Cold Weather Gear Advice Needed


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TheReiver
November 28, 2011, 04:29 PM
Hey everyone. I realize that this thread isn't about hunting, but I've come to hold (most of) the advice here in high regard and thought I'd pose the question.

Within the next few weeks I SHOULD be hearing if I got a job that I've recently applied to. This job will involve being outdoors in some very cold climates for twelve hours a day, though all withing the continental U.S. Seeing as how Mississippi is rarely the target of this mystical thing called cold weather, I was hoping some of you from cold areas could give me advice as to what gear/clothing I would be glad I had bought after working for a month straight in near zero temperatures. Also any tips/tricks that you've found helpful when hell freezes over.

Thanks ahead and safe shooting.

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rcmodel
November 28, 2011, 06:42 PM
Long underwear & Carhartt coveralls for starters.
Layered clothing so you can take things off if you get too warm.
Getting sweaty under heavy clothing will freeze you in your tracks when you stop in one place again.
Insulated boots, the best you can afford.
Good winter wool-blend boot socks.
Gloves with liners you can take out and dry.
All sorts of things with hoods attached.
Maybe a winter face mask too.

rc

lowerunit411
November 28, 2011, 06:45 PM
layering is key and despite the wonderful man made materials... i prefer natural materials for insulation. Good goose down..etc...wool is great because it can be totally saturated and not lose its thermal quality. outter gear that sheds water and is "ventilated" to an extent.

Skyshot
November 28, 2011, 07:54 PM
Layering is the key, If you are going to be vey active you need to get a base layer that wicks perspiration. Good boots with gortex and thisulate insulation,with wool socks. A lot depends on your activity level, you didn't mention the type of work you're doing to do

Robert
November 28, 2011, 10:37 PM
Good cold weather gear is not cheap. Gor-Tex is your friend. Staying dry is the best way to stay warm. Being wet and cold is not fun and will be life threatening in the wrong situation. Cotton is bad. Blue jeans are about as bad as it gets when it comes to cold weather gear. My cold weather load out when I was working for a drilling company in CO in Jan:
Base:
Patagonia Capilene top and bottom
http://www.rei.com/product/801813/patagonia-capilene-3-zip-t-shirt-mens
http://www.rei.com/product/801816/patagonia-capilene-3-long-underwear-bottoms-mens
Best $100 I ever spent.

Smart wool liners and socks. Again Cotton= frozen toes. The liner and wool blend socks help keep your feet dry.

Midlayer:
Carhart heavy work pants and a fleece like shirt. Or a light wool shirt. Something to hold the warm in that if it happens to get wet will still keep you warmish.

Outerlayer:
Carhart insulated work bibs and my heavy Carhart coat. To be honest once I started working I ditched the heavy coat. I did not have a hooded jacket I want to wear on site so I wore a Mtn Hardware wind proof beanie and a neck gaitor to cover my neck and face. I also wore fleece liners in my work gloves. It was a tight fit but kept my hands very warm. Last but not least good sturdy waterproof work boots. I can not stress it enough. If you get wet in freezing temps you are in for a world of hurt.

Dress in layers that way you can add or subtract as the weather, temps, or work dictate. The gear is not cheap but neither is frost bite or hypothermia.

d2wing
November 30, 2011, 04:50 PM
You're going to want silk or polypropylene long underwear. Knit woolens might be too much if you are active. Like the other guys said layers. I agree with the thinsulate and goretex boots. Especially if snow is involved. If you are working out doors a hooded windproof and waterproof jacket is a good idea. Don't forget a warm hat that covers your ears.If you have to walk on ice don't wear leather sole shoes, take small steps and stay in balance. A lot depends on what and where you do your work, trudging through snowbanks or walking on plowed sidewalks etc, all day or just a few minutes at a time. I agree about Carharts. Very good work clothes.
Keep you head and feet dry and warm. There's cold and snow, there there is real cold. Avoid exposed flesh if it is -15 and any wind, if it's -30 and blowing don't go outside or travel unless you know what you are doing. If they tell you no travel they mean it. Not only can you not get through deep snow drifts, you can't see either and if you leave your car you're in trouble.

waffentomas
November 30, 2011, 06:23 PM
I don't have a lot to add, but one the best pieces of cold weather gear I wear is a recon wrap.

http://www.specopsbrand.com/tactical-gear/headgear/recon-wrap.html

I have four or five of them and when it's cold, I have one on my neck and the other wrapped around my head. You can do so many different layering tricks with them to keep you warm or to slowly start letting some of the heat out so you don't sweat. Plus, when it's been really cold and I needed to stop and survey for a while, I have doubled them up on my neck and head with no ill effects.

