Trudging around in the sometimes miserable winter weather can be a real chore but if you refuse to let the rougher months of the year keep you locked indoors its unavoidable. Walking around with cold wet feet or even soaked to the skin is never a fun experience and can easily be dodged with the right bits of outdoor gear.
Gaiters do the job of preventing water seeping into your boots and are effective both in rain and when walking though tall grass. Just be sure to have a good look at the sizing as the bigger versions may be a over the top and you’ll end up having problems walking in them.
The fit to your boot is one of the most important parts of the gaiters setup and a tight fit not only ensures your feet are kept dry but also so its not annoying you by shifting about while your battling along.
While the gaiter does a good job of keeping the water out of your socks its just window dressing if used without a good waterproof boot to start with.
Quality wise gaiters need strong durable components for the boot fixing and at the very top, the strap that goes under the boot is going to take all manner of punishment in its lifetime so needs to be up to the task.
Full Rain Suits
The ultimate in keeping dry, properly constructed rain suits make walking through even heavy downpours less miserable (just).
Because the rain travels easily down the suit having a good level of water proofing in your back pack will stop all the rain flowing down your body being absorbed into all your belongings.
Even though its raining that doesn’t always mean its always very cold and if your breaking a sweat there can be some drawbacks.
Being totally enclosed does cause some overheating problems as the ventilation has to be kept to a minimum for the suits to work. Selecting the lightest version possible does make it more flexible and much easier to walk in.
This picture of the Coleman offering does make it look absolutely huge and maybe it would be more to scale if there was a human inside for reference.
As with the gaiters your correct size should be judged carefully so you don’t end up with something the whole family could sleep in.
Winter Emergency Shelter Options
The cold does change the methods used for quickly getting out of the rain with a waterproof bivy that’s big enough for you and your sleeping bag turning into a shorter term option than in the summer months.
Even in summer the cold from the ground will seep into your bones if you lay there long enough, a process that’s much quicker during the off season. If you can use a decent bed roll to give some separation between you and the earth this time is greatly extended but that takes a very roomy bivy.
I tend to give this a miss if I can and go straight to putting up a tent. With the instant popup models available its often much quicker (and easier) than trying to squeeze everything into a bivy while all the time getting wet.