, two skinny base layers on the underside or one thicker layer is all the time a good suggestion. By no means be afraid to double up.


The palms are just like the toes in that they differ for each particular person in how a lot they sweat. I hardly ever run with gloves. My palms are too chilly and delicate for me to not have my fingers touching one another for gathered physique warmth. Listed here are my go-tos:

Skinny, crappy “one measurement suits all” gloves: These are often cotton, however they’re simply sufficient to maintain the warmth in on a hotter day. They’re additionally a pleasant further layer inside a mitten.

  • Manzella mittens: I like my skinny, fleece-lined mittens to the moon and again. They block the wind, however the materials additionally breathes so that you don’t get too sweaty.
  • Hestra leather-based mittens with wool liner: Also called “choppers” within the Midwest. These are good and heat! A perk is that the liner can come out with the intention to use the leather-based mitten as a shell layer or only a wind-protective layer.
  • Helly Hansen mittens: Extremely heat, no liner, good for a very, actually chilly day.
  • Black Diamond shell mitten. These are good with a skinny layer beneath to maintain the wind off, or as an additional heat-trapping layer with thicker mittens. Don’t let the skinny design deceive you.

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