Spring hiking guide


March 4, 2022


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Hiking and ticks

Rain, sun, wind, snow, hail… All in the same week, sometimes even on the same day! Spring is a tricky season weatherwise, but you must know how to deal with it to make the most of your spring hikes. This requires the right equipment, and the kind of technical clothing that is both weatherproof and versatile. The SAIL’s hiking experts share what’s on their hiking gear list so you can get outside and enjoy every second of your spring adventure.

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In this article, you will learn our top tips on how to dress and what to pack for spring hiking:

  1. Always keep an eye on the weather
  2. Choosing the right clothing for spring hiking
  3. Selecting the right footwear
  4. Don’t leave home without these spring hiking essentials
  5. Avoiding tick bites
  6. FAQ

Always keep an eye on the weather

New buds on tree branches are a clear sign that spring is underway. In other words, it’s time to trade in your skis for some hiking boots! However, before rushing to hit the trails, it’s important to check the weather, and the conditions on the ground. Even when the forecast only shows blue skies and sunshine, morning temperatures can still be well below zero, and the windchill factor, the altitude or the type of terrain could turn your warm spring hike into an icy, winter one. The weather can also turn on a dime, and you’ll need to be equipped to stay warm no matter the conditions.

One last thing: during springtime, it’s best to hike early in the morning as the ground is still likely to be frozen. It’s the best way to avoid the mud!

Several outdoor mobile apps can help you stay ahead of the weather. AllTrails in particular provides subscribers with details such as the weather forecast for every specific trail, as well as ground conditions and mosquito activity! National parks will also put weather information on their websites, as well as a daily report on trail conditions. After all, you don’t want to get up at the crack of dawn, and drive to your chosen hiking spot only to be told the trail is unsafe or closed for the day.

Choosing the right clothing for spring hiking

It’s not winter anymore, but it’s not quite summer yet. In spring, it’s not always easy to know what to wear, so it’s important to take the following factors into account: temperature, breathability, waterproofing and wind protection.

The layering system allows you to stay warm during your spring hike, without overheating as soon as the sun makes an appearance. Here’s how it works.


Your baselayer will be the first piece of clothing you put on. Its main purpose is to wick moisture away from your skin, which will ultimately help you better regulate your body temperature. Choose a garment made of synthetic or natural fibres. Merino wool, for example, is known as a breathable, quick-dry material that absorbs odours.

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The midlayer

A midlayer is basically the insulation component of your multi-layer system. There are many options available, from fleeces to long-sleeve tops or even down jackets. Picking the right one will depend on the weather and your type of activity. For medium-to-high intensity sports such as hiking or running, add a synthetic top such as a sweater or fleece on top of your baselayer. Colder temperatures may call for a down puffer, even in the spring.

The outer layer

Finally, your last layer should protect you from the elements. Opt for a windproof soft shell jacket and pants, or go fully waterproof whenever there is a chance of rain. Gaiters are also a good addition to your outdoor kit as they protect your feet and calves from water or debris.

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Selecting the right footwear

The importance of a comfortable and waterproof pair of hiking shoes or boots cannot be understated. In fact, there is nothing worse than walking with cold, wet feet, or developing painful blisters in the middle of your hike.

Hiking boots vs. shoes: what’s best for spring hiking?

Hiking shoes are designed to be lighter and more breathable, which may not be ideal for spring trail conditions. Our experts recommend opting for waterproof ankle-high hiking boots to stop water from coming in when walking in shallow puddles or on muddy terrain. Also, look for boots with plenty of grips as some trails may be icy.

Before you put on your trusted hiking boots at the beginning of the season, check that they are still waterproof. If water is seeping in, apply a waterproofing treatment, or opt for a new pair with a built-in breathable Gore-Tex membrane.

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Don’t leave home without these spring hiking essentials

Clothing and footwear sorted? All you need are a few more spring hiking essentials.


You’ll need a good backpack to carry all of your spring hiking essentials. This could vary from a small day pack for shorter walks, or a 40 to 70 L model for longer, multi-day hikes. Remember to cover it with a waterproof rain cover to keep all your valuables dry.

Ice cleats

Very early in the season or as soon as you gain altitude, you may encounter snow and ice. To make sure you’re prepared to face any terrain, do carry a pair of ice cleats in your backpack at all times.


It is also a good idea to pack a pair of gaiters to keep your lower legs warm and protected against the elements.

Heating accessories

Even the most prepared of hikers may get things wrong, or hit particularly bad weather. Keep a few heating accessories such as toe or hand warmers with you, or go all in and treat yourself to some heated socks or mittens for days when winter looks like it’s making a comeback.

Enough water and snacks

Always carry plenty of water. To keep it from freezing, pour warm water into an insulated bottle. Also bring plenty of food, and plan extra high-energy snacks in case you are delayed.

A camera

Nature comes alive in the spring, and you may stumble upon some beautiful scenes. Make sure you capture them so you can show your friends afterwards!

Avoiding tick bites

Did you know that ticks are most voracious during the spring and fall months? These small parasites become active as soon as the temperature rises above 4℃, as they need heat and high levels of humidity to live and reproduce. It is therefore crucial to adopt a few good habits to reduce the risk of being bitten and of catching Lyme disease:

  • Wear long, light-coloured clothing;
  • Tuck your pants into your socks to stop them from reaching your skin;
  • Avoid walking through thick bushes;
  • Inspect your body thoroughly after an outing (especially the hollows of your knees and elbows, your ankles, neck and hair);
  • Spray bug repellent sprays on your skin and clothing.

One thing is for sure, the return of the beautiful season is a joy every year and, well dressed and well equipped, all the reasons are right to head on out there and enjoy the fresh air!


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