Our Winters Offer Different Challenges For The Outdoors
Dressing for an outdoor adventure can be challenging in our area. Waking up for an early morning hike can start your day with temperatures in the upper 20s but your hike can end in the 60s. That is a huge difference when it comes to dressing properly.
Dressing for temperatures in the upper 20s can mean a heavy coat for some. But, that isn’t practical when it comes to hiking and rising temperatures.
The key thing is to layer up and avoid bulky items.
Your basic layer should be to manage moisture. Keeping dry helps you to maintain a cooler body temperature as the surrounding environment warms up throughout your hike. Avoid cotton as a base layer as it retains perspiration and can actually make you chilly. Merino wool and synthetic fabrics work best.
Your mid layer is for insulation. Natural fabrics, like wool, or synthetic fabrics such as fleece work well.
Fleece comes in three weights:
- Lightweight: aerobic activity or mild climates.
- Midweight: moderate activity or climates.
- Expedition-weight: low activity or very cold climates.
Your outer layer is for weather protection. For our area, that rarely means rain. But wind can be a factor, and even snow if you are doing hiking up north or in the upper elevations.
Your outer shell is important as it creates a barrier between the weather and your middle layers.
Without the barrier, windy weather will penetrate your inner layers causing you to feel cold. Additionally, your outer layer needs proper ventilation to prevent the weather from coming through, but still allowing perspiration to evaporate instead of condense on your inner layers.
The added benefit of layers also allows you to remove items as needed as the temperature begins to rise. This is important to our area, even in upper elevation due to the temperature swings that we experience throughout the day.
Our area also has a tendency to have clear skies which makes the sun feel stronger. So, due to direct sunlight, even though it may be in the 40s or 50s, we will feel warmer.
Layers are also important with evening hikes and adventures. We can head out in the afternoon with temperatures in the 60s or 70s and quickly find ourselves ending our adventure with temperatures in the 40s or lower. This means you need to bring those added layers with you and add as needed.
During milder temperatures we tend to feel less thirsty during exertion, which can become dangerous quickly. It is still incredibly important to stay properly hydrated when we are outside.
Much like hydration, mild weather makes us a little more forgetful when it comes to sun burns. Sunblock is still a much needed item when venturing out. A sun burn can just as easily happen as it could when it is warm out.
San Tan Mountains Regional
Over 10,000 acres of desert with hiking/biking trails & a visitor’s center with wildlife exhibits.