Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

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ram
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Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by ram » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:51 pm

My 17-year old son, height 5' 10", 130 lb. is going to assist a wildlife scientist who tracks porcupines during the winter. He will occasionally encounter windchill factors of -40 F and will sometimes travel in the back of an open truck. However, the temperatures (not windchill) will be mostly from 0 to -20 F. Last year, another student who was not very careful suffered minor frostbite(no permanent damage). However, we would like to be safe rather than sorry.
I know that there are wildlife enthusiasts on this board who enjoy being out in temperatures such as these. Please advise him regarding jackets, gloves, socks, and shoes. We did look at jackets from $150 (L.L Bean) to $250 (The North Face). Cost is not an issue.
If possible, he would like to have a 2 or 3-in one jacket which he can use during milder weather also. We think a medium size will be appropriate for him.
Ram

peter71
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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by peter71 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:12 pm

when I was that age I shoveled snow at night in Minneapolis and so the temps were similar . . . main thing I'd add is to have a ski mask and maybe even goggles if he's on the back of a truck . . . I can remember my eye sockets getting cold as the only uncovered thing. All of that said it should be fine, and if sunny and he's moving really no big deal. If crouching in snow or something though (and probably anyway) snow pants would also be good.

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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by tomd37 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:28 pm

Ram,

My college days, some 55 years ago, in northern New York state near the Canadian border often included normal temps below zero and wind chills in the range to which you refer. I also was in Antarctica for their summer season in 1964 and definitely experienced temps well below zero during daylight hours.

That all said, the protective qualities of winter gear has increased significantly over the years. It is critically important to keep the extremities well protected (i.e., head, hands, feet, face) and the rest will okay with high quality waterproof clothing and footwear gear.
Tom D.

Martello Shores
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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by Martello Shores » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:34 pm

On a field trip years ago, a conservation officer (a fish cop) advised that the secret to warm feet is sock liners inside wool socks. I'd add foil reflective insoles and Thinsulate! (I LOVE Thinsulate!! If I could find a Thinsulate-lined wool parka, I would die happy!) Explore outdoor clothing at http://www.cabelas.com. Layer.

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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by hsv_climber » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:54 pm

ram wrote:My 17-year old son, height 5' 10", 130 lb=
I'd recommend to take him out to a nice buffet place a few times before his trip. Extra fat can help in the cold weather. :roll:

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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by hsv_climber » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:00 pm

- I don't think 2 or 3 in one jacket is a good idea.
- Always dress in layers.

The best layers are:
- undershirt, something like Patagonia Capilene, or equivalent fleece from Marmot / Mnt. H/w
- Gore-Tex Jacket. Again, Marmot / Patagonia / Mnt. H/w are great
- Down Vest. See brands above.
Long sleeve fleece + Down Vest + Gore-Tex Jacket is a perfect system that works during cold/windy/wet conditions.

- Pants : Fleece base layer (i.e. Hot Peppers / Marmot / Patagonia) + Gore Tex pants. Again, works in any conditions and last a lifetime.

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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by hsv_climber » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:04 pm

Also, I prefer mittens over gloves. Check rei.com. They have great selection. I like my "cheap" (relatively) OR, but something like Marmot Expedition or BD Mercury will be better. OR Meteor looks good too.

relentless
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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by relentless » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:10 pm

I would think he should wear the same exact clothing as for minus 40 Celsius windchill factor. :wink:

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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by fishnskiguy » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:14 pm

Everything above is good info.

For gloves I swear by the Head gloves sold by Costco. I replace them every three years and they beat the pants off vastly more expensive gloves that will "pack out' just as quickly.

As a skier who taught professionally for seven years, it's not about the core or hands and feet. Every case of frostbite we encountered was ears, cheeks, and nose. A cheap gaiter and good hat will prevent that.

A good layer system with any decent jacket is the ticket for everything else.

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Christine_NM
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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by Christine_NM » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:16 pm

Consider Mickey Mouse boots:

http://www.amazon.com/Mickey-Rubber-Mil ... B000NL7TXW

I used these living outdoors in December in the Adirondacks and my feet were always amazingly warm. No other boot comes close to this.

Also, if there's snow, he'll need ski-type goggles to counteract glare.

Layers are better than 3 in 1.

