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So Ive been thinking about and looking into cloths for cold weather. I have found and kinda always know for as long as i can remember layering is the key. But I started to wander about what to layer. What types of materials to use for miled to realy freeking cold weather. When im going to be out I generaly get by with as follows. These light weight long johns, dont know the brand but they dont make me crazy hot if I go inside. pants shirt and a good jacket and something like one of my sock hats for my head, and a good pare of socks some times two. This is generaly good for me for 25-30is weather if im going to be outside. However lately its been line 10-15 degrees at night and windy. According to the natives this is an abnormaly cold winter. I need to be more warm. My dad and I are planning to go north next year for hunting season and im sure this kind of weather should be expected so I want to be prepared. Do you have any suggestions or know of any good websights for staying warm in winter. I can handle beaing a little cold but if im shivering its a no go. I generaly try to ware as little as possiable and bring more to put on if I need to. Ive found that too much is realy a bad thing.
 

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A lot of it will be pretty personal in regards to how many layers it will take to keep you as warm as you want to be. Also really depends how much moving around you're doing.

Cotton against skin is a poor choice since it doesnt breathe particularly well, isnt that warm to begin with, and once its wet its gonna stay wet. The key is to find stuff, especially for the first layer, that breathes and wicks moisture from the skin. Underarmour and similar fabric types are good for this, fleece like a North Face type jacket or vest is pretty good stuff as well. For your outermost layer its always nice to have something that will stop the wind. For pure warmth I still havent found anything that keeps me as warm as good old fashioned wool.

I personally would rather be a little bit cooler than be so bundled up I cant move (or shoulder a gun right). In general I go with a pair of long underwear on top and bottom (the stretchy stuff thats almost like under armor), merino wool socks, my wool pants, a long sleeve shirt with a good collar, and then outer wear (jacket, overalls, boots, whatever). If its really cold like appoaching 0 then i'll throw on a quilted flannel or something on underneath my jacket too.

Oh, a good hat is always a key item for me too. Lately I've been wearing a Stormy Kromer....turning into an old man while im still in my 20's :rolleyes:.
 

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Nawth East Moderatah
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Layers!
I have to systems that have worked well;

I have found that a good wicking base layer, followed by polarfleece layers, with a sturdy nylon windbreaking outershell works great!
OR
Wool.
I have a Woolrich traditional red plaid hunting coat and pants that are about as warm as you can get. The trade off is the weight. moving around in the wool is tough.
For feet, layeers of sox, with Sorels as an outer layer.
Always a good hat, wool or polarfleece, with ear protection.
 

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As a qualifier, I hunted for 10 years in north-central Wisconsin...if it was 30 degrees out, we were sweating and ticked off because it was way too warm for the deer to be moving much. 15 or less was what we preferred.

Walmart sells a Rocky-brand line of thermal base layer that is a poly fabric that is light-weight, loose-fitting and very warm...it is less than $40/set and extremely effective.

I base what I will wear on a given day on the predicted high temp. My rule of thumb is pretty simple: If it's going to be 30 or above, I wear 3 layers, with the middle layer being fairly light, possibly even a cotton sweatshirt and pants. If it's going to be LESS than 30, my middle layer will be a performance fabric, like Thinsulate/Goretex pants and shirt. At 30 or less, my outer layer is ALWAYS a wind-proof, bulky (trapped air IS the key!) combination of a thigh-length parka and bib overalls. The bibs are crucial because of how they help keep the cold off your kidneys...I wouldn't go hunt in cold weather with any kind of regular pants unless I had bibs over them.
If the high temp will be 40 or more, I will still wear three layers, but the top layer will not be as heavy. For temps that high, I usually go with a matched set of ScentLock gear as my third layer.

For my feet, I've tried many different combinations and finally settled on a very thin moisture-wicking poly sock on cool days and the same, with a 2nd wool pair, on COLD days. The key to keeping my feet from getting painfully cold (they don't stay warm, really) is to wear a good quality boot that is about 1.5 sizes too big. I wear a 9.5, but buy size 11 boots. This allows my feet to not be cramped, restricting blood flow, and allows for enough air space in the boot to act as an insulator. In my opinion, a boot that fits well in plain cotton socks will be too tight with a second layer on and is the biggest culprit for cold feet. Please note that all of this only applies if you are hunting from a tree stand or ground blind. If you will be walking a lot during your hunts, none of the above will work, for you feet. If you're hunting from a ground blind and have a great deal of trouble keeping your feet from aching from being too cold, invest in a pair of "boot blankets". They aren't worth the trouble from a tree stand and can't be walked in, but if you carry them in to a blind, your feet won't be walking back to camp at 9:30.

