Dress For success
Dress Appropriately – Wear the right clothes for your expedition, maintaining as much dead air space inside your clothing and moisture control are the primary reasons for dressing in layers. During your adventures you can do a variety of activities that will make you sweat and sap your heat. Each layer serves a purpose
Inner layer for wicking sweat away from the body, middle layer for warmth and outer layer for moisture barrier.
Hats and gloves – Always bring an extra toque and gloves because no matter how hard you try there is always the possibility of loosing a toque or soaking your gloves.
Boots – The best boots have a removable liner that you can take into your sleeping bag with you for those cold mornings. Boots should be at least 6″ high with a gussetted waterproof tongue.
REMEMBER Cotton Kills – Cotton absorbs moisture and will keep it right next to your skin, also cotton compresses when damp pressing out all the dead airspace which reduces the fabrics effectiveness to keep you warm.
Don’t Sweat It
Hike steady, but don’t exert yourself to the point of perspiration. REMEMBER in the cold moisture is the enemy, and your sweat will soon chill and then work against you. Walk or do activities at a slower pace, take small breaks and shed layers as soon as you start sweating.
When you gotta go, go…
Remember water cools rapidly in cold weather, this includes the water in your bladder, so if you gotta pee go pee. In really cold conditions embrace the pee bottle rather than getting dressed to go outside, just remember to mark your bottle clearly, because the last thing you want is to mix up your pee bottle with your water bottle.
As Bear Grylls says 2 layers below are worth one above. Have a sleeping pad and if there is an extra blanket, your jacket or extra clothes put that under you as well. Conductive heat loss can sap you into hypothermia fast.
Line your sleeping bag with a liner. We sweat in our sleep and we want a way to keep the inside of our bag dry. A wicking or VBL (vapor barrier liner) sleeping bag liner will draw moisture away from your body and it is easily removable to dry it out for the following night.
Do not put your face in your sleeping bag. The moisture from your breath will cool quickly canceling the insulation of your sleeping bag.
Stuff the extra space in your sleeping bag with your clothes for the following day. Nothing is nicer than putting on warm clothes on a cold day, and the clothes help fill negative space in your sleeping bag and will hold onto your body heat.
Put hot water in your water bottle and stuff it down by your feet, toastie footsie, but remember to pull it out when it starts to cool.
Regulate the humidity in your tent by using the vents. If the humidity gets too high then cools from the outside air cools it it may snow inside your tent.
Mmm Mmm… OUCH, that’s cold
Wrap your aluminum and steel bottles and pot handles in duct tape. Metal bottles can get extremely cold, especially fuel bottles. Put a layer of tape between you and the cold.
Use a wooden spoon. The last thing you want is your tongue sticking to your spoon, wood wont freeze you out.
Turn your water bottle upside down. Water freezes from the top down, turn that water bottle over to have a fresh drink in the morning.
Boil the snow, don’t eat it. It takes a considerable amount of energy and body heat to process snow when you eat it. It is best to boil it and drink it warm.
Bring extra fuel. Double up on your stove fuel as it is consumed much quicker in cold climates.
Build a heat reflector. String a tarp up behind and over your tent with the front facing your fire. This will trap fire heat and reflect it back onto your tent. Lining this with a space blanket will increase the reflection. This may also protect your tent from direct wind.