Disclaimer: I received a UV Half Buff to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
As you can probably tell from my blog and Insta, I love hiking. In fact, it’s been my favorite outdoor activity ever since I was little and my dad would take me hiking in World’s End State Park in PA.
Hiking is a lot of things: it’s relaxing, it’s calming, it’s something that resets me in time for another stressful week. It’s also really hard sometimes! In the winter I’m more likely to be cold, wet, and have shorter daylight hours for hiking. Those things were enough to keep me from hiking in the winter for most of my life. But since moving to Alaska, I’ve learned that there are a few hacks I can use to make winter hiking easier and way more fun!
Keep your phone alive with hand warmers. I know, I know – I’m supposed to be escaping from technology when I go out into nature, but I can’t help but take a few pictures once I’ve reached my final destination. But the cold sucks down my phone batteries in as soon as 30 seconds of exposure to cold temps, and it’s almost impossible to keep my phone warm enough to stay alive for an entire hike. Recently, I tried putting a hand warmer in the pocket where I keep my phone and it actually kept my phone warm enough to stay alive for hours! Obviously you can’t keep it out of your pocket too long, but if you stick it back in your pocket to warm it back up it will prevent it from dying.
Pack warm post-hike drinks. If you’re like me you crave warm drinks after getting really cold. Think about packing a thermos of hot chocolate or coffee for after your hike, especially if you have a long drive home. There’s something super motivating about knowing you have hot chocolate waiting for you in the car to help you finish a tough hike!
Stud your hiking boots. A good pair of ice cleats is really helpful for traveling in icy conditions. But you can make ice cleats out of your own pair of winter hiking boots! All you need is a power drill and hex-head sheet metal screws. If you place the screws on the treads, not between them, you’ll have extra grip when walking.
Use an insulated water bottle. A typical water bottle or bladder could freeze or even burst if it’s cold enough, but you still need water when hiking in the winter. I bought an insulated water bottle and it keeps my water from getting too cold or from exploding in my pack.
Carry a Buff product with you wherever you go. I’ve been a huge fan of Buff products for years because they’re lightweight, moisture wicking, keep me warm in the winter and cold in the summer, and can protect against the sun and the mosquitoes. Plus, they come in really cute colors. So when I got the chance to test out the UV Half Buff, I was so excited!
It’s currently freezing in Alaska but as soon as my UV Half Buff showed up in the mail I headed out for an adventure to test it out! I wore it on a few hikes in windy and cold conditions and I wasn’t too hot, too cold, or too wet. If my ears aren’t fully covered I get cold, and I swear most moisture wicking headbands only cover half of my ears before slipping off. But my UV Half Buff stayed in place the whole hike and had great coverage. I basically folded mine in half to fit my head they way I wanted it to.
The best part about this particular Buff product was the reflective strips! It’s my first reflective headband and reflective gear is so useful during Alaskan winters because it’s always dark here. I also love that it’s my favorite color! Most reflective gear comes only in bright yellow so I was pleasantly surprised by the color selection.
While I was testing my UV Half Buff I carried a full length Buff in my pack too. I find that Buff products can get sweaty but dry out really quickly, so I’ll often change into a new Buff headband when mine gets too wet or cold and then I’ll rotate them out as needed. Plus, I really needed extra face coverage on some of my recent hikes!
What are your hiking hacks? What gear do you bring on every hike? How do you keep your cell phone from dying in the cold?