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Dressing to survive the cold

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posted on Jul, 15 2008 @ 06:27 PM
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I decided to write this short piece after reading through a lot of comments in the survival threads about what to wear or what not to wear if and when SITX goes down and to explain my advice in a hopefully clear and concise way.

I will first look at the bodies physiological mechanisms for cooling down during high activity, and then go onto cover how to dress appropriately for the conditions and work output anticipated.

HOW THE BODY KEEPS COOL

Evaporation of perspiration is a very effective cooling mechanism, and at 37' C the brain via received signals will start to notice warning signs of over heating, and you will begin to loose moisture through your skin and start to 'sweat'. This is the bodies own natural self defence mechanism and cannot be overcome. As the human activity levels rise, so will the core temperature and your brain will again compensate for this by trying to use excessive moisture evaporation from a liquid surface as a survival mechanism (a large surface area of liquid evaporates quickly and transfers away from the body unwanted heat rapidly).

This would be a good thing if we lived in a hot climate and had access to plenty of water, but in a cold climate this can be fatal (more so than even excessive sweating in a hot climate).


DRESSING FOR THE WEATHER AND ANTICIPATED WORK EFFORT

We cannot prevent ourselves sweating, it is both impossible and unwanted. To do so would place our physiological status in grave danger of immediate death. That is not the aim of a survivalist; we aim to survive at all costs, not die at the first hurdle. We can however dress for the occasion.

Cold weather, high activity work rate

The weather is frigid, SITX has just kicked off, you have a few minutes to wrap up and grab your BOB (Bug Out Bag) and head for the hills. Lets look at what you should be wearing.

Base layer. The most critical layer you will own and wear. If this is right, you have upped your survival chances by a large margin.

Made of a high wicking moisture transporting material you will have this right next to the skin in a body hugging fashion so that it can be in as much contact with your sweaty skin as possible. The more contact, the more it is able to 'move' moisture from the skin into the material.

There are many materials out there in this modern technologically wonderful age, but in my experience in ultra low temperatures and high activity I can only recommend that which I found to be most effective.

90% and > Polypropylene base layer that has been 'worsted spun' and is a very high quality (can mean a more expensive base layer but it will really prove its worth in extreme conditions). This material has a fantastic ability to transport moisture away from the skin thus keeping you dry and thus warmer as they is no sitting water to move your body heat away from you into the air layer. However, what ever material you use please, never, ever use a cotton base layer. Cotton is heavy when wet, takes an absolute age to dry, retains large amounts of moisture close to the skin and will lead to a severe thermal emergency in a short space of time.

Now, we have on our wicking base layer, and all is well. However we throw over this a cotton shirt. Bad idea.

MID LAYER

It is essential that you continue to use high quality wicking garments in your mid layer, as these will absorb moisture from your inner base layers, and continue its movement away from the skin outwards. This thus keeps your body drier and more able to resist hypothermia.

Again look for clothing that allows a good deal of moisture transportation. I 'run hot' and wear in deep midwinter and at high speeds a high wicking fleece gilet with my arms covered only in my base layer to transport maximum moisture away from my skin. However, if you are a person who 'runs cold', go for a good mid layer with arms.
Polypropylene again is material of choice, and not too tight, but not all baggy and saggy either as this causes as many problems as it solves.

So we have a base and a mid layer that is moving moisture away from us and yet keeping the body warm. Success. Then we go and throw on over it a shabby mac from a dollar store that is 100% PVC.

Hypothermia and death follow shortly.

SHELL / OUTER LAYER

First question is, what is the weather like outside? Is it cold but clear? Is it cold, clear but windy? Or is it snowing heavily or raining?. The answer to this should determine what you wear.





If it is raining or snowing, you will have little choice but to wear some thing that is waterproof and wind proof, and yet at the same time 'breathable'.

There are many myths abound about how breathable fabrics prevent you from sweating and are a cure all for keeping dry. This cannot be further from the truth. You will sweat no matter what, and your jacket cannot prevent 100% of moisture build up, its not possible.

The two materials I use are Goretex Pro Shell and Event. Now, both are very different materials and both have certain properties that endear them to me. For my dash to get the hell out of dodge I would wear either, as they both are extremely waterproof, extremely hard wearing and have great moisture transportation properties.

