Cold weather clothing

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by Jason, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

    I'm not sure which category this thread is best suited for, so if the moderators want to move it, as always, they have my blessing to do so.

    Now that cooler weather is upon us in my region, with Winter right around the corner, my thoughts are turning to cold weather clothing. I spend most of my weekend days outside, at least several hours at a time, but this could easily be translated to a G.O.O.D. scenario lasting much longer.

    We all know to dress in layers, and cotton is worthless when it gets wet. Specifically, what do you wear when you are out in the cold? I know Uncle Joe's occupation is outdoor based. I'm sure there are others. Sailaway is due to be arrested for shoveling snow any day now. (sorry man-couldn't help it. :D )

    I have a work issued heavy duty Carhartt coat and bib overalls (both quilted) and my own lighter Carhartt jacket, all of which are very water resistant. Under these I will typically layer sweat pants and/or jeans, Tshirt, flannel shirt or sweatshirt. I have lots of lined and unlined leather work golves, so when I get a pair wet I just change them out for dry ones. I usually just wear regular socks, but I have some outdoor heavy duty winter socks. I have several pair of good quality leather work boots. I top it all off with my rabbit fur lined Mad Bomber hat.

    My weakness is that most of my under layers are cotton. Since I now fit into normal clothes I want to find some better materials for these layers.

    You never know when a quick trip to the store could turn into your sliding off the road and not being found for days so it's best to keep blankets, extra clothes, etc in your vehicle. How much do you carry? I have historically lacked in this area but am planning change for this season. I also carry a hatchet and a couple bic lighters to start a fire/gather kindling and wood in a pinch.

    It gets cold in PA but I know many if not most of you live in MUCH colder areas than I do. Thanks for any input.
  2. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    A few years ago my step-son discovered Under Armour. Under Armour Shop Home - Sports Apparel, Footwear, Accessories. Free Shipping Available.
    They don't tell you much about it in their website except how to buy it, but you can read about it here. The History of Under Armour - A Mastermind for Performance Apparel
    It's a bit on the salty side side, but if you need to be working and sweating outside in cold weather, it makes all the difference. To be honest with you though, I rarely work outside when the thermometer reads single digits. :sssh: There are the occasional emergency's to deal with when the weight of snow or ice drops a tree on someones house or car, but it's not very often. I do plow snow but I'm in the truck most of the time.
    What I do like it for is splitting wood in the cold weather. I use a splitter most of the time, but in the winter I like to swing the maul. It helps to keep me from getting soft when I'm not working in the trees. The Under Armour goes next to the skin with a cotton tee shirt next, then a sweatshirt. I'll even lose the sweatshirt if it's above 20 degrees. That's about -7 for those of you that use the more logical system of measurement.
    I have one of those bunny hats too but I only wear it when I'm taking care of animals. It gets way too hot if I'm doing anything strenuous.

  3. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

    I've seen UnderArmour around. I think some of the outdoor chain stores and sporting good stores carry it. I'll have to look into that.
  4. OldFashionedMama

    OldFashionedMama Partyin' like it's 1699

    I've heard good things about UnderArmor from a friend of mine who's on the flagline at school. The only drawbacks I can think of are the expense, this stuff is pretty pricey, and what happens when it wears out and you need to dispose of it. I have NO idea what the material is made from, and I'm willing to bet its not very "eco-friendly". I have a similar problem right now with some cloth diapers I had from when my boys were babies. The outer, waterproof material is polyuerthane laminate, and I haven't a clue as to what to do with it.

