With piercing cold winds and temperatures that can drop below negative in the flash of an eye, it’s important to know how to keep yourself warm while hiking through the mountains in Gatlinburg, TN this winter!
Compressions and Extremities
Have you ever wondered why your fingers and toes get cold first? There’s a very interesting reason for that. Our bodies have developed a survival technique to protect our vital organs. Capillaries restrict in our outer extremities to bring blood flow and warmth back to our core to keep it safe. So to stay warmer longer, it is vital to protect the extremities first.
If you plan to hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the winter, we recommend wearing wool socks (double up for extra protection) with wind resistant and water resistant hiking boots. Make sure that you get gloves that are also wind and water resistant to keep your hands and feet protected from the extreme elements. Another investment that you might want to make before you go hiking in the winter is to purchase some good headgear to protect your face and cover your head (where most of your body heat escapes) with the same wind and water resistant technology.
Compression clothing is a great start to keeping your core warm. Compression clothing acts as an extra layer of thick skin and is designed to keep body heat inside. Although just like skin, once the heat escapes, it is gone, so make sure to couple compression clothing with other gear. If you are unsure of exactly what you need to keep your core warm while hiking in the winter, consult an experienced retailer to ensure you make the best decision.
Wear Baggy Clothing over Compression Gear
If all you needed was an extra layer of skin, we could all just wear compression clothing during the winter to stay warm. However, we need more than that to keep our bodies warm and toasty. Baggy or loose clothing traps in heat, so it’s always a good idea to wear baggy clothing over your compression gear. With the right outerwear, you can trap heat inside your clothing. You will need a degree-tested jacket that is also highly wind resistant and water resistant. If you can keep your core nice and toasty, your body will act in kind by opening capillaries in your extremities to get blood flow and warmth to those areas in need.
This is the most important advice of all. Staying active forces the body’s muscles to move and work, producing heat as a byproduct. Be careful of the amount of energy that you exert because you don’t want to overextend yourself or become hot and sweaty. If you do, a coupe of things can happen – you may get sick, dizzy, or disoriented.
So our three main pieces of advice to keep you warm and safe while you hike in the winter are to make sure to wear the right kind of clothing, protect yourself with wind resistant and water resistant gear, and keep your body moving!