Friday, February 25, 2011

Never Mind the Goblins, Look Out for the Pink Dragons

More than five years ago I went on an epic journey, just kidding it wasn't epic, but we went to visit a super awesome friend, Eston, in Arizona. And guess what, I was cold there. I am the first to admit that I am not a happy person when I am cold, as a matter of fact I take on a new persona when I am cold, Zillion. Roar! So there I was in a supposedly warm state, freezing, and I turned to my friend Eston and asked how I am supposed to stay warm when my world seems to be freezing. In a totally long email, he sent me these words. What you are about to read is actually written by him with all of his, park ranger, outdoor enthusiast wisdom... Enjoy!

To stay warm get a complete range of gear, and you will need to remember Cotton = death 
Base Layer- if you're cold a lot, try a mid weight. Base layers fit snugly and are usually stretchy for comfort. They will pull moisture away from your body keeping you dry, warm and oh so happy! 
Fleecy mid layer- This adds insulation to trap body heat. Wool and synthetics keep you warm even when wet. 
Vests- Add additional warmth for your core, and can easily be removed/added to regulate temp. Also for those terrible cold nights, you can add a down or synthetic down sweater/jacket over your vest and under your shell. This is great for sitting around the campfire. But tends to be puffy and impractical for hiking around. 
Gortex or similar outer shell- This is to trap all your warm fuzzies in, and keep out evil cold drafts and wet nasties. About a billion of these exists, get one that is comfortable and has enough room to add your layers, but not so much that all your hot air escapes! Get one that has a hood, and I suggest pit zips as they can really help keep you from getting to hot and sweaty. 
Socks- So very important and often overlooked. I don't own anything but wool or synthetic socks. Cotton sock always, always mean cold feet, no matter how thick they are! If it is really cold I will where a thin liner sock for added wicking, and were a heavy-duty sock. 
Hat and gloves- Fleecy hats are the best, just by adding a cute and fashionable hat adds tons of extra warmth. Nice windproof gloves can make anyone a happy camper. 
Boots- Waterproof complete leather mid weight hiker has worked best for me. Merrell is my favorite, and seem to last the longest. 
Sleeping Bags and Pads- Camping is no fun if you can't sleep. I always buy at least a zero degree mummy bag, the rating is only a rough guideline for warmth. This can be synch down around your face to keep in all your heat. Down bags are super light and comfy, but $$. Synthetic is nice and warm, but bulkier, but is less $ and stays warmer than down when wet. For extra heat waves in the sack share it with someone!! Or put a hot water bottle, your favorite Nalgene, in the bottom by your toes and another between your legs next to your femoral artery. Plus, if you get thirsty ta-da yummy hot drink, beware though; choose a trusted water bottle that won't leak!! 
Rain Gear- Pants and Jacket combo, these are usually easily compactable and should always stay in your pack. They don’t add warmth but keep you dry and out of the wind. 

Be careful not to get sucked into buying top of the line super hi-tech, ultra light stuff. While great, this stuff is insanely expensive and is overkill for most peoples needs. I know you were concerned with looking bulky, so try to buy gear that has an athletic cut. I find these have trimmer cuts and longer sleeves, but don’t get too carried away staying warm and dry is your most important goal.

I think I forgot these awesome words of advice. When exactly I forgot, I forget. I know that I have been cold a lot since living in Logan and I think I need to use this wisdom when I go outside in Logan. Oh yeah the title of the post was actually Eston's subject line of the email he sent me. 

What are some things that help you keep warm? 


Kori said...

A fire, hot chocolate, and you. ;)

Chris and Kim said...

Being pregnant kept me warm. Now I'm cold all the time.

Leslie said...

I miss Eston!

beckyc said...

Where I am going, I am going to miss these "warmer" winters. I am going to freeze....:(