a reply to: johnb
Well, much as one can never fully trust a long term prediction weather wise, I have to confess, that I am looking forward to this with great
anticipation, and will be deeply disappointed if there is no snow in my area.
That said, one does have to take into serious account, the fact that a) long term predictions of weather are often proven slightly faulty by the time
the cataclysmic possibilities they outline, are supposed to have come about, and b) the fact that nothing terrifies the spineless as much as being
cold. Obviously fear sells. Now, if one has a medical condition which means that being out in the cold is too much for them, or if one is of an age
which makes them susceptible to the sort of illnesses that being cold can cause, then that is fair enough.
However, there are far too many people in this country, who hate snow simply because they lack the spine and sense to deal with the situation
sensibly when the snow does fall.
Just so that those who might be too silly to just deal with it have some useful data on the subject, I will, if I may, suggest some methods of
mitigating the cold weather.
Clothing, and wearing the right kind for the weather, is the most important thing about surviving in the bitterest cold of winter. When forty plus
mile an hour blizzards roll in, it is vital to have the right thickness of clothing on, otherwise you could wind up in a very bad way.
Starting then, with the feet:
Thermal socks are available from pretty much any camping and outdoors store, as well as by mail order. I get mine from Army and Navy surplus stores.
Military surplus boots go on over these, which offer good ankle support, and water resistance. Onto the boots, I place some skid preventative
measures, in the shape of chains strung between the edges of a ring made of rubber, which stretches around the sole of the boots. These offer much
better traction on icy terrain than the rubber soles alone.
Thermal trousers are vital for extremely cold weather, as they can, in combination with a good pair of combat trousers, prevent overmuch heat loss,
as long as they are kept dry, which is a matter I will cover further down the list. Tucking the thermal trouser legs into the tops of your thermal
socks, will keep the heat in your extremities for longer, which is crucial. Because falling over on ice is easy as you like, I usually elect to put
knee protectors on, especially if I am walking more than a couple of miles. A smashed patella is never welcome, but it could be very dangerous when
one is miles from aid.
Heres where we go a little hardcore, for maximum heat retention. I wear long sleeved thermal shirts, tucked into the top of my thermal trousers, a
vest, a sweater, a thick fleece jacket, with a water and windproof waistcoat over that, topped off with a leather trench coat. I defy ANYONE to get a
cold belly wearing that lot, no matter how low the temperature gets. The trench coat helps keep the torso, arms, and legs from getting soaked by sleet
and snow, which in turn keeps the whole lot warmer. If you do not own a trench coat, then get a thick military surplus water proof poncho, as it will
perform the same task admirably, although it would not look nearly as badass!
Thick leather gloves, or alternatively thick fleece lined water proof gloves. Again, if you do not have these, then any store selling a decent range
of outdoor kit will have them. Do not put it off. Fingers are valuable body parts!
Now, here is where I go a bit nuts. My end of town gets cut off most years when it snows, so I often have to walk three miles through a blizzard,
just to go to the flipping pub. In order to do that with the minimum risk of me catching a cold (which I minimise purely to ensure I am available for
work in the morning), I have to take some precautions to prevent untoward consequences.
First, I don a neoprene diving hood, the bottom of which extends out over my shoulders a little bit, and fits inside the collar of my waistcoat. It
has obvious advantages over a balaclava, where dealing with water ingress is concerned. Then I wrap a bandana around my mouth and nose, and put on my
aviators goggles. At this point, exactly zero skin is exposed to the elements. Because there is a risk of falling on ice, I also put on a plastic,
faux leather covered helmet.
Do I wind up looking like the sand filled, clockwork warrior from Hellboy when wearing that stuff? Yes. Do I give a crap that people look at me
funny? No. Why? Because unlike the people who gawp and laugh, and look at me as if I just fell out of the wardrobe department of a bad play based on
the life of Darth Vader, I will be TOASTY in that lot, whereas I have walked past people on my way home in a blizzard, who are wearing trainers, have
exposed necks, or no hat what so ever, or have been out long enough to become soaked, and are HATING it, and will likely not be going to work
tomorrow, and furthermore cannot travel nearly as far as I can, in that weather, in that wardrobe.
IF it gets bad this winter, forget how much of a nutter you look, and look after yourselves adequately. No matter what you look like, its a hell of a
lot better than winding up blue, stiff, and dead.