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Practical Cold Weather advice.

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posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 11:01 AM
Once again we have another huge mass of cold air dropping into the heart of the country, and once again people who are not accustomed to the cold are again finding themselves unprepared.

No you don't have to be a 'HardCorps' Winter survival expert, this thread is meant to be nothing more than practical advice from one person who choses to live in snow country, to those who'd rather not and now find themselves stuck.

Never wear anything Metal against your skin in subzero temps! no earrings watches, necklaces, eyeglass frames, anything metal will freeze to your flesh.

The first big thing is Always keep your head covered. You can lose 40 to 45 percent of body heat from an unprotected head and even more from the unprotected neck, wrist, and ankles. Add to that, any exposed skin is subject to frostbite in munities and that's bad bad bad...

Clothing, the rule there is clean, dry and dress in layers.
The real secret to keeping warm is not how thick the fabric on your coat is, true insulation is a result of trapped warm air pockets. Getting wet is bad because it reduces the effectiveness of those air pockets.

Now when I say keep dry I don't just mean from freezing rain and melting snow---Sweat can be just as bad, worse even. water is a tremendous conductor of heat and even if your outer shell is dry you can still be loosing massage amounts of heat via your sweat.

Forget those rubber rain boots. They maybe fine for a summer thunderstorm but standing in the snow with those on and you'll be lucky to still have toes at the end of the day. If all you own are sneakers then wear an extra pair of socks, keep extra socks with you so can later change into a warm pair of dry socks--- For me at least as long as me feet are warm so is the rest of me.

Here in the Rockies, when temps fall below zero we follow a buddy system... every few minutes we check each other out for signs of frostbite. Mild frostbite involves only the skin that takes on a dull whitish pallor. Deep frostbite extends to a depth below the skin. Feet, hands, and exposed facial areas usually the first areas affected by frostbite. ears, tips of noses etc. It's 100% preventable...

Hypothermia: The book says,

Hypothermia is the lowering of the body temperature. Initial symptom of hypothermia is shivering. First you shiver. Then you shiver to the point that you can't control it or stop it. This is your body trying to produce heat to warm itself. Sluggish thinking, irrational reasoning or next and eventually a feeling of warmth may occur. This is a critical point. You feel warm but you MUST at this point try to warm yourself up are you will die. But warming up brings on the sensation of pain again.

I had Hypothermia once, bad enough I ended up in the hospital for several days--- Know what--- I didn't feel any one the things they list in those books.

sure I was cold, at first, then I got all happy, then I got hot, then I started to strip out of my clothes so I could take a nice long comfy nap in a snow bank.

This is why it's so important to have a buddy because the first thing you really lose due to Hypothermia is your ability to make rational decisions...

Okay, what else???
if your inside, stay there. wait for the storm to blow over before going out to checkout the neighborhood.
Drip your sinks at night, running water does not freeze. Forget and you'll have burst pipes come the first thaw.

Be aware of snow blindness.
Especially if your driving. the reflection of the sun off a snowfield is just as bad as looking directly into the sun without eye protection.

my last bit of advice. when it comes to driving on snow and ice---Speed is not your friend

edit on 22-1-2014 by HardCorps because: fixed my atrouious grammer

edit on 22-1-2014 by HardCorps because: (no reason given)

edit on 22-1-2014 by Kandinsky because: fixed title typo

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 12:57 PM
I've been looking into thermal fabrics for the past 4 months as a business venture. We're testing "Super Roubaix" fabric mock necks right now with several people who spend a lot of time outdoors due to their profession. The exterior has a smooth finish, and the interior is a raw micro fleece. It's very popular with cyclists. So far everyone is very happy with the material.

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 02:20 PM
reply to post by HardCorps


Three minutes without air.

Three hours without shelter.

Three days without water.

Three weeks without food.

The three hours without shelter is what this thread is about and you had better listen to what this OP is saying. Exposure is dangerous even in good weather. Common sense and staying dry...........STAY DRY.

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 02:22 PM
reply to post by KEMIK

I really like my alpaca socks they are very,very warm for the weight. I heard they are something like 20x better then wool.

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 02:51 PM
reply to post by SubTruth

My girlfriend has several pairs of alpaca socks. She swears by them.