Finally, I wear a fleece, full-face mask and one of those tube-shaped muffs to put my hands in. I stick 2 hand-warmer packs in the muff and wear a thin, lightweight pair of gloves while hunting. I keep a bulkier pair of gloves in my pack, but only wear them while walking or as a 2nd layer, if my hands get very cold, for some reason. Another step I take, when hunting from a tree stand, is to use the safety harness that my wife sewed a 1/2" foam rubber pad into. It comes up to about the middle of my back and was originally meant to add comfort, but it had the surprising bonus of adding incredible warmth! (We made ours from those cheap, 2-piece folding seat pads you find on the shelf at every sporting goods store, during season. Our updated design allows it to be removed, the pad taken out and the whole thing washed...because it gets sweaty!)

For truly staying warm, focus on your head, hands and lower back (kidneys). Let these areas get chilled and you won't feel warm, no matter what else you have on. If on stand, wear boots your feet swim in. Move very slowly when getting to your stand: You will avoid getting sweaty, which is the real point, but you'll also spook less game. Most of all, learn to get a feel for when you are not warm and when you are truly "cold". For many people, especially from warm climates, "cold" is whenever it's less than 74 degrees.

To me, I have learned to differentiate between the sensation of cold air in my lungs (which I really enjoy, frankly) and the sensation of a shiver running from head to toe, because my body is starting to struggle at keeping my core temperature up. When this happens, I begin doing isometric exercises (basically, just tightening muscle groups, w/o moving) for 20 counts, rotating between arms, pecs, quads and glutes. If you do three sets of each it will take about 4-5 minutes and help fight off the chill by increasing blood flow and generating heat by burning calories.

Nothing improves your odds of success more than sitting all day, no matter how cold it is, so it really takes a system to keep warm. My experience at doing exactly that, on many occasions, has led to the system above.
 

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good advice above, for inner layer I like polypropylene or poly with wool blend(light wt so i can move easily). Avoid cotton. I like light boots also max up to 400 grams thinsulate. I used same boots in NW Colorado and in wet bottoms of Miss and seem to work for me, others like heavier boots.
Remember neck and head coverage-head and neck is about 25-29% of your surface area. I use neck warmer and light cap in cold weather. If I get cold I put more layers on my head- a wool or synthetic stocking cap or a polypropylene balaclava covering head and neck. Sometimes I have 3 layers on my neck and head to stay warm but then I don't have as much on my body and I feel less restricted in my movements. If you are a large man you will need less clothes and smaller men need more- once again due to body surface area to wt ratio (just like deer are larger the further north you go). You need to experiment for yourself.
 

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Lots of good advice here. Layering is certainly the key to staying warm. Some other things to consider is wind. Most layering works well till you get a windy situation, then materials that have a built in windbreaker material become your best bet. Keeping fingers warm is always a problem when its really cold, especially when one is in a hunting situation. Layering of gloves can also be uselful plus keeping a pocket full of handwarmers. I always like to carry along a facemask also for those unexpected drops in temp. Basically keeping your head, feet , and fingers functioning will give you a great cold weather experience.
 

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I would recommend the Kenyon Silkweight polyester longs from Sportsmans Guide for a base layer. They come in two packs of either tops or bottoms. Get two full sets for $40 ($10 a piece). Over that I prefer merino wool longs such as the Stansfields Superwash merino wool longs or the Minus33 midweight merino wool longs for $35 a piece. If it is truly cold I would wear a Woolrich Buffalo Plaid shirt and Woolrich Malone pants. The old standby Duofold "Sportsman" two layer longs (those with the polyester inner layer, not the cotton) are always good performers as well.

Layers should not be tight, your footwear should not be too tight, and wear a good hat.
 

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I haven't yet found anything better - at least for underlayers - than Icebreaker wool. Icebreaker comes in many different weights depending upon temps. This isn't your std wool...very nice against the skin and not 'scratchy' at all. It's not cheap, but it is good stuff and effective. Wool keeps you warm even when wet. Polypro is good, but sure stinks!

I usually follow up the Icebreaker with a Pendleton wool button-down shirt. On top of that, a Filson or Woolrich vest. Sometimes the vest gets shed in the heat of the hunt, sometimes not.

For wind or really cold, a windproof/water-repellent outer shell tops all this off.
 

