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cold survival

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by vegasrandall, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. Akheloce

    Akheloce Monkey++

    Yes, they still issue muklucks in addition to bunny boots. Mucklucks are warm as long as they are dry. They don't offer any support to the ankle or the sole however. I use them only for flying, since they are approved. As cold as it may seem up here, it's generally still warm enough to get your feet wet most of the year. Muklucks suck for that. Also, I tried using them while snowmachining, an found them to be very uncomfortable for arch support (lack of), and my feet were soaking halfway through the day. Bunny boots will also soak your feet (through sweat), but you can dry them out with fresh socks and be good as new in 5 minutes.

    Ganado likes this.
  2. generic

    generic Monkey++

    I was issued a pair of Mickey Mouse boots while cold weather training in the Marines (Hokkaido, Japan in winter).

    They are very warm boots and these did have little round vents in them (as far as I recall they were not closable).

    They are quite bulky and heavy though, I wouldn't want to walk any further than I had to in them (not like the Marines gave me a choice :), but if you want a pair of ice fishing boots they are terrific. I lived outside in them for 2 weeks. Got sick as a dog with the flu too. Wasn't fun, but I made it. The boots were the least of my worries as it related to dealing with the cold which says a lot about them.

    My days in the Marines were long ago and so my memory may be failing me, but I thought these boots had the ability to be 'inflated' with air. Might be misremembering though.
  3. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    I used WWII surplus leather bomber mits for riding my motorcycle in the winter, they worked great. I'd ride about 400-900 miles at 70-90 mph in 20-40F air temps ( no snow and ice on roads mind you, just cold), the speed made windchill well below freezing, but no numb hands as with other gloves in similar situations. I used to love the rest areas with the hot air hand driers in the bathroom.

    question, do the recent GI ECWS parka and pants use a liner? I can't find one listed anywhere which leads me to believe they don't. I know the M65 clothing does.

    When I got the ecws suit and the mickey boots when I lived up north, I put them on over regular clothes with no long johns and went out in the ~foot of snow we had and rolled around and layed in the snow for a few hours just relaxing, I almost fell asleep. needless to say I was fairly warm although I could feel some cold coming through from the ground contact which started to make it uncomfortable. The Air temp was no where near -30F though, iirc it was in the teens.
  4. RouteClearance

    RouteClearance Monkey+++

    Yes, they do. The parka and pants liner is made of fleece. the parka liner is called a bear skin, the maker of both top and bottoms is a company called Polartec.

    The bear skin upper was an issue item and had to be turned back in when I ETS'd. I was able to keep the bottom fleece thou.
  5. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine The Plumber Founding Member

    Not a problem as long as I don't need to take all the family with me. Currently I only have enough personal gear for a couple of us to survive the frigid cold/wet weather, meaning all warm weather gear is adult size nothing for the kids but in a pinch they could wear some of the extras that I have.

    Working in the elements and hunting here would be miserable and make for a long day not being prepared with the proper gear. There is nothing worse than working cold and/or wet all day.

    One of the biggest issues for cold/wet weather is not to exert yourself too much causing yourself to sweat. Having an inner layer that doesn't absorb water is essential, it needs to breath keep you warm but not retain water. My 2 preferred choices for an inner layer are polypropylene and/or wool longjohns, cotton is not a good choice stay away from it at all cost.

    For the feet, another important covering that can't be allowed to be wet or cold either. I use and have more than one thickness of wool socks for differing temperatures along with Thinsulate Goretex lined boots keep my feet warm and dry all day long, as long as I don't allow my boots to be submerged in water over the tops. Gaters over the top of your rainpants will help momentarily keep some water out, not totally waterproof but will keep snow from getting under the rainpants thus helping that moisture from getting under your top layer in the snow at least.

    Head coverings for myself consist of wool stocking caps, I have plain wool stocking hats and the ones that pull over your face onto your neck, leaving only an opening for your face. Besides the hood from a jacket, if it's colder than what the hoods jacket will provide.

    Outer layers consists of down insulated jackets, Thinsulate Goretx lined jackets, camoflauge raingear, Artic lined Carhart bibbs and the oilskin duster that could survive a tsunami (no insulating properties but excellent protection against water and wind). On more than one occassion I have sat pretty much motionless in the woods for hrs. with my oilskin duster as my top layer as was quite comfortable.

    ETA: Forgot to mention I have an unfair advantage, I've been known to work with snow on the ground in shorts
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    No sense, no feeling? [peep]
  7. Thanks for the info on the MM boots, besides the ones with air valves are there any different models as far as being more or less warm?

    What are some really warm gloves (or mittens with a trigger finger) that can still fit in a 1911 trigger guard?
  8. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I might pick a pair of these up to test, dunno if they are decent enough, so I will do some more searching first. Next winter, that is.
  9. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Could I survive over night? Well, I have gotten in the habbit of not really haveing a BOB as such. Our plan is to bug in/get home unles its a localized event (can neve say you would NEVER BO) like say a chemical plant upwind burning or a trin 20 miles away loaded with chlorine and sianide or some such derails and burns, widl fire, etc. Then it would be go stay with friends for a few days. So what I have taken to doing is keeping lots more stuff than would fit in a BOB in the contractor type camper of my truck along with a basicly empty pack. It makes it so that IF I had to leave the truck behind I could take a couple minutes and load the pack with a better idea of the situation and thus the needs. Basicly a huge modular type set up all in a BOV.