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 03:19 PM
reply to post by KEMIK

Never heard of Roubaix?
of course I'm not a cyclist... but I do ski a lot...

For Xmas my lovely wife got me a Arc'Teryx - Zeta AR Jacket
"N40p GORE-TEX® fabric with 3L tricot technology"
If's it really cold I'll wear a jacket liner under but I list that to give you some idea as to what skiers use.

BTW I still dress in layers under that jacket

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 03:20 PM

reply to post by KEMIK

I really like my alpaca socks they are very,very warm for the weight. I heard they are something like 20x better then wool.

My husband is with ya on that one! He tried every sock that came along, wool, microfibers, hemp, silk, you name it, but when he found the alpaca socks he was one happy man!
He has to be outdoors from time to time to bring firewood from the pile to the porch and although he tries to catch nice days to do it, sometimes it just doesn't work out that way. Last year I made him a "warming scarf" by taking a wide muffler-type scarf and folding it in half, sewing a few seams along the middle of the scarf then filling the resulting partitions with rice. Pop it into the microwave for a minute before going out to do chores, wrap it around the neck and go for it. If there's no microwave oven, just leave it on the hearth and it will be warm when needed.

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 03:25 PM
reply to post by SubTruth

Rule of three... Glad you brought that up something everyone should remember...and puts me in mind of another importaint number. "9"

“Every nation is about nine meals away from a revolution”
A popular saying is that “every nation is nine meals away from anarchy/revolution.” That is, hungry people are desperate people who will topple any government. “It is well for us to recollect that even in our own law-abiding, not to say virtuous cases, the only barrier between us and anarchy is the last nine meals we’ve had” was cited in print in 1896.

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 03:32 PM
reply to post by diggindirt

Ya know I once bought a pair of those battery powered hunting socks...
totally worthless...
boots made with a felt liner... now those keep your feet toasty... but buy extra felt liners, like socks once they get wet they don't work either.

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 04:47 PM
reply to post by HardCorps

Good post! I am at work right now.. Somone can elaberate if they want, or ill touch on it later when i get time, but don't forget warm up portion following overexposure .

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 04:49 PM
Nice info, OP.

Rule of thumb - if it's cold to this extent, only go outside if you really have to.

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 05:02 PM

reply to post by HardCorps

Good post! I am at work right now.. Somone can elaberate if they want, or ill touch on it later when i get time, but don't forget warm up portion following overexposure .

I forgot about the warm up...
I'm about to leave work right now so I'll leave it to you, since you offered.

And guys, listen to him... warming the wrong way, can do more damage than staying cold!

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 05:07 PM
In my youth I spent a few winters working in sub-zero temperatures, not here in Alaska, but in the high desert of Wyoming.

I can't say strongly enough to stick with wool socks and I'm guessing Alpaca is the same thing. Your feet will get wet and wool will still give you some warmth. Know where the nearest heat source is and plan tasks keeping in mind to spend as little time as possible outside. One of your layers being wool is also a great idea.

Your vehicles are likely not prepared either. Expect older batteries to fail and you don't want that to happen when you are not close to a heat source. Make sure your antifreeze is up to snuff, a cracked block is very expensive. If you have to, drain the system when it's parked if you cannot afford to deal with that. Remove the battery and take it inside a heated place. I did that more than once when young, poor and unprepared.

Great advice OP

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 05:10 PM
Actually the myth that you lose the most heat through the head is just that, a myth, from a 1970s army survival manual based on a failed 1950s science experiment.

Info here

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 05:11 PM
Keep a warm blanket in your car. Fire blankets work especially well.

I learned that the hard way.

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 05:33 PM

Keep a warm blanket in your car. Fire blankets work especially well.

I learned that the hard way.

That´s good advice. I never drive anywere in the wintertime without beeing dressed for a long walk in any given weathersituation. No need to dress for an arctic expedition but at least dress so you can safely reach the nearest neighbour on foot. Obviously not relevant in tightly populated areas.

In addition to Blaine´s excellent car advices, a practical tip is to park with the frontend of the car downwind or close to a wall. Beeing close to a wall can offer crucial shelter for the car.

