Cold weather gear

Other provisions not covered above that may make survival easier if your life is tossed out of the norm. This section is for discussing everything from arc welders to underwear.

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Cold weather gear

Post by Phoenix David » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:13 pm

In December I'll be taking a rifle class in temperatures that will seem to me to be arctic, +29 - +58 degrees and it could also rain/snow. Most of it will be standing/kneeling but there will be some prone shooting too and the weather doesn't stop the training class

I'm in Arizona, I know what to do when it's 115 outside, but not so much when it gets under 50.

My cold weather gear and knowledge is a bit on the anemic side, with all the new stuff out there I need some schooling on cold weather clothing, what I should have and what to avoid. Will just a quality pair of long johns be good enough?

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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by Neddog » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:34 pm

Vest, jacket, fingerless gloves, raincoat,, goretex socks (if it rains steady). 30°F is not cold, and there's not too much to worry about.
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by omega_man » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:18 pm

Neddog wrote:Vest, jacket, fingerless gloves, raincoat,, goretex socks (if it rains steady). 30°F is not cold, and there's not too much to worry about.
Says the guy in Canada :lol: No, that is going to be freezing to the dude in AZ. It just got to 50F here where I live and I've been wearing a Mountain Hardwear fleece. Acclimation can be a bitch.

You'll probably be moving, so layers and venting will be your friend. Silkweight base layers FTW on this. If your expecting rain, I'd poo-poo jeans and go with a BDU-style pants with more nylon than cotton so you don't get waterlogged. If you have $$$ to spare, then softshell pants are sexy. Same for the top, and softshell and silkweight top will keep you warm enough, but not have you sweating balls during movements. Maybe stash a fleece jacket or vest handy to keep you warm between drills and whilst stuffing mags.

Oh, and wool socks.
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by Crimson Phoenix » Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:05 pm

I'm from your AO, so I know how life goes. I'd say do what we always do and dress in layers. I like to wear a long-sleeved shirt with a quarter or full zip fleece pullover over it and an insulated jacket over the fleece. This is good, because as it warms up during the day (or I warm up doing activity), I can pull off the jacket and roll the sleeves up and unzip the fleece to ventilate without getting too overheated. Get a nice wool or fleece watch cap or felt-lined helmet liner, insulated drawers, and two layers of socks, since your feet will still sweat even when it's cold out. Thorlos makes great socks that seem to do alright in temperatures below 40 degrees, which is pretty damn cold for us Arizonans. Texas is about as bad, but more humid in both seasons, I'm afraid. Since there's a chance of snow or slush about, I'd say wear some boots with good traction, preferably waterpoofed, and the jacket should be waterproof, or at least water resistant too. Wool or leather gloves are nice, but not when they're wet.

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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by irukandji » Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:57 pm

39 degrees = Shorts, t-shirt, light windbreaker, baseball cap and boots in Michigan (for me at least) lol :crazy:
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by Phoenix David » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:00 pm

Good stuff.

Didn't even think of boots.

Thermal underwear, looked at UA and seems a bit pricey, look for something a bit more affordable yet still good quality, any pointers?

Are there good jackets that are not that bulky and would still allow access to rifle mag pouches? Or maybe better to go with some kind of chest rig?
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by Neddog » Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:43 pm

Phoenix David wrote: Thermal underwear, looked at UA and seems a bit pricey, look for something a bit more affordable yet still good quality, any pointers?
Good 'ol 100% cotton long undies. That's what most of us wear up in the north, as they are a regular part of our wardrobe.

I used to like wearing the silk stuff, which stays relatively cool when it's not too cold, but that fancy-schmancy stuff is unnecessary.
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by LittleQuick » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:15 pm

Hat that won't blow off in the wind/while moving. Something you're not going to worry about.
If you're wearing a hat, you won't need a hooded jacket or sweatshirt. Less drag, and distractions.
Sweat wicking long sleeve shirt. It sucks to sweat a whole bunch, and then have it cool down.. If you ever feel too hot, you can always roll up your sleeves inside your jacket.
What ever jacket you have make sure the zipper does not touch your skin. Some jackets have folds/fabric that protects against this, but you can easily just wear a long sleeve shirt underneath that with a long neck on it.
Get some ol' long johns or something to put under your pants.
Get some pants that are either going to dry easily or repel water easily. Because you don't want to lay down in something and have it stay with you all day.
I suggest some pretty long socks. Also what I used to do was stuff an extra pair of regular socks in a pocket somewhere in case I needed to switch some wet ones, or layer em'. If someone gives you shit for having extra socks, laugh at them when they're freezing their ass off.
Mechanix gloves? I have no experience with them as of yet, but I hear good things.

I like to tuck my long johns into my socks.
And my pants into my boots.
What ever is under my jacket is tucked into my pants.
If it has long sleeves those that are long enough I pull my gloves over the ends.

30 Degrees doesn't seem like anything until you're sitting in it all day.
I also suggest a neck gaiter. But that is my preference.
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by bacpacjac » Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:17 am

30f is 0C or about freezing? Not the end of the world for us Northerners, but you need to keep hypothermia at the forefront of your mind. Wet + cold/wind = sick. Extra layers, long sleeves, long johns, extra socks, wicking fabrics, waterproof outer layer, insulated waterproof boots, unzipping/unlayering when you sweat..Good advice, all.

Don't overlook the ability to get warm if you end up soaked. Change of dry clothes, warm blanket/bag, the ability to make a fire and hot drink/food, chem hand warmers, etc...
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by Brotherbadger » Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:08 am

Layers layers layers. Running around Will make you sweat, so removing some of the clothing may be necessary. I'd start out with a moisture wicking t shirt if you have one, then a long sleeve shirt(medium thickness), then your jacket. Super heavy jacket won't be necessary if the range is from 50-30, but being extra clothing, as wet clothes may need to be removed. Long johns for your legs, extra socks as well. Wet, cold feet is one of the worst feelings in the world. As for a hat, I'm a fan of the micro fleece beanies. They keep tight to your head, won't fall off and you won't be cold.
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by Chase The hero » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:35 am

Crimson Phoenix wrote:I'm from your AO, so I know how life goes. I'd say do what we always do and dress in layers. I like to wear a long-sleeved shirt with a quarter or full zip fleece pullover over it and an insulated jacket over the fleece. This is good, because as it warms up during the day (or I warm up doing activity), I can pull off the jacket and roll the sleeves up and unzip the fleece to ventilate without getting too overheated. Get a nice wool or fleece watch cap or felt-lined helmet liner, insulated drawers, and two layers of socks, since your feet will still sweat even when it's cold out. Thorlos makes great socks that seem to do alright in temperatures below 40 degrees, which is pretty damn cold for us Arizonans. Texas is about as bad, but more humid in both seasons, I'm afraid. Since there's a chance of snow or slush about, I'd say wear some boots with good traction, preferably waterpoofed, and the jacket should be waterproof, or at least water resistant too. Wool or leather gloves are nice, but not when they're wet.
This. Now that the cold season is coming to TX, I am beginning to get all my cold weather gear together. Like Crimson Phoenix said though, layering is a really big part of dealing with the cold here and in other areas where it may start off cold but end up in the mid 70-80s (Last sunday in the DFW I went to work in 37 degrees and came back in the mid 70's). In those conditions, being able to easily remove layers is really nice and convenient.
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by Kutter_0311 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:21 pm

This is a dynamic class, I assume?

Movement = heat = sweat, standing still + sweat = cold fast. Rain or wet ground can add to the cooling effect.

Wicking gear like UA can help limit how cold sweat will make you when you stop, but may be too heavy when you start moving. A light sweater like the army 5-button is a nice midweight warming layer, IMO.

Image
Army 5-button sweater

Over the top, I like any of the issued gore-tex gear, other than the Gen1 parka. Zippered pit vents are handy.
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by Crimson Phoenix » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:50 pm

Slightly off topic, but with what uniform was that Army sweater appropriate to wear? I've never seen it.

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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by Chris@MTCT » Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:09 pm

Crimson Phoenix wrote:Slightly off topic, but with what uniform was that Army sweater appropriate to wear? I've never seen it.
Old school BDU's those sweaters were awesome, I still have one or two.

OT
Dont wear fingerless gloves while doing firearm's training, wear gloves that will protect your hands and dont MJ that shit.

Dress in layers, I like the silk weight GENIII ECWS stuff from polartech, it’s not that much price wise. I also like to do a mix of natural and synthetic blends. Being able to layer and strip down or add to will be nice. Bring a couple extra sets of shirts and socks just so that if at one point you’re moving a lot and build up sweat then you can change into dry stuff.
Don’t ball the wet up and just leave it, hang it up where it can dry and cycle through your stuff.
Also keep in mind that you might have to make adjustments to your gear depending on layers and thickness of your garments so be prepared to adjust whatever rig or belt your wearing as the day goes on. If that involves tools or tape make sure you have that on hand.
Last thing you want is a floppy rig cause you ditched a hoodie and now its choking the shit out of you while you Aussie repel out of a 6th story window.
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by A Pimp Named Slickback » Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:58 pm

archeteryx makes some very nice softshells that are lauerable..