There's a lot more to say about winter survival. He should read up on it.
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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by jeepster » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:32 pm

as someone who has spent a lot of time outside in a Minnesota winter while my dogs sniff around endlessly, if you are standing mostly still or moving just a little, your hands and feet will get the coldest. Once they are cold, good luck warming them up again while still outside. You need mittens - gloves are pretty useless. You might want to layer some mitten liners inside other mittens. I finally gave up and bought a giant box of one-time-use chemical hand and feet warmers. They are amazing, and I'd highly recommend them, especially if packing them is not an issue. I suffered frostbite on my toes and fingers (in Paris of all places) and it is agony to have cold toes and fingers and no prospect of getting them warm for hours.

Also, as others have mentioned, you will need face coverings and goggles if you will be exposed to the wind in the open back of the truck. I have a running mask that's pretty great, with vent holes over the mouth and under the nose. It also feels nice to have a scarf, balaclava, or gaiter to filter the cold air through so you're not breathing the super cold air. And as any little kid who has played in the snow with short mittens will attest, it's also nice to have either long mittens or wrist coverings that can tuck inside the sleeve of your jacket or your exposed wrists will get just raw.

Finally, with windchill as a worry, make sure your items are windproof. Wind will howl right through a lot of fleeces, and they won't hold in heat. Also be aware that at really cold temperatures, things like gel inserts in your shoes or some plastics that are flexible at normal temps will become hard and/or brittle. I once went running in northern MN when it was -50 actual (I have no idea on windchill, though it wasn't too windy that day) and the worst part was my running shoes turned into rocks because the gel froze.

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Toons
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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by Toons » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:40 pm

Norther Outfitters _"Adventure Starts Below Zero"

http://www.northernoutfitters.com/


:D :D
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mt
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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by mt » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:02 pm

Spent a winter in Alaska. I have spent more than a few days at -20 and have a few thoughts:

1 I second the Mickey Mouse boot idea. This is what the Army issued, and everyone wore them on their off time as well as on duty.
2 Balaclava. Get one (or two).
3 Wear layers, not one giant thick coat.
4 Layer hands as well (thin polypro liners, then wool mitten, then waterproof mitten shell.
5 Ski goggles.
6 Did I already mention balaclava? These are awesome.
Last edited by mt on Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by leonard » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:21 pm

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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by Colorado13 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:08 am

hsv_climber wrote:
ram wrote:My 17-year old son, height 5' 10", 130 lb=
I'd recommend to take him out to a nice buffet place a few times before his trip. Extra fat can help in the cold weather. :roll:
I was going to recommend the same thing! A little more internal padding will help him stay warmer. Barring that, I recommend layers. (I used to live in ND, I know a bit about layering. :D )

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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:49 am

Layer - do not wear any undergarments made of cotton. You want to wear clothing that has wicking properties.
If you use Cabela's - Expedition Weight is highly recommended.

Head - wool hat or "mad rabbit" type hats - 10% of your body warmth leaves from up top.

Face - cover all extremities, you do not want your skin to be exposed. The wind can be a real killer.
A baclava or ski mask.

Eyes - if your son does not wear glasses, wear ski goggles.

Ears - if the hat does not cover the ears, ear muffs.

Sunscreen 30+ - if you out and about where there is snow, it's worse than being at the beach sunning yourself.

Feet - I'm thinking 1200 grams Thinsulate type boots, at least. I use 800 when out in the field, after a few hours if your not moving around, you won't feel your feet. Agree with others, sock liners first, then high socks, like WigWams or wool socks.

Hands - Mittens with chemical warmers in a pocket for backup - they last about 6-8 hours each. You can buy a box of the warmers for about $18-$20 (hand and/or feet). Be cautious if using them for the feet, if you get to hot, it's not like you want to take your boot off in -40 degree weather.

Coat - a parka is more appropriate with a hood - you want to provide windproof warmth to entire backside (think just below the groin). Cabelas, REI or Patagonia. The parka can come with two or three layers (outer layer provides the windproof/waterproof protection), inner jacket is bulk of warmth.

How rugged is it where your son is traveling? Does scientist have survival equipment on board in case of car trouble?
You might want to pack your own as well. Cell phones don't always work out in the woods.

You will want to outfit your son, like he will be hunting in Alaska or the Rockies (without the gun).
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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by NoVa Lurker » Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:14 am

mt wrote:Spent a winter stationed at Ft. Greely, AK. I have spent more than a few days at -20 and have a few thoughts:

1 I second the Mickey Mouse boot idea. This is what the Army issued, and everyone wore them on their off time as well as on duty.
2 Balaclava. Get one (or two).
3 Wear layers, not one giant thick coat.
4 Layer hands as well (thin polypro liners, then wool mitten, then waterproof mitten shell.
5 Ski goggles.
6 Did I already mention balaclava? These are awesome.

