Re: keeping warm
Dr. Steven C. Myers (r1scm@VM1.CC.UAKRON.EDU)
Wed, 1 Nov 1995 09:48:09 -0600
Gerry Owen asked about the cold and how to keep warm while winter camping.
In addition Rob Morley said
>I have heard this works, but I have never tried it. Fill a canteen with hot
>water, wrap it in a towl, and put it int the bottom of the bag. It should
>act as a hot water bottle. (Just make sure it doesn't leak <g>)
By all means, change the socks before bed, but don't try the water bottle
effect!!! The water will cool down very rapidly and will not be effective.
Besides,an old adage is if you can feel the heat, you're not insulated well
enough. True winter campers avoid those warming fires. All they do is make
you sweat which later freezes. So how do you keep warm?
First get a copy of the Fieldbook and a copy of the Venture phamplet called
"Snow Camping." Also, see the feature in Woods Wisdom which is really good.
They will give you plenty of pointers.
I favor wool and polypro clothing and plenty of layers. I often do not wear
the top or "heavy coat" layer at all. Start with a under layer of polypro
(socks, pants, and shirt). The next layer is a regular pair of pants and
shirt (flannel or wool) and heavy weight wool socks. Make sure their is
room (air) in the boots -- it's the air that insulates. Make sure to get
waterproof but breathable boots. If my feet get wet my whole day is ruined.
Over this layer I use fleese, heavy weight pants and a mid weight sweater.
They are lighter and warmer than wool and will hold warmth when wet. The
nex layer is waterproof snow pants and a midweight jacket with a waterproof
layer (light rain jacket) over it. Many times one or more layers aren't
worn. I have always hauled along, but never used, a heavy parka which will
fit over my outfit above.
The single best investment I ever made outside of wool socks was my capelene
(sp?) underware. It is worth its weight in gold. Nah, teh best investment
was my goretex vasque boots.
At night, I sleep in clean dry cloths (capelene-polypro with fleese or wool
on top. I always include a wool hat since you can loose an incredible
amount of heat throught your head. Sometimes I wear a hooded sweatshirt
with hood up before applying the wool cap. The hood keeps the draft off the
back of the neck. Out troop has hooded sweatshirts for just this purpose.
Use a good quality mummy bag and draw the hood around your head. For your
cold feet, make sure the socks are clean and dry and roomy. Tight clothing
just won't keep you as warm. Also try someind of foot bag in the bottom of
your mummy bag. I have actually put my gloves over my toes when the cold
Maybe this is not "right," but i keep a supply of chocolate nearby. At my
age, I notice that the old furnace gives out about 4 am in the morning.
That is when I wake up, cold, and put on more clothes and eat my chocolate.
I can usually get back to sleep pretty fast.
Finally, don't underestimate the insulating quality of a good ground pad.
The flat closed cell foam pads are ok (opencell just act as sponges getting
everything soaked), riderests are better, but thermarests are the best. You
should have 3 times (in insulating value) under you that you have on top of
you. Make sure you never come in direct contact with the icy floor. Stay
on the pad.
For you and your Scouts, this is the time to emphasize that "A Scout is
Clean." Add "a Scout is Dry" and you have the formula. Do not allow the
scouts to clown around too much, the sweat is a threat and they can loose
valuable energy. When my troop first went camping in the snow, I learned a
lot. We called the camp off early and I se about learning how to make them
Remember if you want to stay warm, think COLD
C = stay Clean
O = avoid Overheating
L = dress in Layers (I recommend a top waterproof one)
D = stay Dry.
Have a great time. When you survive a weekend of bitter cold, properly
trained, your troop will gain some real braging rights. A line on our
recruiting brochure reads
"Have you ever slept on ice and stayed warm?" Yeah, we push our advantages!
Scoutmaster Troop One Akron OH
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City