You may have noticed the options for Halloween decorations and costumes were a little thinner this year. They are the latest casualty of a nationwide supply chain crunch.

A labor shortage and transportation issues are causing record traffic at west coast ports.

Some retailers are chartering their own cargo shifts to get their goods into stores.

Supply chain issues are also impacting hiking gear. And with more people spending time outdoors because of the pandemic, that winter gear is becoming a hot item.

Tom and Laurie Rankin have been hiking together since the day they met.

“Our first day was to hike Colden Mountain in the Adirondacks and it was 10° below zero that day but I still tell people it was a hot date,” Tom said.

Now hiking experts, their true passion lies in the colder months.

“There’s a lot of good things about winter hiking, as we’re walking along here of course there’s mud and roots and there’s rocks and a lot of that gets covered up in the winter time,” Tom said. 

Tom and Laurie say if you want to take up winter hiking, it’s no easy task and it’s better to be over prepared.  

“I suggest that they take a class on winter preparedness, hiking out there with experienced hikers for your first winter hikes,” Laurie explained. 

The couple teaches a two-hour course on winter hiking through the Catskill 3500 club. And there’s also lots of weather specific equipment that’s needed. 

“We learned last year, thanks to the pandemic that there’s a shortage of all kinds of random things, snow shoes are one of those things right now that are in short supply and snow shoes are pretty much essential for winter hiking so this would probably be a good time to shop for them,” Tom said. 

Tom and Laurie plan to keep hiking for years to come and help teach as many people as they can in the process.