1. The Topic of the Month for October is "Make this the Perfect Bugout Location". Please join the discussion in the TOTM forum.

Cold Weather Survival

Discussion in 'Survival Articles' started by survivalmonkey, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. survivalmonkey

    survivalmonkey Monkey+++

    With our Winter FTX coming up in less than a month I thought it would be good to go through this again.

    Real quick on first aid is to use the buddy system and your home work is to look in the first aid manual and brush up on frost bit and other Cold Weather injuries. Then while out in the field keep an eye on your buddy and he will keep an eye on you. We will go over the Cold weather cautions at the FTX in Highland county. The rest of this is out of the FM 31-70 manual

    Basic principle of keeping warm:

    1. Keep clothing clean. This is always true from a standpoint of sanitation and comfort: in winter, in addition to these considerations, it is necessary for maximum warmth. If clothes are matted with dirt and grease, much of their insulation property is destroyed; the air pockets in the clothes are crushed or filled up and the heat can escape from the body more readily. Underwear requires the closest attention because it will become soiled sooner. If available, light cotton underwear may be worn beneath winter underwear to absorb body oils and lengthen the time interval between necessary washings of these more difficult to clean and dry garments. Winter underwear (Army issue is a 50/50 cotton/wool blend) and cushion sole socks (Army issue socks are 50 percent wool, 30 percent nylon, 20 percent cotton) should be washed in lukewarm water, if available. Hot water should not be used because it is injurious to the wool fibers and causes shrinkage. Synthetic detergents are more soluble than soap in cool water and also prevent hard-water scum, and are therefore recommended, if available. When outer clothing gets dirty it should be washed with soap and water. All the soap or detergent must be rinsed out of the clothes, since any left in the clothing will lessen the water-shedding quality of the clothing. In addition to destroying much of the normal insulation, grease will make the clothing more flammable. All outer garments of the Cold Weather Clothing System are washable and have laundry instruction labels attached. If washing is not possible for clothing that would normally be washed with soap and water, dry rubbing and airing will rid them of some dirt and accumulated body oils.
    2. Avoid overheating. In cold climates, overheating should be avoided whenever possible. Overheating causes perspiration which in turn, causes clothing to become damp. This dampness will lessen the insulating quality of the clothing. In addition, as the perspiration evaporates it will cool the body even more. When indoors, a minimum of clothing should be worn and the shelter should not be overheated. Outdoors, if the temperature rises suddenly or if hard work is being performed, clothing should be adjusted accordingly. This can be done by ventilating (by partially opening parka or jacket) or by removing an inner layer of clothing, or by removing heavy mittens or by throwing back parka hood or changing to lighter head cover. The head and hands, being richly supplied with blood, act as efficient heat dissipaters when overheated. In cold temperature it is better to be slightly chilly than to be excessively warm. This promotes maximum effectiveness of the body heat production processes.
    3. Wear clothing loose and in layers. Clothing and footgear that are too tight restrict blood circulation and invite cold injury. Wearing of more socks than is correct for the type of footgear being worn might cause the boot to fit too tightly. Similarly, a field jacket which fits snugly over a wool shirt would be too tight when a liner is also worn under the jacket. If the outer garment fits tightly, putting additional layers under it will restrict circulation. Additionally, tight garments lessen the volume of trapped air layers and thereby reduce the insulation and ventilation available.
    4. Keep clothing dry.
    • Under winter conditions, moisture will soak into clothing from two directions-insides and outside. Dry snow and frost that collect on the uniform will be melted by the heat radiated by the body.
    • Outer clothing is water-repellent and will shed most of the water collected from melting snow and frost. The surest way to keep dry, however, is to prevent snow from collecting. Before entering heated shelters, snow should be brushed or shaken from uniforms; it should not be rubbed off, because this will work it into the fabric.
    • In spite of all precautions, there will be times when getting wet cannot be prevented and the drying of clothing may become a major problem. On the march, damp mittens and socks may be hung on the pack. Occasionally in freezing temperatures, wind and sun will help dry this clothing. Damp socks or mittens may be placed, unfolded near the body, where the body heat will dry them. In bivouac, damp clothing may be hung inside the tent near the top, using drying lines or improvised drying racks. It may even by necessary to dry each item, piece by piece, by holding before an open fire. Clothing and footwear should not be dried to near a heat source. Leather articles, especially boots, must be dried slowly. If boots cannot be dried by any other method, it is recommended that they be placed between the sleeping bag and liner. Heat from the body will aid in drying the leather.

