Temperatures are dropping into the bitterly-cold range of things. I’m back in winter habits and thought some discussion on cold weather basics would be good for today. Everybody likes to stay warm, right?
Keep the warmth you have – Invest in a good set of thermal underwear. Women, this isn’t as easy for us, the commercially available options trend towards the Cuddle-Duds side of things instead of the more practical options like the Men’s Merino wool set I wear. (Justin Charles, for the record. Love. Them.) My advice is to spend the money on this. I’ll admit, I’m not a big buyer of clothes, certainly not brand new top of the line clothes. But, for this, I make an exception. The cheap options available, usually cotton or poly or a blend there of, just aren’t as nice. They don’t regulate temperature as well, and they don’t hold up as well. If you start with a good base layer, the other layers are easier. Good thick winter clothing over the long underwear, I assume everyone can handle that. Over that, I highly recommend you keep fingerless gloves, knit caps and scarves/shawls handy. This is all for inside wear, I might add. If you keep yourself warm, you won’t have to pay as much to the utility company to do it for you. Or, if the SHTF you can survive longer on your emergency warmth source.
Choose your outer wear carefully – Consider what your specific area usually dishes out in cold weather. Do you get a lot of cold rain? Or mostly snow, to the tune of 10 foot drifts? Are you more likely to deal with a large body of water? Or grassy plains? Or mountains? I have an outer coat that sheds wind, isn’t harmed by tough prairie plants, and keeps me warm into the low negatives. It can shed a little bit of moisture, but not a steady rain. We get lots of snow, wind and bitter cold, and most of the surrounding land is commercial farmland or tall-grass prairie. We don’t usually get actual rain during winter. I have a poncho I can put on top, but it’s a tight fit and not easy or long sleeved. But, pick what will work best for you. If you have mountains, make sure you can climb after you get your layers on. If you deal with more liquid water than I do, make sure your outer layer can shed that.
I wish this could go without saying, but I’m guessing it can’t. WEAR YOUR GEAR! Don’t get complacent because you’ve got remote start on the car and you’re headed into the heated office.
Mobile sources of warmth – I love the little chemical hand warmers. Those are great for emergencies. If you know you’ll need to deal with the cold, there are DIY versions that you can heat up in advance from your stationary heat source (fire/heater/stove). Sew some little fleece pockets and fill them with anything from cherry pits to uncooked rice or beans. Placed near or in a heat source, they’ll radiate heat back for quite awhile, depending on the size. Warm drinks can help keep you warm. Dogs can be warm, if you can keep them dry and close. :-D So can partners, sharing body heat can mean a much warmer night. :-D
Every Day Carry – I make sure to add blankets and extra hand warmers to my car kit when the cold weather comes around. It greatly increases the size of the kit, since I add 3 blankets to cover all of us, and at that point the kit takes up as much room as a small child. I also have an extra pair of adult gloves, and extra de-icing fluid.
What about you? What changes in your emergency preps for winter? Found anything you can’t live without?
– Calamity Jane