Dress for Success: A Basic Guide to Clothing in the Field

Field bags, weapons, knives, fire making, shelters, and a whole slew of items come to mind when people consider surviving in the field. Clothing, to be sure, is also considered; however, little thought is often given to how the clothing will be best used, and a total list is often inadequate or overdone. It’s rarely… just right.

From top to bottom, we will look at what clothing should be considered and how to best utilize all of the functions to maximize comfortably without over-burdening ourselves in the field. An important note to keep in mind at all times when in the field is the risk of overheating. Even in cold weather, it can be easy to get warm enough, and especially when working or hiking, to sweat. When we sweat, our clothing becomes damp. This hinders our clothing’s ability to provide proper insulation and, when we stop moving, our wet clothing will cool and can lead to hypothermia.

For the above reason, it is important to layer our clothing. Layers provide better insulation that an equal thickness of a singular item, as well as lends the ability to add or reduce the amount worn as the situation dictates.

On top, we have hats. A ball cap style hat will provide protection from the sun to the skin and the eyes. This, however, offers little warmth. For this, a watch cap made of wool is ideal. A neoprene watch cap underneath can offer an additional layer of clothing as needed and create a barrier between the skin and the wool cap if you are sensitive to the wonderful itch.

The upper body should start with a basic short-sleeve shirt as a barrier to the above layers. Above that, a wool sweater with a high neck will provide warmth that will remain even when wet. Again, if the wool is bothersome, a neoprene turtle neck can be worn below to act as an anti-itch device below that. Above these would be you regular field shirt, whatever that be. Next, a fleece jacket liner is great. Many have zip-open vents on the underarms that extend to mid-torso to help prevent overheating. Above the fleece (or separate from) a Gortex ® shell with a build in rain hood and a waist cinch will add additional insulation and protect from wind and rain.

The lower body should start with underpants of your choice. Boxers, briefs, whatever. You do you. After that, wool long johns will provide additional warmth. Above that, the field pants of your choice. Next, Gortex ® field pants will help keep you dry and warm.

Now, the feet. Bring socks. No. More socks. Every day in the field should have at least 3 pairs of socks. At least half of these socks should be wool. This will allow you to layer socks to keep warm and the wool socks will work when wet. Again, cotton socks can be worm under the wool for comfort. The reason so many socks are needed is to keep feet dry and clean to prevent sores and infection. For this reason, it is important to spend the extra few bucks and get good socks that comfortable and durable. Many socks have antibacterial properties that can help reduce smell and, more importantly, diseases.  Next, the foot wear of your choice, so long as they are quality made, goes on top.

With the ability to layer, you can be ready for warm, cool, or cold weather and survive getting wet and sweating when the temperatures drop. This may seem like a lot to set up but, in the long run, it is worth it if it helps get you home in one piece without frostbite or sunburns.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Seth Belt

Seth grew up in Southern Arizona before joining the U.S. Navy. While serving in the Navy, Seth was an anti-narcotics operator and an anti-submarine operator for 5 years. He was lucky enough to travel to many of the Central and South American countries, as well as visiting many South East Asian nations and islands. One of Seth’s greatest joys from his time in the Navy was teaching new Sailors firearms education and safety. After leaving the Navy in 2010, Seth returned to Arizona and had a rough time learning how to be a civilian again, often working jobs that could barely pay the bills. After going to school, Seth became an Emergency Medical Technician in the Phoenix Valley, where he now lives with his wife and son.His areas of knowledge cover military, firearms, and emergency medicine.
Seth Belt
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