Useful tips for hiking in the mud

Winter is some people’s favorite time to go hiking, even though it can be slippery, cold, and with a lot of mud around. If you’re a person who doesn’t like getting dirty, then forget about hiking in extended wet weather. But, if you don’t mind a bit of dirt on your shoes and muddy puddles, then here are some useful tips that will help you become a better winter hiker. Don’t be scared if it gets sloppy, just follow these tips and have a safe and pleasant hike. Let’s get started!

Tie your shoes

Tie your shoes
Tie your shoes

Make sure that your hiking shoes are tied nice and tight and that your ankles are supported well. Knowing that a muddy terrain can be very slippery, make sure your shoes don’t slide around while you’re walking.

Don’t forget your trekking poles

Not only do trekking poles make you a more able and efficient explorer by conserving your energy and vitality, but they enable you to hop across larger mud puddles or help spread your weight as you move crosswise over them. If you slip and lose your balance, the trekking poles will help you stay upright and save you from getting messy. The poles are also useful for people who aren’t quite as fit as they would like to be and need additional support on the trail. If you are not a frequent hiker, then try to rent a pair before buying one.

Sometimes “going with the flow” is your only option

Sometimes there are heavy rains that simply flood the trail and carry all the sticky debris down the road. While the rain flow cleans your path and leaves a firm ground, you can walk with fewer worries. All the sticky debris will be washed away to the edge of the trail, which is good for preventing erosion.

Avoid shiny mud

Muddy trail
Muddy trail

The sloppiest mud has a sparkle-like look because of the water particles that are reflecting light. Such shiny mud has a high percentage of water which makes it sticky and deep. If you run into it on a trail, go around it or jump over it to avoid getting stuck in the dirt. Going around the mud can save you from messy shoes and clothes, so keep your eyes open while hiking in the wet.

Don’t panic when you slip

The best way to avoid a dirt bath is to stay relaxed and not panic. If you slip, try not to overreact but maintain your balance instead. Falling in the mud can easily ruin your hike and leave you feeling desperate. Making smaller strides usually helps with keeping balance and your feet fixed to the ground.

Clean up tips

Clean your boots
Clean your boots

The worst part of dealing with mud is not always on the trail, but afterward, when you need to take it off your shoes.

  • Clean your boots!

Soon after arriving back home you need to clean your boots and take off all the mud. When the mud dries it dries out the leather too, causing it to crack and lose its weatherproofing. If you want your boots to last longer, then always keep them clean.

  • Convertible pants

Maybe they are not the fanciest and they’re not your favorite, but they are practical. Just unzip the pants at the knees and convert them into shorts before starting out on a hike. You will thus prevent the mud from sticking to the lower part of your pants, making things easier for you. Walking in wet and mud-heavy trousers is not fun at all.

  • Plastic Tarp

Lining your car’s trunk with a plastic tarp is necessary if you want to protect your car from dirt, mud, and humidity. Place all your dirty clothes and shoes on the plastic tarp and put on clean and dry clothes. Good luck!

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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival