Cache in Cold Scene Cache_in_Cold_Container.jpg

There is nothing like bundling up head to toe for a hike in the crisp winter air, through a forest blanketed with snow. The beautiful scenery, lack of bugs, spotting animal tracks, and uncovering nearly frozen geocache containers, hidden under a foot of snow, makes caching in the cold a worthwhile and fun adventure. But being prepared for winter caching is a must, because you leave behind the  warmth, shelter, food, water and other comforts of home. 

Cache in Cold Gusteroids Cache in Cold 3 men Cmas Cache in Cold nand MrsS

Before you head out for a hike and geocache find, in this beautiful cold world, keep in mind several winter hiking and geocaching tips and essentials.  Obviously the longer the adventure and more intense the winter bushwhack, the more of the following information will apply, but it's good information regardless.

Begin at home by checking the weather conditions during your trip outdoors. Then see if the geocaches you're interested in finding are actually available and able to be found. Check the cache page attributes and recent logs.  Remember too that some trails are closed in winter, or not marked and maintained. so route-finding skills are important.  Plan and know your route because snow-covered landscapes look very different than in those warm dry months.  If creek crossings are required, remember thin layers of ice on water can be decieving and dangerous, so don't count on walking across unless you know the freeze is over a long period of time and the ice is indeed thick. 

Cache in Cold rogbane TerriBikes Cache_in_cold_bridge_creek.jpg Cache in Cold Cmas group 

It's still not time to go out on your adventure.  Now you need to find a friend or several to join in the fun, because there is safety in numbers (and someone has to take your picture).  Then assemble and pack up your 'gear,' realizing that the length of your hike and time outside will dictate types and amounts. Plain water and some with electrolytes is obviously essential.  Often in the winter, it's easy to forget that you need to drink often, because your not hot or sweaty, but it's just as important to keep hydrated.  Winter hiking is more difficult and uses up more of your energy.  Food/snacks are also a must, especially some salty snacks.  But eating a healthy meal before your trip is ideal.  Now to gather the geocaching and survival type gear.  The GPS receiver and phone should be fully charged and extra batteries or charger packed.  Waterproof containers/holders for your electronics are important in the winter, as slipping and dropping these important items in the snow could ruin your plans if they no longer work.  With that said, packing an area map, a compass, and safety whistle is a great idea. If you know you'll be looking for a cache you just have to get under feet of snow, you might also need a camping shovel to dig it out.  Hiking poles are probably not debatable in the winter, so get those ready.  Pack up a first aid kit and any essential medicines as well. 

Cache in Cold GPS  Cache in Cold Snowshoe

Now that you've checked on the geocaches and routes, and packed up appropriate gear and sustenance, you can finally get yourself dressed and ready.  It's all about layers and waterproof clothing when it comes to winter caching. Dressing in layers of long cold-gear leggings and top, followed by additional warm layers works well.  Your outerwear - coat, parka, hat, gloves - should be waterproof and windproof for the snow and/or rain and ice.  Appropriate winter footwear will make all the difference.  Waterproof treaded boots, and maybe gaiters to keep snow and mud out of your boots, are essential for successful hiking and caching adventures in the winter. If you know you're headed to a deep snow or icy area, consider simple snow shoes or traction devices that fit on your shoes.  These could be a game-changer in those tough hiking areas.  It's wise to pack an extra set of dry clothing in case you need to change. While you might not take a back-pack along on warm-weather day caching trips, in the winter it's more important to have equipment you do or might need on your person.  Keeping your hands free to hang onto those hiking poles is a must, and there's only so much you can shove in coat pockets.

Cache in Cold Ice fall Cache in Cold TW Cache in Cold Pete val snowball 

Now that you're really ready to go, it's time to let more than one friend or family member know exactly where you'll be hiking and for how long.  Plan to contact again when you've returned. And that's about it folks.  

With winter approaching, it's time for you to start planning your cold weather adventure.  And once you've conquered that first cold hike, and added some well-deserved smileys to your stats, you'll be more at ease with the gear you actually need for more fun outdoors. So bundle up, grab your gear, and get out caching in the cold.  Oh ... and don't forget to have fun!