Prepare for walking in cold weather
Here are some tips on keeping comfortable and staying safe as we continue to enjoy our outdoor adventures despite the bad weather. Longer, brighter days are on the horizon, but for now dark skies and pouring rain are a part of our everyday. At Rohan, exploring the outdoors is what we do. So, rather than being put off by cloudy skies and muddy puddles, we’ve been searching for tips on safely spending time outdoors no matter the weather. Here’s what we’ve found so far.
Photo Credit: Chris Orange
We know that layering up is far more effective when it comes to keeping warm than one big, outer layer. That’s why we devised our 5-Layer System, to share how we can achieve balance between heat production and heat loss with an adaptable clothing layer system.
Starting with a lightweight base-layer that will wick moisture away from your body is key to keeping the surface of your skin dry. We recommend one of our merino wool blends, to keep you cosy and comfortable as you move.
Next up, mid-layers and soft shells. Although the main function of these two layers is to provide insulation, they also continue the job of a base-layer and wick moisture through the clothing system. The best mid-layers are lightweight with built-in stretch, so they move with you, and the best soft shells are water repellent, dry quickly and pack down easily into your bag.
Your insulation layer is for when the temperature has really dropped, or for when you’re taking a break. It traps dry air to keep you warm, and layers perfectly under a hard shell, which is there to keep the rain and wind away from you, for extra-toasty, waterproof protection.
We never know what the British weather is going to do, so you might also want to pack some extra layers when you’re heading out for the day. You can throw these on when you stop for coffee, your lunch break, or at the top of a hill for a breather and to take in the scenery, and continue to keep the chill at bay even when you’re not moving.
If you’re heading out for a long walk, make the most of the daylight hours. Outdoor safety experts Adventure Smart recommend planning for shorter daylight hours, as it gets dark much more quickly when the skies are overcast. If you know you’ll be out for longer than it will be light, it’s best to start your trip in the dark so you can get home in daylight. The further you walk, the more tired your body will be, so it’s safer to be navigating your way back while the sun is up than after it has set. As well as packing layers, an easy way to combat the chill that sets in on a dark afternoon is to make sure you have a few warm accessories in your bag. Warm hats, gloves and scarves take up hardly any space or weight, and can be put on quickly when the temperature starts to drop.
Even during daylight hours, we know that the skies can be cloudy and bright sunshine can be scarce. Bright clothing and accessories like head torches mean that you’ll stay visible to anyone you’re walking with, and they’re an excellent safety precaution if you’re walking close to roads or on unlit paths.
Wet weather and frosty spells overnight make paths slippery, so it’s important to be prepared with a pair of durable walking boots or shoes that have a sturdy sole and reliable grip. Teamed with being careful and keeping a lookout for puddles and slippery patches of mud on your walking trips, supportive footwear will enhance stability on rough terrain, especially when fickle weather has made our regular walking routes more unpredictable than usual.
This time of year in the UK doesn’t just mean colder temperatures, it means ice, wind and rain; muddy footpaths and lots of puddles. Paths that you’ve walked countless times before can look wildly different when cloudy skies lead to dwindling light; it’s always best to schedule in more time than you think you’ll need for your walk, so you can slow your pace, take extra care when navigating the trails, and enjoy your outdoor adventure.