I pretty much agree with all of the above, but especially the balaclava. Put on a balaclava as the first layer for your neck, ears, face and head. Then add other layers as appropriate. At -40, I might go two thin balaclavas (one polyester, one fleece) plus a regular hat that covers the ears, scarf, and goggles. For the hands, a thin layer of gloves plus big gloves (I've never gotten used to wearing mittens while actually doing anything). Thin layer of socks, then wool socks on top.

If he does this, and he's mostly moving around, then even at -40, he should be fine without buying expensive jackets or pants - just lots of layers that can be removed if he gets sweaty.

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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by Harold » Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:42 am

NoVa Lurker wrote:Put on a balaclava as the first layer for your neck, ears, face and head.
But make sure your instructions are very clear, or at least access to Turkish pastry is limited -- so he doesn't end up smearing baklava as a first layer ...

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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by Alf 101 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:38 pm

Having some background in the cold, for what it's worth, I'm happy to add my $0.02 to the subject. Here are a few of my recommendations:

1. Footwear

I'd recommend going with a good winter pac boot. While the Mickey Mouse, or bunny boots, are what the Army issues, and were worn by the first people to climb Denali, I never liked them much and felt them clunky and clammy. I think the last pair I purchased was the LaCrosse Ice Man, which certainly did the trick. Search for "winter pac boot" on the Cabela's or other outdoor retailer website and you'll find something in that niche.

For socks, there are different schools of thought on this. Some people swear by a liner sock. I never liked the feel of these, and under extended conditions I just wore two pairs of wool socks -- one thick and one thin. Something on the level of the Smartwool Mountaineer sock would probably be a good choice for the thicker one.

2. Handwear

What you choose for handwear relates directly to your activity. There are very nice, waterproof, and warm mountaineering gloves; however you wouldn't wear these on ski patrol, due to the abrasion and wear and tear, and might opt for an insulated leather palmed work glove instead. In either case I've liked having several pairs of thin fleece or liner gloves on hand. Some tasks require a level of dexterity that wearing a thick glove makes it difficult to pull off. If it's cold and you have to remove the glove, far better to expose a liner than bare skin.

Whichever glove you choose, fit with liner in mind. As for gloves vs. mittens, I've been blessed with good circulation and dislike trying to do anything wearing mittens, but did always keep a pair in my pack as the so-called "nuclear option".

3. Headwear

I recommend first off a warm hat. The warmest hat I've ever owned I bought from Wapiti Woolies in Greenwater, WA -- knit wool hat lined with fleece inside. There are likely many others like this. The biggest criteria are that it's warm and you like wearing it; if it's cold you're not going to take it off much.

I also would recommend a balaclava. I like thin stretchy ones I can wear under my hat, or that convert to a neck gaiter. The one I most liked I believe I bought from OR, but also have a thin one from Smartwool that's good. I've also carried a separate neck gaiter. If it's windy, and I'm layering wearing something with a hood, I put up the hood and pull the neck gaiter over the top of it to help keep it in place. Unless snowmobiling I haven't worn a face mask.

Ski goggles are also good, as are a pair of glacier style sunglasses. For goggles I always liked rose tinted ones -- for one they help with definition in flat light, and secondly they just made me feel better about the world.

4. Layers

As has been said before, avoid cotton, particularly next to the skin. There are many excellent synthetic and wool long underwear base layers. My trick is the ones next to the skin should be the thinnest you can find. Part of what makes these so remarkable is their ability to wick away moisture; the thinner this is, the more effectively it can do that. Layer what you have on top of that.

I'd also recommend some kind of Primaloft jacket as a layer, under an outer shell layer. One problem of layering fleece upon fleece is that it all starts to ride together and makes it hard to move. It's nice that some of your layers can slide so you can avoid that. Something like the Patagonia Micropuff or the OR Chaos Jacket are very versatile, and many other companies have something in that niche.

For outer layers, again you can buy some very nice mountaineering shells, but you have to consider the kind of work he'll be doing (e.g., if he's called upon to wrestle porcupines). Maybe a pair of insulated Carhartt bibs might work better, or a cheaper shell. REI, Cabela's, or any other outdoor retailers will have a host of options.

5. Miscellaneous

Chemical hand warmers are an option for many, but not something I ever really used. What I did use often was a 1-liter vacuum thermos. If he's getting back into the truck, or it's a long day, a steamy beverage does an individual a world of good. That and have him always bring along plenty to eat. Thick, windproof, and waterproof layers can prevent heat loss, but it's eating, drinking, and moving around that generates heat.