    I'm a fan of naturally insulating clothing like leather, wool or furs. We have a fabulous goats wool blanket that my husband's grandmother made for us as a wedding gift. It is warmer than anything else we've ever had-goose down, heating blankets, you name it and this thing beats them all.
  5. richtaber

    richtaber New Member

    For what it's worth, I wear a variety of clothes depending on the situation. In the winter, I will typically wear some sort of polypro long undies, under insulated carharts when working on the farm outside. I retire fleeces that get a little raggedy from use and wear them on the farm too, sometimes under some sort of windbreaker or older goretex. I often wear heavy cotton flannel shirts, but would not use them in like a camping or hiking situation, because it is amazing how much water they will hold. You get a fleece wet or sweaty, and you can almost wring it dry, whereas a cotton flannel shirt can take forever to dry, which means the risk of hypothermia when they get wet and you can't dry them.
  6. northernontario

    northernontario Well-Known Member

    I have found that most brands of 'thermal long underwear' out there are a cotton/polyester blend. We all know cotton is not an ideal layer when it comes to wintertime... it holds moisture.

    For the last couple years I've been wearing 'polypro' long underwear... one brand is Helly Hansen. I know there are other brands out there. Both pairs I've got are a dark-blue, fairly skin-tight. They are great! I've used them on multi-day winter dog-sledding trips, and still have a pair I bought in my final year of High School. (ya, I'm only 25).

    I have heard horror stories of people melting them in the dryer, but I've never had the problem. (bought them on the recommendation of a teacher I had... and she warned me a friend had melted a pair in the dryer. I air-dried for years, but now I toss them in the dryer without worrying).

    I've also had good results with a fleece layer ontop of that.

    I need to invest in some better top-layer outer gear. Where I am, it sits at -35°C to -45°C for long periods of time... before the windchill! My current winter jacket keeps me warm, but doesn't repel water very well.

    I've also found a good pair of leather mits (not gloves... mits) do a good job at keeping my fingers warm. Again, I bought a pair for about $20 in highschool when I went on a 2-day dogsledding trip. Toasty fingers all weekend. I've used them while blowing snow with dad's tractor back home, and shovelling snow at my old apartment. Dad bought me another similar pair this fall on sale... we will see how well they do with keeping the fingers warm while I use the walk-behind snowblower at my new place.

    I've also got some nice thick wool socks that I wear in my winter boots. They are too thick to wear with anything else! Make up for the fact that I need new insulative liners in my boots.

    Where I am in Ontario, I get a lot of my stuff at Marks Work Warehouse (heavy wool socks, regular wool socks, polypro long underwear, fleece pants and shirts).

    One thing to be careful of... 'fleece' is often a plastic/polymer based material. As such, it can easily burn. I've got one fleece shirt that I often wear when out working in the shop. The arms on it look like they've been blasted and burned with hot shotgun spray... from all the overhead welding I've done on my cars. One of my fleece shirts is crispy in one spot from being too close to a fire. But fleece does dry really quickly!
  7. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

    I was exposed to polypro for the first time this past weekend. I wore one of my father in law's polypro shirts while duck hunting on Lake Pymatuning. It wasn't real cold out, but that and a light jacket was all I needed in the pre dawn chill. I'm definately a new convert to the stuff.
  8. Expeditioner

    Expeditioner Well-Known Member

    "Polypro" is great stuff. I just ordered the new UnderArmour Basemap Cold Gear. If the UA gear turns out to be a dud, I have my polypro to fall back on.
  9. bassman

    bassman Active Member

    Up here in NH, it's been pretty warm for November and I'll take it as long as it last! But, it can change with the blink of an eye! We're jus about a month away from the ice storme that crippled half the state last year! Up here the saying is,"if you don't like the weather, wait a minute"! Anyway, I usually carry a couple of wool blankets in my vehicles. Wool will keep you warm even when wet! In my Toyota P/U which is my main vehicle, I carry an old military "Sniper Bag" , for those you not famiiar with that, it's a combination jacket and sleeping bag. Also in my survival pack I carry extra clothes which include a pair of wool pants and sweater and a fire starting kit! Also in my truck I carry an ax, shovle, bow saw, and come along. And, when the weather gets bad, sand and salt! Hope this is a help to any of you out there!
  10. cowpuncher

    cowpuncher Active Member

    Ah, the joys of CW clothing selection!