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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by Kutter_0311 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:19 pm

gravediggerfour wrote:Being able to layer and strip down or add to will be nice. Bring a couple extra sets of shirts and socks just so that if at one point you’re moving a lot and build up sweat then you can change into dry stuff.
Don’t ball the wet up and just leave it, hang it up where it can dry and cycle through your stuff.
Also keep in mind that you might have to make adjustments to your gear depending on layers and thickness of your garments so be prepared to adjust whatever rig or belt your wearing as the day goes on. If that involves tools or tape make sure you have that on hand.
^Yes.

The more layer options you have, the better chance you have of getting it just right. Every body responds differently to different climates and weather, so you tune your gear to you, not someone else.

I found the 5-button very nice on Mt Fuji. It's a pretty flexible garment. Not technically acceptable by MC regs, but our LT made no secret of wearing his, so our NCO's couldn't really say much.
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by stabbedmyface » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:00 pm

http://www.amazon.com/MILITARY-ECWCS-GO ... TEX+JACKET" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Check that link out. Gortex jacket. Since you will be outside, it is better to wear layers, that way you can prevent yourself from sweating, which will lead you to become colder when your activity stops. Layered with a sweatshirt/thermal and a shirt or fleece, you will stay warm- believe me. I stayed pretty warm in the Northern part of South Korea during the winter!

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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by Kutter_0311 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:07 pm

Actually, that's the Gen1 that I would stay away from, unless you can't afford a bit more for a Gen2, APECS, or a knockoff of one of those. As a parka, Gen1 is nice, I use mine for snow blowing, but the pockets are almost useless, and the hood catckes snow and rain when it's down. For climates less-arctic, Gen2 or APECS are much more useful, the pockets are handy, the hood rolls up and goes away, and there is no lining. I have no experience with the Gen3 jacket.

As for issue goretex pants, just find some that fit, that you can move in.
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by Chris@MTCT » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:29 pm

Maybe Im just hard headed or dumb but you wont catch me in a gortex unless its super cold like 20 degrees and down and or rainy and cold.

I woul rather layer mutiple layers under my ACU's then wear a gortex. You really only get made fun of if you wear outer layers.

Having to be in the same uniform as the trainee's used to really piss me off to no end when it was a little chilly for the poor little privates..

Give me a layer of silk weight, tshirt, waffel top ( gen 3 polypro) and my ACU top and a beenie and Im good for anything down to 20 or below. Did a pistol course last feb in 10-30 degree weather and never had to get too crazy and put on a windproof layer. But I was running 3-5 layers during the class.
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by Kutter_0311 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:36 pm

When I was living in cammies, goretex got a lot less use, even in the rain. Most times, I just sweat too much in it :lol: But in WI, goretex makes a lot more sense, for a bigger part of the year. When I throw my APECS jacket on over sweatpants and a t-shirt, I love how well my G35/X300 fits into the left breast pocket :wink:
JAYNE COBB wrote: Well, what you plan and what takes place ain't ever exactly been similar.
TravisM.1 wrote:If a rifle is an option, a rifle is usually the answer.
minengr wrote:I've said it numerous times, a quality rig is only as good as it's weakest link. Which usually is the nut behind the butt.

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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by mr_slappy75 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:58 pm

Kutter_0311 wrote:
gravediggerfour wrote:Being able to layer and strip down or add to will be nice. Bring a couple extra sets of shirts and socks just so that if at one point you’re moving a lot and build up sweat then you can change into dry stuff.
Don’t ball the wet up and just leave it, hang it up where it can dry and cycle through your stuff.
Also keep in mind that you might have to make adjustments to your gear depending on layers and thickness of your garments so be prepared to adjust whatever rig or belt your wearing as the day goes on. If that involves tools or tape make sure you have that on hand.
^Yes.

The more layer options you have, the better chance you have of getting it just right. Every body responds differently to different climates and weather, so you tune your gear to you, not someone else.

I found the 5-button very nice on Mt Fuji. It's a pretty flexible garment. Not technically acceptable by MC regs, but our LT made no secret of wearing his, so our NCO's couldn't really say much.
Couldn't agree more with you both, good sources of relatively inexpensive base layers (some mil-spec some not) and middle or 'loft' layers are sites like: Campmor, Performance bike and Bike Nashbar carry silk-weight base, some actual silk, others made out of brand name synthetics -mostly different takes on polypropyline and the like- such a Thermax, Coolmax, Thermastat and others.