Here with jackets we hear about 'hydrostatic heads' and huge figures of 45,000 and 35,000 bandied about. What this means in laymen terms is how tall a column of standing water will have to be to force water through the material causing a failure. Either number is massive, with a 35,000 mm hydrostatic head meaning a column 35 meters high will bear down before water gets through. You can see this is almost completely water tight. Anything equal or above this rating is going to keep you dry for extended periods in terrible conditions.

So, we have a good jacket that 'breathes' and is able to carry on the transportation of water moisture from our base, through our mid layer, and out into the open air around us. Success. Well, not quite.

Your shell needs to be close enough to your body to trap a layer of warm air and keep it warm, and have enough contact to easily draw this moisture up and away. If you see a person wearing a big baggy shell, you know it is being hampered from doing its job as the air inside will cool, allowing condensation to build up, and thus undoing all of your hard work in base and mid layer choices. So keep it close but able to trap a layer of warm air, and make it as breathable and top of the range as you can afford.

Event or Pro Shell are ideal.

However, you look out of the window, see it is sunny and clear but with a bit of wind.

Shove your Goretex / event jacket in your bag, and throw on your pertex wind shirt. Pertex is an ultra dense ultra wind proof material that is awesome for a top layer in blustery windy clear days where you need to be able to get rid of large amounts of moisture as it is 98% breathable and dries incredibly fast. This way you have three layers on, are able to add a shell if needed, and yet will have all the thermal protection a fast moving person will need for their body.



HEAD AND HANDS

People neglect their heads and hands and you can see this all the time as you walk around during a cold snap. Your head loses any thing from 20% to 40% of all your body temp in the cold, and needs the same or more care and attention paid to it in the cold. However, for a fast moving high impact bug out we need to consider if it is more wise to leave the head with just a light covering or even just a snow band around the ears and leave the head exposed to rid us of heat which if contained within the body would cause us to sweat even more.

It is a trade off, and a hard decision to make. Myself, I leave my head under just a silk layered hat during heavy exertions, saving my woolly hat for when I am slow and stationary. This is the same for my gloves, as the hands too are great thermal regulators and can be used to keep the body cool in times of high exertion. This however is made mute if the wind is high and the temperature is plummeting, as the bodies extremities will soon succumb to frost nip and frost bite, thus causing irreparable damage.

In times of low temp, high wind chill, it is advisable to show as little as possible to the elements, head and hands included. You may even need extra layers for both, and use layering just like we did for the body on the head and hands.

I hope this has helped a bit, and if you remember nothing from this please take away these two points. Use layers and never, ever use cotton. It will chill and kill you once you start to move.




posted on Jul, 15 2008 @ 06:31 PM
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Fabulous info. I cannot stress it enough that layer upon layer is best.
And I had no idea about the cotton fabric. Thank you for that.
Suggestions for footwear?



posted on Jul, 15 2008 @ 06:38 PM
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Foot wear is dependant upon terrain and temperature.

If you live in an area where snow falls through the winter and freezes, a good rigid boot with high thermal protection is a must. The rigidity will make it easier to walk through snow, and also if you have to traverse a snowy hill /mountain slope you can 'kick in' steps so others can follow you and use these steps to ease their passage.

Also be aware that a rigid boot can adapt to crampon use for ice climbs and ice fields. You may not be too worried about ice fields and not use crampons, but a stiff boot will make snow travel easier.

If however you live in an area that is snow free even at higher altitudes through the winter, a more flexible but still protective boot will suffice. This needs however to be waterproof and warm, as even on a bug out you will come to a halt and need to rest.

Cold feet are dead feet as we say.

Your choices are your own, but if you really want to be Gucci, get a snow shoe adaptable boot and some snow shoes. These make escaping on foot a doddle once you get used to the weird and wonderful gait you have to adopt.



posted on Jul, 15 2008 @ 07:23 PM
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Super thread Dan!

1* from me.

I'll add that gortext 'bootees' for your feet can really help keep the damp,wet conditions from getting to your feet.

Also, if you have to remain stationary and are exposed to the wind then equip a lit charcoal burner in its case and stuff it in your pocket, preferably the top pocket where your vital organs are.

You can rotate it into your hands to keep the numbness at bay too.



posted on Jul, 15 2008 @ 07:36 PM
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Excellent thread Dan. Thermal systems have sure come a long way since the days when I wore White's boots, wool socks, wool pants, wool shirt, and oilskin coat. Makes me itch just thinking about it. What's your thoughts on wool inner gloves and socks? Is the polypro layering effective for the extremeties as well as the torso?