    1. General. The feet are more vulnerable to cold than are other parts of the body. Cold attacks feet most often because they get wet easily (both externally and from perspiration) and because circulation is easily restricted. Footgear is therefore one of the most important parts of cold weather clothing.
    2. The rule of wearing clothing loose and in layers also applies to footgear. The layers are made up by the boot itself and by the socks. Socks are worn in graduated sizes. The instructions pertaining to fitting of footgear, as outlined in TM 10-228, must be carefully adhered to. If blood circulation is restricted, the feet will be cold. Socks, worn too tightly, might easily mean freezing of the feet. For the same reason: AVOID LACING FOOTGEAR TIGHTLY.
    3. Since the feet perspire more readily than any other part of the body, the rules about avoiding overheating and keeping dry are difficult to follow. Footgear is subjected to becoming wet more often than are other items of equipment. The insulated boots with release valve (white, cold-dry and black, cold-wet) are designed to contain perspiration within the interior of the boots. A change of dry socks should be carried at all times. Whenever the feet get wet, dry as soon as possible and put on a pair of dry socks. Also, the inside of the boots should be wiped as dry as possible.
    4. Footgear should be kept clean. Socks should be changed when they become dirty. Socks and feet should be washed frequently. This washing will help keep feet and socks in good condition.
    5. The feet should be exercised. Stamping the feet, double-timings few steps back and forth, and flexing and wiggling toes inside the boots all require muscular action, produces heat, and will help keep the feet warm. The feet should be massaged when changing the socks.

    Weapons in cold Weather; Care, Cleaning, and Maintenance

    1. Weapons will function under extreme conditions, provided they are properly maintained. Normal lubricants thicken in cold weather and stoppages or sluggish actions of firearms will result. DURING THE WINTER, WEAPONS MUST BE STRIPPED COMPLETELY AND CLEANED WITH A DRYCLEANING SOLVENT TO REMOVE ALL LUBRICANTS AND RUST PREVENTION COMPOUND. The prescribed application of special northern oils should then be made. These lubricants will provide proper lubrication during the winter and help minimize the freezing of snow and ice on and in weapons. Just don’t use as much oil and grease.
    2. Soldiers must insure that snow and ice do not get into the working parts, sights, or barrels of weapons. Even a small amount of ice or snow may cause malfunction of the weapons. Muzzle and breech covers should be used. Before firing, the weapon must be examined carefully, especially the barrel, which may be blocked with ice or snow and will burst when fired. Snow on the outside, if not removed, may drop into the breech and later form ice, causing malfunctioning of the weapon.
    3. Condensation forms on weapons when they are taken from the extreme cold into any type of heated shelter. This condensation is often referred to as "sweating." For this reason weapons should be placed near or at the floor level where the temperature will be lower and there will be less condensation. Every effort must be made to remove condensation as soon as possible or the film will freeze when the weapons are subsequently taken into the cold. The ice so formed may seriously affect the operation of the weapon unless it is manually operated until the moisture freezes. This prevents the parts from freezing together and allows continued operation. If security conditions permit weapons should be left outdoors, in racks or unheated shelter.
    4. When weapons are taken into a heated shelter, "sweating" may continue for as long as 1 hour. When time is available, men should wait 1 hour and then remove all condensation and clean the weapon.
    5. During the freeze up and breakup seasons, the danger of rust and corrosion is at its greatest. In the winter the lack of moisture in the air decreases this danger, but the problem of ice and snow will necessitate frequent checking and cleaning of weapons.
    6. Should parts of a weapon become frozen, warm them slightly and move them gradually until unfrozen. If the weapon cannot be warmed, all visible ice and snow should be removed and parts moved gradually until action is restored. Ice in the barrel can be removed with warm (standard issue) gun oil if slow warming is not possible.
    7. When firing, do not let the hot parts of the weapon come in contact with the snow. The snow will melt and, on cooling, form ice.


    Extreme cold does not materially affect the accuracy of weapons nor the performance of small arms ammunition. Ammunition should be kept at the same temperature as the weapon. It should be carried in the bandoleers and the additional ammunition placed in the pockets of the outer garment and in the rucksack. Ammunition clips, and magazines must be cleaned of all oil and preservative and must be checked frequently; all ice, snow, and condensation should be removed. Cartridge containers, magazines, and ammunition drums must be kept closed in order to prevent the formation of rust or ice.

    1. Ammunition should be stored in its original container, raised off the ground, and covered with a tarpaulin. Ammunition so stored should be suitably marked in order to locate and identify it in the event it becomes covered with snow.
    2. Resupply of ammunition may be restricted. All personnel must be made aware of the necessity for ammunition economy and fire discipline. Loaded clips, magazines, or single rounds dropped into the snow are quickly lost; therefore, careful handling of ammunition is essential.
    Hope to see everyone there on the 15th.