The other suggestions here are very good. Hopefully he can also glean some answers from participants from past years on this project, as well as from the scientist he's going. Some information about the type of work, terrain, how far afield they'll travel, and what survival equipment and plans that will be available would all be useful in making these preparations.

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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by tetractys » Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:10 pm

Speaking from Northern Minnesota experience: Sorrels were popular, although I had high top leather boots with extra socks. When snowshoeing your toes don't bend much and therefore get cold easily, so good boots are important. Goggles are good, lot's of folks liked those. I never had those though, so instead usually wrapped a long wool scarf around my face inside a hood. That worked pretty good and gusts would usually only freeze my eyes shut for less than a second. For gloves the Minnesota style is good, wool mittens inside leather mittens (I can't remember what they're called). Thin finger gloves would be good to put inside of all that as well for when you take them off. Long underwear, wool pants, wind suit, good coat would be good. I remember getting freeze blisters on my armpit from a tear in my coat once, so clothes should be in good repair. A good sleeping bag is important too. It can get really cold, even inside an igloo. Also never go barefoot because your feet can get stuck on the ice; always wear socks.

Sounds like a fun winter. -- Tet

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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by Atilla » Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:32 pm

Layers-lots of layers. Really good boots and socks (once your feet get cold yer screwed). Insulated coveralls. Insulated ski mittens (once your hands get cold yer screwed AND you can't work your fingers) and stuff to keep your head warm & toasty.
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ram
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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by ram » Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:15 pm

Thanks for all the excellent suggestions. Will keep you posted with what we buy and how we like it. Most of his current gear will be adequate for the early part of winter. Does any of this stuff go on sale on black friday?
Ram

heyyou
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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by heyyou » Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:01 am

Feathered Friends in Seattle makes expedition gear, as does Nunatak.

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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by Martello Shores » Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:02 am

We've recommended wool and down and synthetics, but, having made such recommendations to my son and then seen him set off for fall-sailing or cross-country skiing in jeans, thought I might add: NO COTTON! Not jeans, not socks--cotton doesn't hold heat when it's wet, e.g., perspiring in a warm truck to various sites or snow-covered jeans melting in warm truck or hauling cages with fat old porcupines in them.

Re sales, about Thanksgiving, in big box stores, fall hunting clothes will go on sale. About that time of year, I've bought wool socks, sock liners, wool glove (liners), Thinsulate glove/mittens, wool vest with fleece liner, wool/fleece hats, Thinsulate boots, hand warmers, etc., for very good prices in Meijer's late-fall hunting sale. Look for wool and synthetic layers.

Just after Christmas, Cabela's will have mail-order sale. Good stuff goes fast, so scout their website in advance: base layers, really heavy boots, Thinsulate parkas, Gore Tex, balaclavas, etc. Make sure of your son's taste, but I know one man at least, who, on wintry mornings, has come to love his Stormy Kromer® Rancher Cap ($40) with a $6 work light (fluorescent orange so can be found if dropped) that is clipped to bill of hat or used in hand.

I suspect conditions will be closer to that of a workman or hunter, than a skier or mountain climber, e.g., your son will likely have to open live traps, tag porcupines, weigh them, record info, so you might search Cabela's for heaviest hunting mittens that open across the palm, maybe combining with a light wool glove--for warmth and so as not to stick to metal traps--and hand warmers? (His supervisor may have advice on appropriate clothing, and where to buy it.)

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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by dickenjb » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:33 am

balaclava and expedition quality mittens are what I used on Kilimanjaro climb. REI is excellent and will help you select suitable gear.

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BL
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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by BL » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:10 pm

tetractys wrote: For gloves the Minnesota style is good, wool mittens inside leather mittens (I can't remember what they're called). Thin finger gloves would be good to put inside of all that as well for when you take them off.Sounds like a fun winter. -- Tet
You may be thinking of choppers. Very useful.

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Watty
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Re: Clothing for -40 F windchill factor

Post by Watty » Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:17 pm

At -40 out in the woods I would need to wear Depends underwear.

Seriously though if he wears eyeglasses he might want to be prepared for them fogging up when he comes in out of the cold. Usually this will just be a nuisance but I could imagine that trying to handle a porcupine with fogged up eyeglasses might not be ideal. He might want to take along anti-fog solution and several microfiber eyeglass cloths so that he will not be trying to clean off his eyeglasses with a shirttail that might scratch the glasses. I don't know if the cold would cause problems with contact lenses or not.

Here is a link to the ten essentials for hiking;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Essentials

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