Good job.



posted on Jul, 15 2008 @ 07:37 PM
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This is a wind chill chart (In Degrees F)



I want you to look at it and think just how cold you will get staying 'still' in the wind for any length of time. Ever been 'deathly cold' ? I have seen people at this stage, and them having to be flown off mountains near death.

This happend for four reasons.

1) They didn't layer their clothes.
2) They didn't add extra clothes for slower more sedate / stationary activities.
3) The most important one of all is that they didn't get out of the wind into shelter.

The above three reasons are why so many people die on the mountains each winter.

The fourth reason is more obscure, but they didn't rehydrate themselves often enough. Yes, in the cold as well as the heat, the body needs a large supply of water, and yet due to the cold we lose the 'thirst sensation' that would make us drink if we were hot.

here, have a read.




DURHAM, N.H. -- Frostbite and hypothermia are not the only health hazards associated with frigidly cold temperatures. Cold weather studies at the University of New Hampshire show increased risk for dehydration, a condition more commonly associated with hot weather.

“People just don’t feel as thirsty when the weather is cold,” says Robert Kenefick, UNH associate professor of kinesiology. “When they don’t feel thirsty, they don’t drink as much, and this can cause dehydration.”

We lose a great deal of water from our bodies in the winter due to respiratory fluid loss through breathing. Our bodies also are working harder under the weight of extra clothing, and sweat evaporates quickly in cold, dry air.

The body is about two-thirds water, and when the total water level drops by only a few percent, we can become dehydrated. Kenefick says fluid deficits of 3 to 8 percent of body mass have been reported in individuals working in cold environments, and dehydration is a major problem with exercise in the cold.

Yet the loss of fluid from our bodies, which triggers thirst in warmer weather, does not elicit the same response when the temperatures dip. It’s not simply because we don’t feel hot, Kenefick says. His recent study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports &
Exercise, shows that cold actually alters thirst sensation.


New Hampshire university



posted on Jul, 15 2008 @ 07:39 PM
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Does the little poof ball on the top of a ski hat like the ones my mom used to amke me wear help in anyway... cus I got into alot of fights because of those things and don't like them very much



Ha, sorry ...
Seriously great post, useful information, I think i'm kind of in shock...



posted on Jul, 15 2008 @ 07:43 PM
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Originally posted by argentus
Excellent thread Dan. Thermal systems have sure come a long way since the days when I wore White's boots, wool socks, wool pants, wool shirt, and oilskin coat. Makes me itch just thinking about it. What's your thoughts on wool inner gloves and socks? Is the polypro layering effective for the extremeties as well as the torso?

Good job.


Cheers argentus. To answer you I say a resounding yes. However it is important to remember that the hands are more vulnerable as they may suffer reduced blood supply as the bodies core struggles against the cold.

What I will say is that a polypro inner glove inside a good snow mitt is going to keep your hands from feeling clammy and getting cold. Just make sure you buy a pair of mitts able to wick moisture through a breathable membrane like your goretex / event jacket does.



posted on Jul, 15 2008 @ 07:54 PM
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here is a quick pic of my winter heavy cold glove system. I have a pair of 95% Polypro glove as inners, and a heavier polypro lined, Event membrane middle, kangaroo leather palmed winter mitts.



I have been out in mid winter scottish conditions and have felt roasty toasty with not even a hit of impending frost nip. The inner glove is good for those ten minutes digging a snow hole or scrape to get out the wind and undoing buckles and ropes.

So yeah I practise what i preach lol.



posted on Jul, 15 2008 @ 09:12 PM
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HYPOTHERMIA SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

I thought as we are looking at cold weather, its effects upon us and how to dress for it I would add a small part about the signs and symptoms of hypothermia.
This is not an exhaustive list, nor is it in order of severity but it is something I have learnt over many years of winters in the snow and through my own training. However this is my own views only and should not replace proper medical advice / assistance in event of an emergency.

Signs.

Slowness of speech, drowsiness and the desire to 'rest a while' or 'lay down for a minute' in the most inappropriate locations i.e. deep in a white out.

(This is serious. This shows the body is starving the brain of blood to conserve the core organs).

Loss of perception and ability to be self aware in own environment. Removing of clothes because they feel 'warm'.

(The clothes get removed because as the body shuts down and dies, the experiencer feels a euphoric 'warmth' due to the loss of sensory signals through the body to the brain).

