I cannot explain it but this year my body has not yet adapted to cold weather. I type this as the first major snowfall of the year is predicted to begin. Also, forecasted are some of the coldest temps we have had this season. The snow I can handle and may even be looking forward to as Christmas approaches. The cold – not so much.
I haven’t always been a cold-weather wimp. In fact, I have long prided myself on the cold days I have spent afield. Especially those that have dipped below zero. I have had pheasants freeze in my vest just a few minutes after the shot. The coldest, however, was likely a deer hunt with my brother. I believe before windchill the temp hit a balmy 20 below. But we were not going to miss our chance at the deer.
The interesting thing for me is that during these hunts I remember it being cold – not me being cold. The reason is simply because I was ready for cold. The times I remember getting cold while outdoors are those times I wasn’t properly prepared. The good news is that with all the goodies we have now it is much easier to be ready for the cold and we have less reason to be a cold weather-wimp. We have all heard about the basics of covering your head, dressing in layers, avoiding cotton and having a good pair of mittens/gloves. These are the basics and should be followed. But there are some tricks that can help you stay even warmer once you have your basics covered.
If there was a Nobel Prize for helping the human race battle cold digits than the inventor of Hot hands & toasty toes disposable warmers would have already won it. Simple, safe and they really work. You can find them at most sporting goods retailers & department stores. When it really gets cold place a couple hand warmers, or one larger body version, over your kidneys - you will be amazed at how great this feels and how much longer you can sit in the cold. For extra warmth for your hands toss a pair of warmers into a camo, hand-muff. For those that don’t like the idea of disposable products there is always the tried & true lighter-fluid models that have been around for decades. However, models that fit into your boots have not yet been perfected.
An old deer hunter once told me that he carried a remnant piece of carpet with him when it got cold outside. I thought it odd when he mentioned it, but now see some wisdom in his practice. For many of us the feet are the first to get cold. This is simply because the ground or surface we are standing on is usually frozen. Placing a barrier between it and us can help a bunch by keeping the cold from seeping up through our sometimes, under-insulated boot soles. The technique can also help dampen the noises of our movements, too. I have used carpet but wonder if the closed cell foam seat cushions you can get for around $5 wouldn’t even be better.
Propane infra-red heaters have been found in fancy duck blinds and bigger ice shanties for years. But many of these, designed for outdoor use, brought with them a bit of danger. However, some of the portable “little buddy” style heaters have changed all that. They are made for indoor use, as well as outdoor, and are a welcome addition to the portable pop-up blinds that have gained in use and popularity in this state. A quick demo of just such a set-up at this past October’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop had gals not wanting to leave the blind.