Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Winter Hunting is Coming

Well, Ned Stark got something right, winter is definitely coming. Especially for us dedicated hunters who will sit all day in the woods or fields. So how do you stay warm when you are determined to bag that big buck? Here are some tips I follow which tend to work well for me staying warm even in single digits.


Core Heat
The human body is itself a fuel combustion engine. Depending on the type of fuel you provide it depends on the quality of heat that engine puts off. For example, if you drink cold liquids the engine cools down. Hot liquids the engine heats up. You do not need me to tell you the obvious.




Some people do not realize though that certain types of solid foods work best in cold weather. Start your hunting day out with whole grains before you leave for your stand or blind. A breakfast with oatmeal is a great way to start filling the fuel tank. You can later snack on high calorie, good fats foods. Such as various types of nuts. Energy bars and granola bars are a good choice too. The digestion process generates heat. Try and stay away from candy bars though.

As I mentioned earlier, hot foods like soup, coffee or hot teas are beneficial. You should also make sure you drink lots of water but try to avoid cold water.


Insulation
We have some pretty cool and high tech clothing options available to us when it comes to keeping warm. With proper layering and using the right fabrics at those different layers you can really do a lot to stay warm (as well as scent controlled).

There have been many times I could not have possibly stayed on the hunt without having proper layering on. Single digits, snow and ice last year would have kept some people at home on their couches in the warm. But not me. As the old saying goes, "You can't shoot one from your sofa.".



Let's talk about the different layers for a moment...

The Base Layer | The Outside Layer | The Middle Layer

Water transfers heat really well. So when you are sweating (which you are always sweating moisture even if you think you are not) you are allowing water vapor to pull heat away from your body very quickly. For your BASE LAYER you should stick with fabrics such as merino wool, polyester and even silk. Avoid cotton. Polyester blends such as nylon, polypropylene, spandex and rayon are good choices as well.

You can wear all the warm layers you want but I can assure you from experience that the wind does cut like a knife. For your OUTER LAYER you should consider windproof fabrics. There are a ton on the market that are silent and comfortable. They are even waterproof while allowing moisture to escape from underneath. Again, love technology.

The best MIDDLE LAYER choices include down, chemically treated down, fleece, wool, and man-made insulators like Thinsulate and PrimaLoft. Your mid-layer should be light and insulating. But, still needs to remain breathable to let moisture escape. Your middle layer is the best place for making adjustments when the weather or situation (long walk vs. short walk, cold morning vs. warm afternoon) calls for it.

No single garment is perfect for every situation so you will need to mix-and-match over the season to adapt to the situation.

Also, do not forget your feet, hands nor head. When your core body temperature drops your body will actually start diverting heat from those regions in an attempt to save the core. So your best defense against cold limbs is to keep your core warm. Wool socks, gloves, and hat are gold. I am a big fan of hand warmers as well.

Conclusion...
So in conclusion I wanted to just say that not every situation is the same. If I have a long walk in warmer weather then my interest turns more into moisture prevention. If I have a short walk in extreme cold then maybe warmer insulation is best and not so much wicking. Also there are a ton of toys on the market. Chemical hand warmers, rechargeable warmers, scentless heaters for your blind, and much more.

Stay warm m'friends.