If you are planning on a hike during the winter months in the regions around the mighty Himalayas then there are few things to consider and plan for:
Essentially the clothes you carry on a summer hike are going to be fairly similar to that you take in the winter –
except in winter, you need to take the ‘what ifs’ a bit more seriously and throw in a few extras.
What if you would have to spend the night outside, what if the weather is horrific and you get wet and have to hike for
4+ hours in freezing temperatures, etc.
This is a list of clothing you must carry on a multi-day hike in the winter, where you would be planning to get above
the bushline for a time but not all the time.
Boots and gaiters – dry feet are a nice to have when hiking in the winter. These lightweight hiking shoes that is just great in the summertime probably won’t do much to keep your feet dry and warm after an hour or two of plugging through wet snow, bogs, and wet tussock. Your traditional thick leather hiking boots summed up with a
pair of gaiters will help you keeping your feet dry until you end up in a river up to your knees. If your boots do get wet,
putting them somewhere where they won’t freeze overnight is really important.
Raincoat – Goretex type raincoat that is actually waterproof, not some flimsy single layer thing.
Poly pro balaclava
Gauntlets/Over mitts - waterproof
Snow Resistable jacket – this one is favourite, lightweight, warm and even a little waterproof. Use it instead
of an ordinary jacket as the synthetic is warmer in damp conditions.
Vest – same as above, just an extra layer that’s light to carry but warm to put on at nights.
Pairs of merino or polypropylene long johns/tights - one to wear during the day and other to put on at night, once at the camp. Note - silk, lycra or cotton just don’t cut it so leave your activewear at home folks.
Overtrousers are great too, especially for cold, wet, windy and snow conditions.
Shorts for hiking – not too long and not too short, and made of something that will dry quickly. If it’s too cold – wear them over the long johns/tights. Guys no wearing of tights without shorts over the top is okay, you’ll look like you are
performing in the local pantomime!
Lightweight fleece top – these lightweight layers are more versatile than thick heavy layers(Be Sure).
2 x base layers – merino or polypro, preferably long sleeve.
2 x pairs thick hiking socks - one to hike in and one dry pair to put on at night.
Merino undergarments – nothing worse than a cold butt!!
Emergency shelter – even if planning to stay in camps, have a plan B just in case of emergency.
A fly sheet is lightweight and as well as erecting as a shelter that you can quickly turn it into a cocoon if you find yourself desperately needing shelter in an otherwise exposed area.
Then the nice but not so important…
A good book or a fully charged kindle as nights are long in the winter.
Candles – nothing beats a candlelit dinner for sure!
Pack of cards
Extra chocolate and your favourite soup!
Always welcome late arrivals to the camp no matter how full the camp appears. If you have arrived at the campsite,
cold, tired, exhausted and hungry only to be met at the door by someone who issues a statement like “I hope you have got a
camp as the camps are already full” you’ll know how miserable that can make you feel! You can always make more room for latecomers and chances are the late arrivals will be a great company.
Winter can be a fantastic time to hike in the mountains, just take the time to plan ahead. Be flexible with your plans and adapt them to optimize local weather conditions primarily. Don’t forget to tell someone your plans or
register your intentions with trekkaro.com