WINTER HIKING: What to bring, what to expect, how to prepare

Updated: Feb 17

Fall & Winter Hiking: What to Expect, How to Prepare, Part 1

Fall & Winter Hiking: What to Expect, How to Prepare, Part 2

This dietary supplement is my secret weapon for staying healthy and happy! I highly recommend GSH+.

Being active year-round is a high priority because it affects all aspects of my life - my social, spiritual, emotional, mental, physical and financial health

GSH is the scientific name for Glutathione. The + refers to the other ingredients included. See videos below. I keep extra product in stock. Contact me anytime.

Retail: $69/month - Dr. Oz and Glutathione Provizion and Glutathione 4 minute Health Quiz w/ Sheryl

Think like an onion, dress like an onion. Dress in thin layers so you can peel layers on and off as needed.

Thin layers keep you warmer or cooler, which ever you need. It's much easier to peel off thin layers or add more layers.

It may surprise you with how fast you warm up during a winter hike.

On a cold morning, I start out with more layers but within 15 minutes of hiking, I'm starting to peel off my coat, gloves, hat, neck warmer, etc.

Duffel Bag - This travels with you in the car to the trailhead but stays in the car. Make any last minute adjustments as needed.


Use this as a valuable emergency preparedness kit as well. Keep it in your vehicle during the winter months. It may be used for a last minute decision before hiking OR if someone is in trouble, something in your duffel bag may help in a rescue situation. (Items for this bag should include some extras: extra gloves, smart wool socks, warm hat, snacks like granola bars, bags of nuts, hard candy, extra water bottle, base layers, long underwear, extra coat, $20 cash (emergency money)

Backpack - Used on a hike. Generally within 15 - 30 minutes of winter hiking you will start to heat up. Carry a backpack large enough to hold items you peel off. Generally my hat, gloves, and neck warmer come off first.

Best Fabric for base layers: super soft 100% merino wool - keeps you comfortable and dry at all times

Base Layer: examples of my favorites include

or (100% Merino Wool, top and bottoms)

Worst Fabric for Outer Layers - Cotton. IF you get wet (from sweat or weather) you'll stay wet and very cold which is dangerous in winter months. Cotton does not wick.

Balaclava (for Neck & Face) - put this around your neck before leaving home. You never know when you'll need it. It's the one item I'll forget if I don't put it on before leaving home.

Poles - I use the same pair of ski poles for four different sports: year round hiking, skiing, backpacking and snowshoeing. Purchase a pair for $20 at The Gear Room OR even less for $3 - $10 at Savers or Deseret Industries Thrift Stores. Resources located at the end of article. How to find a ski pole that's right for you: hold the pole upside down, just barely underneath the basket. Your arm should be at a 90 degree angle for a perfect fit!

Gloves/Mittens - favorite brand: Swany Toasters. Definitely worth $49 to have warm hands ALL the time - especially in cold weather!

Hiking Shoes - Keen: my favorite brand. I wear the same hiking shoes year round, regardless of how deep the snow is.

Knee High Socks - favorite brand: Smart Wool, 100% merino wool. Avoid cheaper imitation socks.

Outer layer for pants - Waterproof light weight. I love Marmot brand but there are several great brands.

Insulated Warm Coat - Favorite Brand: Patagonia

Headband - on very cold days I wear this over my wool hat to keep it snug over my ears.

Wind and Waterproof Coat - Check the Gear Room often for deals. I got a quality rain coat here that I wore in Iceland for a week, when it was raining a lot. It kept me dry the entire trip!

Wool Hat (w/ Brim optional) - A brim is helpful for keeping snowflakes or rain out of your eyes

Sunglasses - a definite MUST for every season but especially winter. My favorite brand:

O Fit Insole Plus Thermal by Oboz Footwear - - Superior Arch Support, Poron Performance Pods, Reflective Mylar Base Layer.

So grateful I discovered these at REI since I needed arch support AND extra insulation in my shoes for winter hiking. For $35 this solved the problem! Includes a 60-day satisfaction GUARANTEE. I take these insoles out during the summer and put them back in for winter. Result is warm comfortable feet!

Nikwax - Nubuck & Suede Proof. I use this on my hiking shoes and coat. Waterproofs, maintains support, breathability and texture. High-performance, low-impact formula waterproofs nubuck and suede while maintaining breathability, support and texture

  • Aerosol-free, spray-on application; for best results, apply to clean, wet footwear

  • Biodegradable solution contains no fluorocarbons or VOCs

  • Nikwax is a global leader in safe, high-performance waterproofing and cleaning solutions for clothing, footwear and equipment

Camera - My favorite: Samsung Galaxy. I'm still very happy with an S9. A big reason I love winter hiking is capturing all the incredible beauty!

Kahtoola MICROspike® - My favorite device for hiking on ice or snow-packed trails during the fall, winter and early spring months. Buy these from me for a discount!! $50/pair, reg. $70. Our hikers are required to bring and wear an ice/snow traction device when trail conditions dictate. In 17 years we have tried an assortment of devices. Kahtoola MICROspikes® are by far the best for our needs from October to April and much cheaper than a knee or hip replacement from falling on ice. These are used on at least 70% of our winter hikes. Snowshoes are used the rest of the time. Kahtoola MICROspikes® allow you to hike easily and confidently on ice and/or snow-packed trails without fear of falling. Through the years we have rescued many who were not wearing spikes but wish they were!