The patient stops shivering in the cold and their muscles go either extremely rigid or slack.

(This shows the body has run out of fuel. It cannot shiver any more, and as shivering is the bodies way of keeping itself warm, its saying 'I can no longer survive).

The patient has a slow weak pulse, shallow breathing and blue tinged skin, and dilated pupils and is unresponsive and not shivering.

(Death is minutes away at this point UNLESS urgent medical or first aid is used to warm the patient).


WARNING !

NEVER, EVER EXPOSE A HYPOTHERMIC PATIENT TO A DRAMATIC SUDDEN RISE IN TEMPERATURE !

This can be as fatal to the victim as the cold has been. It will cause blood to rush back into tissue that has undergone severe vasoconstriction and adapted to the cold to keep the body alive. Blood volume will be lower as the fluids lost will not have been replaced and could cause other complications on top of the hypothermia.

Get the patient out of the wind and into shelter. Remove all wet clothing, get them into dry clothes. Place them into a sleeping bag and then into another bag to keep this dry i.e. a bivvie bag / rescue bag. Insulate them from the ground by using a mat, and make a warm sweet sugar filled drink. Also build a fire if possible far enough away not to raise the temperature rapidly, but near enough to warm the air.

(Warm air breathed in is an effective way of warming the inner core as its direct heat transference straight from air to tissue where large blood volumes circulate).

Get them drinking small sips and hold the cup if need be. Small sips often, not large gulps quickly is key here. This will again raise inner core temp. just make sure the drink is not hot but warm. If you have pocket hand warmers that can be used, place these in the groins and arm pit region to assist in warming the patient. These don't reach a high temperature, but will aid in warming the blood as it flows through these areas.

Wait till the patient has fully recovered before moving on, or if you cannot recover them or feel its to severe, call mountain rescue services.

They will always assist you, what ever the weather.



posted on Jul, 15 2008 @ 10:58 PM
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Just a quick note - Wool will keep you warm even when it's wet.

This I know from personal experience, living in New England for most of my life, where it can be wet and varying degrees of cold for half the year.

I don't have ANY experience with space-age fabrics - none. I can't even begin to speak with authority on the subject.

But I can say that wool has saved my life on two occasions after I fell into (different) ice-choked ponds, in the middle of winter. Hardly arctic temperatures, maybe hovering around 0-5 degrees with wind chill, but it still felt pretty damn cold. The wool kept doing its job of keeping me warm.

It's as important not to overdress as it is to not underdress - it would be pretty crappy to collapse and pass out from heat exhaustion in the middle of winter...

The only time you really have to bundle up is when you go to bed, if you're like me and your body temperature stays pretty high even in the cold, with just a minimum of physical activity. If you're exercising, the body makes plenty of heat.

Splitting wood in the wintertime, for me anyway, was always best accomplished in a t-shirt and jeans, with a pair of gloves and maybe a hat sitting halfway off...

People do seem to overdress...

And God, they overdress their infants too. Unless you're planning on making an expedition to the arctic circle with your baby, you can probably leave half that crap off of them. Poor kid is steaming to death, no wonder s/he's cranky.



posted on Jul, 16 2008 @ 12:02 AM
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Great thread, Dan.

The best clothing I can think of is a well prepped snug shelter. Temperature extremes hot or cold are best avoided. Even Inuit and Laplanders head to shelter where us western fools rush out into bad weather. Even the most experienced modern outdoorsmen seemed to get caught unawares. IMHO A military surplus poncho and poncho liner are worth their weight in gold. More folks end up suffering from hypothermia more often in wet weather above freezing then below it. Hypothermia itself doesn't kill that often but it will weaken the immune system to the point where your body can't fight off bugs that it could normally deal with. That's why pneumonia and flu are so much more deadly in the cooler and colder months than during the summer. Proper clothing will help fend off the cold for awhile but learning to make a proper shelter when stuck out in severe winter weather is as important as any bit of clothing or gear. I'll add that this philosophy of proper clothing and shelter applies to hot weather as well.

[edit on 16-7-2008 by crgintx]



posted on Jul, 16 2008 @ 04:16 AM
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Originally posted by crgintx

The best clothing I can think of is a well prepped snug shelter. Temperature extremes hot or cold are best avoided. Even Inuit and Laplanders head to shelter where us western fools rush out into bad weather.


