5 ways to stay warm when walking this winter

It’s easy to under prepare for a winter walk. Here are 5 ways that you can avoid getting too cold when heading outdoors on a mid-winters day.

Dressed for winter walking

Walking in the winter is one of the best and most beautiful times to head out into the great outdoors and see what the UK has to offer. 

From the stunning winter walks of the Lake District to the magical Brecon Beacons, there is just so much to see and do on the little island that we call home. There’s just one little factor that can ruin a winter adventure – the cold weather that we find ourselves with every year.

Making sure that you’re prepared for the colder winter weather is super important and you should only head out into the hills if you’re confident that you’ve got the right gear. From dressing for the occasion and keeping the blood moving – here are 5 ways that you can stay warm walking this winter.

1. Dress for the occasion

One of the most common mistakes that walkers make when heading out for a hike in the colder months is their clothing – or lack of it.

Walking through the snow

One of the most common mistakes that walkers make when heading out for a hike in the colder months is their clothing – or lack of it. 

You don’t need to break the bank with the latest and greatest winter down jackets, but it is important to bring enough layers to keep you warm when you stop moving. Layers are a great way to trap as much body heat as you can, preventing you from getting too cold when out and about. Your typical cold-weather layering should look like this: 

  • Top to bottom base layer: Wool or polyester longjohns
  • Mid-layers: Fleece upper and tough winter walking trouser lower
  • Top layer: A waterproof coat or down jacket

You can add as many mid-layers as you need to keep warm in the conditions that you’re facing – if it takes an extra fleece to keep your heat, then so be it! Don’t forget to cover your head with a super warm beanie, your neck with a buff or scarf and your hands with a good pair of winter gloves.

The key is to layer up to be warm enough when you’re standing still, that way you’ll never be dropping your temperature too low. 

Additionally, it never hurts to pack a pair of waterproof overtrousers in your rucksack when hiking in winter – you never know when the great British weather will decide to unleash itself on you.

2. Strip down when necessary

Although dressing for the cold and focusing on layering up is important, walkers should adjust their outfits depending on the conditions that they’re facing.

Ann on the Catbells Summit

It may sound counterproductive, but taking off those layers that you’ve carefully curated is just as important as getting into them in the first place. You should make sure that you’re dressed for the actual temperature and not the perceived temperature. 

For example, if you’re heading up a moderate incline on a bright winters day with the sun beating down, it doesn’t make sense to overheat with all of your layers on. Instead, you should strip down, putting your upper layer(s) in your hiking pack until your temperature begins to level back out. 

Sweat is one of the biggest issues when hiking in the winter and you want to avoid getting your clothes damp from being too warm. It’s a fine balance between staying warm enough and avoiding overheating.

3. Stay hydrated

This is good advice year-round, but it’s easy to forget about during the colder months.

Drinking water in winter

It’s no secret that water is good for the body but it might surprise you that staying hydrated can actually help you stay warm when it’s cold outdoors. Make sure that you’re packing plenty of water, ideally in a reusable water bottle, that you can keep on sipping on through the day. 

A lot of walkers will suggest that you stick away from any sort of caffeine during a walk, but it’s a much better idea to enjoy a brew than it is to avoid liquids altogether. A good rule of thumb is to try and drink at least one litre of water every two hours in the cold weather to stay hydrated.

There’s not much point carrying around a full bottle so don’t forget to regularly check in with yourself to take a sip.

4. Keep the blood moving

If you’re heading out to the hills this winter and finding yourself getting a little too cold, that’s a sign that it’s time to work just that little bit harder.

Winter Walking in the Mountains

If you’re already loaded up with your maximum level of layers, focus on walking the next 100 metres or so quickly. The extra exertion will get the blood pumping faster and consequently warm you up.

Other ways to get a little warmer include star jumps, push-ups or lunges. If you’re getting too cold, it’s time to put in a little extra work!

5. Invest in some good winter kit

Your winter kit is worth its weight in gold and it is 100% worth investing in a good selection of cold-weather gear before heading out to the hills.

Best crampons for hiking this winter

There are all sorts of different bits and pieces that you can pick up that’ll help you navigate the cold weather and put your best foot forward in the snow. From microspikes to gaiters, outdoor stores are filled to the brim with equipment to make your winter adventures as pleasant as possible. 

Check out our essential walking kit if you’re unsure that you’ve packed everything that you’ll need for a day in the hills.


There we have it, five super simple ways that you can make sure that you’re staying warm this winter. 

There are countless tips and tricks that we could have included on our list, but none are quite as good as the basics. If you make sure that you’ve dressed for the occasion, regulate your body heat to your surroundings, stay hydrated, keep moving and invest in some useful winter kit – you’ll be unstoppable all the way from autumn to spring. 

If you do have any tips that you would like to share with us, our messages are always open and we’d love to hear your ideas for staying warm when walking in winter!

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