The Best Winter Hiking Gear by Nike
Stay warm and dry on winter hikes with gear designed to help you trailblaze.
Don't let snow or chilly temperatures stop you from trekking. Winter hikes can be peaceful—and you'll probably find the trails less crowded than they are in the peak summer months.
If you have the proper winter hiking gear to stay warm, you can enjoy a hike almost any time of year. As with any hiking adventure, be sure to make a plan in advance and take safety precautions before heading out into the wilderness: check the forecast to prepare for the weather conditions, plan to be back before dark, hike with a friend or, if hiking alone, let a friend know where you're hiking.
Read on for the top winter hiking gear essentials by Nike.
8 Winter Hiking Gear Essentials From Nike
1. Waterproof Trail Shoes
Proper footwear is essential for any hike, especially in inclement conditions. Invest in a waterproof pair of kicks that will keep your feet dry, comfortable and protected from the elements. By keeping out moisture, you'll avoid cold, soggy feet that can lead to blisters and ruin an otherwise beautiful hike.
Nike trail shoes made with a GORE-TEX outer layer that will keep out water—and some feature an additional gaiter at the collar to keep extra debris from getting inside the shoe. And in any shoe in the Nike trail running collection, you'll find supportive midsole cushioning and durable traction on the sole to help grip onto slick surfaces.
(Related: The Best Nike Shoes to Wear Hiking)
2. Warm, Moisture-wicking Socks
Picking the right winter hiking boots or shoes is only half the battle. Be sure to pair hiking shoes with a durable pair of moisture-wicking socks to keep feet dry. Cushioned Nike Dri-FIT socks—like the Nike Everyday Plus Cushioned Crew Socks—offer a snug, supportive arch band and a breathable, knit pattern on top for ventilation, helping them dry quickly in wet conditions.
3. Breathable Nike Pro Base Layers
Keeping a comfortable body temperature on a cold hike comes down to lots of layering. In order to master the art of layering for winter hikes, it's important to start with a base item. Choose lightweight, sweat-wicking and breathable materials for an effective base layer, like those found in the Nike Pro collection.
Nike Pro long-sleeve tops feature lightweight fabric with extra breathability built into areas that tend to heat up the most, helping keep hikers comfortable and avoid overheating once the body warms up. Tons of options are available, from long sleeves with thumbholes to half-zips and more that can easily be peeled off, if needed.
4. Nike ACG Bottoms
Tough treks call for even tougher winter hiking gear. The Nike All Conditions Gear (ACG) collection is the place to find the right pair of hiking leggings or trousers for outdoor exploring. The apparel collection is made for durability and for withstanding the wear and tear of the elements—all while keeping hikers warm.
Some pieces in the collection feature Nike Dri-FIT sweat-wicking technology, and many styles are inspired by (and even named after) the great outdoors. The Nike ACG Smith Summit Cargo Trousers, for example, were inspired by Smith Rock, a rock-climbing playground in central Oregon. The trousers feature a woven, water-repellent fabric, tons of pockets and an elastic, high-rise waistband with a lightweight, webbed belt to help wearers adjust the fit.
5. Nike Therma-FIT Insulated Layers
The key to layering for winter hikes is keeping out the cold without adding too much bulk. Look for lightweight, insulated layers—like Nike Therma-FIT apparel—to put over a base layer. Nike Therma-FIT fabric, which can be found in joggers, hoodies, jackets, gilets and more, helps trap the body's natural heat to keep warm, without weighing down the athlete.
For snowy hikes, opt for a hooded Nike Therma-FIT jacket with water-resistant fabric for your outermost layer. And on a super-chilly day, consider adding a Nike Therma-FIT hoodie between the base layer and jacket.
6. Nike GORE-TEX Jackets
Although many Nike Therma-FIT insulated jackets are water-resistant, if you plan to encounter especially wet conditions, consider going for an extra Nike GORE-TEX waterproof layer. These jackets will block out wind and rain, and some even come with a detachable balaclava ski mask that keeps the face covered during chilly outdoor outings.
7. Cold-weather Accessories
A knit, cold-weather staple like a beanie is a key part of the essential winter hiking gear list. Find Nike beanies in a wide range of colours and fabrics that'll keep your head warm and snug.
And, pay the same attention to the neck, hands and eyes with gloves, neck gaiters and glasses built for cold-weather activities. Nike polarised sunglasses not only help keep wind out of the eyes—they can also reduce glare from snowy surfaces.
8. Daypack or Backpack
From neck warmers and gloves to sunglasses and water bottles (note: even if it's cold, don't forget to hydrate), you may need a roomy and convenient place to stash all that gear. Find large backpacks with padded support and tons of space meant for longer treks, or mini, compact backpacks for when you might not need to tote as much gear.
Words by Emily DiNuzzo