A very versatile piece of gear that takes up very little space.

Tom

KodiakBeer
November 30, 2011, 06:34 PM
Ditto on the layers. Zero degrees in sunshine with no wind can be quite pleasant and warm and so you shed a layer. Then, an hour later a wind kicks up or the sun drops behind the hills and you're colder than hell so you put a layer back on.

If you can't shed a layer or two when it's "pleasant" then you sweat and nothing can make you warm when the wind kicks up or the sun drops.

The other necessity is good footwear. Make sure it's loose enough so that as your feet swell during the day, it won't cut off the circulation.

22-rimfire
November 30, 2011, 07:35 PM
Layering is crucial. You can add and take off layers as needed. I am assuming you are not out in the wilderness and there is no warmup place. Insulated coveralls are very good and they range from work coveralls to snow mobile suits depending on where you are talking about and the kind of weather involved.

You will need something that breaks the wind as well as being warm. I suspect you will have a number of outfits for various situtions if you are truly going to be outdoors for 12 hours at a time. Seldom in a work environment is there no place to "warm up" unless you are chasing wolves in in the UP or Alaska.

You will find that what you wear depends on how physically active you are. You don't want to perspire heavily in frigid conditions if you can help it.

A hooded sweatshirt would be handy as would a wool scarf for your neck. Good gloves will be important but what you wear will often depend on what you are actually doing.

Overall I like wool unless it is extremely windy for the outer garment. Then having something to wear over top or switch to would be useful depending on your situation.

jmr40
November 30, 2011, 09:18 PM
Since this is a hunting forum I'll give advice leaning more towards a hunters needs than work. A lot of this advice also comes from backpacking experience.

Several light layers are much better than 1 or 2 thick layers since you can adjust to different levels of exertion. I always carry a daypack to keep gear in.

Cotton kills. I never wear ANYTHING made of cotton when outdoors except in hot weather. Spend anytime outdoors and you are going to get wet, either from precipitation, or sweat. When cotton gets the least bit damp it sucks the warmth right out of you. This is why it is a great hot weather material, keep it wet and it cools you as it evaporates.

I haven't owned insulated boots in years and have hunted in temps down in the single digits. If your feet get cold it is because your body's core (internal organs, and brain) are cold. Keep your core warm and your body circulates blood to your feet keeping them warm. Let your core get cold and your body shuts off circulation to your feet in order to send more blood to your core and keep it warm. I just wear good wool socks and quality leather hiking boots. I've found my feet just sweat in insulated boots and when my feet get damp it is impossible to warm them even with insulated boots.

Keep your head warm. I've found that by wearing facemasks, watchcaps, (often 2), and neck warmers when not active My feet stay much warmer. I see hunters in the woods all the time wearing 1000 gram insulated boots, insulated coverall's and a thin cotton ball cap. They complain that their feet are still cold and they need better boots and coveralls. When I tell them their money would be better spent on something to keep their head warm they will tell me their head isn't cold. Of course not, their body is diverting blood from their feet to keep their uncovered head warm.

I typically wear wool socks, (don't even think about anything else) several layers of lightweight polypro or wool tops and either a wool or insulated jacket or vest depending on the conditions. I usually use a synthetic fill jacket, but if there is zero possibility of preciptiation I may go with goose down to save weight and space in my pack. The newer type of wool military issue gloves with gripping dots on the palms and fingers are perfect for my hunting needs. I almost never wear long underwear bottoms because they would be too hot to walk any distance in even single digit temps. For working, or if my hunt only involved a short walk then I'd wear them. Polypro or wool only. No cotton. I use another pair of lightly insulated windproof pants that can easily be slipped on over my pants once I get where I'm going. Some type of lightweight wind and waterproof shell jacket that is big enough to cover everything else is critical, but rarely used.

If it gets really nasty I have a lightweight backpack sleeping bag that weights 2 lbs and is about the size of a loaf of bread that goes in the pack. I can get in it and zip it up to my waist and be comfortable in some pretty nasty weather.

RatherNotSay
November 30, 2011, 09:41 PM
Outer wear should be windproof but be careful that they do not HOLD water because if it keeps water out then it will keep water in and that will be pointless. Movement causes air to circulate in spots under the outer wear so wear clothing with tight (not enough to stop blood flow) sleeves and tuck your long johns in your socks or boots. Wool is your friend. It doesn't hold water very well and even then it stays warm. Cotton will most likely absorb wetness and draw heat from your body so check your tags. I would take extra pairs of socks for 2 reasons. One is because they get cold easy and the extra layer will help. The other is because if they get to sweaty you can remove the pair and keep your feet dry.

