What to Wear Hiking in Winter

What to Wear Hiking in Winter: Conquer the Cold

Are you planning to go winter hiking or snowshoeing and don’t know what to wear? We have put together an ultimate guide to help you choose the perfect hiking gear. From head to toe.

Hiking in winter is a lot of fun, but it can be a bit tricky if you don’t know what to wear. All you need to do is dress appropriately.

When it comes to clothes, layering is key. The weather can change quickly. So, it’s a good idea to be equipped. In this article, we will cover some of the basics and also some more advanced tips for what to wear hiking in winter.

Merino Protect Base layers are great as they can wicks moisture and dry quickly and great for winter

So let’s Start!

What to Wear When Hiking in Winter

When it comes to clothing, the most important thing is staying warm and dry and layering is key. Layers are important because they will allow you to adjust your clothing based on the temperature, as well as provide protection from the weather and wind.

What to Wear Hiking when in Winter

Merino Wool is a fantastic material for winter hiking and will keep you warm and dry. Merino Wool is also lightweight for its thickness, which makes it easy to carry, even on long hikes. At Merino Protect you can get all type of merino wool hiking clothes.

There are many different types of hiking gear for winter available on the market today, but it is important to know what type of hiking you are doing before choosing your gear. If you are going on a short hike with just one other person or partner like for snowboarding or skiing, then you could go with a lighter pack and wear less layers. However, if you are going on a long hike with multiple people or partners, then it would be best to bring more supplies and wear more layers so that everyone has enough room in their pack.


What to Wear Snowshoeing?

Skiing vs Snowboarding

Here are some great tips to help you have an enjoyable hike in winter.

Dressing in layers: It is essential to dress in layers. That will keep you both warm and dry. And it will be helpful in conditions where you need to take off and put on layers to feel cozy. Layering is a three-part system that contains a base layer, a mid-layer, and an outer shell.

Base Layer: (next-to-skin layer) Base layer is used to regulate your body temperature while also wicking the sweat. It hooks a thin layer of heat against your body. It’s extra important that you stay dry and warm rather than moist and cool. 

Base layer shirts: You can use lightweight or midweight long sleeve base layer shirts for this.

Base layer bottoms:  soft, affordable base layer bottoms can be worn alone or layered under a pair of waterproof trousers since they are composed of a comfortable polyester blend that expands while you trek.

Say no to cotton: as it holds onto moisture for a very long time. And it also loses its insulating properties when wet. Consider wool or synthetic whenever possible.

Insulating mid-layer: Is important to maintain your body heat. It traps the air close to your body and provides insulation. Common mid layers are down, synthetic down, or a light puffy jacket. Keep one thing in mind that down isn’t warm once it gets wet. You can also break the mid layer into two parts: a fleece and a light fluffy jacket. As your body temperature changes throughout your trip, you will have extra clothing to gradually remove.

Weatherproof/waterproof outer shell: You need a weatherproof and waterproof outer shell that will keep the  moisture out and block the wind. It will also aid in keeping the other layers of clothing dry.

Outer layer shell jacket: Look for a synthetic shell jacket that is waterproof, windproof, and breathable. It is made to keep out all the wind and rain.

Weatherproof shell pants: If it’s wet, windy, or too cold add a second layer of weatherproof shell pants on top of your next-to-skin base layer bottoms.

Check to see if your pants fit correctly: This is crucial! Snow will get inside your pants if they are ill-fitting or have holes, causing you to become internally frozen. Don’t spend money on pricey hiking pants. Simply because they look nice because you’ll have to replace them so quickly.

Always carry high quality outer layers: Although they can be expensive, it is always advisable to carry high-quality outer layers. Your normal raincoat can also be used. As long as you are wearing warm outer layers underneath, it will function even if it doesn’t provide as much wind protection as a winter shell.

Put on breathable clothing: When hiking, you don’t want your body temperature to reach your face, so make sure your apparel has airflow openings.

Covering the skin: Frostbite can happen to any area of skin that is exposed to cold temperatures and brisk winds. Give your fingers, toes, cheeks, ears, and nose extra attention.

Avoid Tight Gearing- make sure your clothes and gears fit well. Otherwise, they can cause poor circulation which can lead to frostbite.

