Heading outdoors? Be prepared for the winter cold

12/12/04

Heading outdoors? Be prepared for the winter cold

By JOHN GIBBONS, Outdoor Tips

Last weekend I was camping near Lost Pond. This marked the beginning of the winter season for me.

The temperature was 11 degrees. I know this winter will see even colder days. I thought this would be a good time for me to review winter gear requirements for the season.

For really cold weather, one of the most important pieces of equipment on a winter trip is a down or synthetic parka with a good insulated hood. Below this, wear an insulated vest followed by a fleece sweater. Finally, put on a layer of heavy polypropylene and a layer of light polypropylene shirt and pants. A good set of wool pants with wind pants or insulated pants over the top will complete the bottoms. A set of underwear closest to the skin rounds out the outfit. On your feet, plan on a set of felt insulated pack boots and wool socks. Let’s not forget a fleece or wool cap for your head. This outfit will see you through some of the coldest days or nights in the winter.

The advantage of this system is that it can be layered. Removing the coat, vest or outer garment will make for comfortable hiking in most cases. I always carry a rain jacket that can be put on as a wind stop as part of the over all package. If this winter results in a lot of ice that may hinder travel, then the answer to this is to always carry a pair of grippers or crampons for climbing. Snowshoes or skis are a must for snow travel and required by the DEC when the snow season is in full swing.

Finally, if you are camping out, taking an extra stove as a back up in the winter is a prudent move. You will also require more water in the winter. A tip to keep water bottles from freezing is to turn them upside down. The water will freeze from the top down or wrap them in a wool sock or store-bought insulator to stave off freezing. At night fill them with boiled water and you have a hot water bottle to take into your sleeping bag and aid in keeping you warm.

 

This part added 6/17/05

In the morning start with hot water in your bottle. This will keep the water from freezing most of the day. Wrap it in insulation and turn up side down.

Always bring a rope. You can double it around a tree or shrub to lower yourself down an ice slide. Afterward you just retrieve the doubled rope by pulling one side.

Lets not forget a fleece or wool hat, neck gaiter and fleece balaclava to make an outfit. You can always put the extra gear in your pack if you don’t use it.

Sun glasses or goggles are a must for winter travel. If in a group bring at least one sleeping bag and each person should carry an insolite pad. If alone you still need the sleeping bag and pad.

Seems like a lot of gear. But in the winter a mistake or accident shows you the need for all these things.

A group or person should also carry a Satellite phone, cell phone or 2 meter radio. It depends on what works in your area. Some will argue against this.

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