I been out with Sami folk at -30 F. They not adverse to a bit of cold and I advise any one who wants an experience of their lives to save a bit of money and pay a visit to northern finland.



Even the most experienced modern outdoorsmen seemed to get caught unawares. IMHO A military surplus poncho and poncho liner are worth their weight in gold. More folks end up suffering from hypothermia more often in wet weather above freezing then below it.


Poncho don't protect the body enough unless its wrapped in tight. Doesn't keep warm air close in to the body and that alone can cause a temp drop of 2 -3 degrees in the core or more depending on how exposed you are to the wind.



Hypothermia itself doesn't kill that often but it will weaken the immune system to the point where your body can't fight off bugs that it could normally deal with. That's why pneumonia and flu are so much more deadly in the cooler and colder months than during the summer.


Hypothermia kills. Hypothermia is a deadly emergency in itself and needs to be seen as much even if you have 'mild' hypothermia. Once you hit that slope, its down hill fast. Pneumonia on the other hand is a illness where the alveolar swell and there is abnormal fluid within the lungs and can be caused by infection, bacteria, viruses ect. Patients suffering hypothermia may get aspiration related hypothermia if they have breathed in water or snow I agree, but you don't get pneumonia just because you are cold.

However, each year 30,000 people die of the cold here in the UK. Mainly old folk, but 30,000 people...



It will take more than simple education to reduce the estimated 30,000 deaths a year in the UK due to cold. Age concern estimates 8,000 more elderly will die for every time the temperature drops 1 degree centigrade below average.


Hypothermia in the UK



Proper clothing will help fend off the cold for awhile but learning to make a proper shelter when stuck out in severe winter weather is as important as any bit of clothing or gear. I'll add that this philosophy of proper clothing and shelter applies to hot weather as well.


proper shelter is 100% the most effective way to stay alive when that thermometer drops to stupid numbers below zero. If you are caught out in a storm knowing how to get out of the cold is vital, and I agree 100% with you.
A snow hole or snow shelter will save you if all else is looking bleak, and if its SITX, then yes being huddled tight in a shelter with your loved ones is always preferable to trudging through the snow in a 20 mph wind.



posted on Jul, 16 2008 @ 06:47 AM
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BBC / Ray Mears

Ray Mears does snow shelters like the Hiltons do hotels! A fantastic vid which really nails it in terms of what you need to be doing if you think your going to be spending a night or three out in deep snow country.

Got a snow saw? Hope so because if not your really going to get a work out with a snow shovel. Not got a snow shovel? .... well good luck digging with your hands!.




posted on Jul, 16 2008 @ 07:34 AM
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Ah, a topic near and dear to my heart! I grew up in Massachusetts and northern Vermont, drilled with the Infantry in all kinds of weather, and attended the US Army Mountain Warfare school. One unit I was in even got to evaluate gear for Natick Labs. I love the cold but respect its hazards as well.

A few random thoughts...

"Cotton kills" is the mantra of the outdoor enthusiast, as someone previously mentioned.

Cold weather protective clothing, especially footwear, is one are of preparedness in which I believe that no expense should be spared. If you expect to encounter harsh weather, I recommend you be equipped with nothing less than the best of what money can buy. Do your research, ask questions, and spare no expense to get the very best-- your life, or the life of a loved one, may someday depend on it!

Now I admit I am more than slightly partial toward military-issue and approved-for-wear gear because that is what I've worn and come to trust over 13+ years in the Army/Guard.

Personally, the boots that I prefer are the M1949 (maroon interior) Matterhorns. The Danner Fort Lewis is a close second place, but from the one pair I owned of the Danners, the soles did not have as much flex as the Matterhorns, and they split away from the rest of the shoe even after multiple trips to the cobbler to have them restitched. In intermediate cold, I wear the insulated version of the Danner Acadia; I wear the uninsulated Acadia during warm weather and in fact I am wearing them right now. When I was first in the Guard, some people got away with wearing the old "Mickey Mouse" boots, but I was never issued them and never tried them, so I can not comment. But many oldschool soldiers swear by them.

I do realize that brands like Sorel make excellent civilian boots, however I have no experience with them. If I encounter a cold-wet environment, I just put on my five buckle arctics over my Matterhorns and I'm good to go.

For socks in intermediate to moderate cold, I wear a Coolmax liner with thick 80% or more wool socks over the liners. I like the real thick Smartwools (forgot what they call them, I think they are thicker than the Hiker socks) or Cabela's merino wool. In extreme cold, I will wear the Coolmax with two thick wool socks over them.