Gortex is friendly when it's clean but I've found it to do poorly when dirty. Keeping dry is going to keep you warm so that is also a big issue. Other than that enough has already been said.

Mamertine
November 30, 2011, 09:45 PM
The advice has been very good in my opinion, I would add don't wear constrictive or tight clothing that can restrict blood flow and that insulation comes from having air pockets in and between the layers.

Geno
November 30, 2011, 09:48 PM
Fantastic read all. OP, thanks for starting the read, and welcome to THR! For my part, layering is my friend, using proper material...no cotton. Also, DO have loose clothing (space for heat around body) but do NOT have too loose of clothing that may snag on danger items. Scarf?! Never. Use a neck warmer. Underarmour is nice, but in my opinion, over-priced. Follow-up and let us know what you slect and why. Link: http://www.underarmour.com/shop/us/en?cid=PS%7CGoogle%7CBrand%7CUS%7C%7C%7Cunder%20armour%7C

Geno

Frozen North
November 30, 2011, 10:04 PM
I am a MN native, I work outside in all she has to throw at us. I have been outside at work for 8 years now. No days off for snow or cold, ever. The worst I have been forced to endure is -45f with a -77f windchill. I also do allot of ice fishing, deer hunting, and snowmobiling.

First of all, I have a few questions for you.

Will you be in and out of the cold (going inside a building or heated vehicle), or will you be out in it all day?

Will you be physically active or doing allot of standing around?

What kind of cold are we talking? Iowa or Saskatoon?

It can be easy to stay warm as long as you don't over do it or make the wrong choices. I also feel that much of the super warm clothing stuff on the market is over hyped gimmick. There is no reason on earth to spend a whole pile of money on work clothes.

If you smoke, you will have cold hands and feet no matter what you do.

Buy lots of chapstick, it's worth twice it's weight in gold when the wind starts blowing. Use it before your lips start to hurt.

wleggart
December 1, 2011, 08:16 AM
everything said about layering, no cotton etc is correct. Neck and head is the next most important thing, and nobody mentioned: pocket warmers. The fuel based or chemical based are all excellent! Tuck one in each pocket of your close fitting vest under your windproof over coat and they will keep our body warm. Arkansas duck hunting is standing in waders in cold water for 6 hours or so. It ain't South Dakota when you can smell the polar bear **** on the north wind, but it's pretty cold! Warm liquids are another key: hot soup mid morning is GREAT!

ultradoc
December 1, 2011, 08:33 AM
layers..also, mittons keep your hands warmer than gloves. And they do make mittons with the trigger finger if you need that

lizziedog1
December 1, 2011, 09:42 AM
Snowboarder pants are great for cold weather. They are really great in damp areas.

303tom
December 1, 2011, 11:42 AM
Wool under a set of Walls coveralls..............

inclinebench
December 1, 2011, 12:03 PM
Silk is one of the best wicking materials around, and therefore makes a great base layer. Polypro is decent too, and usually cheaper, but if you will be moving around, then getting cold temps while not in motion, a non-wicking base layer will be the death of you. I have moved away from poly pro, and now am all silk base layers, and that makes a huge difference for me when I have to hike in, then sit still on the stand or in the blind. Natural silk also does not generate nearly the amount of static ekectricity, so I enjoy that little bit too.

X-Rap
December 1, 2011, 02:17 PM
Take a look at the ECWCS system the military uses. The various layers can be bought for as little as $7 per piece in my experiance at surplus shops. Silk base and fleece layers under a weather resistant shell will keep you real warm. If your job involves fire or hot slag you better stay with wool and cotton duck since most synthetics will melt to your skin unless you are talking NOMEX.

natman
December 1, 2011, 03:02 PM
If you are going to be working in the cold it's sometimes as important to let heat OUT as keep it in. Look for cuffs that are adjustable and open up to let heat out. An excellent example is the military M65 field jacket. It has a gusset in the sleeve that allows it to open far enough to let a lot of heat out while still wearing the jacket.

Don't assume that just because a coat has velcro cuffs it's properly adjustable. A lot of manufacturers don't really understand how an adjustable cuff is supposed to work and make "adjustable" cuffs where the loosest adjustment is "tight".

d2wing
December 1, 2011, 04:01 PM
I disagree on uninsulated boots. Your feet are going to sweat anyway. Good quality wool or blend socks like Smartwool and good boots with goretex and 200 grams thinsulate keep feet comfortable because the thinsulate helps wick the sweat. Even my motorcycle boots have it. The best boots I have are leather Danners. I've worn out lots of boots in Minnesota and other places with many kinds of boots, both working and hunting.
Use boot dryers and change off with another pair.