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broom ..i hadn t thought about the bib overall protecting the kidneys..
but i felt that an didn t know why the cold was hurting me so bad.. old dog learns new trick ..slim.. now if i can even findum somewhere in this house..use to usum now an again for work. ..slim:)
 

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Yep, keeping your lower back (kidneys) and your head/neck region protected is critical, as those areas have large volumes of hot blood flowing very close to the surface. Get either of those cold and it will chill your entire body. (This is also good to know when the temps are really warm...an ice-pack on the kidneys will help cool you off.)
 

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Being a "full figured" guy, I sweat profusely. I have found that pure silk does as good a job at keeping me dry as anything I have used.

With the exception of wool, I have switched to all synthetic layers. Some folks claim that they don't like the feel of wool. Get GOOD wool and it is as softr as cotton. Staying dry from within and without is the best.

I have 2 weights of base and after that the next layers are determined by the planned activity. I have a great Columbia bird jacket that would make a great water tote. No breathability and I often have frost on the inside of it after a day of birding. This speaks well to my silk then poly wicking, but speaks badly to staying dry and comfortable.

Duck hunting has it's own special nuances in that if you do not have a permanent blind, stepping ot of your waders is not an option. I often walk in with only a shirt and pull my gear out of the bag when I get all set up.

If carrying a bag for gear, throw in some of the chemical warmers. They are very convenient and work well.
 

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Although not in deep winter conditions (73 degrees today!), I do hunt and visit in the colder climes. Agree with the silk and good quality wool. I have a set of pure silk long johns and they work quite well in keeping the body warm. Sorta like the wimmim's pantyhose old Joe Namath wore under his football gear! As stated, wool is great even when wet - I know from taking an unexpected swim many years ago when wool was the typical hunting clothing.
 

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I'd go out and buy yourself some of the new Underarmour pants and shirt first. They fit tight to the skin, do not get in the way of your movement, and are warm. After I have that on, I"m good with my regular Herters Bib thinsulate overalls and coat. I always carry a muffler with me, cause I hate for my neck to get cold. This worked very well in the 15-20 degree weather we've just gone through.
 

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Cheapest layering material you can buy that actually works better than most expensive synthetic stuff is thrift store wool sweaters.

Look for dress sweaters that are not thick and bulky. The thick ones are great but tend to be made from regular wool which is a bit scratchy and doesn't work for a base layer for most folks. They are great on top of silk or pollypro though. Anyway, near my home we have several thrift stores and I've bought a bunch of sweaters for $3 to $7 each. The very best are the the merino wool ones. Merino wool is actually SOFTER then cotton against your skin, wicks moisture away and keeps you warm even if wet. The next couple that are great are angora, cashmere and alpaca wools. Really, these tend to be kinda yuppy dressy things but hey, if they keep me warm in layers, I'm all for 'em.

For pants, the Swiss military wool surplus pants are amazing. Built like BDU's with the thigh pockets and ankle straps but made of heavy weight olive drab wool they are the best wool pants you can get for the money. Sportsman's Guide and Cheaper than Dirt both have them at times and they run about $9 or $10 bucks for used ones on up to about $17 or $18 for new "unissued" ones. Put these over some silk or medium weight polypro long johns and you're good down to single digits or better. If it's really cold, the expedition weight polypro or two layers of the medium weight under the wool works great. If you have the money, Ulfrott (I think that is how you spell it) makes merino wool long john tops and bottoms. I'd love a pair of the bottoms but honestly, the thrift store sweaters are equal to the tops and cost a LOT less. To bad I can't make long john bottoms out of thrift store sweaters.....
 

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By the way, on the Swiss wool pants, they don't usually list much info on the inseam but I'm 6'2" and wear jeans with a 34" inseam and they fit me just fine for length. I've seen them stated as being cut to a 32" inseam but if you go by jeans, there is always a difference. When I am forced to wear a suit or tux, I usually get measured at a 32" inseam. Not sure if it is because suit pants are roomier in the crotch than jeans or what but they always measure shorter. The wool pants are cut roomy too so maybe that's it.
 

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The Army has an acromyn (wouldn't have guessed) for this.

C Keep yourself and equipment clean. Clean layers work better then soiled/dirty.