For gloves, now that I am not drilling in the cold anymore, I like civilian Northface Goretex gauntlet-style gloves with removable liners, to which I add my own black issue polypro liners as well. If I do not need finger dexterity or am going to be stopped for a while and unable to seek shelter, I may switch to mittens (kept, of course, in an easily-accessible place and warm).

Speaking of polypro...what "weight" is the military-issued stuff considered to be? I tried a couple civilian brands (don't recall offhand) and some seemed lighter than issue, while others seemed heavier, but the heavier ones were labeled as "lightweight."

While it is unarguable that polypro next to the skin is wonderful, I have found that issue items wear out quickly when washed, and tend to hold the odor of sweat, sometimes needing repeated washings. Of course, when I was sweating with polypro, I would always have to ask myself if I am LAYERING properly...another key to cold weather survival.

As someone mentioned, read labels on things marked as "thermal sweaters" and caps and whatnot. Some of them are made of spun acrylic!!! Or even...gasp...cotton! In my opinion, wool is usually the way to go for a mid layer, or even outer layer if precipitation is not too heavy. Then again I've only recently developed a taste for synthetics...

The newest thing in the Army's arsenal when I last had good cold weather gear, was Primaloft insulation. It has the warming qualities of down without the bulk or the weight. It is absolutely amazing. Prior to that for a very short time, we had the Polartec fleece SPEAR system (as I was told it was called), which I never used much, but I liked it for what little time I had it. I never got to push the fleece mid layering to the limits like I have other things.

My favorite civilian winter jacket is the North Face Vortex TriClimate, which has a removable Primaloft liner, and what can I say, Primaloft in a Goretex shell has served me well in civilian life and civilian outdoor excursions. I think that Primaloft is all over the civilian market now and getting more affordable (when I bought my North Face jacket in 2006, I think I paid $475 for it...BUT...I do not even look at prices when shopping for quality cold weather gear, and in my opinion nor should you, because it may save a life someday!!!), and is in everything from gloves to shoes.

One of the neatest things I picked up was what appears to be a standard issue black wool watchcap, but which is actually lined with Goretex. Quite effective when the weather caught me without a hooded garment to keep liquid precip off of the head, or when wind struck suddenly. Every soldier knows the value of a black wool watchcap! Though I do recommend a breathable fabric shell, like Goretex, with a stowable hood, to keep the effects of wind chill down.

I hope I am not rambling, things just keep entering my mind as I keep going...

Okay so a hood keeps wind off of the head and a hat keeps your head warm, but around my neck I prefer a balaclava. I found the Army issue polypro one to be not too durable (no matter how well I cared for them, and I was issued 3 or 4 of the darn things, it would stretch out eventually and get thin), so I picked up a black Eastern Mountain Sports brand balaclava that is excellent. I have nothing against a good wool scarf, but I just don't like having a scarf unravel during lots of activity.

Last but certainly not least...remember dehydration and hyperthermia con occur in the cold just as it can in warm weather. Keep water handy and sip it during activities. We used to fill our uninsulated canteens to about 1 inch down from the top so water would move inside and not freeze.

Whew! What a post, I only have 300 or so characters to go, I think this is my longest ever on ATS! But I just had to share those things with you all. I hope that some of the more experienced people can comment on what I've shared.



posted on Jul, 16 2008 @ 09:12 AM
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Ah, a topic near and dear to my heart! I grew up in Massachusetts and northern Vermont, drilled with the Infantry in all kinds of weather, and attended the US Army Mountain Warfare school. One unit I was in even got to evaluate gear for Natick Labs. I love the cold but respect its hazards as well.


Respect the hazards and come out alive. Good solid advice.



"Cotton kills" is the mantra of the outdoor enthusiast, as someone previously mentioned.


Cottons great for hot weather, but not hot and wet as it rots easily ala vietnam.



Cold weather protective clothing, especially footwear


Every one has different feet, and those you have a great for those with wider feet and not doing alot of actual snow walking in. For deep snow and distance over snow they are too flexible in my experience. (they are however great infanteer boots!)



For gloves, now that I am not drilling in the cold anymore, I like civilian Northface Goretex gauntlet-style gloves with removable liners, to which I add my own black issue polypro liners as well. If I do not need finger dexterity or am going to be stopped for a while and unable to seek shelter, I may switch to mittens (kept, of course, in an easily-accessible place and warm).

