Cold

Cold

This is a discussion on Cold within the Bushcraft - Primitive Skills - Survival Skills - Camping forums, part of the Related Topics category; Living in Michigan my whole life you’d think I’d know a thing or two about cold weather. Oh I’ve had my share of soakers while ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Caertaker's Avatar
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    Cold

    Living in Michigan my whole life you’d think I’d know a thing or two about cold weather. Oh I’ve had my share of soakers while learning to skate on the creek, spring canoe rides that ended up below freezing and just plain wearing something inappropriate for the weather just because I thought it made me look cool. By now I’ve learned:
    • C - Clean
    • O - Overheating
    • L - Layer
    • D - Dry
    but a recent read got me suspecting: I don’t really know cold. The book is Our Southern Highlanders written by Horace Kephart and published in 1913. You can pick it up for free from the Gutenberg project here: Our Southern Highlanders by Horace Kephart - Free Ebook The passage was:
    “a majority of the folks went barefoot all winter, though they had snow much of the time four or five inches deep; and the man said he didn’t think most of the men about here had more than one coat, and the never wore one in winter except on holidays. That was the healthiest way, he reckoned, just toughen yourself and not wear no coat”

    It’s not like this is my first time encountering this concept. I once knew a man from Indonesia who ran around in a warm-up suit all winter long. Then there's the chapter titled Cold Training from Tom Browns book The Tracker which says:
    “…nature could not hurt us if we were at one with it, and I stop resisting the cold. The result was instantaneous…my coldness was gone…I have not been truly cold since.”

    Sounds like BS to me but what do you think? Is conditioning the best key to cold weather survival or is a hefty wool cardigan the only sane choice? Do you have any tips you’ve picked up over the years that you’d like to share? Illustrative stories are welcome too. ('Dissing Tom's knife are not. Lol)
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    Having grown up in Wisconsin and then Michigan, I can say that ain't normal. I have a high tolerance to cold because of my all my many years up north, but barefoot is not a healthy thing.
    Having said that, I usually wear t-shirts when most are wearing sweaters, so I agree that you can condition yourself, but, the human body is only capable of so much.
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    Senior Member Array ntkb's Avatar
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    I once had a set of one piece wool underwear I wore all the time with just a jean jacket, I was warm all the time, the others around me with more modern clothing were freezing. the same type that one sees in old photos, this may have helped.
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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    Where I live, I know squat about cold. But I will say it takes some conditioning to be able to work a full day in the 110+ heat that's common here. My hats off to you northerners! The first couple of years Id hibernate for at least 9 months of the year! DR
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caertaker View Post
    Living in Michigan my whole life you’d think I’d know a thing or two about cold weather. Oh I’ve had my share of soakers while learning to skate on the creek, spring canoe rides that ended up below freezing and just plain wearing something inappropriate for the weather just because I thought it made me look cool. By now I’ve learned:
    • C - Clean
    • O - Overheating
    • L - Layer
    • D - Dry
    but a recent read got me suspecting: I don’t really know cold. The book is Our Southern Highlanders written by Horace Kephart and published in 1913. You can pick it up for free from the Gutenberg project here: Our Southern Highlanders by Horace Kephart - Free Ebook The passage was:
    “a majority of the folks went barefoot all winter, though they had snow much of the time four or five inches deep; and the man said he didn’t think most of the men about here had more than one coat, and the never wore one in winter except on holidays. That was the healthiest way, he reckoned, just toughen yourself and not wear no coat”

    It’s not like this is my first time encountering this concept. I once knew a man from Indonesia who ran around in a warm-up suit all winter long. Then there's the chapter titled Cold Training from Tom Browns book The Tracker which says:
    “…nature could not hurt us if we were at one with it, and I stop resisting the cold. The result was instantaneous…my coldness was gone…I have not been truly cold since.”

    Sounds like BS to me but what do you think? Is conditioning the best key to cold weather survival or is a hefty wool cardigan the only sane choice? Do you have any tips you’ve picked up over the years that you’d like to share? Illustrative stories are welcome too. ('Dissing Tom's knife are not. Lol)
    I grew up in northern North Dakota. I was "conditioned" to the winter in the sense the I could endure the cold with minor discomfort, but that does not mean I was in any better condition to survive exposure than some good 'ole boy from the deep south. The cold did not "bother" me, e.g. a sub-zero wind in my face did not cause me distress - it was just something I had to deal with (and only for a short period of time). But even bundled up my body had its limits, and after a spell your body starts working to preserve the core body temperature. Your extremities go numb, and it's time to go inside.

    I believe that you can mentally prepare for physical challenges, and if you are in very good shape you may have an endurance edge over someone in poor shape. But I don't think you can "condition" your body to endure the cold for significantly longer periods of time. There are thermodynamic principals in play, and mental toughness is not going to slow the process of frostbite or hypothermia. Mental toughness will allow you to keep your head and endure it while you find shelter and not panic, or, in most cases today, not whine like a whimp about how cold you are.
    Last edited by PEF; April 27th, 2014 at 08:56 AM.
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by ntkb View Post
    I once had a set of one piece wool underwear I wore all the time with just a jean jacket, I was warm all the time, the others around me with more modern clothing were freezing. the same type that one sees in old photos, this may have helped.
    Those are called Union Suits. Button up front and often a flap in the back so one could take a number 2 when needed. Red when new and pink after a couple years or so.

