Basic Strategies And Gear For Operating In Cold Weather

Old school Mil Issue. Wool watch cap, Field Jacket w/ liner, wool fatigue sweater, D3A leather gloves with wool liners, Field pants w/ liner, Mountain boots.

The recent extreme cold weather has made Survivalists all over the US realize that whether they’re in a “Warm Weather” state or not, having the gear and “know how” to operate in extreme cold weather is a necessary reality. I laughed when I got an alert that Tallahassee FL. had 21 deg. Fahrenheit (all temps listed in this post are Fahrenheit) and snow the other day. Why did I laugh? I laughed because I knew a guy in that area years ago who told me he didn’t have to worry about cold weather gear in the area he lived, as they never got real cold weather.

Cold weather has a number of categories that have to be addressed within their own niche. I usually just go through them as such: “Cold/No Precip”, “Extreme Cold/No Precip”, “Cold/Wet”, “Extreme Cold/Wet”.

“Cold/No Precip” is your normal Fall/Winter weather in the top half of the US. The range starts at the “vulnerable to hypothermia” temp (usually 60 deg.) and goes down to the average low of 20 degrees in most places except maybe the most Northern of States.

“Extreme Cold/No Precip” starts at 19 degrees and goes down as far as it might get in your area.

“Cold/Wet” starts at the same “vulnerable to hypothermia” level and goes down to 20 degrees, but it has the added measure of precipitation involved that is either in the form of rain, ice, or snow, and if it’s snow, it’s usually what we call a “wet” snow.

“Extreme Cold/Wet” starts at the 19 degree mark, and is usually snow. When it is snow in that temp range, it is usually what we call a “Dry” snow. Al that means is that it is fluffy and can be brushed off as opposed to the “Wet” snow wanting to stick and soak into everything.

Basic Strategy

Staying warm starts with understanding what takes the warmth away when you are in any of the above environments. This starts with doing what you can to stay dry. Not sweating or staying out of the precipitation is your best bet to accomplishing that. Barring the ability to stay dry, having an outer layer that is windproof, relatively waterproof and breathable (and with the ability to vent as much heat as possible) is your best bet. This is used in conjunction with under layers of clothing that either wicks away the moisture (like polypro and fleece) or retains its insulative qualities when wet (like wool). When you are wet, wind and cold are what will rob you of the warmth that can kill you. Your ability to dry out quickly, or keep that moisture warm through insulation and body heat (similar to a diver’s wetsuit) is what will save you if you do get wet.

For “Cold/No Precip” I use what the army used to call “summer weight” BDU’s (cotton ripstop) or the more common 65/35 poly cotton BDU’s. Along with them, depending on the temp, I use either the issue lightweight or heavy weight polypro longjohns (over underarmor briefs and t shirt) and these Fox River socks. Over the BDU’s I wear my SAS style smock. In the lower range in this category, I forego the BDU top, and replace it with a wool “Commando” sweater (get a real one not the lightweight cheap knockoff. It’s worth it).

Left to right. LL Bean OD green “Commando” sweater from ’88, Recent version of the same sweater in brown, Military wool fatigue sweater, an LL Bean variant of the “commando” sweater that added the buttons of the fatigue sweater. All are a wool blend, but the issue fatigue sweater is a lot lighter and not as warm.

If it’s in the 35 degree or lower range and I’m sitting sedentary in a tree stand (also good if you are pulling a security shift), I usually wear heavy weight polypro bottoms with the old style issue field pants (no liner), a lightweight polypro top with the commando sweater, and the SAS smock. Along with that I use the Danner “Ft Lewis” boots, or Matterhorn boots (both 200 grain thinsulate) in combination with Ice Breaker “Boot blankets” (I run hot, so my feet stay warm in the 200 gram insulated boots as long as I’m moving. I put the boot blankets on when I stop to keep that warmth in while sitting, and you can walk in them if necessary).

From left to right. Lightweight, uninsulated Danner boots (BQM LAW II’s), 200gr thins. liner Matterhorns, Chippewa S.F. Mountain boots, “Mickey Mouse” boots, N-1B Mukluks, and on the bottom, Ice Breaker “Boot blankets”.

The neck gaiter, wool (or fleece) watch cap, and gloves (light and heavy aviator gloves) shown in the Smock post are also used, depending on the temperature. My basic rule of thumb is to under dress if I’m doing a lot of exercise (ruck  march, heavy work like dragging a deer, etc.), and overdress if I’ll be sitting for a while. If you layer up properly, you can always take a layer or two off if you start to get too warm.