Nice choice of gloves, however Gortex on the hands can be beaten into second by an Event lined glove. The difference is stunning!



Speaking of polypro...what "weight" is the military-issued stuff considered to be? I tried a couple civilian brands (don't recall offhand) and some seemed lighter than issue, while others seemed heavier, but the heavier ones were labeled as "lightweight."


Depends on seam stitching, materials added i.e. elastice ect, and also the actual make up itself. Some 95% polypro tops are heavier than 80% tops because the eighties are flat seamed and minimalist.



While it is unarguable that polypro next to the skin is wonderful, I have found that issue items wear out quickly when washed, and tend to hold the odor of sweat, sometimes needing repeated washings. Of course, when I was sweating with polypro, I would always have to ask myself if I am LAYERING properly...another key to cold weather survival.



Military issue poly sucks big time. Its cheap and nasty and washes like a cat in a tumbler cycle. It comes out 'dead'. That your sweating with polypro is that if your wearing the US issue kit its backed with other materials (IIRC) and is too heavy for prolonged wear in heavy work environment.

Civvie pp is much lighter, better wicking, washes well and has no smell retention or little at all.



As someone mentioned, read labels on things marked as "thermal sweaters" and caps and whatnot. Some of them are made of spun acrylic!!! Or even...gasp...cotton! In my opinion, wool is usually the way to go for a mid layer, or even outer layer if precipitation is not too heavy. Then again I've only recently developed a taste for synthetics...


Wool as an outer layer? no thanks. Thats asking for trouble. Mid layer? well if your wearing wool over poly then thats why your sweat cannot travel as they have different wicking charateristics.



The newest thing in the Army's arsenal when I last had good cold weather gear, was Primaloft insulation.


Primaloft is good, but I prefere snugpak if I need to throw on a heavier 'coldie coat'. The snuggie packs downs tight and has amazing thermal retention properties. A real beauty for those -15 nights.




Last but certainly not least...remember dehydration and hyperthermia con occur in the cold just as it can in warm weather. Keep water handy and sip it during activities. We used to fill our uninsulated canteens to about 1 inch down from the top so water would move inside and not freeze.


Did you ever get issued those metal ones that you could thaw out over a flame? they are agonies beyond belief if you grab it for a swig and then find its about -10. lol.



I hope that some of the more experienced people can comment on what I've shared.


Thanks alot for adding all of that - I chopped bits out as I really thought I couldn't add any more to what you posted. The only one thing I will say is that military kit is ok, but its produced for masses at the cheapest price. Its not always the greatest and some times it can be blooming crappy.

If you can go civvie, do it, as you know that you can send it back if it doesn't do what it says on the tin!



posted on Jul, 16 2008 @ 02:59 PM
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Another top notch thread Dan good work
thanks for putting in the hyperthemia info there were a few points I didnt know.

Also, does anybody have expierience using these...US Extreme Cold Weather Boots, they sound like fantastic pair but for £10??



posted on Jul, 16 2008 @ 04:22 PM
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Excellent thread Dan!

I'm a kayack instructor and know exactly what your talking about, I've seen kids turn up wrapped up in about 9+ layers of clothes but go home crying because they'd left behind a hat , a glove or a decent pair of boots.

We had two lads turn up for Kayacking in a set of tracksuits and one sweat shirt in the middle of February, needless to say the pair had to come off the water a good 2 hours early and warm up in the showers.

Thanks for that wind chill chart mate, that'll be going on the wall or being stapled to a few of my pupils foreheads if they forget to bring Cag's next time.



posted on Jul, 16 2008 @ 04:24 PM
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reply to post by fred3110
 


Fred these boots are well known for causing trench foot because people didn't remove them enough through the day and wipe dry the insides. They are like a giant felt / wool lined pair of wellies. If your static, well I guess they would do at a pinch, but these need collecting in a war museum about the korean war, not wearing in the great outdoors whilst active.



posted on Jul, 16 2008 @ 04:31 PM
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reply to post by devilwasp
 


Hey just posted what I thought would be helpful for folks. The wind chill charts my desk top by the way - It is there so every time I open it I can show stupid people why they were so cold out in the mountains...

One thing that never fails to amaze me? deep midwinter in the cairngorms, I pootle along my own sweet way, and I meet people deep above the snowline in clothes and footwear I wouldn't wear into down on a frosty morning!




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