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 06:58 PM
Always have a shovel in your car in snow conditions. If you get stuck in the snow and have your car engine running to keep warm, the exhaust can back up inside the car with CO poisoning. The exhaust pipe can be buried in snow, so you need to check on that and shovel it to clear the way for the exhaust. I might not have said that right but I know it can be dangerous and people have died from a blocked exhaust because they got stuck and were trying to keep warm.

Have blankets in your car. Extra clothing. Scarves.

Frostbite can happen in minutes on exposed skin with the sub zero wind chills.

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 08:20 PM
reply to post by HardCorps

For what to bring, of course different people will have different views…the most prepared would have a 15 page check sheet. Know your surroundings and plan according to your trip. With that said you should expect and plan as if you will get stuck. If in the city, you should expect to have to walk the average distance likely to get help. During winter I know that there are areas that are over 5 miles between areas I could likely find help, I have no doubt I can make the trip. Plan for the worst case senerio, because there are no do overs. Most people who get into trouble don’t think they will get stuck…then when they do they underestimate the danger or overstate their abilities.

Do not go out in the stuff if you do not intend to get stuck.

Now the re-warm. Its not real complicated, just a very real danger thats often overlooked.
To keep it simple ….mild hypothermia, warm up as slow as you can but warming up is fine…you don’t want to warm up too fast. wrapping in blankets, huddle around heater is fine.. Some say warm bath is fine for mild hypothermia, i dont... Its all risk no reward, and I wouldnt recommend hot drinks (luke warm ok) but, wait until you or the person has shivering under control. Thing is, being wrong one way the result is a little prolonged discomfort... Wrong the other is death. Unless your using monitoring equipment, your pretty much guessing on how low core temp dropped.

If its severe or expected to be severe hypothermia: Some say there's a temp for this, I don’t think it's that clear cut.. To be on the safe side, if the person becomes incoherent, unconscious.. Etc. Don’t warm them up, call for help.

edit on 22-1-2014 by swimmer15 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 08:24 PM
Some basic winter advice from a Canuck:

- Stay indoors. Period. Shelter is an ABSOLUTE must. Whether that "indoors" is your home or your car or a small shack you happened along in your travels. DO NOT venture out to find help unless you know for absolute fact that help is less than a 10 minute walk and you're wearing the appropriate attire. Exposed skin freezes in literally minutes, so you must be able to make your destination within only minutes beyond that time frame.

- Layers of clothing, blankets, etc are a must even inside your home if there is no heat source. And as the OP pointed out, keep your head covered, hands, feet, and neck area... those are all the most vulnerable body parts to heat loss.

- Do not bbq in your home or use an unventilated open fire as a heat source (even with one of those mini hibachi types) unless you place it right next to an open window and ensure that the smoke is being sucked out of it rather than being pushed back into the home. One way to ensure this is to open a window that's in the opposite direction that the wind outside is blowing... and always keep a close eye on it to make sure the wind doesn't change direction. Many people have died due to carbon monoxide poisoning (a non-smelling, non-tasting, non-detectable toxic gas) because of this very thing. Carbon monoxide poisoning will kill within hours.

- Purchase yourself one of those little $20 dollar Hibachi grills and keep it stored where it's easily accessable. Those little suckers can be real life savers, believe it or not. They not only provide a means to cook on, but they also provide a small, portable source of fire heat (the cast iron base on those things kick off a ton of residual heat too). Reminder again: Good ventilation is a MUST in any closed space !!

- If you're stuck in your vehicle, keep one window (in the opposite direction the wind is blowing) cracked open a teeny weeny bit to ensure you have a continuous exchange of fresh air. Only run your vehicle for a few minutes every once in a while to keep the chill out... BUT you must go outside every 15 minutes or so to make sure that snow is completely cleared away from the exhaust pipe and that the exhaust fumes are freely flowing away from the vehicle. Otherwise, the exhaust will back up into the car and you'll get carbon monoxide poisoning. Stay bundled up and wait for help to come by. AGAIN, do not venture away from your vehicle. Passers by can easily spot a car on the side of the road, and you can quickly run out to flag them down.

