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The layered system to staying warm in the cold

We have all been there, out in the field and freeing to death wondering how other hunters can spend all day in the woods or on the ice and stay warm. Staying warm in the cold can be hard for new outdoors-man and women when they don’t understand the four tired layering system. For many that do know the layered system and till freeze, don’t understand the proper materials and order in which they need to be applied. The four main layers are the Base Layer, A Wind Layer, The Insulation Layer, and a Shell.

Base Layer

A good base layer Is one of the most important parts of creating a could weather system to stay warm in the cold outdoors. The base layer is where you will retain all your heat. It is also important that you base layer have the ability to breathe and wick moisture away from your body. For this reason we use wool as a base layer. I have found that traditional wool to be useful but way to scratchy for most practical purposes. I suggest finding an merino wool or go with my favorite Smart wool. This Base layer is not only important for your upper body but needs to be used everywhere when it is cold. From a good pair of wool leggings to wool socks.

Wind Layer

Cotton wind layer
Because the base layer is there to provide heat, breath and wick moisture away, you will need a wind layer to help retain the heat from escaping from a breeze. I know that the old saying goes that cotton kills but here Is where I like to use that material. I like to use cotton because it will absorb the moisture wicked away by the wool and retain it until it evaporates off. Cotton also does not provide as much breath-ability as wool but still offers some helping it dry in the event that I sweat a little too much. It is important to note at this point that if you are actively hiking in mild conditions this may be all the layers that you need. although if you expect any type of inclement weather then you should look into addressing the next two layers. Although this layer I not as important for the lower body, I find that it greatly helps insulate the feet and retain heat when in the cold outdoors.

Insulation Layer

Insulation Layer staying warm in the cold
When the northern winds and the witch of November come early, an insulation layer is a must for staying warm in the cold. When it comes to keeping an air layer around your body polyester is the name of the game. Although polyester does not offer the wicking and breathing capabilities of wool, it does offer an impermeable layer that will keep the wind out and a pocket of warm dry air around your body and your other layers! Although this layer is not always needed and should be removed when conducting heavy activity, when it gets cold out you will be happy that you have it available.

Hard Shell

Outer shell
The hard shell is to do one thing and one thing only: Keep you dry! Although there are many materials that will repel water, snow, an ice there is only one that I recommend. Gor-tex is the industry standard when it comes to a hard shell material. Tough and resistant it is built to do the job and do it well. it is important to note that a hard shell is not always needed. When hiking and under intense activity the sweat from your body can actually freeze on the inside of your Gor-tex in the right conditions. When ever possible when on the move you should remove this layer or remove one of the Wind or insulation layer to reduce overheating.

Sweating and Staying Warm in the Cold 

In all honestly sweat can be the silent killer. In a cold climate sweat can quickly lead to rapid cooling of the body as soon as your heart rate decreases. It is important to reduce or mitigate these risks by removing layers whenever necessary. The last thing that you want is ice on the inside of your jackets. So if you want to Stay warm in the cold you need to know when to remove a layer to maintain you body heat. With these tips you can design an outfit that works for you in the outdoors no matter what the weather throws at you! 

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Gregory Beckman

About the Author:

Hi, I am Gregory Beckman, as the main owner of Military Hunting and Fishing let me tell you a little bit more about myself. I am currently an active duty member in the United States Coast Guard. I have been privileged to traveling the world. My experiences have shaped the way that I see the world and my memories will stick with me for a lifetime. Although I may not live in the country, the country lives in me. Traveling the world I have had the chance to experience the wonders of nature in many different places, meeting many different people and tasting wild game that the normal person would not get to experience. Although these experiences have kept me away from home, it has instilled a deep passion of hunting and fishing in my blood. Thank you for joining our site, and I look forward to interacting and sharing stories of our hunting adventures. Gregory A. Beckman
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