It may sound counterintuitive, but some hikers actually get into more trouble on the trail in spring than in a harsher season like winter. The main reason for this is the seemingly good weather, which lulls less experienced hikers into a false sense of security and causes them to embark on their adventures without adequate preparation. But spring weather can be every bit as unpredictable as winter weather, which is why gearing up for adverse conditions is vital to having a good outing. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you pack for the trails:
- Dress in light layers so you can add or remove clothing as needed.
- Wear (or pack) gaiters to prevent your hiking boots and socks from getting soaked with water or mud on messy trails.
- Carry a pair of ice cleats just in case you encounter a section of trail that’s still covered in snow or ice.
- Use hiking or trekking poles to help ascertain the depth of any puddles, creeks, or streams you may have to cross. Spring rains and melting snow can make these types of crossings deceptively dangerous, so use extra caution around water.
- If your hike will span multiple days, bring a portable boot dryer—such as the DryGuy Force Dry DX—to ensure your boots are ready to go when you are.
- Check the weather forecast before you leave and continue to monitor it throughout the day so you can be aware of changing conditions.
Spring hiking is a great way to get back to nature after the long, cold winter. Use these tips in addition to the common precautions you take for every hike (packing extra water, a compass, first-aid kit, etc.) for a safe and fun experience.