Left to right. Mil issue N-4B mittens with liner and two sets of thin, acrylic liners below. More recent version of the trigger finger mittens (leather trigger finger) and a pair of the older version (cloth trigger finger model that I’ve had since I was 12) with inserts below. D3A black leather gloves with two sets of wool liners below. Heavy aviator gloves above, lightweight version below.

“Extreme Cold/No Precip”. Take what I used in the “Cold/No Precip” category for sedentary activities, and add in the liner for the field pants, a field jacket liner for the smock or for an actual field jacket (slightly heavier/warmer). At the lower temps mittens come into their own. The two types I use are the Mil issue trigger finger mittens (had a pair since I was twelve) with wool liners, or if it’s extremely cold, the N-4B arctic mittens with the liner (same material as a field jacket liner).

Left to right. Field pants w/ liner, Field jacket w/ liner, wool lined, fur trimmed, snorkel hood that buttons on the field jacket.

With those N-4B arctic mittens I wear the thin acrylic glove liners (they are for the leather goretex glove the mil issued back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s). I use these because they breathe better than the thin flight gloves, and you need the hand covered by something. The last thing you want to do at that temperature is pull your hand out of a warm glove and grab something metal with bare skin. Make sure if you have gloves that use liners, you have extra liners to change out when they get wet. Older Mil issue gloves, whether it’s the D3A leather gloves or the trigger finger mittens, use wool liners, so get a few extra.

Left to right. Lightweight polypro long john top and bottom, with a pair of polypro sock liners, and the Fix River Mil sock below them. Heavy weight polypro long johns.

Along with mittens, I use the combat vehicle crewman’s hood/balaclava. I was actually issued this when I acquired my first cold weather gear of goretex, polypro, and mountain boots. That balaclava is as warm as a balaclava can get. BTW, when we were issued this stuff, we were told to wear the “summer weight” BDU’s because they dried out quicker that the “Heavyweights” did. Other headgear would be the old “Pile” cap (helmet liner). It makes a good cold weather hat, and it will roll down to protect your ears when it get’s really cold, and it’s also more windproof than wool or fleece watch caps. Besides the boots I listed above, the only other cold weather boots I have experience with are the “Mickey Mouse” boots, the Chippewa S.F. Mountain Boots, and the N-1B Mukluks.

Left to right. Mil issue field jacket, Brit issue smock, Begadi Fleece jacket, US issue fleece jacket from ECWCS.

The “Mickey Mouse” boots are better for sedentary tasks than highly active ones, but they will do the job of keeping you feet warm, even if you are filling them with sweat (have lots of socks to change into if you are seriously active in these boots to avoid trenchfoot. The S.F. Mountain boots are the highest quality boots I’ve ever owned. They are made to old school standards, and do the job they were designed to do. Downsides: You need to have more than one wool felt insole, since they need to dry out. They are heavy. They take a while to break in due to the stiffness inherent to a boot designed for skiing and mountain warfare. The Mukluks are great for emergency cold weather boots (keep in your vehicle trunk), and for use around camp.

Left to right. US issue field pants. Field pants liner, US issue fleece bibs for ECWCS.

“Cold/Wet”. Starting in the warmer temps in this range, a good, old fashioned poncho can’t be beat for staying dry, especially if you are ruck marching. The downside to a poncho is that it catches on things and can sometimes get in the way of certain activities, like using your rifle. Goretex is great, but any amount of exertion, and you will start to sweat. Although they say goretex “Breathes”, it is very limited, and most of the time, you will be as soaked under your goretex (while doing strenuous activity), as you would have been without it. The main advantage you have with wearing goretex is it’s ability to block the wind and cold air from stealing the warmth you’ve built up under the goretex, especially if it’s used along with clothing like polypro long johns and fleece mid layers which will eventually dry out when you stop sweating.

Left to right. US issue ECWCS goretex pants, ECWCS goretex coat, goretex reversible desert/woodland rain pants and jacket, Brit issue tall gaiters.

Knowing how to use the ventilation system most mil issue goretex jackets has is very important. Armpit zips used in conjunction with the front zipper can negate some of the heat and moisture you build up inside it while conducting strenuous activities. Although I very rarely ever use goretex pants, they do have their place. They are great if you are sitting sedentary, or if you are doing work around camp that requires a lot of kneeling or sitting on wet ground. Also, a drawback to Mil issue goretex clothing is that it is noisy. I use gaiters more than goretex pants because they protect the lower legs from moisture and don’t cause the heat build up that the pants do.

