A major part of our lives during the winter are our winter walks and hikes.
A few years back I began driving to different parts of the city to explore the lakefront, city parks, and beaches during the winter.
I know that all sounds a little crazy seeing as though Chicago temperatures are capable of plummeting to severely low degrees, but rest assured, I always set out very prepared.
When I winter walk, I am looking for exercise, fresh air, nature, and experience.
Actually, one time during a massive snow dump during the winter of 2021, I watched as two men trekked across Lincoln Park with nothing but a surfboard over their heads and wetsuits on their bodies. They were walking towards the lake…I followed. Sure enough, they went “surfing.”
Michelle, on the other hand, enjoys the beauty of her winter walks in the woods near her home in the western suburbs. Often she and Ryan set out around nightfall for an evening stroll as the sun disappears behind the bare trees. Worry not, Ryan has his headlamp on.
And that’s just the thing…being prepared. As the saying goes:
There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.
Setting out for a jaunt in cold temps calls for layers, proper footwear, hiking sticks, water, a snack, and more layers.
To help encourage you to get outside for some frilutfsliv, which is Norwegian for “outdoor living”, we thought we’d share some essentials to have you well on your winter way.
The list below will have you feeling confident, prepared, and warm as you head out for some fresh air during some of the most magical, and coldest, months of the year.
1. Sorell Boots
A good pair of boots that are both warm and supportive is a must! These Sorrells offer both. Plus, they’re super cute. If these aren’t available in your size, I adore these as well.
2. Protein Bar
If you’re taking a long walk, it’s imperative you bring protein of some kind with you. Think of a bag of trail mix or a delicious protein bar. These Big Spoon bars are my absolute favorite!
3. Long Johns
Layers, layers, layers. A good pair of long johns go a long way! There is nothing better than feeling all cozy while out on your walk and then once you get home and through the door taking off everything but your long johns while you prepare a cup of hot cocoa.
Yaktrax are a new addition to my winter wardrobe this season. As I’ve mentioned, it gets real slippery around here due to freezing temps and icing over, so I thought, why not get something to help avoid a major slip. So far these have been a huge help as I navigate the freeze our city is capable of.
5 Small Hiking Backpack
There’s no need to pack a big backpack. A small sling pack such as this will offer the perfect amount of space for your keys, phone, an extra layer if need be, your water, and a snack.
6. Smartwool Socks
Smartwool socks are the coziest socks my feet have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. This pair in particular is one of my favorite styles.
Water is a must anytime you’re heading out for an outdoor adventure. What I love about this particular one is that it is collapsible which will save you space. This is also the perfect travel water bottle. There is absolutely no need to purchase plastic water bottles this day in age.
8. E Tip Liner Gloves
I would highly suggest a good pair of e-tip liner gloves under mittens. This way you are wearing double the warmth yet still have the ability to utilize your phone with the help of e-tips.
9. Hiking Sticks
I started using hiking sticks last year when I began to explore more treacherous areas that had a bit more ice than I bargained for. These are excellent for both winter and summer hikes to help navigate safely.
I sure hope this list has inspired you to layer up, grab a friend, and get outside this winter. It is so invigorating – your mind, body, and soul will love you for it!
TUNE IN TO OUR PODCAST, COZY CONVERSATIONS WITH THE SISTER PROJECT, PLEASE STREAM ON SPOTIFY, APPLE, ANCHOR.COM, OR ANYWHERE ELSE YOU STREAM PODCASTS.
To learn more about how you can support The Sister Project and the content we create, please head HERE.