    First Lieutenant Curt Redmon
    Dunerunner and sarawolf like this.
  2. tman2b

    tman2b Monkey

    agreed, in winter cotton is the death fabric! but i like a tight initial base layer. The rest I like loose...
  3. saskcop

    saskcop Monkey+++

    Well, I am on duty often in the winter during -40 degree temperatures and have learned a thing or two over the years on this topic. Merino wool is your best friend whether as a base layer or as part of the layers one wears on top of the base layer. As far as socks go, in -40 or colder, only smart wool will do and all the synthetic crap that is advertised so aggressively just doesn't cut it. Boots must not be tight as there needs to be a little bit of airspace by your toes. If there is none, your toes will freeze. Breathability is everything and the top layer MUST BE WINDPROOF. As far as weapons and ammo, caution as to type and amount of lubrication on your weapons and clean ammo is paramount.
    Dunerunner, sarawolf and BTPost like this.
  4. weaselhawk

    weaselhawk Guest

    how many people prep for socks when i take a pair off in winter its just time to toss them out after about two weeks they get hard with no heat and no water how do you wash them 300 or 400 pairs of socks would be nice
  5. avagdu

    avagdu Monkey

    +1 Smart wool socks. Have a clean set you ONLY wear when you sleep.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  6. chimo

    chimo the few, the proud, the jarhead monkey crowd Site Supporter+

    Been using Smartwool socks for years...they wear out too fast, IMO. So do DTV and Wigwam. For winter weight wool socks you can't beat Woolrich.
    Ganado, Motomom34 and Ura-Ki like this.
  7. avagdu

    avagdu Monkey

    I've sewn up most of the hiking ones I had and keep using them. Some are almost ten years old (Yikes?!!) . The quarter socks do wear out faster and I haven't bothered trying to fix those. The hiking weight I can wear until the temperature gets up to about 85 F. I have a few winter weight socks too but I can't remember the brand.
    Ura-Ki likes this.
  8. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    +1 on the Woolrich Socks. I do the nylon/spandex base layer, followed by a murino mid layer and the Arctic weight Woolrich's. Most of the year, I wear Climbing boots, and these are a mid heavy insulated boot. I found them to be best with all season use, but they really come into there own when the temps drop below freezing. Last season, we had temps on upper stretch of the resort drop to -50 below, and my feet were better protected then the rest of me! LOL
    Ganado and Motomom34 like this.
  9. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Sounds like it would be a good idea to learn how to make your own.
    Stands to reason.
    In a post SHTF event, there will be no other sources for certain clothing,
    and knowing how to make your own is an advantage.
    I the old days that's all they had was home made sox/clothing/shoes/gloves,ect....
    Dunerunner likes this.
  10. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    hand knited socks... ugh...[banghead] they just arent as good as store bought. Its kind of like going off grid, for me at least, I aint doing it unless I have too

    If you have ever worn hand knited socks you would understand.
    Ura-Ki and Rocky Road Lerp like this.
  11. Rocky Road Lerp

    Rocky Road Lerp Monkey+

    A couple winters back, I experimented with my Columbia hiking boots. They were a Summer, non waterproof style. I waxed them, put on some athletic socks under my wool socks, and hit a 14'er. My feet stayed warm and dry. I did that so I would know I could without my Irish Setters. Even waxed, the outer boot got wet due to the breathable mesh, but my feet stayed comfy. I'm only saying this so because you never know the potential circumstances of why you'd be traveling on foot in those conditions. What I learned is that my pack will always have wax and extra socks. Oh, by the way, they were Wigwams to boot. :)
    Ura-Ki likes this.
  12. avagdu

    avagdu Monkey

    BlueDuck likes this.
  13. BlueDuck

    BlueDuck Monkey

    Good video. Might come in handy during SHTF. One of my favorite winter boots depending on what I am doing is my Stiger Muckluks. Great for ice fishing or most anything when its really cold. I usually only ware them when there is snow on the ground so I don't ware them out when its not necessary ( a little spendy). The best thing about them is they are light, and feel like you have on bedroom slippers. Very roomy and flexible so your foot and toes can move around a little.
    arleigh likes this.
  14. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Wax might well be a serious item in the survival bag.
  15. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Thinking back , most ammo was wax covered for water proofing and it worked .
    Oils on the other hand are often a penitrant and can compromise the gunpowder inside the cartrage .
  16. Oltymer

    Oltymer Monkey+

    Wax on cartridges can cause a spike in chamber pressure.
    Dunerunner and ghrit like this.
  1. Ganado
  2. stg58
  3. H.I.S Survival
  4. Motomom34
  5. melbo
  6. Hanzo
  7. Hanzo
  8. Brokor
  9. SurvivalTech
  10. robfindlay
survivalmonkey SSL seal        survivalmonkey.com warrant canary