Top left to right. Helmet liner “Pile” cap, fleece watch cap, wool watch cap. Below left to right. Ear covers, and crewman’s cold weather balaclava.

If you are using a goretex top, my suggestion is to replace the smock mentioned above with it if it’s the heavy duty jacket, or wear it under the smock if you are using a lightweight rain jacket. The primary goal of what you wear in the “Cold/Wet” environment is to keep your core from getting wet to begin with, or if you are gonna get wet from exertion (sweat), keeping the heat from escaping, thus chilling the moisture you’ve already built up and eventually freezing your core. The point of moisture wicking materials like polypro and fleece is they pull (wick) the moisture away from your skin and gradually wick that moisture to the outer layer, and the goretex outerwear let’s you stay warm while the fabric does that.

“Extreme Cold/Wet”. Even though this is listed as “Wet”, generally, this is considered a “Dry cold” type of “wet”. The consistency of the snow in this environment is usually of a powdery consistency, and the need for waterproof clothing in this environment is not as necessary as that of the “Cold/Wet” environment talked about above. Generally, snow that collects on you and your gear can be brushed off without leaving the item wet.

From the left, snow camo pack cover, to the right of that at top down, balaclava, neck gaiter, and overwhites for the trigger finger mittens, right of that, German snow camo overwhite smock and pants. above them an overwhite helmet cover.

One of the best uniform items the military ever issued and used in this environment was the 1951 wool shirt (very hard to find now unless you wear a small size). Barring that and the system that was used with it, the mil uses the ECWC System ( I used the GenII system in the mil, and that’s what I own) which combines lightweight or heavy weight polypro longjohns (first layer) with a fleece jacket and bibs (2nd layer), the field pants discussed earlier with their liner, the earlier discussed field jacket liner (pants and jacket liner are the third layer), and the goretex top and bottom (fourth layer).

Typically, you can use the ECWCS system without the goretex top and bottom, and you can substitute the goretex top with the SAS style smock. Your outer garments would then be the smock and the field pants. Obviously, you will probably need to get the field pants in a size bigger than you normally would if you’re gonna wear the complete ECWC System under them. Your smock should already be big enough to go over the ECWCS garments on the upper body.

This category is generally the coldest of all the categories. Extreme low temps are usually in an area that has snow cover so the overwhites (no insulation, just camo) go over the whole set up. Hopefully, you are never in an environment that is so cold that you need to wear the whole ECWC System, but better to have and not need…..right?

Sleeping Gear

Although I own and have used the mil issue Intermediate and Mountain bags, The way to go these days is the US Issue Modular Sleep System. You ask any vet that has used both types, and they will tell you the MSS is the best thing going for sleeping gear, and it’s relatively cheap. Considering that I bought a Wiggy’s Ultralight with the goretex bivvy cover (about $350) back in the early 90’s, and I bought (or have been issued) a few of those MSS’s in the last 15 years for between $75 and $125 a piece. It’s a “no brainer” which one is the better deal. I like the Wiggy’s bag, but the MSS is the way to go and along with a good sleep pad (whether foam or Themarest). They will keep you warm down to the extremes you might have to sleep in. Use a balaclava in the lower temp extremes, and you can use your field jacket liner as a pillow. Whatever you do, don’t stick your head in the bag and let your breath condense and build up on the inside surface.

These are just some suggestions concerning cold weather gear THAT I HAVE USED. If you mileage was different great, I’m happy for you. I have used both wool and synthetics and have determined that there is a place for both in combination. In a number of areas, I’m not spending the money on most wool products because it’s outrageously overpriced, but synthetics have a flammability issue (newer mil issue ones are flame retardant). Figure out what works for you.

With all that being said here’s something to keep in mind. I use mil surplus not only because it is usually cheaper than a civilian equivalent, but it is generally a lot more durable and available in colors that help me blend in in the woods, not stand out. I’ll take the extra weight every time if it means it’s more durable.

People that haven’t done it think I’m joking when I tell them what I wear (or don’t wear) in extreme cold while rucking. In the pick below from yesterday (01/06/18) I have on a fleece watch cap, polypro T-shirt, lightweight polypro longjohn top, lightweight fleece TruSpec jacket, lightweight aviator gloves, Underarmor shorts, 65/35 poly cotton BDU pants, and uninsulated goretex Danner boots. 15 min miles with the 85lbs. I’m carrying warms me up real fast, but my camelbak tube froze solid.