MSR Snowshoes - I provide 20 pair of MSR snowshoes for our hikers to rent for our outings only: ($10/outing). I LOVE MSR Snowshoes or I wouldn't have invested in 20 pairs! Incredible traction, durable, well-built and an easy, comfortable binding makes MSR my favorite. Buy a pair before or during the season or just rent from me anytime. It's wise to rent first to make sure you actually like snowshoeing. New MSR's start around $150.

Gaiters - protection from snow. I personally don't use my gaiters much due to good smart wool socks and my snow pants.

Hydro Flask - fill it with warm water (or any favorite beverage) and you'll always have a great soothing beverage to give you energy and keep you warm inside! Drinking water will insulate your body as well.

Tissues, Kleenex - Don't forget these.

Snacks - My Favorite: a mix of walnuts & dried cranberries, also almonds, cashews, granola bars, applesauce packets, pretzels and peanut butter.

My Cell Phone number - IF you are hiking with our group, I am a great resource for you. My cell phone is 801-278-5313, Sheryl McGlochlin. Best way to communicate with me: Text me. Remember when in the canyons communication is not reliable.

Cash - always bring some cash with you for unexpected state park or canyon fees, or carpooling.

Small Notebook & Pen - For leaving a note on someone's car, etc. Cell phones don't always work for everything in the wilderness.


Always carry medical info like health insurance and any medical conditions in case of an accident. Also drivers license and a contact name and phone number.


1) When you are hiking, even a short hike, make a habit of telling someone where you are going and when you expect to be off the trail. If you feel you don't have anyone to tell, and you are not hiking with me, send me a text message

2) Our free weekly hikes are based on TIME, which means we meet at 8 AM and are off the trail by 12 Noon Unless stated otherwise.

As always you can enjoy a much shorter hike than this. Tell me in advance if this is your plan.

On our hikes you'll quickly meet others who you feel compatible with.

3) If you are not with me when you get off the trail, please send me a quick text, letting me know you are off the trail and who is with you, if there are others. Over the years I have grown to love every person who joins us and want to know that each person is accounted for.


My favorite clothing/gear tips IF YOU WANT TO SAVE A LOT OF MONEY!

The Gear Room - Cottonwood Heights, Utah (1/4 mile West of Mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon) - Gently used, quality clothing and equipment. Check here first before purchasing anything anywhere else. Tell Kevin or Chris that Sheryl sent you.

Want to sell any of your own outdoor clothing or gear? Tell them! They'll be happy to hear from you.

Deseret Industries or Savers - Thrift stores, look for gently used clothing/gear, stores located everywhere in Utah. Check often for ski poles, 100% merino wool pullover tops in men and women's clothing departments

ALSO my favorites:


You can never have too much communication when you really need help. Generally it's not enough.

Cell Phone - Something all of us have but don't expect reception everywhere

Ham Radio - You must get a license but an incredible communication tool for an emergency. Text me if you want to learn more since my husband, Dave, is a licensed operator.

Satellite Phone -

Garmin inReach Mini Satellite Communicator, $350 plus $12 - $35/monthly subscription. Best way to send Text and SOS messages for help. Excellent tracking device among other features. It could easily save your life.


Strava - - my favorite tracking device

Additional Favorites:

What to bring - MY Favorite things...

These are just some of my favorites. They are not all required.


1) stay warm, dry and comfortable outdoors all winter long, regardless of the weather or temperatures

2) get better acquainted with types of fabrics that work best for cold, wet months.

Money saving tip:

Once you get familiar with my favorite items, watch for these same items at outlets, closeouts, thrift stores, online garage sales/yard sales, etc. 

• Favorite Neck Gaiter - Smart Wool gaiter

• Favorite Lotion - Utah is dry and your skin may easily dry out. Cetaphil Lotion

• Favorite Top Thin Base Layer - Helly Hansen Base Layer, any thin top made from 100% merino wool. Find merino wool at Thrift Stores for very little money.

• Favorite Hand/Toe/Body Warmers, Reusable, Wonder Warmers 

• Favorite Down Jacket for Skiing/Hiking - Columbia Jacket or Patagonia

• Favorite Backpack - One from the Gear Room for best prices. I carry a bigger backpack to put snowshoes or my Zipfy Sled in

• Favorite Thermal Underwear - Under Armour Base

• Favorite Hard Candy: Werther's Original

• Favorite Shovel - Voile Telepro Shovel - This is a mini light-weight shovel. Keep this in your vehicle at all times during the entire winter. You may help rescue another person.

• Favorite Pants, Waterproof: Marmot Precip Pants

• Favorite Lantern - Inflatable Solar Chargeable Lantern

• Soothing aches, pains and relaxing muscles AFTER a hike - My TWO favorites: Wonder Warmers AND hot bath with 2 cups of Epson Salt

• Favorite Sled:  Zipfy

Favorite Zipfy Run in the Back Country - With a Go Pro camera strapped to me and my son, Trevor, and another friend are just in front of me on this 1.5 mile run. Not for beginners. Lots of twists and turns. 11 minute ride total.

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