X-Rap
December 1, 2011, 04:18 PM
In extreme cold and when I will likely be less active I prefer packs. I have a pair of Whites with 2 pair of liners that have lasted me 10 yrs with one resole needed.
During the earlier hunting seasons here in Colorado I like to wear a good goretex boot like the Danner Pronghorn with 1 or 2 pairs of wool socks. This is comfortable yet will allow me to still walk and pack a lot and with gaiters on they will do in moderate snow. Having 2 pair to allow one to dry is almost a must in wet conditions.

lowerunit411
December 1, 2011, 04:37 PM
ill second the paks

TheReiver
December 4, 2011, 02:29 PM
Thanks for the great tips everyone. I'm just now replying because I've been away from internet for the last several days. Keep them coming!

TheReiver
December 4, 2011, 02:31 PM
I am a MN native, I work outside in all she has to throw at us. I have been outside at work for 8 years now. No days off for snow or cold, ever. The worst I have been forced to endure is -45f with a -77f windchill. I also do allot of ice fishing, deer hunting, and snowmobiling.

First of all, I have a few questions for you.

Will you be in and out of the cold (going inside a building or heated vehicle), or will you be out in it all day?

Will you be physically active or doing allot of standing around?

What kind of cold are we talking? Iowa or Saskatoon?

It can be easy to stay warm as long as you don't over do it or make the wrong choices. I also feel that much of the super warm clothing stuff on the market is over hyped gimmick. There is no reason on earth to spend a whole pile of money on work clothes.

If you smoke, you will have cold hands and feet no matter what you do.

Buy lots of chapstick, it's worth twice it's weight in gold when the wind starts blowing. Use it before your lips start to hurt.
I'll be working on a boat on a major waterway. As for whether I'll be in and out all day, I'm not sure.

HARV6
December 9, 2011, 03:20 AM
I live in windy northern Ohio. When I'm set up in a stand I start with a fleece balaclava that fits snug around the head, face, and neck, so no skin is exposed. Then a looser fitting thick fleece balaclava around my neck that can be pulled up like a hood. Most times I'll leave that around my neck and put a Mad Bomber rabbit fur hat on top of the tight balaclava. After a while if I take any of those off I feel the heat pouring out of me. Once I started keeping my head, face, and neck warm, everything else kept pretty warm with good layers. For my body and legs I like snug fitting under armor to disperse any sweat. Then a thick wool sweater and fleece sweatpants. On top of that, any heavy jacket and overalls will do to stop the wind. Wool socks and mink-oiled leather boots. Insulated boots if you'll be sitting still, un-insulated if you'll be moving around much. Neoprene gloves will keep you warm even if you get water inside them. I'd also recommend 2 Zippo hand warmers for your pockets. They are awesome!

1911 guy
December 9, 2011, 09:13 AM
Dress in layers, as mentioned.

Mittens are warmer than gloves.

A hood in addition to a watch cap, tobaggan, whatever you call it, will keep your mellon very warm.

Athletic socks worn under wool socks and all worn inside water resistant and insulated boots will take care of the feet.

Some of the new microfleece and gore-tex rivals the warmth of wool with a bit less weight.

Working on a boat, I'd opt for warm under layers and focus the outer layer on being waterproof.

Sav .250
December 9, 2011, 10:30 AM
Lots of good infornation. The only thing left for me is.....get yourself a good
hat and gloves. Insulated/ water proof. :)

35 Whelen
December 9, 2011, 07:45 PM
Wool, wool, wool.

35W

Legionnaire
December 10, 2011, 02:13 PM
Good stuff here, but a question for the OP:

What are you going to be doing outdoors? Will you be sitting still, or active and moving? All the stuff about layers and what they should be made of is good. And there is a big difference between sitting still for long periods and keeping moving. You no doubt already know from experience that exertion raises your body temperature.

So if you're going to be doing physical labor outdoors, layers are a must, but make sure you can shed down to something comfortable, and that it, too, is wind and water resistant.

If you're going to be sitting all day, a trick I don't recall seeing above is an old, insulated sleeping bag. Doesn't have to be fancy, or heavy, and it shouldn't be a mummy-type bag; rectangle is better. Step into it, pull it up around your chest, and have a seat. Amazing how warm that can keep you for a long period of time.

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