Prepare to enjoy the Winter:
Gaining the confidence to feel you are ready to go on a winter hike in NH can sometimes feel like a daunting task, but we promise it is not as bad as it seems. Below we will outline some winter hiking equipment recommendations and simple tips to help build your confidence. Winter hikes can be breathtaking with the pristine scenery, and with a little courage you can get yourself out of that typical winter hibernation mode and onward to better things.
Typical Day Hike:
Weather: Check the weather. As a general principle if it’s blizzard like conditions or wind of above 20 mph you may want to reconsider heading out that day.
Hiking Boots: A good pair of boots is key for hiking. Mark and I have the following boots and we love them! Seriously, the Ahnu Woman’s boots have been the most comfortable boots I have ever owned and Mark loves his Oboz!
Mark’s Boots Bridgette’s Boots
Crampons: Crampons are clutch with winter hiking. Giving you that extra traction when the trails are slick.
Snowshoes: If the snow is deep, you’re going to want some snowshoes to keep you up on the trail so your not constantly falling into deep snow. If you are looking for a good pair here are what we use and recommend.
Mark’s Snowshoes Bridgette’s Snowshoes
Other Footwear Items you may want to consider: foot warmers, extra socks
Clothes: Baselayer (Merino wool pants and undershirt), dry post hike clothes, LAYERS. Bring extra clothes to change into once you finish your hike. Staying dry will keep you warm.
Hands: Gloves, poles, and hand warmers. We typically wear light gloves with a high level of dexterity under our heavy gloves. This will help you if you need to grab something out of your bag.
Head: Bring a knit hat, most of your heat loss is through your head.
Water: Your blatter line will likely freeze so keep the line against your body or in your bag. Sometimes we fill our bladders up with warm water prior to leaving for the day.
Food: We typically bring nuts, jerky and some cheese. A sandwich is a great snack on the top of a peak.
Other: We typically like to bring some asprin, lighters, multi-tool, and head lamps.
A winter hike in the day can be breathtaking and a blast when you are prepared. We have had great experiences and been out there in 50+ MPH winds where we have had to turn around, it happens, know your limits and you will have a blast.
Day gear: Prepare the same way you would for a day hike, but add the following.
Bag: Ensure you bring some post hike clothes. If you are doing a second full day of hiking bring secondary pants and shirts.
Bed: Thick sleeping pad, well rated Sleeping bag & an additional sleeping sack for those extra cold nights.
Accommodations: If staying in a tent make sure you have a 4 season. The AMC huts in NH have great options to crash at in the winter and they can make a winter hike that much easier.
Food: You want foods with high calories and it is critical to stay well hydrated, your body is working hard, so make sure you feed it the proper way. We like Hot chocolate, dehydrated meals, nuts, jerky, cheese.
Other: MSR stove, lighters, headlamps, Asprin, toilette paper, and light shoes.
Winter overnights can be a blast if you have the gear and are prepared. The AMC huts typically will have hot water and potable drinking water which can greatly help keep your bag light. We have had a great time staying in the huts in the past and we continue to recommend those for first time overnighters to lifetimers.