    When I worked at the dairy in NW Washington it was an extremely wet warm production plant. Extremely humid. Sometimes I'd get off work and go home and immediately crank up the heat. I could crank up the heat till I was red faced to no avail. Here's what I learned over time:

    *Hot shower
    *Hot food
    *Clean clothes


    I learned the same thing working at the RV park. Working outside year round I wore a thin cotton uniform shirt. Under that I wore a Long John undershirt.
    Over the shirt I wore a work issued vest. Usually while wearing cotton work gloves along with my Carhartt stocking hat. Every single chore or job I had there meant a certain amount of activity on my part outside. In other words I was constantly moving. Only when it was cold enough to snow or there was snow on the ground did I take it up a notch and wear insulated coveralls along with insulated Sorel type winter rubber/leather boots. Yep-the heavy clodhopper heavy boots. I ALWAYS had my Carhartt stocking hat on and usually another inside my shirt with another pair of gloves (both damp and drying out from body heat.) For the city boys here one can lose 90% of your core inner body heat right out of your head if NOT wearing a hat in cold weather.

    TBT right this minute I'm wearing my Carhartt stocking hat my fingerless gloves winter type sox long pants and Long John undershirt under long sleeved shirt. I was cold a few minutes ago but the heat was just on so I am better now. If I were to eat some hot food I'd really warm up. I can't take the cold I used to could cuz I had pneumonia in 2010. I will be susceptible to cold for the rest of my life now due to the bout with pneumonia.

    When I see the fools outside in their sports jerseys and Cargo shorts and summer type footwear with no sox or the ankle top girl sox I laugh at their stupidity. Before I carried 24/7 sometimes I'd walk up to these retarded fools and ask them does your momma know you're outside by yourself?!? The funniest thing about this was they weren't smart enough to realize I had just dissed them. Stupid is as stupid does.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caertaker View Post
    Living in Michigan my whole life you’d think I’d know a thing or two about cold weather. By now I’ve learned:
    • C - Clean
    • O - Overheating
    • L - Layer
    • D - Dry

    Sounds like BS to me but what do you think? Is conditioning the best key to cold weather survival or is a hefty wool cardigan the only sane choice? [B]Do you have any tips [/B]you’ve picked up over the years that you’d like to share? Illustrative stories are welcome too. ('Dissing Tom's knife are not. Lol)
    H = Head
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    C = Crawl to
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    I can't deal with the cold as well as I used to when I worked outside all year long. The tip of my nose could tell the temp within about 5 degrees from 15-40. And some folks just deal with it better than others. I knew a guy that would show up in shorts to work his evening ski patrol shift. He only wore pants because he had too. And usually had on a T shirt and patrol vest. Cold just did not bother him at all.

    I do know that my grandmother who grew up in WNC would go barefoot all summer so she would have shoes in the winter. And talking to one of the re enactors at Kings Mtn Military Park, the frontiers folks did not have many clothes. A shirt or two and pants for the guys. Maybe a coat. And a couple shirts and petticoats for the women. When you were cold you put all your clothes on and hoped for the best.

    Kephart and the folks he lived with in WNC were a tough breed.
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    Senior Member Array IsaiahM33's Avatar
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    Footy pajamas should clear problem right up!
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    Having lived my life in the colder parts of MI , I can say cold tolerance works to a degree. However once you get hypothermia it will continue to knock you down till death happens. Layers and having a warm, dry change of clothing helps immensely.
    I got pneumonia years ago while making a living outdoors in the winter. It never really is eliminated and sticks with you anytime it gets cold, wet I feel it come back. I would suggest taking care of yourself and not getting it to start.
    I also did lots of winter camping as a teen , in temps at or near 0 with crappy gear. We survived , but were semi miserable at times.
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    Distinguished Member Array Oldpsufan's Avatar
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    My GF can't stand cold well and I can't stand heat well, think of the fun we have when we go for a drive.
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    calories.
    it's all about calories.
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    It's certainly POSSIBLE for the human body to "adapt" to the described "extreme cold". It is not possible to maintain that indefinately. Nor does your body simply become "used to" and "able" to deal with ANY extreme like that.
    It's dependant on your body being able to generate the necassary BTU's to stay regulated. If you don't get enough calories it ain't gonna happen.
    Movement being the other key. Strapped into a chair and can't move in that kind of cold? frozen human posicle....
    but if you have enough calories available and can maintain enogh movement.... then yes, most bodies would be able to function and survive in a situation as described.
    i forget the exact numbers, but it's something like 40% more calories required in a day in a person is exposed to conditions that could cause hypothermia.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEF View Post
    I grew up in northern North Dakota.
    So you probably think the movie Fargo is a good crime drama. Ya?
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    Quote Originally Posted by CWOUSCG View Post
    So you probably think the movie Fargo is a good crime drama. Ya?
    Oooh ya! The Cohen brothers overdid the accent, but there is that distinct Scandinavian accent up there. I've lost it, but I have family up there and I can hear it when I speak with them.

    Now....I'm hungry and I want some pancakes.....
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    4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

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    I ironworked for many years out of Chicago which can get very cold had the diesel fuel gel in the crane once was 20 below with a 45 to 50 mile wind, said was 79 below windchill had 40 below in North Dakota once never shut off trucks an crane. While your setting iron its not bad but trying to be still while welding gets your feet mighty cold. Now retired in Florida an 40 feels bad:)
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