O Avoid over heating to prevent sweating and chills

L Layers, wear several layers instead of one heay layer

D Dry, stay dry and don't sweat, wear water proof outer layer that will wick moisture thru (Gortex or similiar)

Been using that to keep me warm all over the globe. Most have already touched on the subject. I wear silk (1st thin layer), proployene (med weight, 2nd layer), fleece as a thrid layer and if wind/raining gortex top/bottom. When skiing in the Alps, I would just wear the 1st/2nd layer and ditch the uniform and wear woolland gortex as the outer shell. Always have a neck gaiter and watch cap for my head. Wear a piece of 550 parachute cord around my neck with two essential need items, chap stick and lighter duct taped to them. Never have to fish for those in pockets. After vergorious activity (skiing, patrolling) if stopping for more then 5 mins then the fleec/field jacket liner came out and onto the body.

As mentioned you have more options staying warm if your in a ground blind then a tree stand. I used to have a pair of down booties for my feet that would work great in a blind (over feet not boots). Don't forget a thermos of hot water/tea/coffee/cider. Stay hydrated in cold weather, your breath that you see in cold weather is moisture escaping your lungs. I've also done the pantyhose thing but that was under my wet suit while diving. Reminds me, I've got to go pack for an overnighter at another base higher in the mountains for tomorrow.

CD

ETA: As mention cotton kills in cold weather. Doesn't allow moisture to pass thru and retains water and not heat. Love wool, still have the old 5 button Brown wool sweater and won't use the synthic version.
 

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The most important thing to do in consideration of cold is to eliminate all the cotton. For the last 7 years I have been workng with SAR and I have come to the conclusion after seeing it over and over that cotton kills. When I first started with SAR I went on an over night snow shoe trip and spent the most miserable night of my life trying to sleep with cotton droors on that had gotten just a bit damp from the exertion of building my shelter. they did not dry and by the time I realized I would be better of taking them off I was quite chilled. since then I have completely eliminated cotton from my outdoor wardrobe. Good advice would be to dress for the worst case scenario you might face. if that is an unplanned night out with a sprained ankle in a 34o F downpoor as often happens here in Western WA some high quality gore-tex and some spare dry clothes should be on your list. The next very important piece of advice is not to over dress while exerting yourself. Last winter I did 5 miles in to camp on snow shoes in 18 oF. I had on a poly base layer shirt and botoms, REI MTS boxer briefs, a pair of wind breaker pants, a half zip lightweight poly shirt and a windbreaker vest and a light weight poly hat gloves, Smart wool mountaineering socks, 300 g thinsulite boots from North face. As long as I kept moving I stayed very warm. As soon as I stopped I needed to layer up. That is the way you want it. I also had with me a down sweater, polar fleece jacket and pants and gore-tex shell layer for top and bottom extra socks, glove liners and gore glove shells, extra hat and a smart wool belaclava and a gore windstopper belaclava. You don't want to sweat and soak all your warm layers as they will not work nearly as well wet. I also recommend carring an emergency blanket. This is not the little foil blanket that fits in a match box. The one I carry every time I go in the woods is like a tarp. It has a foil side and a red side and it has brass grommets in the corners that will let you string it up to keep the rain, snow, wind off. I keep some 550 chord attached to the grommets so I can string it up quick if it starts to rain. Having another one (your hunting buddy should have one too) or a piece of tarp to keep you off the wet ground will keep you warmer in an emergency. The tarp blanket costs about $11.00, weighs little and can save your life if you get stuck or injured. Stay dry, stay warm, stay alive.
 

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Just curious where "north" is? In Alberta we regularly hunt in -5 F. For me hunting means sitting for about 2 hours (morning AND night), while walking the rest of the day. I simply wear a Helly Hansen union suit (one piece long johns). I find the union suit keeps my kidneys warmer than the two piece deals. After that comes a wool sweater and blue jeans, followed by midweight fleece camo. Rocky boots (can't remember which ones, they have 400 grams of Thinsulate though), a pair of those mitts where the top opens up so you can use your fingers (keep the mitts on until you have to work the safety and trigger), and a wool touqe top off the deal. This keeps me warm in the dark when I'm sitting still, and keeps me from sweating when I'm pushing bush. Anything colder than around -12 or -15 F, and I trade out the camo outer layer for a Carhartt ski-doo suit.
 

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Marsms,

The only question I have there is with the blue jeans...if those get wet, they become a real liability. Glommits (the rag-wool gloves that leave your fingers exposed, but have a mitt to go over them) are especially useful if they are a size too big, so you can fit a very thin liner glove under them. I have found that mittens of any kind will keep your hands warmer than just about ANY glove, if you aren't using a muff. If you are doing some kind of hunting that requires having your fingers and thumb free to blow on a call or something, glommits are the next best thing to a thin glove and the muff with handwarmers in it.
 
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