For many, winter is the least suitable season for excursions. I always liked to walk in the mountains in the cold and not just when there is snow. Winter is the time for the recovery of medium and low altitude paths, finally free from tall grasses. Sometimes beautiful trails, rich in history and signs of man but unfortunately almost unusable with the great heat. The crisp and drier air does not make you sweat that much and then much less is the risk of getting the damned ticks! Contours of the liveliest mountains and a wonderfully low light complete the picture! But what is snowshoeing or a simple hike without snow what are the measures to defend yourself from the cold?
For your excursions to the cold we start from clothing and then continue with nutrition and hydration.
How to dress for a cold excursion
There is a saying that says there is no cold, only wrong clothing! The basic rule is to dress in layers, taking care that the layers are not too close to the skin and between them preventing air from circulating. The air behaves like an insulator helping the body not to lose heat.
The three main layers that must not be missed when facing a cold excursion are:
Primary layer or base layer. It is the layer in contact with skin that must ensure good transpiration. Preferably no cotton but merino wool (in my opinion the best base layer) or polyester mesh (breathable but cause of bad smells). Among the synthetic polyester fabrics, one of the hottest and most used is Capilene.
Intermediate layer. Layer whose main function is to retain the heat produced by the body. On colder days it can be divided into two. A lighter layer in contact with the base layer can consist of a long-sleeved shirt in Merino wool or a warm turtleneck in synthetic fabric. A second heavier layer consisting of an elastic Polartrec fleece that follows the movements or alternatively (in my opinion even better) a comfortable Primaloft or down jacket that has the great advantage of retaining the heat very well, weighing little and very compressible .
Outer layer. It is a shell (hardshell) that serves to protect against wind, cold, rain and snow. It has the function of protecting everything below it: all the other layers and our body. In extreme wind and low temperature conditions (windchill effect) it is very important to have a good shell.
As for the “cold” trousers, excellent are those in soft shell elasticised fabric that guarantee excellent comfort and thermoregulation. In the most extreme cold situations (eg snowshoeing at night with great cold), we can add a tights in capilene under our trousers.
Layered clothing allows you to cover or undress depending on the weather conditions and on the basis of the intensity of physical activity.
Finally, don’t forget a good hat and gloves! Head and hands are the parts most exposed to the cold!
In short, when it is necessary to combat the cold it is essential to dress and gear up in an appropriate manner. I must say that the offer of Mountainexperience.it allows you to find everything you need, from knits to jackets, from hats to gloves, with the additional advantages of a very professional service and assistance and free shipping above a charge of 29 euros.
So much but so cold? It is not a bad idea to rub the body of Vaseline! The Inuit of Canada, famous for their adaptation to the cold, spread the body of seal fat! Fat or petroleum jelly helps the skin retain body heat better.
Feeding for a cold excursion
The clothes are used to retain and not to disperse the heat but the heat is produced by the body itself that draws it from the fuel we put in!
So a proper diet will make us endure the cold better than we think!
But I want to give you good news immediately: when it’s cold we can eat more. You need to store more calories to be able to compensate for the greater energy expenditure needed to fight the cold.
Secondly we need to eat more frequently and if possible something warm. But what?
- Legumes: beans, chickpeas and peas
- Pieces of lard, dried meat and speck
- Whole grains
Something hot you can prepare it once we find a shelter and we have a small stove. A little snow melts and an excellent hot freeze-dried soup is ready! Ideal solution for those who choose to camp out in winter in tents or in some casera