Skills & Techniques

Three Things You’ll Be Glad You Didn’t Forget on Your Next Winter Outing

Guest - January 28, 2018

Saranac Lake, NY: It’s the middle of a cold winter in much of the country. Here in New York, we have experienced mind-numbing cold, almost too cold to get outdoors while witnessing extreme temperatures down to -25ºF. With temperatures like these, planning ahead for winter outings is no joke, and a failure in the planning process has the potential to result in serious safety issues. To aid in your wintertime outings, here are three essential cold weather tips for your next pre-trip planning session.


A Thermos of Hot Tea – Beyond warm clothing and planning for the weather, there is nothing more satisfying than warming up from the inside out with a hot drink. Do your research and find a good insulated mug (our favorite is a 16 ounce from Klean Kanteen) and fill it with your favorite tea or coffee. To keep your drink hotter longer, consider letting the mug sit with hot water before refilling it with your hot drink. This will remove the chill, adding extra heat time to your mug!

Hand warmers – Cold hands are the worst! Sometimes even the thickest gloves or mittens results in cold fingers. Hand warmers are kind of like insurance for your fingers. Stay toasty, and keep a couple of these packages in your bag for those times when the temperatures drop. In addition to hand warmers, the two of us carry not one, but two pairs of gloves/mittens per person. You never know when one pair could get soaked or your sweat from the uphill means a frozen glove on the downhill.

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Traction Devices – While fun and adventure may be the reason we’re heading out the door, safety should still be a number one priority. Snow and ice can lead to slips and falls. That’s why we recommend bringing some type of traction device designed for the adventure at hand. Whether you need crampons, a lighter weight solution, snowshoes, or skis, take some time to see what gear is best for the conditions you plan to venture out into and be sure to know how to use them properly.

These tips for winter adventure planning are just scratching the surface. If you are new to this planning process take some time to research best practices for layering systems, types of appropriate gear, and even the best foods for climate. Outdoor pursuits in the wintertime are serious endeavors, especially when some of us are experiencing a particularly freezing year. So stay warm, plan ahead, and enjoy what the winter is all about, warm drinks, friends, and maybe even a fireplace to curl up next to in the evening.


Steph & Andy

Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Team East

Leave No Trace’s Stephanie Whatton & Andy Mossey are part of the 2018 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, Klean Kanteen, and Taxa Outdoors.

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