What to pack for a winter walking holiday

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While winter is always a wonderful time to travel, the weather can be famously unreliable. So when it comes to packing, you’ll need to consider toasty warmth, comfort, and functionality before anything else. But, most crucially, you’ll want to be prepared for any eventuality. Here’s some essentials to consider for cosiness and safety as you seek out memorable winter landscapes, cloudless blue skies, and the possible crunching of snow underfoot.

Suitable and safe footwear

High on your winter hiking kit list should be waterproof walking boots with rigid soles that provide ankle support and a good grip to help stop you slipping. Consider the terrain and climate where you’ll be walking and look for boots that are designed to trap in warmth. A new pair of boots made from sustainable or recycled materials are always a good investment (but remember to wear them in prior to your winter holiday).

Walking your socks off

When packing for a winter holiday, don’t dismiss the power of cushioned walking socks to keep your feet comfortable, warm, and blister free. Invest in the best hiking socks you can afford and ensure they are made from a lightweight, breathable, and durable material for a variety of climates, weather conditions, and walking lengths. Merino wool is easily the best for managing sweat and moisture followed by synthetic fibres that tend to be waterproof.

Waterproofs for winter walking

You’ll undoubtedly experience rain at some point, so we recommend a waterproof and windproof jacket (preferably thermal and insulated) as well as a pair of over trousers. Nothing is more miserable than getting soggy whilst walking through a downpour, so it’s worth investing in high-quality outer garments, possibly with zips than can be opened for ventilation when needed.

Cosy hats and waterproof gloves

Whatever the weather conditions, no winter holiday packing list is complete without a hat and gloves (or mittens) of some description. The former will protect your face from sunlight and keep your head suitably toasty when its cold and raining, while the latter are crucial for keeping your hands warm in most cold weather conditions.

Lots of base layers

Don’t overlook good quality base layers (preferably long sleeve) for protecting you from cold winds and keeping you warm. While pricey, merino wool is probably the best fabric for regulating your body temperature and drying out quickly when wet. Recycled polyester is much cheaper, but also great for activities such as hiking and climbing. Try to avoid cotton as it pulls heat away from your skin and takes forever to dry once wet.

Plenty of spare clothing

While you’ll need to consider the total weight of your rucksack when packing for a winter holiday, it’s always advisable to bring as much spare clothing as you can comfortably carry. Winter clothing tends to be heavier, but you’ll need a good supply of extra clothing should you need to replace wet clothes if you’re caught in bad weather.

Sunscreen and sunglasses

Regardless of the weather or wherever in the world you are, it’s always best to protect your skin and minimise your UV exposure – even when temperatures plummet. For a good defence, select a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15. Similarly, UV sunglasses are also recommended, especially in places where there is strong sunlight even during the winter months.

Different-size packing cubes

Usually made from water-resistant material such as polyester or nylon, packing cubes are a superb way of organising your kit list when packing for a winter holiday. Available in different sizes for different functions, they help to separate clothing (base layers, tops, trousers, underwear), shoes, and toiletries as well as providing extra protection from moisture. For added ease, we recommend the transparent cubes so you can see the contents without having to unpack them each time.

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Published 27th September 2023