JCD

American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE

 

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30 thoughts on “Basic Strategies And Gear For Operating In Cold Weather

  1. JC is telling the truth: You can’t beat USGI surplus for balance of cost and durability, especially if you’re just starting out in the preps/survival/winter training world! This is great information, even for those who might have experience and want a refresher.

    Example: “..the MSS is the best thing going for sleeping gear, and it’s relatively cheap. Considering that I bought a Wiggy’s Ultralight with the goretex bivvy cover (about $350) back in the early 90’s, and I bought (or have been issued) a few of those MSS’s in the last 15 years for between $75 and $125 a piece.”

    I’ve been doing this awhile, and keep my eyes open at various surplus stores and gun shows. I’ve seen MSS systems with a main bag made by Wiggys. He had the contract at one time, and IMHO, his bags are warmer and retain better insulation, even when wet, than the current contract MSS do in the same conditions. Either way, though, it’s a good deal, and you can’t go wrong for the price, depending one’s available finances. I’ve slept in the issue MSS down to -20 in a snow trench on top of a thermarest (with a vapor barrier under the thermarest) and did fine. Later, I decided to go full bore Wiggys, and now run an Ultralight FTRSS with a bivy bag – basically the same as the MSS, but from Wiggys. I bought it piece meal on sale, but still paid about $250 all told, so it is more expensive. It’s really hard to be Lamilite insulation.

    I prefer the N1-B’s (Muks) for dry cold and Schnee’s (very expensive, but rebuildable by the company) Extreme pac boots for wet cold when in snow. If it’s a dry winter, Danner 600 gram with a good pair of thick socks for patrolling. We didn’t care for the Mickey Boots (Bunny Boots were the big white ones, and we HATED those things….our toes would wrinkle from being soaked with sweat inside of 12 hours…but your feet did stay warm…they were just a real bitch to try to walk in….. When it comes to Muks, I treat them with Camp Dry in the summer (literally soaking them and letting them completely cure) and also put in a felt pac boot liner that supports my ankles better than the issue ‘bootie.’ Learned that in upstate NY when stationed there in the early 80’s…it basically got seriously cold, especially on midnight shifts working on the flight line and perimeter. An aside, interestingly enough, your method of layering coincides directly with what we did for deep cold: USGI tshirt, long john shirt, pants, USGI wool sweater (at least a size larger than necessary so it would be loose enough to trap dead air), BDU uniform, field jacket liner, and field jacket (treated with Scotch Guard). Pile caps or wool watch caps along with sun and wind goggles and face masks if the wind was a pain. We pretty much stayed snug and warm. 🙂

    As usual, a very useful post providing great information!

  2. I concur. I don’t see cold temps down to the level you do, but mid 20’s-30’s are the regular during the winter. 33 deg with 90% humidity and a bit of wind will make for a bad day if you have to be out in it for an extended period and don’t have the right clothing. Too many folks have trouble it seems seperating from their normalcy bias of everyday grid up life vs catrastrophic times. Dealing with the cold just going from your warm house, to a warm car, to a warm office, doesn’t require the same clothing as actually being out in the weather having to do things for extended time periods and through various states of physical activity. Folks down this way don’t seem to get it some times. I have some winter clothes I don’t use very often, but when I need them, I’m glad I have them.

  3. Pingback: On Operating in Winter…from JC Dodge | The Defensive Training Group

  4. Pingback: MDT: On Cold, Gear, And Using It | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  5. I finally broke down and bought some Merino wool baselayers. Couldn’t handle the stink from my old issued ECWCS ninja suits anymore. Very happy with the wool, it worked great for snowshoeing yesterday.
    Any recommendations for moving scent from synthetics? It seems like after five minutes of wear, they smell like the whole Russian Army walked across them barefoot.

  6. Great article. The older style gear you listed is good and hard to beat at the price but having spent time in the field with the army with the older style equipment you list and then repeating the same as we moved to the latest version of the ECWCS (waffle tops replacing polypro etc) I can tell you the new stuff is unquestionably better (all nostalgia aside). The good news is most of it can now be bought hardly worn for very reasonable prices. What I love about the new system is the extreme modularity, you can mix and match the 7 layers to achieve exactly what you need given the mission whether it be standing around in 10 degree weather or rucking in 42 degrees and pouring rain. Either way though people really need to get out and use it, you learn a lot about the rest of your gear most people only ever take to the range on a nice day. For example you might not be able to get to your holster under the coat (drop offset needed maybe?) or you realize you don’t have enough adjustment in your chest rig to fit over all your layers, that sort of thing.

