6 Reasons to go Hiking in Winter

kWhenever temperatures start dropping below forty degrees, especially in regions unaccustomed to the chill, residents begin to focus their time on indoor activities and perfecting already flawless hibernation techniques. Don’t get me wrong, winter hiking/camping is not meant for the faint of heart, but it’s also not something to knock without trying. You may be an especially happy camper if you already know the importance of  dressing in layers (wear something to cover your head/ears), checking the weather before you get outside, and making sure that the trails nearest to you are open and maintained.

 

There are so many reasons why you should brave the storm and venture out into your own winter wonderland, the quiet white mystique alone is worth at least a mid winters day stroll. But if you aren’t already compelled to get outside more often than letting your dog out, here are a few reasons that may make you think differently about wintertime recreations. 

 

1. No Bugs to Stop you in your Tracks

Winter is the time and place where you can finally refrain from dousing yourself in mosquito repellant when venturing into the thick woods. Not only do your seemingly delectable ankles get a break, but so does your surrounding environment! Continue reading 6 Reasons to go Hiking in Winter

3 Videos With a Unique Spin on Winter Paddling

Winter Paddling Looks a Little Like This…

Winter paddling has different meanings to different people. For some, it means layering up with different apparel options for cold weather paddling and continuing on with their kayaking as usual. For others, it means putting the ‘yak into hibernation for a period of kayak storage.

For a few people, it means something completely different and rather than try and explain it myself, I thought I would show you with three different videos. Enjoy!

1. Snow Kayaking by Warren Miller

 

2. Snow Kayak Race in Estonia – Red Bull Snow Kayak

 

3. Kayogganing and winter paddling at Lochaber Lake Dec. 2013

 

Never Fear, We’ve Got Winter Gear

Feels like Winter is well on it’s way! For us down in Texas that means some chilly 40 degree temperatures (at night), but we know our northern customers might be getting some of that cold white powdery stuff called snow that we don’t see too often. Well, just because the snow doesn’t fall on us every winter doesn’t mean we aren’t familiar with how to deal with it. Of course, paddlers will need to start layering up and eventually (yes, we hate saying this) give your watercraft some hibernation time during the coldest parts of the season. Good storage practices will allow your kayak, canoe or paddleboard to be fresh when spring finally rolls around. But for those who are looking to enjoy some outdoor, off the water, fun during the snowy season, this article is for you.

Its All About Traction

Yaktrax Pro Winter Shoe Traction Device

Warmth is always going to be your primary concern during this time of the season but once you get the right clothes, sleeping bag, tent and whatever else you need to keep the feeling in all of your appendages (might we recommend some Grabbers?), your next concern should be traction. Just because the ground is covered in snow and ice doesn’t mean you have to be slipping and sliding all over the place! Whether you’re trekking through the snow, hiking up to your favorite ski/snowboard spot, making your way to your favorite paddling destination (before the water freezes up) or headed on a winter camping adventure, we’ve got the gear that’ll keep you and your tent, standing up right.

Traverse Snow Covered Trails & Steep Slopes with Ease

MSR Lightning Axis Snowshoe

Snow shouldn’t keep you locked up all winter, and we’ve got the appropriate gear for everyone, whether you’re looking to go on a long distance expedition during a flurry or just to jog through your snow covered neighborhood. The first thing you’ll want to consider is the severity of the weather and difficulty of your activity. Deep snow can become a big hazard as feet will sink and possibly ‘post hole’ (getting stuck like a post in the snow) and it can cover dangerous objects or uneven surfaces.

For activities that require you to face deep snows, you need flotation. Much like floating on water, flotation for snow trekking refers to limiting how far your feet sink beneath the snow. Snowshoes are the way to achieve this because they distribute your weight over a larger area. Not only do they provide flotation, but they will provide the necessary traction and stability you need to keep you on your feet.

On the other hand, if you’re simply planning a hike or run after a light snow then a traction device will suffice, ranging from things like Yaktrax for casual of outings and even everyday situations to Hillsound or Kahtoola traction devices and crampons for runners and hikers. These devices will all slide over your personal footwear and add the traction you need to continue doing what you love. These won’t, however, provide the flotation you can only get from snow shoes.

ToughStake Snow Tent Stake

Anchor’s Away!

It’s a phrase winter campers should become familiar with because anchoring down your tent in the snow is a lot different than doing it in solid ground. You should start with tent stakes designed specifically for the snow and then consider if you’ll need an actual snow anchor. Again, what you need is going to be based on the severity of the weather. In most cases, a set of good snow stakes are going to to be all it takes to keep your tent standing up right through the night. Specific designs from a variety of our favorite manufacturers like MSR and ToughStake will ensure your tent preforms as it should. When camping through a severe winter storm, it might be a good idea to use the stakes in tandem with snow anchors, like the MSR picket or fluke or Mountain Hardware snow anchor. These devices will provide extra support and stability to ensure you can get a full night’s sleep.

Carry Your Toys the Right Way

We couldn’t go without reminding you that we’ve been expanding our rack inventory a lot lately and even have added some Ski and Snowboard trunk carriers and roof rack accessories. This includes stuff from customer favorites like Thule and Yakima so you know you’re getting quality products. So if your winter season involves skiing or snowboarding, we’ve got the means to transport your toys.

This winter, don’t feel forced to hibernate. Instead, load up for camping gear and strap on your snow shoes because the best time to enjoy the outdoors is all year long! - Joseph@ACK

Summer, It’s Not Over Yet!

Based on the sheer volume of pictures I am seeing with kids and their new and loaded backpacks on Facebook, it seems that school is back in session. Some may see it as the end of summer but the heat is still on for most of the country and before we begin to plan out our cooler weather outdoor adventures, we should all take advantage of what’s left and enjoy the warmer temperatures to the fullest extent. That said, take a look at the long-range forecast from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center. If this prediction holds true, it looks like we are in for some fair weather paddling this fall!

Roland @ACK