Hiking the Great Wall Like a Cold-Weather Pro
Taking a cold-weather hike on the Great Wall of China can be an exhilarating experience. The brisk air and sweeping landscape are only augmented by spacious quiet. It’s no secret that fewer visitors hike the Great Wall during cold-weather months. But with a little planning, these tips to keep you warm and safe can only enhance your Great Wall experience.
1: Select Insulated Hiking Shoes
Comfort begins at your toes and that means insulated hiking shoes. Brands such as North Face and Merrell have niche cold-weather footwear products that provide insulated comfort and warmth. Be sure you have comfortably warm hiking shoes.
2: Best Socks for a Great Wall Hike
It’s essential to wear socks that both allow your feet to breathe and keep them warm. Smartwool ranks among the more popular brands because they are cost-effective when compared to some of the more sophisticated brands.
Although not necessarily a discount product, they are considered durable and breathable in hiking circles. Whichever brand you select, be sure they are warm and breathable.
3: Utilize The Sun’s Warmth
Hikers have a tendency to take breaks by finding a shady spot. When hiking in the cold, remember to do the opposite. If the conditions allow, stripping off a jacket and allowing the sun to warm your bones will have lasting benefits on your hike. The sun is your friend during the winter.
4: Wear Sunglasses on a Cold-Weather Hike
It may come as something of a surprise, but the sun’s rays can be quite intense during cold-weather months. Sunglasses are usually associated with summer, but snow and ice can reflect the rays and cause you headaches. Consider wearing UV-rated eye protection.
5: Layer Your Clothing
One of the rookie mistakes hikers make is to rely on one or two heavily insulated clothing items to keep them warm. While they may keep you warm at first, trekking the Great Wall will get your blood pumping and work up a sweat.
It’s generally more prudent to utilize layers of less bulky clothing. The ability to tie a hoodie around your waist or put a T-shirt or two in your backpack allows you to manage your warmth and comfort levels. Also, remember to wear a hat because that is a prime heat-loss area.
6: Don’t Change Wet Clothes Too Hastily
This may sound counterintuitive, but long-distance hikers may be better served to leave wet clothes on until it’s time to make camp. If an unexpected rain shower kicks up, people often want to change immediately.
But given you probably don’t have that many changing options, it may be best to wait until the precipitation passes and you can dry them by a campfire. If you are drenched, on the other hand, take shelter and get dry.
7: Bring A Bag Of Bags
This is an experienced hiking and camping trick that solves multiple issues. Gather a variety of plastic bag sizes. Take them out of their respective boxes and combine them into a single bag, i.e. a bag of bags. These can be slipped into your boots and keep your feet cozy dry in the event you step in a puddle.
They can also act as wonderful foot insulators under your socks should you camp overnight. Other uses include holding leftovers and keeping cell phones dry, among others.
8: Carry Liquids In A Thermos
Staying hydrated is a fundamental safety measure for hiking in any type of weather. But unlike the warmer seasons, dipping temperatures can cause water bottles to freeze and burst. Obviously, that leaves you without vital H20.
Consider selecting one of the thermos products that keeps beverages warm for long periods of time. The same holds true for any chili, stew, or hot soup you may want to carry in your backpack.
9: Wear Hiking-Appropriate Gloves
Keeping your hands warm remains of paramount importance on a Great Wall hike. But it’s also important to wear gloves that allow you to negotiate the terrain and manipulate walking sticks and poles, among others. A pragmatic pair of gloves includes secure gripping fabric, full use of your fingers and thumbs, and are deftly water-resistant.
10: Choose The Road Best Traveled
There are a wide range of Great Wall hikes to choose from that range from a few hours to full days. In some select areas, backpackers may be able to camp overnight. It may be in your best interest to select a Great Wall hiking excursion that fits your comfort level. The weather will be a tad cold and you want this to be a positive life experience.