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Holy Man it's COLD

December 29, 2017

Well winter has shown it's ugly face and around here in central Alberta that means cold! So cold you don't want to do anything! But that's no good, so I thought I would maybe give you some advice in these cold times.

 

Dress for success , and in this cold that means layers. So we should have on 3 or more layers, these are, hygiene or base layer, insulative layer and shell or cover layer. The first layer closest to skin is your hygiene layer it's sole purpose is to wick away moisture and get it moving to the outside, moisture trapped into your clothes can freeze you right to the bone. So there are some different varieties of this layer, the one I would like to point out that is the most dangerous in Cotton. As comfy as it feels it's the most useless in the cold. It absorbs that moisture and holds it next your skin, so stay away.

Next is your insulative layer. This layer is the meat in the sandwich, this is all the good stuff. Here we have down sweaters or fleece or wool. The purpose of this layer is to trap warm air and this dead air keeps you warm, you'll hear things like 500 loft and so on, this refers to the depth of the loft in a cubic inch per once of down loft. Anyways so the higher the number closer to 750+ is extremely good, around 500 is good and 300-500 is an average cheaper coat.  Here again I want to warn you, that being warm is great, being hot is bad. I once was on a patrol with a  support member who didn't know how to dress for the weather, it was about -45C plus wind chill. It was cold! Our support guy decided to put on ALL of his warm gear that was issued to him. About an hour later into the patrol, we noticed our support guy was all over the place, and when we talked to him we could see that his face was beat red, and he was slurring his speech. We questioned him on what he was wearing he said "all of it" We thought no way this guy could have worn all of his extreme winter kit, but oh yes he could! we started to strip him down right there in the field and the steam that cam out of his coat and off his head was amazing! we only took off one layer, and he was able to function again, he had almost gotten heat stroke in -45C!

The last is the shell, this can be many new materials and some are better then others. Gore-Tex has been the leader in outdoor garments for years if you wanted to stay dry and warm you needed a gore-tex shell. But let me warn you against it. It's great when it works, but unless you know yourself you 'll run into issues with it. The one most relied on but most often failed is it's breathability. My mentor Mors hates Gore-Tex and says that if it's really so breathable press your lips up against it and breath see what happens. I personally like Gore-Tex the learning curve compared to lets say, Wool is a lot less. Just understand if you're moving you probably don't want that shell on, if it's windy then make sure you ventilate.

Speaking of ventilation you need to have clothes that are big enough to let air move, so those tight jeans won't be so cool here. Wear a baggy sweater and loose pants so that airflow can happen, suspenders instead of a belt are another great option. Lastly make sure to cover all your parts with something when it's really cold, exposed skin can freeze causing frostbite in 15 mins in -35C

 

weather, even quicker if there is a wind.

Well I hope this helps you a bit and try to enjoy this cold, remember there is no bad weather just bad equipment.

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