Winter Dog Walking – keep safe, keep warm

when out winter dog walking winter-995356_640 Winter Dog Walking - keep safe, keep warm

As a scout, I was always told, “No such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”. This is very true. Invest a few pounds in decent walking wear, and you will be glad in winter.

Being a scout leader has given me good experience to ensure I am warm and dry whilst out dog walking, and over the years have tried various clothing.

Keeping your feet nice and toastie

Boots.

Come winter, the ground will be wetter and possibly even snowy/frosty underfoot. As a result, it is worth investing in a good pair of hiking boots.

If you have new boots, then I suggest wearing them around the house for a few days. This will help break the boots in before you go for long walks.

Socks.

My personal preference is a thin pair of socks with wool hiking socks over the top. However, a decent pair of thermal socks will also work,

Legs.

Whilst we do not feel the cold quite as much, it is still essential to layer up the lower half of the body. I have always recommended to my scouts on winter camp three layers on the lower half and four layers on top.

We start with a “base layer” such as baselayer ‘tights’ or longjohns. Ideally, these should be close-fitting so they can trap a layer of air next to your skin. They should also allow wicking.

The next layer will be your walking trousers. Lastly, if the weather is windy or inclement, a set of waterproof trousers will make a big difference.

Winter Dog Walking Gear to ensure your core is warm.

Base Layer.

One of the key things about keeping warm in winter is to ensure you have the right type of material for the correct layer.

Base layers should be able to wick away the sweat from your body to ensure your skin stays nice and dry.

Thermals are best if they are made out of silk or Thinsulate.

Mid-layers.

This is the layer that you put on next over the base layer, (You can also wear an optional t-shirt/shirt. Ideally, this layer should be something like a wollen jumper or a fleece. The great thing about quality fleeces is that they keep you warm even if they get wet, they’ll still keep you warm

Another great thing about fleece is that on warmer days, you can wear this as your outer layer.

Outer layers.

Finally, the last layer should be a reasonably windproof and waterproof coat. This should not be too restrictive, so you can still bend over to take leads on and off and pick up poo etc.

The ideal material for your outer garment is Gortex as these coats are generally light and breathable, so you don’t get wet from sweating.

 

Protecting your hands.

The winter can bring chapped and sore hands, especially when waking dogs on a lead.

Investing in some fleece-lined gloves will help keep your hands warm and protected from the wind but still allow you to use the lead and pick up poop.

The Head.

The final part of the body is your head. Although we do lose heat through our heads, it is not as much as what many people think it is. In reality, it is only about 10%

However, it is still a good idea to wear a nice warm fleece-lined or Thinsulate hat.

Winter walking accessories.

Lips.

Winter walks can play havoc on the lips due to the wind. To help stop your lips from chapping regularly, apply lip balm or even vaseline.

Eyes.

In winter, the sun can still be blinding especially as it is low in the sky. A pair of sunglasses are still useful

Another use for sunglasses is to keep the wind and grit out of your eyes on windy days.

Hand Gel.

Even before COVID-19, it is a good idea to carry a small hand gel with you to prevent the spreading of germs etc.

Further reading