    I try to stay away from synthetics, like UnderArmor (UA) and such for my base layer. At one point, the Department of the Army forbid troops in Iraq from wearing it. Burn/blast injuries from IEDs were being made exponentially worse because the UA was melting into the wounds from the heat of the blast. I wear UA in town cause it's comfortable, but I'd not rely on it in an outdoors environment, and certainly not in a survival situation.

    I do own polypro and wear it. I've had several of the same pairs for 15 years, since it was issued to me as a private. It still works wonders. I wash it, but let it air-dry, although a tumble dry won't usually kill it. I would prefer good merino wool long underwear, but discovered two winters in a row that sitting in a saddle all day kills it too fast. I've not been able to find any stout enough to last me. So, I stick with the polypro, despite the burn hazards noted above. I do the bad thing and wear a light cotton tee under it though. I've never had a problem with it, even at -30F. It's just way more comfortable for me than going with just the polypro.

    As I mentioned in another post, I'm all about the Carhartt wool work socks. 'Nuff said.

    I wear jeans if I'm gonna be horseback. With my chaps over them, they don't get very wet anyway. If I'm not going to be horseback, but not walking alot (i.e. in and out of a pick-up or tractor or backhoe), I'll wear a pair of Carhartt bibs. If I'm going to be a-footback, I wear 100% cotton rip-stop BDU style trousers. Again, despite their being cotton, they work really well for this. When I was a private at 1st Ranger Bn, we were only allowed to wear the rip-stop cotton ones, not the NyCo blends. I discovered that, even though they do get wet, they're so lightweight that they dry out super fast, so it's never been a big deal. They're far more comfortable than any wool trousers I've found too.

    On my upper half, I usually go with a polarfleece shirt over my poly-pro upper. Again, there's the fire hazard, but I don't deal with a lot of IEDs, so...I also wear a wool vest alot. Over all of that, almost always, I've got a Carhartt on. If it's raining or sleeting, I'll wear a Gore-Tex parka, but I've found that GT plays heck working around livestock and barbed wire. I've torn up a couple of $200+ parkas that way.

    I wear silk "wild rag" scarves around my neck all winter long in the outdoors. They're awesome. I've been known to tuck a poly-pro neck gaiter under them, but for the most part, a 36"x36" silk rag tied around there is plenty, even down to -20F. I wear some sort of either "Scots" cap on my head, a beanie, or in REALLY cold weather, a polypro balaclava. I've never found need of the fur-trimmed parka hoods, even in Alaska. They rob me of too much environmental awareness.

    I wear gloves even though I know mittens are better in cold weather for keeping your fingers warm. I need to handle a rifle occasionally, a lass-rope more often, and my reins all the time. Hard to do any of them in mitts.

    I've backpacked and snowshoed in temperatures down to -40F in that basic attire. I've also worked, hard, feeding and doctoring horses and cattle in that attire. A couple of years ago, I was in southern Wyoming along I-80 cowboying. Thanks to shoddy management, we were still gathering cattle in towards the HQ place in January (should have been in before the snow hit heavy). I was horseback in that same attire, when it was -25F with 80MPH winds. I won't say it was always comfortable, but it was certainly tolerable.
  11. Jezcruzen

    Jezcruzen Well-Known Member

    Hi, folks. I haven't posted for awhile, but I would like to add a comment or two regarding CW clothing.

    Whenever I'm outside during cold weather for any length of time, be it hunting or whatever, insulated coveralls have provided the best warmth of all the CW clothing I've used... even layering. I guess because the coveralls allow warm air to move and circulate around the body.

    I've never tried the UA Cold Gear. Its just too damn expensive at around $100 per set. I have used polypro with mixed results, and have used a product called Thermostat, which seems to work well, especially in "expedition weight". I wear it when riding my motorcycle in cold weather.

    For head and hands, I like wool, especially wool that has Wind Stopper or some similar wind proof liner. Although wool gloves are not good for work, they do a great job of keeping my stubby little fingers warm.