  7. Can’t add much to this- great post. But I might add a bit of a “why” to the discussion. Background: winter camping enthusiast- spent many winters camping out in snow caves in the sawtooth mountains (bull mountain area of NW Utah), Logan canyon (home of a record low temperature in the lower 48 of -68, probably broken by now), and other areas. Snowboarding, cross country skiiing, and snow shoeing guy. And I know a bit about wool since I knit and also lived in New Zealand for a few years (where the sheep outnumber the people 30:1).

    With all that said, Wool is a great insulator for this reason: the fiber does not collapse when it gets wet. Cotton, on the other hand, used for dishtowels and bathtowels, readily soaks up liquids- and the fibers collapse upon contact. I hiked rim to rim in the Grand Canyon, and used a wool blanket for sleeping. It rained every night, and that blanket got pretty heavy (the problem with wool). So for warmth, wool is pretty good stuff even when wet, but keep in mind it will weigh a ton when wet. Wool, Angora (rabbits), Alpaca- it’s all good stuff. Lambswool is especially nice (but not as hardy as regular wool), since it doesn’t have the itchy qualities of full-grown sheep’s wool.

    Synthetics are also good- not quite as warm as wool, but the benefit is that they dry quickly. So many manufacturers have figured out how to combine fibers- superwash wool is great- it contains nylon to fight shrinkage when drying and wool for its insulative properties. I knit most of my socks out of superwash wool.

    As a general rule, the more bulk you have along with a wind-proof outer, the warmer you’ll be. Think down filled jackets, puffy fleece, etc. As you stated, layers are the best way to dress.

    A sleeping pad made out of closed cell foam (you can get these in huge rolls for pretty cheap- I have a 1/2″ thick sleeping pad discarded from a large shipping container used for computer parts). Closed cell doesn’t retain water, and is an excellent insulator. I saw an article years ago about a guy that made a “jacket and pants” out of closed cell foam, and went out and cut a hole in the ice in Utah Lake in the winter, and spent several hours- maybe overnight- testing his insulation suit, without any problems.

    Snow is an excellent insulator- as long as you don’t touch it. A two person snowcave built properly can obtain an inside temperature well above freezing just with body heat. (I’ve had one at 38). Doesn’t sound warm until we took the thermometer outside where it was -20. Make little “gutters” along the walls to drain the bit that will melt at this temperature, and you’ll appreciate the warmth.

    Steer clear of cotton for cold weather wear- at least as an outer layer, and I would suggest as underwear as well (although cotton underwear is much more comfortable than wool underwear!). I found out the hard way- I used a cotton hat as the outer layer from military surplus on my coat the first winter I went cross country skiing. The idea was to cross two mountain ranges in the Wasatch 35 miles from Bountiful to Coalville, reaching an elevation of 8500 ft. We got caught in a blizzard with 80+ MPH winds, and windchills in the subzero temperatures. We built an emergency snowcave to save my friend who developed hypothermia. but I couldn’t remove my cotton hat- the ice from the blizzard had frozen it to my head. That’s what started my research on the correct material for winter survival.

    Again, great article, hopefully I was able to add some of the why to the discussion.

    • cotton kills, it retains water. water transfers heat 25 times faster than air. you want exterior water resistance and interior water/sweat removal.This is why Bunny Boots do not keep warm for long time.I have pair i use every winter. best so far for the price. change socks, remove moisture. sweat pulls the heat out of your feet. you need material that can be soaked with moisture and still have air trapped. wool does to an extent but when wool gets soaked it takes time to dry. I’m just repeating what i have learned from safe harbor alliance and testing gear outside. downside is flame resistant oil based clothes do not exist. the foam cloth i plan on making, i will use a armind, rip stop layer on the outside. they will be for serious cold weather. sub-zero environments. http://www.winterfoamclothes.com/men

  8. Growing up in Northern Michigan and now living in West Michigan, I can’t stress enough the importance of layers! I’ve found layers help you adapt to the situation, and control your body temp. I’ve met a lot of people from warmer states that want the thickest and warmist coat they can buy, and then start to sweat and become cold as they work outside.

    A pair of sunglasses that wrap around your face is also a must; snow blindess is a real thing, and those that wrap also help protect your eyes from the wind.