Hard to beat Polarfleece on the various weights it can be had for a second layer, some versions are merged into softshells for pretty sweet light to mid-weight windproof water resistant combo 2nd and 3rd layer.
Do check out soft-shells by Hi-Tec (same people that make hiking boots, adventure racing shoes and also the parent company of Magnum Service and Duty boots) on Ebay, I've bougth this one and have been wearing the tar out of it:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hi-Tec-Roaring- ... 3a79c64da3

I've worn it since last fall using a polypro dual layer turtle neck as base layer, a fleece vest for loft layer and been very comfortable while active in temperatures between 50 and 40 degrees, lower than that and I would switch the vest out for either a full blown fleece sweater or hoodie and the be able to swing temps down to 25 degrees.

You may also want to consider a light weight neck gaiter or balaclava or a strechy polypro or fleece skullcap.
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by Crimson Phoenix » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:47 am

Okay, I've got a question regarding both the jacket and trousers for the commercial ECWCS knock-offs Tru-Spec/Atlanco makes. I know their Gen I jackets have fleece jackets that zip into them, but I don't know if the Gen II sets do. Additionally, do the Gen I trousers have a fleece or similar liner for them like the M65 field pants, or do you just wear them as a waterproof overgarment? It gets wet and cold where I'm at now and polypro long underwear doesn't do me much good once they're damp and cold. That's not something I can just strip off and change layers when I'm out in the open. :awesome:

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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by Chris@MTCT » Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:47 am

Crimson Phoenix wrote:Okay, I've got a question regarding both the jacket and trousers for the commercial ECWCS knock-offs Tru-Spec/Atlanco makes. I know their Gen I jackets have fleece jackets that zip into them, but I don't know if the Gen II sets do. Additionally, do the Gen I trousers have a fleece or similar liner for them like the M65 field pants, or do you just wear them as a waterproof overgarment? It gets wet and cold where I'm at now and polypro long underwear doesn't do me much good once they're damp and cold. That's not something I can just strip off and change layers when I'm out in the open. :awesome:
I know that the gen 1 & 2 fleece pants were replaced by a set of insulated pants and hooded jacket, these can be worn alone or with a gortex pant and jacket over them since they are not water resistant at all.

I have worn the fleece under my gortex jacket before when it was stupid cold here around 5 degree's and I knew I would not be moving enough to keep warm that day.
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Re: Cold weather gear

Post by mantis » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:56 am

Given my training and experience in the Canadian Forces, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert in cold-weather survival. My best tips for you are (some of these have already been covered):

1) Dress in loose fitting layers. Do not wear one huge heavy layer over a t-shirt. Dressing in layers with light loose fitting layers on the inside and heavier weather-proofed layers on the outside gives you the best insulation and the ability to remove layers if you get too warm. If you are doing active type drills, consider wicking material as the innermost layer to keep sweat away from you. Sweat is the enemy as much as cold is. Again, start with light loose layers, move to heavier insulating layers and finish on the outside with wind-water resistant layers. The inner loose fitting layers are important for allowing proper air circulation and you want to ensure that the whole thing is not too tight.

2) Avoid over-dressing. If you are over-dressed and get over-heated you will sweat and you will get cold. If you dress properly in layers, removing layers will prevent this. Ideally you should not feel toaty-warm, rather you should feel a little bit on the chilly side. Not uncomfortably so though.

3) Avoid getting wet. from the environment or from sweat - it will dramatically reduce the capabilities of your insulating layers and you will get cold.

4) Keep your head covered. Most heat-loss will be from the top of your head. Wear an insulated hat such as a touque.

5) Ensure that your footware is water-resistant, insulated and not too tight. Keep your socks dry and keep at least three clean dry pairs on hand per day in order to change them often if they get wet.

6) Fingerless gloves are ok for while you are shooting but heavy duty mittens are the best otherwise. Have a pair of heavy duty wool mittens - I like the type allow you to fold back the finger covering revealing cut-off finger gloves underneath.

7) Keep moving. Do not sit in the snow or even stand in one place. keep moving at all times - as much as possible. That includes keeping your fingers moving inside your gloves/mittens and your toes moving inside your boots.

8) Keep disposable chemical hand warmers or a re-usable charcoal hand warmer handy and use it as required.

9) Keep hydrated but do not go overnboard on hot drinks.

10) Avoid alcohol. It will make you feel warmer while actually cooling you down.

Hope that helps! If you have any questions feel free to ask. I have spent many winter nights in fox-holes and half-shelters outside in -30Celcius weather in Northern Ontario up at Canadian Forces Base Borden and I've done extensive winter camping on my own including hiking/snow shoeing the infamous Highland trail at Algonquin park between Christmas and New Years.
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