How to stay active outdoors as the temperatures drop

Posted at 7:55 AM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 09:56:52-04

IDAHO — Fall is here, and as we settle into a new season, there are some important safety tips to remember as you enjoy the great outdoors.

Regence Wellness Consultant Allie Henderson says as we transition from summer to fall, you'll have to prepare ahead for temperature drops and fewer daylight hours. You'll also need to mix up your outdoor gear in case of sudden changes in the weather.

"Some slightly different changes in clothing that you'll need as we go through, and then just some unpredictable conditions with the weather like snow, wind, and rain," explains Henderson.

When it comes to packing and prepping for the outdoors, you'll want to put a little more thought into clothing--specifically synthetic material versus cotton--to protect yourself.

"As we move into cooler weather, you'll want three different layers. So, you'll want the first layer to wick away your sweat, the middle layer to insulate you, and then the outer layer to shield you from the wind and rain," says Henderson. "It's nice because if it does get warm or you heat up, you can shed those layers or add them back on."

Thinking about your layers includes making sure you have the right gear on your feet. Look for synthetic or wool socks, and bring an extra pair in case yours get wet. Also, make sure you're wearing waterproof and insulated boots. You'll want to grab a hat or headband and lightweight or midweight fleece gloves as well.

Preparing for a hike during fall or winter is similar to summer hiking preparations, but there are additional tips to consider.

"Start as early as you can just because it does get dark, and you want to make sure that you're hiking while it's light. [To] Bring a map or GPS because some of those trail markers could be covered by snow, and then your batteries don't last as long in the cold. So, making sure that you keep your phone close to your body heat and bring a portable charger in case it does die," Henderson says.

Henderson suggests choosing an uphill trail to help keep you warm, and be prepared to turn around depending on trail conditions. Always make sure you're aware of the weather, as well as snow and avalanche conditions, before heading to your destination.

As for hydration and fuel, remember tips from summer. Drink three to four liters of water per day, and while you're hiking or tackling another outdoor activity, bring non-caffeinated tea or warm water with you as caffeine makes you more sensitive to the cold. Use insulated mugs instead of hydration packs and choose food and snacks that won't freeze. Remember, you burn more calories while exercising in the cold so your energy needs may be higher.

For more tips, Henderson says any number of outdoor stores in the area are available to help. You can also check Ridge to Rivers for the latest trail conditions.