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Cold Survival Layering Tips

David N.

Professional
Founding Member
Great article. I've been to some cold weather climates, including Korea and Germany. The Army taught us using the acronym C-O-L-D, which stands for: keep you clothing Clean; avoid Overheating; dress loose and in Layers; and keep it Dry. There are tons of tricks you learn when thrust into a cold weather environment, and you learn it fast!
 

Bassbob

Ronin
I've worked outside all my life and it gets pretty brutal around here in the winter. One tip I have that may sound counter intuitive is not to wear big heavy socks and boots with 2000 grams of Thinsulate. I don't like the cold, but I can tell you your feet will be much better off with a pair of waterproof 600 gram Thinsulate boots and regular sweat socks. Or wool. Maybe a thin wicking sock underneath. If your feet sweat, they will get cold. Leave room to move your toes around.
 

Sld1959

Professional
My dad taught me his rule, the rule of not being warm, bit not cold. He said dressing for being outdoors in winter required one to not be cold, yet not be "warm". Being just on the edge of cool allows you to work, or even simply walk around outside without sweating. Sweating kills...

To this end layering was key, and always having an additional layer in case you get stuck overnight. Which is why there are wool blankets in my vehicles, and when I am woodswalking I always carry a wool blanket tumpline fashion with a few goodies wrapped inside.
 

BobM

Hellcat
My dad taught me his rule, the rule of not being warm, bit not cold. He said dressing for being outdoors in winter required one to not be cold, yet not be "warm". Being just on the edge of cool allows you to work, or even simply walk around outside without sweating. Sweating kills...

To this end layering was key, and always having an additional layer in case you get stuck overnight. Which is why there are wool blankets in my vehicles, and when I am woodswalking I always carry a wool blanket tumpline fashion with a few goodies wrapped inside.

Layering effectively helps a ton in colder weather. A good tip to know, wet or dry wool is a very good insulator. Different grades or thicknesses make a huge difference. A thin outer polyester shell coat that can be unzipped or unbuttoned can act as a regulator to trap or release heat and moisture in or out. Have been just as warm in 16 degree weather as in 90 degree weather. Heat can build up very quick in cold weather when keeping active.
 

Sld1959

Professional
Layering effectively helps a ton in colder weather. A good tip to know, wet or dry wool is a very good insulator. Different grades or thicknesses make a huge difference. A thin outer polyester shell coat that can be unzipped or unbuttoned can act as a regulator to trap or release heat and moisture in or out. Have been just as warm in 16 degree weather as in 90 degree weather. Heat can build up very quick in cold weather when keeping active.
I once read, cannot remember where, so cannot quote completely, but I believe it was a study done by a university on the insulating properties of various materials. It said that wool is one of the top natural insulators, and that yes, even wet it retains the best insulating properties.

But there was a caveat. Every fabric tested had thier own rule of three. Any fabric, when wet, required three thicknesses, to insulate the equivalent of one layer of the material wet.

Something interesting to keep in mind, and like your light jacket tip, excellant tip, keep in mind to properly vent your clothing to prevent dampness and promote drying Of layers from the outside in.
 
Often, when I take new people hiking in the snow, they underestimate the cold and think they'll be fine with just one outer layer. Every time I tell them to layer up - I will be sending them this article from now on :ROFLMAO: (y) thanks!
 
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