    The one place I never cheap-out on is gloves (don’t be fooled by the brand); always have a good pair of heavy duty and light duty on your person. When its 10-degrees outside in the middle of the night and your fingers stop responding the way they should, you are in for a rough time.

  9. considering a +20-30F is warm during my winters. I have to prepared to be out in -20 too -40F. My next venture is homemade 1/2″ too 1″ foam clothes that is talked about at safeharboralliance.com.

  10. Great info from everyone.
    One thing most folks aren’t understanding is the cleaning of wool clothes, the old style ones. Most modern wool clothes today are pretty wash friendly, all my merino wool socks and long johns are wash and wear, throw them in the washer/dryer and you’re good to go.
    But for those of you with old wool sweaters, shirts, pants, glove liners, etc that need hand washing and line dry, pay attention. I learned quite a while back from several ladies who spin and weave their own wool, stay away from Woolite, it contains added ingredients that coat the wool, instead use Dawn dishwashing liquid of your favorite scent (the same stuff they wash oil soaked birds in) and you will get clean natural wool as it should be. Nothing else in the wash, and that means NO LAUNDRY SOFTENER either, the wool fibers have to remain free of oils and additives.
    I use my washing machine on cold wash/rinse with Dawn, then hang dry overnight on heavy wood or plastic hangers. Throw them in the dryer on AIR ONLY for 10 min to fluff them up, and you now have soft clean wool to wear. Do not allow the dryer to emit any heat or you’ll shrink them, AIR ONLY!

  11. I really like this article a lot but while reading it a quite distressing thought kept goong through my mind:
    How could I possibly use that knowledge while into a bugout-E&E situation?
    My bugout rucksack contains a rifle scabbard where I store my favorite and extremely reliable .22. then there’s a compression bag containing a Carinthia sleeping bag combo (Tropen and Defence 4), on the bottom a thermal insulation mat amd a Carinthia Observer bivouac bag. I‘ve tested above combination outdoors at -19 degrees Centigrade and it got almost too warm.
    Then, there’s ammo and other essential stuff when out on your own.
    I didn’t weigh this rucksack but it already seems very heavy – and there’s not even some water added to it yet.
    Thinking of the bulk of clothing makes me geel dizzy. Couldn’t carry that in such a situation.
    Some kind advise would be highly appreciated.

    • Honestly, if you bug out and then have a seriously low temps/weather issue, your best bet is to dig in and build a seriously well insulated shelter. That’s a survival skill all its own. If.it’s about.planning to carry it before hand, the short answer is, “You don’t.”. You take what is the most efficent and realistic items from what was talked about for keeping warm, and you leave the rest. A bugout falls under the “E” in PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contigency, Emergency) when it comes to planning for survival scenarios.

      • Thank you for your kind reply.
        So if I‘d bury the bivouac so that the cold winds can blow over it or put it up in some calm spot I should be ok along with the sleeping bag combo.
        Good to know to have taken care of the most important thing. Warm clothing as you just suggested plus water (including filter and purifier) and some food should keep me out of harms way gor the fits days.
        Thanks again!

        • Don’t forget, multiple days of below freezing temp can result if several inches of ground being forzen. Frozen ground is like cement.

      • I guess that’s a possibility, but what if you need it just to get to the rally point. I think you’re better off using a game cart or snow sled to carry the extra gear than to cache anything but the extra gear you might have.

        • 3 AM door kick…..Out the window or door like a bat out of hell…..Cart or sled might slow you down.
          Maybe have sled or cart 50 yrds from home ….What if they have dogs….or a drone…?…Feet don”t fail me now…..is my motto….

          • If that’s the scenario you are planning for, then EVERYTHING has to be stored or cached somewhere else (you don’t have time to grab anything, right?), and it is not really something most people can afford to plan on (two sets of everything).

  12. Some locales are much harder to predict. Two weeks ago here in NH we had freezing rain all day. Temp of 31°F all day winding up with 1/2″ of ice on everything. That night it dropped to -30° with wind gusts of 25mph (wind chill of -65). I knew in advance about the impending cold that night. Not knowing in advance would probably prove to be fatal more often than not.

  13. Don’t forget one great advantage the Russians had over the Germans in WWII… Russian long great coats that kept warmth in the body by shielding and protecting the legs and lower body from heat loss.

  14. Pingback: In Praise of “Old School”…. | The Defensive Training Group

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