Today I’m going to give you my thoroughly subjective and only partially thought through ranking of different walking weather conditions.
Because that’s the kind of person I am.
When I’m walking, four main things I consider are 1) sky conditions, 2) active weather conditions (snow, rain, etc.), and 3) ground conditions, and, of course, 4) temperature. Obviously I won’t be touching on every conceivable combination of these things, ‘cause that would take forever and some things (like 90+ temps and snowy sidewalks) don’t even go together. So I’ll just do each of the four components on their own because that’s easiest.
SO HERE WE GO! Best to worst for each.
Clouds are ideal when walking. The sun doesn’t get in your eyes and there’s less skin damage going on compared to full sunlight.
Walking in fog is cool. The only downside is that this usually correlates with colder weather.
Sun is…okay. It’s much more enjoyable in winter when it’s cold outside, but in the summer it blows because you need sunscreen and it exacerbates the heat.
Dark (early morning or late night)
Lack of visibility isn’t great.
Murdering my lungs isn’t great.
Active Weather Conditions
Is the air dead outside? GREAT! Let’s go for a walk.
I actually really enjoy walking when it’s snowing its brains out outside. I think I mentioned this in a blog a week or so ago. It makes me feel like I’m trekking through the Antarctic.
Light snow is okay, too. Just not as fun.
I’ve never liked walking in the wind, no matter what temperature it is. If I’m walking into the wind, I think I change my stride a little bit, ‘cause it always hurts my leg more than it should.
Light Snow + Wind
The snow gets everywhere and it’s hard to keep it out of my ears/eyes/soul.
Heavy Snow + Wind
The snow gets everywhere and it’s hard to keep it out of my ears/eyes/soul, BUT I’m Antarctic Trekking™ so it makes me feel like a badass.
Luckily I haven’t walked in hail too many times, but it is a weather condition I’ve dealt with, so here it is.
The only reason this is as high on the list as it is is due to the fact that “heavy rain” for Calgary usually only happens in the hot summer and only for about 10 minutes at a time. Torrential downpour-style. It’s fun.
Heavy Rain + Wind
Light Rain + Wind
GOD, NO. You want to make me miserable? Make me walk all day in rain when it’s windy.
Depending on how wet the pavement is, my shoes have a tendency to give a little bit of a slip with my step, so that’s not too great.
I like plowing through loose snow, but only if it’s warm enough that my toes don’t freeze.
Packed snow is okay. I can usually go decently fast over it without the fear of slipping.
Packed Snow Over Ice
A little bit more dangerous, but usually the snow is “sticky” enough that the ice below is not an issue.
Slush is SO FRUSTRATING. I want to go fast through it but there’s zero traction and my feet are soaking wet by the time I’m done with my walk.
DANGER, WILL ROBINSON
Loose Snow Over Ice
“I can’t see the ice. Oh never mind, I FOUND IT WITH MY FACE”
60℉ – 70℉
This is pretty much the ideal walking temperature. Don’t need a jacket, but also don’t feel like I’m going to get heat stroke.
10℉ – 30℉
I like this temperature range because I know exactly what I need to wear to stay at a comfortable temperature (orange jacket and tights under my winter pants).
I really don’t mind walking in the heat too much. I’m super gross after 15 miles in that kind of temp, but it’s actually quite satisfying.
0℉ – 10℉
I still know exactly what I need to wear to stay at a comfortable temperature in this range, but I also worry more about my iPod surviving temps this low for 4+ hours.
40℉ – 50℉
Light jacket? Too cold! Heavy jacket? Too warm! NOTHING MAKES SENSE
I really worry about my iPod in these temps. I worry about my iPod more than I worry about my fingers/toes/nose getting frostbite, so you all know where my priorities are.