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Winter Weather Week: Winter Hiking Safety

Local News

SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Whether it’s mountain views or waterfalls, our area has a lot of natural beauty.   

But in the winter, you need to take extra precautions to keep yourself safe when visiting these spots.  

Here are extra steps you should take to keep your trek safe and comfortable: 

Dress in layers

Grab a base layer that wicks moisture away, a mid-layer for warmth, and an outer later that keeps moisture and wind out is a good start. As you start to get warm, shed some of the layers.

Also stay away from cotton shirts or jeans because they retain moisture, which is not only uncomfortable, but can be dangerous if you get cold and increases the chance for hypothermia. 

Synthetic fabrics or wool are good to put on as they wick moisture away from you. 

And that also goes for your heads, hands, and feet.  

Cover your skin to prevent frostbite, and remember to shed layers if you get warm.  

Waterproof boots are a good idea, especially if you’re walking through snow or if the weather may turn wet. 

You can also pack some hand or toe warmer packets, just in case. 

Don’t forget to eat and drink 

It’s very important to stay hydrated while hiking.  Always have a water bottle or a water pack with you in your backpack. 

Even though its cold outside, you’re still sweating and you’re losing a lot of water. Combine that with very dry winter air and you could become dehydrated very quickly.  

Stay fueled, take food with you

That cold air means your body uses extra energy to stay warm.  To keep going, have food with you; something portable, like an energy bar or a pack of nuts. 

And don’t forget when you’re done, throw the wrapper in your pack.  The only thing you want to leave behind on the trail are your footprints. 

Remember general safety

Go hiking with someone, but if you do go alone make sure someone knows where you are.  

It’s important to have your phone, but remember they won’t always get a signal in rural areas.  

Also, taking along a simple first aid kit could prove invaluable. 

Short winter days also mean you might need a headlamp to help you see, and can also be used to signal others for help. 

Watch your step

Cold weather can mean ice or frost on the ground, which could make for a slippery hike.

The payoff?

Great views at a time of year when the trails are typically less crowded. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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