The best winter hiking gear to keep you moving

10 Hiking accessories to keep you warm, dry and comfy this winter season.

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Getting outside and taking in nature can be rejuvenating, even in the winter. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors can help to maintain a healthy weight, decrease stress and tension, and increase overall health.

Many hiking trails are open across Canada this winter, just ready for you to check out. So why not take advantage? With these tools and accessories, you can. Aside from smart layers and winterproof gear, here are 10 products that will help you stay dry, warm and comfy when hiking this winter.


1. A small daypack

Whether you’re heading out for 30 minutes or several hours, a good daypack can make or break your hike. Use it to stash water and snacks, but also to store extra layers. You’ll be thankful for it as you start to get your sweat on. Look for a pack made from sturdy materials, such as this 18-litre pack from MEC.
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2. Neck gaiters

There’s nothing worse than when you’re facing the elements and a gust of cold wind blows in your face. Avoid frostbitten cheeks with a warm neck gaiter made from fleece. It works as a great scarf that can easily be pulled over your face whenever you need that extra layer of protection.


3. Sunglasses

If you’re out on the trails, you probably don’t want to bring a costly pair of sunglasses along. At the same time, anyone who has experienced that awful glare from a snow-filled trail knows just how necessary they are when setting out. Invest in an inexpensive but sturdy pair that offers protection against glare and harmful UV rays before you hike.


4. Waterproof boots


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Good hiking boots will keep you comfy and dry on the hiking trail, plus their sturdy build may help prevent injuries. Knowing that, it’s worth investing in a good pair. This pair from Keen is waterproof but breathable and offers a multi-directional lug pattern that helps you keep your footing as you hike.


Good news for the fellas, because Keen also offers this boot in men’s.


5. Hiking Gaiters


If you don’t love the bulky feel of snow pants but want to ensure your pants stay dry on a slushier day, invest in a pair of leg gaiters. They wrap around your pants and over the tops of your boots with adjustable straps for that extra layer of protection, keeping you dry and happy on your outing.
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6. Crampons


Wintery trails get slippery, especially if you’re tackling a more challenging loop. So, you might want to invest in a sturdy pair of ice cleats to minimize your risk of falling. These stainless steel crampons come in three stretchy sizes to fit over various hiking boots and offer that extra layer of traction you’ll need on a packed-down or icy trail.
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7. Snowshoes

If you’re the type who loves to set foot in the fresh, soft snow, you may want to consider adding a pair of snowshoes to your hiking essentials. They’re great for chartering unhiked trails and fields in the winter, allowing you to navigate while minimizing trips and falls.


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8. Hand and body warmers

It doesn’t matter how well you’ve layered up; sometimes, you need that little extra hit of heat on a cold but beautiful day. Enter these hand and body warmers, which offer up to 18 hours of bonus warmth. Attach them to your hands, toes, or other body parts that tend to get chilly so that you can keep hiking when the temperature drops.


9. A headlamp

The sun sets sooner in winter, so you may lose light faster than you anticipate during an afternoon hike. That’s why it’s a good idea to pack along a headlamp to help safely light the way. They’re just as effective as a flashlight but have the bonus of being hands-free. This rechargeable headlamp features 30 hours of runtime and is super lightweight.


10. A really good food jar


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If you’re expending energy on the trails, you’ll need to fuel up. And while energy bars and trail mix might do it for summertime, in the winter it’s the warming foods that keep us cozy. That’s why you want a great food container to keep your piping-hot stews, soups and oatmeal nice and toasty. This food jar and spork combo from Stanley keeps food hot for up to seven hours.

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