How to Pack for a Short Winter Day Hike

Last week I was fortunate enough to spend two gloriously snowy days outdoors, on short day hikes in the Adirondack Mountains.

The hikes were just three and four miles round trip. In the warmer months, these would’ve been no sweat (unless it’s really hot, and then they’d be really sweaty), but with the cold weather and freshly fallen (and still falling!) snow, extra precautions needed to be taken.

So I wanted to share with you what I packed to take with me, and what I wore for my outer layers and footwear.

Obviously what you bring and wear on a winter hike depends greatly on the temperature, weather and trail conditions, so it’s important to do your research and correctly prepare, no matter how easy you think the day will be.

Vegan gear for a short winter day hike in the mountains

Vegan gear for a short winter day hike in the mountains

To start, for base layers I wore synthetic midweight pants and a short sleeved shirt. The temperature was below freezing, but not below zero. I have the tendency to overdress because I’m cold, and as soon as I start hiking I overheat and sweat. So I try to make it a point to start with fewer layers than I think I’ll need, with extras in my pack in case I get too cold.

 

Outerwear for a short winter day hike

Outerwear for a short winter day hike

Outerwear:

 

Footwear for winter hikes: boots, snowshoes & crampons

Footwear for winter hikes: boots, snowshoes & crampons

 Footwear:

  • Winter boots: Check out this post for some vegan hiking boot options. (I’m currently working on updating this list with more options, including warmer boots. Be sure to sign up for my email list below to find out right when it’s finished!)
  • Snowshoes
  • Crampons (in my pack, in case the trail is icy and snowshoes aren’t enough traction)

 

Always bring extra layers on a winter hike.

Always bring extra layers on a winter hike.

Extra Layers:

  • Socks: Extra socks are a must when hiking. They can act as an extra layer if your feet are cold, but they are also a necessity if the socks you’re wearing get wet.
  • Long sleeved thermal: I ended up putting this on both days as soon as I got to the mountain summits. It’s colder at higher elevations, and getting down the mountain takes way less energy than going up so you’ll need the extra warmth
  • Fleece pants
  • Warm mittens: I keep these handy in my pack for those times that my hands just can’t get warm. I put these on both days for the walk down the mountain.

 

Additional Accessories:

  • First Aid Kit: always, always, always bring one with you!
  • Headlamp: Just in case things don’t go according to plan and you’re out after dark
  • Trail book & map
  • Sun glasses: The glare from the sun on the snow is brutal!
  • Trekking poles

 

 

Trail to Thomas Mountain, Adirondacks, NY

Trail to Thomas Mountain, Adirondacks, NY

You’ll also want to bring as much water and snacks as you think you’ll need. For these trips I brought one HydroFlask of water (I use a Camelbak in the warmer months, but it’s annoying trying to keep the tube from freezing when it’s so cold out), trail mix, Clif Bars & Tofurky sandwiches. I didn’t eat everything, but I like to bring more than I think I’ll eat, just in case. I can’t stand being hungry!

So use this as a basic packing list and feel free to comment below with any questions! Then check out this post for more Vegan Winter Hiking Tips & Gear Suggestions.

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