    So would I have the stuff in my truck to be able to survive? I might be complaining some but could survive -20 or so untill it thawed liveing out of the truck. I have the footlocker of food, the tent, tarp, mummy bag good down to 0 or so 3 or 4 blankets, hatchet, road flares can ALWAYS get a fire started, cooking utinsels, always at least 2 more layers of sweat suits and socks plus a few other clothes, etc.

    Now that said if I was to walk out the door from class on an average day in those temps and the truck was gone and I had to stay outside (as in not in a building like normal) for 24 hours with what I typicly have on me....I would NOT be a happy camper and dont know about 72 hours and beyond without more gear than I normaly carry but for 24 hours yes.

    In an urban area (small collage town but class is in town) would most likely find a dumpster that wasnt too full, drag stuff out, line with cardboard if possible, try to find a can to make a small fire in (like useing a candle but dont carry candles in my pockets) and crawl in the lined dumpster, close the lid (vent down wind if possible if have small fire inside or to heat side) and set it out in a small closed area that my body heat would warm up.

    In the country look for a spot out of the wind, toss debris up to make a small pocket of space/air to do the same thing, create a small dead air space that can be easily heated to a livable temp.

    So basicly yes, I could leave the house with minimal gear and survive but short of haveing specialized gear and or an absolute need, Im not going to be exposeing myself to those elements any longer than it takes me to find/improve some kind of shelter.
  10. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine The Plumber Founding Member

    You know I haven't any feelings

    As far as sense goes, isn't that kinda like beauty it's all in the eye of the beholder.
  11. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    dumpster? great idea...
  12. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine The Plumber Founding Member

    Here's a pic of some fingerless wool gloves/mittens w/400 grams Thinsulate and uninsulated fingerless wool gloves that I bought at Bi-Mart IIRC. I know I have seen them elsewhere.
  13. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine The Plumber Founding Member


    It is more difficult for you to satisfy your basic water, food, and shelter needs in a cold environment than in a warm environment. Even if you have the basic requirements, you must also have adequate protective clothing and the will to survive. The will to survive is as important as the basic needs. There have been incidents when trained and well-equipped individuals have not survived cold weather situations because they lacked the will to live. Conversely, this will has sustained individuals less well-trained and equipped.
    There are many different items of cold weather equipment and clothing issued by the U.S. Army today. Specialized units may have access to newer, lightweight gear such as polypropylene underwear, GORE-TEX outerwear and boots, and other special equipment. Remember, however, the older gear will keep you warm as long as you apply a few cold weather principles. If the newer types of clothing are available, use them. If not, then your clothing should be entirely wool, with the possible exception of a windbreaker.
    You must not only have enough clothing to protect you from the cold, you must also know how to maximize the warmth you get from it. For example, always keep your head covered. You can lose 40 to 45 percent of body heat from an unprotected head and even more from the unprotected neck, wrist, and ankles. These areas of the body are good radiators of heat and have very little insulating fat. The brain is very susceptible to cold and can stand the least amount of cooling. Because there is much blood circulation in the head, most of which is on the surface, you can lose heat quickly if you do not cover your head.
    There are four basic principles to follow to keep warm. An easy way to remember these basic principles is to use the word COLD--
    C - Keep clothing clean.
    O - Avoid overheating.
    L - Wear clothes loose and in layers.
    D - Keep clothing dry for sanitation and comfort.

    In winter, it is also important from the standpoint of warmth. Clothes matted with dirt and grease lose much of their insulation value. Heat can escape more easily from the body through the clothing's crushed or filled up air pockets.

    Avoid overheating. When you get too hot, you sweat and your clothing absorbs the moisture. This affects your warmth in two ways: dampness decreases the insulation quality of clothing, and as sweat evaporates, your body cools. Adjust your clothing so that you do not sweat. Do this by partially opening your parka or jacket, by removing an inner layer of clothing, by removing heavy outer mittens, or by throwing back your parka hood or changing to lighter headgear. The head and hands act as efficient heat dissipaters when overheated.

    Wear your clothing loose and in layers.
    Wearing tight clothing and footgear restricts blood circulation and invites cold injury. It also decreases the volume of air trapped between the layers, reducing its insulating value. Several layers of lightweight clothing are better than one equally thick layer of clothing, because the layers have dead-air space between them. The dead-air space provides extra insulation. Also, layers of clothing allow you to take off or add clothing layers to prevent excessive sweating or to increase warmth.

