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What to Wear Hiking in Winter UK: Essential Clothing and Gear Tips


With so many beautiful and wild locations in the UK, hiking during the winter can be a super challenging but very rewarding experience. The colder temperatures and potential for all sorts of weather including rain, snow and ice require careful planning and preparation to ensure you stay warm, dry and safe on your hike. One of the most important considerations when hiking in the winter is what to wear. In this article, we’ll provide you with some tips and recommendations on what to wear when hiking in the winter UK.

What Do You Wear Hiking in the Winter UK? – Clothing:

Base Layers:

Starting with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat away from your skin.
Look for materials such as merino wool, synthetic fibers or silk.
Avoid cotton, as it retains moisture and can make you feel colder.


Add an insulating layer on top of your base layer to keep you warm.
A fleece jacket, synthetic or down-filled vest, or insulated jacket are good options.
Avoid cotton and denim, as they do not retain heat well.

Outer Layer:

Your outer layer should protect you from wind, rain and snow.
Look for a waterproof and breathable jacket and pants, preferably with sealed seams and a hood.
Gaiters can also be useful to keep snow out of your boots.


Wear a warm hat, gloves or mittens, and a scarf or neck gaiter to protect your face and neck from the cold.

A good pair of hiking socks can prevent blisters and keep your feet warm and dry.

Consider wearing waterproof and insulated hiking boots with good traction.
What Do You Wear Hiking in the Winter UK? – Gear:


Choose a backpack that is comfortable and fits well.
Look for a backpack with a capacity of 20-30 liters for day hikes, and 40-60 liters for overnight hikes.


Bring a map and compass, or a GPS device.
Make sure you know how to use them.

Food and Water:

Bring enough food and water to sustain you for the duration of your hike.
Consider bringing a thermos of hot tea or soup to warm up on cold days.


Bring a first aid kit, a whistle, and a headlamp or flashlight.
Let someone know your hiking plans and expected return time.


Q: Do I need to wear a down jacket when hiking in the winter UK?
A: It depends on the temperature and weather conditions. Down jackets are very warm, but not waterproof, so they are not suitable for wet conditions. Choose an insulated jacket based on the conditions you will be hiking in.

Q: Can I wear jeans when hiking in the winter UK?
A: Jeans are not recommended for hiking in the winter UK, as they do not retain heat well and can become wet and heavy if exposed to rain or snow. Stick to synthetic or wool materials for your clothing.

Q: Do I need to wear snowshoes when hiking in the winter UK?
A: It depends on the terrain and amount of snow. Snowshoes can be useful if there is deep snow, but they are not necessary for all winter hikes. Consider the conditions and terrain before deciding whether to bring snowshoes.


Remember these are just a few helpful tips, but if you’re new to winter hiking we recommend you take a winter skills course before you venture out into the hills and mountains, and learn how to stay safe from the professionals. Hiking in the winter UK can be a wonderful way to experience the beauty of nature, but it requires careful preparation and planning.

When it comes to what to wear it’s important to choose clothing and gear that will keep you warm, dry, and safe. Layering your clothing is important, starting with a moisture-wicking base layer, followed by an insulating layer, and finishing with a waterproof and breathable outer layer. Make sure to also bring along necessary gear such as a backpack, navigation tools, food and water, and safety equipment.

Let someone know your route plans and start and finish times. Carrying a powerbank to charge flat batteries can be a good idea, but dont just reply on phone or GPS devices for navigation, you should always carry a map and compass and know how to use them properly.

Remember to always check the weather forecast and trail conditions before heading out on your hike, and be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly. By following these tips and being well-prepared, you can enjoy a comfortable and safe winter hike in the UK.

So next time you plan to hike in the winter UK use the tips and recommendations outlined in this article to help you experience a successful and enjoyable outdoor adventure. Stay warm, stay safe and happy hiking!

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