It is January, leading into February and onwards to March in Ontario. Pandemic conditions are not going away. We must social-distance, knowing as we do how easily COVID-19 spreads. Temperatures slip downwards, not surprising since this is winter. But we need to exercise and doing so outdoors as well as indoors is desirable. Some would say, essential for both physical and mental health.

Before going out, take care to dress wisely. Experts will tell you layering your clothing is vital. You need three layers to work together for maximum warmth. 

Base layer: No matter how frosty the temperature, wear a light, long-sleeved base layer next to your skin. You sweat on cold winter hikes and during snowshoeing, so you want a moisture wicking inner layer next to your skin to help keep you as dry as possible. Avoid cotton material which clings to your skin when wet and doesn’t insulate.

Middle layer: Trapping air close to your body and providing insulation is what this layer should do. Generally, an insulating layer will be made of wool, down, synthetic down, or fleece.

Outer layer: This shell layer protects you from wind, rain and snow.

Footwear need to be waterproof and insulated. When sweat accumulates in your socks, your feet get damp. Insulated boots will help keep your feet warm. You should carry in your pack ice cleats/grippers that can be placed on your boots for certain sections of the trail that ice up. The cleats provide greater traction and stability.

By wearing a hat that covers your ears you will keep your whole body warmer. Body heat escapes from your head.

Gloves with their fingers offer better dexterity than mittens do when handling zippers, buckles and laces. Mittens tend to be warmer than gloves because your fingers generate more heat when they are together and not separated by fabric as they are in gloves.

Also recommended are hiking poles to provide that additional level of stability over uneven terrain.

Below are sites I have found useful providing more details on cold weather hiking tips and clothing recommendations:

Cold Weather Hiking Tips

Winter Hiking Clothing Tips

Cold Weather Tips for Older Adults