As someone who avoids the cold at all costs, I am fascinated not only by travelers who brave the negative degree weather, but especially those who actually seek it out and know how to efficiently and comfortably pack for such ventures.
My interest was sparked today when my multiple daydreams collided. My constant stream of subconscious travel plans mixed with holiday shopping checklists and memories of my one white Christmas led me to wonder about the lifestyle of winter backpackers. I did some research. eakWhen we asked our facebook fans and twitter followers how they pack light for heavy weather, the number one response was layering. This concept is key and may seem obvious. However, I was blown away by all the strategy involved. (Excuse my ignorance. I am still getting used to the practice of wearing scarves.)
Apparently cotton is the worst material to wear in cold/wet situations whereas wool and synthetic materials are favorable. Did you know over half your body heat can be lost through your head?! Anything to cover you up top will significantly keep you cozy everywhere else. And how easy is it to pack a beanie? Or better yet, a multi-functional balaclava? Too many socks can be counterproductive in that it may cut off blood flow. Find more of these helpful facts at www.backpacking.net.
If you’re a traveling snowboarder like Seth who commented on our facebook page, he advises getting boots that are for both hiking and boarding (and to wear them unlaced to the airport). To save some cash and still get good quality equipment, rent in town rather than on the slopes.
My search for enlightenment ended when I came across The Heliconia Press’s Winter Backpacking Guide. Any questions or concerns you may have about hiking, camping, surviving in the snow will be answered in this comprehensive guidebook. Layer your layers into categories. Learn more about stabilizer straps. Anything from winter nutrition and eating right to what type of backpack is best suited for your travels, you’ll find it all here.
I don’t know if you’ll see me backpacking through the Swiss Alps anytime soon, but at least now I feel like I could… maybe. Brrrrrrrr.
Happy holidays Trippers! Trip safe and bundle up!