Going hiking? Here are 8 ways to keep warm in chilly Hong Kong trails

PHOTO: Reuters

With temperatures in Hong Kong dropping as low as 3.3°C and sub-zero in the hills, residents are bundling up in whatever warm clothing they can find.

The cold snap is the frostiest in nearly 60 years and Hong Kongers have been caught off guard. According to AFP, most buildings lack central heating, but that hasn't seemed to deter some from specially making a trip to the hills just to check out rare icicles.

Rumours of snow and sightings of frost spurred "frost-chasers" to make the climb up Hong Kong's highest peak Tai Mo Shan for a rare glimpse of the phenomenon.

What started out as a leisure trip, didn't end quite so well for some as slippery roads caused dozens of "frost-chasers" to be stranded.

According to South China Morning Post, firefighters were alerted to about 20 calls for help at 9am on Sunday morning (Jan 24). Since then, around hundreds of hikers were affected and more than 60 were hospitalised.

See here for the best hiking trails in Hong Kong: Believe it, there's some great hiking in Hong Kong

If you're one of those "frost-chasers", here are 8 tips to keep from turning into a snowman:

1. Bring a thermos flask

Fill it up with hot coffee, whiskey, chocolate, or whatever suits your fancy so that you can have a hot drink to keep yourself warm after a chilly climb.

2. Wear a beanie

Most of the hiking trails in Hong Kong have a splendid view of the city below. That said, the summits have little tree cover, and the monsoon winds can be especially biting against the skin.

3. Wear a parka

Parkas, windbreakers and heavy duty ponchos may be lightweight but the fabric they are made from are good for wind protection. If you can find one with a hood, that's a bonus.

4. Long wool socks

Wear at least two pairs and always bring along extra pairs in case your feet get damp from the frost or mountain sludge. Woollen socks are great at trapping heat and wearing two pairs at a time can also prevent the friction from causing any abrasions or blisters while trekking.

5. Boots with rubber soles

At this time of the year, choose function over fashion. Forget fancy-heeled boots and opt for those with rubber soles. Even if you're not trekking, these boots are non-slip and make for sturdy walking on the streets - and just about anywhere.

6. Heat packs

These are available in most supermarkets. Simply keep a packet in the pocket of your jacket and squeeze it to release the heat.

7. Thermal wear

The trick is to trap as much heat as possible. The best way to do that is to don a pair of thermal wear before putting on other layers. Go for cotton or wool.

8. Pay it forward

While you're out frolicking in the frost, do consider that not everyone is privileged to see the luxury of the cold snap. Hong Kong's most vulnerable people are the homeless who find themselves shut out of government shelters during the day. These people are bundled up in whatever scraps they can find off the streets and huddled in underpasses for reprieve.

It may be cold outside, so the warmest thing anyone can do is to offer blankets, heaters or all seven items mentioned above.

The writer is an avid climber who believes that the best sunrise can be seen on mountain summits.