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winter clothing question

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Look here for some good ideas.

I work and play outside all the time too.  What the guys said above is about as close to Gospel as you can get on the subject.
The differences that work for me are these.  You can laugh if you want, but pantyhose work well as an absolute underlayer in cold temps.
I tend toward 100% cotton union suits (one piece long johns with the flap in the back).  They are light, breathable, and are suitable to expose the upper half in public.  I have more than once stripped down to my union suit from the waist up.
I am a big fan of bibs and an overcoat like the Carhart work wear.  That is the brand I use but others work just as well.  Just because you are wearing the lowers doesn't mean you can't wear a sweater or light jacket in place of the parka, or no overlayer at all for that matter.  As an aside, the bib bottoms with the side buttons unbuttoned does a good job of concealing a full sized carry pistol even in an outside the pants holster while still allowing easy access to it.  I effectively hide a Glock 30 and even a 1911 clone this way.

Keep the small of your back warm over the kidney area.  Blood circulation will go a long way toward moving heat from that area to the rest of the body.  Something like the chemical hand warmers placed in this area does wonders.  Keep your feet warm.  I like wool socks (70% wool blend or higher).  They keep my feet warm and wick away the ridiculous amount of sweat my feet produce.  Even wet, they will retain something like 40% of body heat just like all woolen garments.  They also generate a respectable amount of heat on their own from friction when worn over the above mentioned pantyhose.


--- Quote from: OldManSchmidt on October 13, 2010, 08:03:41 PM ---I tend toward 100% cotton union suits (one piece long johns with the flap in the back).  They are light, breathable, and are suitable to expose the upper half in public.  I have more than once stripped down to my union suit from the waist up.

--- End quote ---

I think Schmidt's post is good except the quoted part.

Like I said above, you want to use materials that will not lose insulation qualities should it get wet. Cotton will lose its insulation capability when it gets wet.

For most synthetics designed for the job, and wool, each of the fabric's strands/filaments is not water permeable. The fabric doesn't get wet. Now, the space between the filaments (where the real "insulation" is taking space, can store water, but that can be wrung out, shaken out, dried out, etc, and still retain most of its insulation value.

For cotton and things like goose down, the filaments themselves absorb water, meaning it truly is wet. For cotton, the dead air space between filaments has a hard time heating up, and for things like goose down, the weight of the water will collapse the structure of the feather, reducing the loft and dead air space.

Now, your skin lets off water vapor constantly (insensible perspiration) in addition to liquid perspiration as this vapor accumulates  in the air space near your skin. This is NOT the layer to have cotton, as it is the layer that will accumulate the most water vapor. Things like goose down jackets work because layers under the jacket have retained most of the moisture from your skin.

A saying in the outdoors/backpacking community:  Cotton kills.

For my profession I'm outside about 80% of the time, but we don't get that cold around here in Seattle. Mostly at the coldest is in the teens around here but it likes to stay around 35 and rain all the time making it really easy to get hypothermia. I have learned that the hard way what to wear, even though I'm limited due to a company uniform. With that said when the temps drop below freezing this is what I wear... Btw I wear wool socks even in the summer, just thinner ones. I find they wick away the sweat better, and don't stink as much compared to cotton.

* Smartwool Socks
* Wool or synthetic liner socks when it drops below freezing
* 3 different weights of poly thermals depending on temps (get different colors based on weight) makes it easier to differentiate
* 1/4 zip Under armor type shirts (Costco has some right now for $18)
* Fleece Jacket that can be worn alone or that attaches to my rain jacket (Carhartt)
* Carhartt Pants (company supplied)
* Merino wool watch cap or insulated wide brim hat
* Various gloves, wool, leather, insulated leather etc...
With this I find it's easy to keep warm and take off layers quickly, mostly I worry about my feet and I over dress my feet, I keep my legs colder as it's a pain to take off your pants at work or remove your thermal leggings. Top layers are quick, taking my hat off, fleece or opening the 1/4 zip top will quickly keep you from sweating too much, if you do sweat the synthetic or wool layers will keep you dry and thus warmer when things slow down at work. I also have 2 sets of work boots and socks with me, so after standing in a foot of water for 3-4 hours I can switch my boots out.


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