    Keep clothing dry. In cold temperatures, your inner layers of clothing can become wet from sweat and your outer layer, if not water repellent, can become wet from snow and frost melted by body heat. Wear water repellent outer clothing, if available. It will shed most of the water collected from melting snow and frost. Before entering a heated shelter, brush off the snow and frost. Despite the precautions you take, there will be times when you cannot keep from getting wet. At such times, drying your clothing may become a major problem. On the march, hang your damp mittens and socks on your rucksack. Sometimes in freezing temperatures, the wind and sun will dry this clothing. You can also place damp socks or mittens, unfolded, near your body so that your body heat can dry them. In a campsite, hang damp clothing inside the shelter near the top, using drying lines or improvised racks. You may even be able to dry each item by holding it before an open fire. Dry leather items slowly. If no other means are available for drying your boots, put them between your sleeping bag shell and liner. Your body heat will help to dry the leather.

    A heavy, down-lined sleeping bag is a valuable piece of survival gear in cold weather. Ensure the down remains dry. If wet, it loses a lot of its insulation value. If you do not have a sleeping bag, you can make one out of parachute cloth or similar material and natural dry material, such as leaves, pine needles, or moss. Place the dry material between two layers of the material.
    Other important survival items are a knife; waterproof matches in a waterproof container, preferably one with a flint attached; a durable compass; map; watch; waterproof ground cloth and cover; flashlight; binoculars; dark glasses; fatty emergency foods; food gathering gear; and signaling items.
    Remember, a cold weather environment can be very harsh. Give a good deal of thought to selecting the right equipment for survival in the cold. If unsure of an item you have never used, test it in an "overnight backyard" environment before venturing further. Once you have selected items that are essential for your survival, do not lose them after you enter a cold weather environment.

    ETA 9/23/14 Old code removed. - ghrit
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2014
    Zimmy likes this.
  14. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine The Plumber Founding Member


    One of the most difficult survival situations is a cold weather scenario. Remember, cold weather is an adversary that can be as dangerous as an enemy soldier. Every time you venture into the cold, you are pitting yourself against the elements. With a little knowledge of the environment, proper plans, and appropriate equipment, you can overcome the elements. As you remove one or more of these factors, survival becomes increasingly difficult. Remember, winter weather is highly variable. Prepare yourself to adapt to blizzard conditions even during sunny and clear weather. ​
    Cold is a far greater threat to survival than it appears. It decreases your ability to think and weakens your will to do anything except to get warm. Cold is an insidious enemy; as it numbs the mind and body, it subdues the will to survive. ​
    Cold makes it very easy to forget your ultimate goal--to survive. ​

    Cold Regions and Locations
    Basic Principles
    Medical Aspects
    Cold Injuries
    Weather Signs
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  15. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Bump 'cause it's that time of year for us north of the M-D line. I for one have become a bit complacent and have fallen into bad habits about dressing for disaster while outside.
    Ganado, Yard Dart and GrayGhost like this.
  16. Lancer

    Lancer TANSTAFL! Site Supporter+++

    WAY back when, I was in the Explorer level of scouting. We did a lot of winter camping in the Adirondacks. Maybe down to -30F. Snowshoes, the wide long trappers, and toboggans for the stuff we couldn't pack. Using surplus WW II arctic gear worked fine. The biggest problem I recall was getting a fire structure that would stay burning. We figured out the snow raft routine right quick... And keeping the water from freezing solid.
    I used the balloon boots while stationed in Caribou, ME. The biggest problem, at below -40F, was sweating. You cannot take them off until you're in a heated structure.
    Ganado likes this.
  17. Lancer

    Lancer TANSTAFL! Site Supporter+++

    Yeah. Even though I currently reside below the Mason-Dixon line, this time of year I keep my warm boots, more food, and a M65 field jacket, (w liner), in my commuter as a complement to my usual GHB stuff.
  18. apache235

    apache235 Monkey+++

    After a period of time in below freezing temps, a down bag will not be your friend as it will be full of ice from your perspiration and I can attest to the fact that "thinsulate" is next to worthless. For sleeping bags, I'll take my Wiggy's over anything else, same for parkas and boots.
  19. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    First few days leading into winter I start with drinking a few shots of apple cider vinegar every day or so.
    I believe that it helps with my circulation and gives me a boost against colds and other maladies during the winter.
    A good antidote for food poisoning IMO as well.
    Of course if your a smoker you probably do't care that much about your circulation .
    And alcohol might give an illusion of warmth, but in reality it slows the metabolism and dulls your thought process . not at all what one needs to survive in cold weather.
    Also oxygen will help warm you, breathing more aggressively (careful how cold it is) helps elevate your temperature especially while your working.
  20. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    If you look back into history ,
    People that ventured in the west did not go minimally prepared ,they took every thing they had and used animals and carts to help cary all their gear .
    A lot of them had goals based on hearsay and a lot of misinformation with con artists selling ideas and their goods .
    A good long sled and large tarp can provide one with shelter and a means to be off the ground/snow for rest and comfort.
    Skis are easy to come by as at the close of each snow season many ski areas discard old well worn skis and snow boards not safe for rental, but good enough for hauling gear . Adding a shallow skag to the bottom side will help it trail behind you easier .
    Now days I might rig a sled with an independent framework for the running gear and a bed that is adjusted with the type of terrain one is passing. The running gear I might choose during the winter months might include skis on the front for steering, and bicycle wheels on the back . The frame work could allow the load to be shifted front to back depending on the surface being hard dirt or soft snow, mud or slush or sand .
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