Not everyone spends their winter days sitting in front of the fire, feet up and dreaming of warmer days. Some of us spend our days out in the thick of it – sometimes to enjoy the outdoors, and sometimes because we don’t have a choice. For the former, keeping warm means turning up the thermostat or throwing another log on the fire. If you fall in the latter group, you need to plan ahead and use your head if you want to avoid being a popsicle.
Between work and my love of late season archery hunting, I spend a great deal of time outdoors when the temperature is far from being beach weather. Over the years, I have learned a number of useful tips and tricks concerning how to keep a little more comfortable when the temperature dips. Hopefully they can help you too.
PUT ON THE LAYERS – Regardless of what it may be made of, no single layer can offer the same level of protection as multiple thinner layers. Layers trap air – air which can then be warmed by your body heat and provide additional protection. For best protection, include a base layer, main layer, outer layer and even an over layer if precipitation or heavy wind is a concern.
HEAD, NECK AND FACE – Everyone knows that a large amount of the body’s heat is lost via the head, so it should go without saying that protecting it is vital when faced with dangerous temperatures. But protecting the head goes beyond simply putting on a knit cap – you need to protect your whole head including the neck and face. Adding a scarf or face mask can often do the trick, but for the best protection consider a quality one piece balaclava.
WARM FEET NEEDED – If there is one thing which will ruin my late season adventures, it’s cold feet. I can put up with a certain level of discomfort, nearing frostbite conditions IF my feet are warm, but let my toes chill, and I am looking for the truck. For maximum protection, you should always wear quality boots paired with season appropriate socks. I always wear waterproof boots, even if I do not expect to get wet, and I prefer to layer wool socks with a thinner moisture wicking pair underneath.
WEAR WOOL – Modern outdoorsmen are faced with an almost endless choice when it comes to space age outerwear materials, but nothing beats old fashion wool. It provides far better warmth by weight than even some of the most modern fabrics; is naturally water resistant; and if it does get wet, it retains its insulating properties.
DON’T LET THEM SEE YOU SWEAT – Sweating is one of your worst enemies during cold temperatures. Working up a good sweat may feel invigorating when engaged in strenuous activity, but once you slow down the sweat will cool and rob you of vital heat. If possible, pace yourself to limit the possibility of sweating, otherwise incorporate moisture wicking base layers to pull it away from your body surface.
Enjoy the winter!
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.
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