Hiking boots with ankle support
The most important piece of equipment for any mountain adventure throughout the year is a pair of sturdy and waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support. These will prevent you from slipping or twisting your ankle.
If you are going to be in an area where the weather changes between thawing and freezing, thus leading to a lot of icy surfaces, you might benefit from a set of light crampons, which provides some more grip on slippery surfaces.
Waterproof trousers and jacket
Even though you are hoping for crisp and clear days, it is always a good idea to bring a waterproof outer layer for your winter adventure – especially if you are planning to go into the mountains or to go skiing or snowboarding. This is to prevent your clothes from getting wet if the weather changes to rain, or if you find yourself rolling around in the snow after falling over while skiing.
Wearing lots of thin layers in winter has several advantages. Firstly, air gets trapped between the different layers and insulated you from the cold. Secondly, by wearing multiple thin layers, you have got the option to take of one or more layers as you get warmer throughout the day. Lastly, wearing several thin layers gives you the ability to configure your clothing so it transports moisture away from the body thus preventing you from getting cold if you have to stand still.
Warm hat and gloves
Because the temperature is not always the same, our bodies have developed a mechanism that allows for it to adjust the temperature. During summer, when the air is warmer than your body, the evaporation of sweat helps it with cooling down. In winter, the body adjusts by squeezing blood vessels near the surface tight, so blood is kept deeper inside the body. The only place where this does not happen is the head, as the brain needs a steady supply of blood. Therefore, the brain, the heart and other important organs stay warm at the cost of your fingers and toes.
This means that a pair of warm gloves is essential to avoid frostbites on your fingers during winter. A warm hat can also help with keeping you nice and warm, as you could potentially lose up to 50% of your body heat if your head is uncovered.
Contrary to what you might think, the sun is not less harmful in winter. In fact, up to 80% of UV rays are reflected on the snow, so your skin is not only exposed to the UV rays which comes from the sky. This also goes for cloudy days, as a large portion of UV rays can get through the clouds. This means, that it is necessary to remember to protect yourself from the sun in winter and to use both sun cream and sunglasses.
It is easy to forget to drink water during your winter adventures. And even though it might be tempting to use snow for hydrating, it is just as important to bring plenty of water in winter as it is in summer to avoid dehydration. In the colder winter temperatures, the loss of water through sweat is not necessarily as obvious as in summer, but is should not be ignored.
It is important to remember that being thirsty is not the only sign of dehydration, so keeping up with fluids is the best option to stay away from unwanted winter dehydration.