Shokz Guest Blogger Bertie Cowen shares his recommendations for winter outdoor activities and offers up tips to ensure you have a safe and fun experience.
Sometimes I love the awe-inspiring silence of winter, but other times I do love to add a soundtrack! The open-ear technology of Shokz headphones like OpenRun Pro means I can have the best of both worlds as I stay attuned to my winter surroundings while also listening to my favourite music.
Here are four fun winter activities you can enjoy with or without your headphones, whether you’re into long nights out camping, the adrenaline-filled thrill of snowmobiling, or building a backyard ice rink.
#1 Hiking in the Snow
It can be tempting to hunker down in winter, venturing outside only when you have to, however, but winter hiking can be absolutely spectacular.
You may need to make a few minor adjustments to your kit depending on where you’re going. For example, you may want to carry some crampons or use snowshoes to make walking easier, or you may choose to ditch the footwear altogether and try some cross-country skiing (for the uninitiated, adding “ski skins” on to a set of skis allows you to easily ski on the flat as well as up hills).
Other than that, you really just need to follow standard outdoor winter advice around wearing plenty of layers, planning your route and making sure someone knows where you are planning to go. The main thing to remember is that winter days are short and you’ll probably cover less distance than in warmer months, so make sure to factor that into your plans.
#2 Try Winter Camping
While camping is way more popular was a summer activity, there’s no reason why you can’t have just as much fun on a winter camping trip. Yes, the days are shorter and it’s a lot colder, but all the other ingredients for an amazing experience are still there; stunning nature, a feeling of self-reliance and exercise – to name but a few.
Plus, camping spots tend to be a lot less crowded in the winter months!
If you are a first-time winter camper, then it’s best to start slow. Experts recommend keeping your first trip as short as one night and gradually building up as you become more experienced.
Obviously, warmth is one of the most important considerations when it’s freezing outside so it’s worth thinking hard about your sleep system.
“It’s a good idea to invest in an insulated sleeping mat with an R-value of 4 or higher,” says sleep expert, Jonathan Prichard. “A great sleeping mat will keep you much warmer in your tent than a great sleeping bag. Obviously having both is a huge advantage, but if you can only upgrade one of those things, I’d go with the sleeping mat every time.”
#3 Build An Ice Skating Rink
Not all adventuring means traveling into the wild. In fact, you can create a winter adventure in your own backyard! I have vivid memories of playing on ice as a kid! Sometimes it was on a pond and sometimes we were just playing on what was basically a giant frozen puddle.
If you have a bit of space and a water supply (and assuming you live somewhere the water will freeze) you can make a DIY backyard ice rink for as little as 30 bucks or go whole hog and build yourself a pond!
Once you’ve got the ice, this is actually quite a simple activity to manage because you just need to dress up warm, maybe wear some head protection and away you go. When anyone gets too cold or tired, the house is right there waiting!
# 4 Go Snowmobiling
For most people, this might be more of a one-off activity rather than a hobby. But if the other ideas on this list felt a bit…sedate, then this might just cut it for you.
The best place to start is to rent your gear and hire a snowmobile guide because that way you don’t have to worry so much about insurance, vehicle maintenance and other things like that. There are loads of places you can go for a snowmobiling experience which means you might have options near home or you can make a holiday out of it.
A common misconception about snowmobiling is that you have to be super speedy. In fact, you can also opt for slower, more technically challenging experiences that can be equally as thrilling. Whatever you choose, the most important thing you can do is listen to your guide as their experience will give you maximum safety combined with maximum fun.
Happy winter adventuring everyone!
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