- Never allow your vehicle's gas tank to be under half full at any time during the winter ! A fuller tank not only means the ability to run it longer, but it also reduces the chance of your gas lines and tank freezing up. Be sure to only purchase gas that has a very low water content in the winter (high quality fuel is a must in the winter). From my own personal experience here in Canada, DOMO Gas (a popular full service gas station here in Canada) is the absolute worst crap you can fill your tank with.. they are notorious for having a high water content in their fuel !

- Always keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle throughout the season at all times. This kit should include: 1 or 2 warm blankets, emergency candles, bottled water, energy/granola bars/hard candy, a pair of lined ski pants, an extra winter parka with a hood, a pair of winter boots rated for -40 celcius temps, a pair of wool socks, warm mittens (mittens are warmer than gloves), scarf, toque, a warm winter sweater, a small multi-tool, small flashlight w/ extra batteries, a portable shovel, a snow brush, gasline antifreeze, booster cables, fully charged cell phone w/ car charger and extra fully charged battery, and an extra jerry can filled with gas (5 gallon is a good size to keep handy).

- Loose boots are warm boots. Flat rubber soles with a good grip. Always purchase your boots to be at least one size bigger than what you normally wear for shoe size. You should be able to layer two pairs of thick socks inside and still have plenty of room to move your toes around without the sides being too snug against your foot. Air flow is key, the warmth from your body heat needs to be able to circulate around your feet inside the boot. Fashionable wear goes out the window in winter weather... avoid any clothing that's snug against your body EXCEPT the underlayer (ie: thermal underwear). The feet and hands (and an exposed nose) are the first things to get frost bite... frost bite is NOT fun.

- If you do end up with frostbite, you must completely submerse the area in cold water (NOT lukewarm or hot). The trick is to slowly bring back up the skin and internal temp of the effected area. Do not "shock" the area into warmer temps, you will risk permanent nerve damage. Then, once the temp of the body is about the same as the cold water, slightly warm up the water a couple of degrees to slowly increase the body temp... The key here is slow temp increases. It just might save you from losing that body part depending on how bad the frostbite is. Another good trick to combat frostbite from getting worse is to (believe it or not) grab a handful of snow with your bare hands and cover the frostbitten area with it (if cold water isn't readily available), holding the snow onto the area with your bare hands... The body heat from your hands will slowly melt the snow and this gradual temp increase will have the same effect as submersing the area in cold water.

- Shovel and pile the snow up against your house in the winter, it helps to provide an extra layer of insulation. And then shovel it all away from your home once the spring thaw kicks in so that you don't saturate your foundation and end up with water in your basement. Yes, yes... it's a lot of extra work, but well worth the effort in terms of insulation factor and it also helps to save you a few bucks in heating costs.

- Be sure to keep snow cleared away from all exterior doors on a regular basis. I'll never forget the one year (many many moons ago) that I woke up and found a 5 foot snowdrift up against my one and only exterior door... needless to say, it was not fun trying to dig myself out.

- Right before winter season kicks in, you should be loading up on groceries (non-perishables) and sundries, filling at least a few 5-gallon water containers and keeping it stored in a closet somewhere, filling a couple of jerry cans with gas, and various other "common sense" extra items to have on hand (extra batteries, an over-abundance of emergency candles, etc.). This includes THOSE OF YOU who live in areas that don't normally get seasonal cold winters !!

- Always be "in the know" of your local weather on a daily basis. This allows you time to prepare for any storm fronts that may be coming your way. Never underestimate and poo poo any forecast for "flurries" and/or "cooler temps".

- Keep sheltered, keep warm, and keep dry.

A good motto to live by when it comes to winter weather: Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.


posted on Jan, 22 2014 @ 08:45 PM
reply to post by nixie_nox

Actually the myth that you lose the most heat through the head is just that, a myth, from a 1970s army survival manual based on a failed 1950s science experiment. Info here

I don't give a damn if it's a "myth" or not.

I can tell you from living in -35 celcius tempuratures year after year for the past 45 years of my life that a warm head, warm hands, and warm feet will drastically increase your chances of keeping warm and reducing your risk of hypothermia. If those body parts are kept warm, your thermal core temperature (the body's torso) will stay warm due to the fact that the body will not have to work so hard to "spread" those core temps outward toward the extremeties (arms/legs/head).

The body has automatic defense mechanisms that kick into high gear the minute it senses a body part is in danger.

So-called science experiments be damned.

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