8 tips for cold-weather hiking and camping in Colorado

Finally, you can kick a pine cone on a Colorado trail without hitting five other hikers.

As tourism swells and Northern Colorado’s population booms, sometimes it feels like the best way to escape outdoor crowds is waiting for cold weather. Plus, those mountain vistas look pretty spectacular this time of year.

Hiking and camping in the cold isn’t without its perils, though.

Say yes to layers, no to cotton. You’ll want a warm base layer like a thermal or long-sleeved shirt, a cozy middle layer like a fleece or jacket, and a waterproof outer layer. All those layers keep you warm and allow you to course-correct in case temperatures rise.

Don’t forget a hat, warm socks, something to cover your neck and gloves/mittens. Bring an extra pair of socks and gloves even if you think you don’t need them. It’s also a good idea to pack plastic zip-close bags or grocery bags to wrap around your feet in case of a wet-shoe emergency. You can slather petroleum jelly on hints of exposed to skin to prevent windburn and frostbite.

Adopt a doomsday-prepper mentality while packing for your trip. Assume it’ll be colder, windier and wetter than the forecast predicts. Assume you’ll be hungrier and thirstier than you expected.

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