The Essential Hiking Gear For Winter: 

The Essential Hiking Gear For Winter

  • Beanie: Pulling merino wool or synthetic hat on is always a good idea because we lose a fair amount of heat from our heads.
  • Earmuffs or headbands: are usually an excellent option to prevent the chilly air and sun from directly hitting your neck and face if your beanie doesn’t cover your ears.
  • Gloves/mittens: Going uphill causes your hands to get heated, and going downhill causes them to become chilly. It’s a good idea to wear fleece-lined gloves under waterproof shell mittens or shell gloves.
  • Sunglasses/ polarized: It’s crucial to shield your eyes from the dazzlingly white snow. Polarized sunglasses would be quite useful.
  • Hiking Socks: wear synthetic or merino wool socks that fit well. Carrying an extra pair of merino wool hiking socks is recommended.
  • Shoe gaiters: It’s worth considering a pair of gaiters, depending on how high your boots go and how high the snow is.
  • Microspikes or crampons: Hiking routes can be quite slippery, turning a relaxing winter trek into a trip to the hospital. Always consider buying a pair of microspikes. They are valuable to have in your backpack for icy and slippery circumstances.
  • Winter hiking boots/ waterproof boots: wanna turn winter hiking into a walk in the park? Try considering a pair of waterproof shoes. Make sure your shoes are durable enough to last through all types of weather conditions (rain, snow, mud). You don’t want anything that’s going to rip or break on your hike. You can also carry Merino Wool Shoes while hiking for comfortable walk.
  • Day pack/ rucksack: As crucial as any of your equipment is a daypack or rucksack. Yes, you need a backpack that is big enough to hold all of your belongings. Along with snacks, and a water bottle.
  • Insulated water bottle: The dry winter air can lead you to lose moisture through your breath even though you won’t be sweating. So carrying an insulating water bottle around is very useful.
  • Insulated food jar: This works well for stews and soups, chili mac, and any other warm food you wish to consume while hiking.

Hiking Essentials Other then Winter Equipment

You should pack the below-listed hiking essentials in addition to your winter hiking gear and equipment.

Fire: a weatherproof fire starter and dry tinder or possibly a lightweight stove 

Headlamp: fully charged and/or with a spare set of batteries 

Knife (or Multi-Tool): small utility blade or a multi-tool to assist with gear repair.

Bring a map, compass, GPS device or smartphone: These items can be helpful if you need to get back on track or find shelter quickly in the event of an emergency.

First Aid + Repair Kit: everything you need to fix yourself and your gear 

Sun Protection: Sunscreen, a gaiter, a broad-brimmed hat, and UPF

Emergency Shelter: may be as portable as an emergency bivy or space blanket.


We’ve all been there before: staring at our wardrobe with a slight sense of dread because we need to look our best for a big winter hiking trip. But you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard, so you need to figure out what to wear hiking in winter that’s going to make you look professional and polished, but also give you the protection you need to keep you warm and dry on the trail. 

What to Wear when Hiking in Winter 2

So we thought we’d put together a little guide to make things as easy as possible for you this winter. Always go for merino wool for hiking in winter. It is advised to avoid cotton as much as possible. Wearing breathable airy clothes will make your trekking more comfortable. 

Thank you for reading, we are always excited when one of our posts is able to provide useful information on a topic like this! If you have any questions or suggestions on what to wear hiking in winter, please leave a comment down below and we will do our best to help you out!


What should you not wear while hiking?

Cotton is one of the worst fabrics to wear while hiking. It absorbs water and stays wet for a long time. It’s better to wear synthetic or wool fabrics because they keep you warm even when they are wet. 

What kind of pants should I wear for cold weather hiking?

The best pair of pants for hiking in cold weather is made of merino wool and synthetic fabric, as merino wool is warm, breathable, and non-itchy, while the synthetic fabric is wind and water-resistant, low-cost, and can also keep you warm.

What should I wear hiking in 10-degree weather?

The key to keeping warm is layering your clothing. The first layer should be clothing made of merino wool or synthetic materials. The second layer should be long underwear. The head is the most important thing to keep warm. So wear a hat, scarf, and gloves. Carry a lightweight windproof raincoat in case it rains. This way you will be warm and dry during your hike.

What pants to wear for winter hiking?

The choice of pants depends on whether you are hiking in the winter or the summer, and how long and far you plan to travel. When hiking in winter, the main issue to consider is the chance of getting wet.

If the temperature is near freezing, or the terrain is too wet to be passed with comfort, intending to get wet will make the warmest of clothing and equipment ineffective, and hypothermia is a serious possibility. Therefore, it is very important to find clothing that will keep you warm even when wet. Merino Wool and Synthetic fabric is great for winter hiking pants.

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.