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There's nothing worse than preparing for a cold weather hunt, only to get out in the woods and realize your gear is not going to keep you warm. To help you avoid this situation, we're going to review the best ways to stay warm while hunting.
We're going to go over tips, tricks, and gear that will keep you warm. Some of these items might be well-known, but there's some new information out there to help you stay prepared. Enjoy the blog and use these tactics to help you stay out in the field longer!
Cold fingers are one of the first things felt when the temperature drops and the discomfort begins. As the weather gets colder our bodies begins constricting blood vessels the reach out to the arms and legs, thus reducing blood flow to your fingers and toes. While it feels painful, the body is prioritizing your brain and vital organs, leaving the extremities to fend for themselves.
Cold fingers are one of the first things felt when the temperature drops and the discomfort begins. As the weather gets colder our bodies begins constricting blood vessels the reach out to the arms and legs, thus reducing blood flow to your fingers and toes. While it feels painful, the body is prioritizing your brain and vital organs, leaving the extremreties to fend for themselves.
To protect your hands and fingers from devastating effects such as frostbite, follow these simple tips:
Mittens Over Gloves - Most people don't know that their fingers create more heat when they are together as opposed to being separated individually. While mittens are a bit annoying, they are a great asset to keeping your fingers warm with minimal effort.
Make Sure Gloves Fit - Keep in mind that your body heat is the thing keeping your hands naturally warm while wearing gloves/mittens. To be efficient as possible you want to minimize the amount of space/air that exists in the glove - too much space requires a lot of energy to heat the area. If you can minimize this, while not over constricting your fingers, you'll retain as much energy as possible.
Use External Sources - Sometimes you need a lot extra help when it comes to keeping your hands warms. There's not a ton of things to do in this area, and many times the temperatures drop too fast. To add a little help, try to add disposable or rechargeable gear options to your pack!
Also, take a look at another blog reviewing the Best Hand Warmers for Hunting!
As discussed earlier, feet are in a very similar category to hands when it comes to their priority for the body. You'll quickly feel the pain of cold toes as it gets colder, even if you're well insulated.
The first step to keeping your feet warm is to stay dry and the blood flowing. Try to pair your hunting with a good pair of waterproof boots if you think there's going to be any rain or moisture on the ground. Additionally, if you're staying still, remember to move around your feet and toes if possible to keep your body pumping blood to those extremities.
To protect your feet from the negative effects of cold weather, follow these simple tips:
Avoid Cotton - Unfortunately, cotton is not the most efficient material out there - especially as a base layer. Once cotton gets wet it will start to extract heat out of the body. To avoid, this try a merino wool base layer or another moisture-wicking type material.
Use Liners - Sock lines are great because they offer multiple benefits. First, they add a bit more insulation between your feet and a thicker sock. Second, they transfer perspiration from you foot and moves it to the outer sock, giving it a better chance to evaporate.
There's an old myth that you lose close to 70% of your body heat through your head. Unfortunately, this isn't true and the actual number is estimated to be somewhere between 7-10%. While it may not sound like a large percentage, choosing a proper beanie or hat is one of the most important items of clothing for a hunter.
While trying to keep your head warm, many people tend to focus on the top of the head. It's important to find a thick beanie or bomber hat, but also remember to cover your entire face. Merino wool gaiters are great to shield your nose, cheeks, and lips from additional heat loss. One important tip is to wear a some type of hood over your beanie - this will create a halo around your head and produce a heat bubble in front of your face.
Layering up before you go out for a hunt provides a lot of advantages, especially if temperatures are going to fluctuate drastically throughout the day. Each layer is added for a specific reason, and incorporating all three provides the best protection system. To better understand what's need for each layer, check out the summary below:
Base Layer - The main purpose is wick sweat off your skin. Top materials include merino wool, polyester, and silk. The key thing to keep in mind is fit. Try to find something that is snug and comfortable, while not picking something too tight.
Middle Layer - The main purpose is to shield you from the cold and provide insulation. Top materials include polyester fleece, wool, and down. The key thing to keep in mind is evaluating warm agains weight. Try to find something that sturdy enough to hold insulation, but lightweight enough to minimize over heating.
Outer Layer - The main purpose is to protect you from wind, snow, and rain. Top material included GoreTex. Try to find something something that's breathable, especially your hunting pants. Adding a material that's too bulky will be uncomfortable and add unneeded weight.
For more information related to this topic, read our blog about the Best Waders for Duck Hunting.
Should You Eat Something Before The Hunt?
Eating certain can help raise your body temperature, especially those that take longer to digest. This process is cold thermogenesis. The official definition of this is the process of your body producing heat through food metabolizing. If you look for foods high in healthy proteins, fats, and carbohydrates you'll put yourself in a much better place to stay warm.
Can You Drink Something Before The Hunt To Stay Warm?
One of the first things to keep in mind is to stay hydrated. Having water in your system helps you retain heat. This is a very easy way to stay warm.
Outside of staying hydrated, having some warm tea or coffee before you enter the woods will help you warm your insides. While the impact is somewhat minimal is does help you for short periods of time.
Does Stretching Help?
It's important to note that stretching isn't really a strong way to keep you warm or warm you up. The main idea behind this is movement. By moving around you begin kickstarting your metabolism and thus creating body heat.
How Does Layering Help You Stay Warm?
Layering is a great solution for keeping you warm for a few reasons. By layering, you create different air pockets surrounding your body. This hot air, aided by body heat, will keep you warm and protect you from outside cold. Furthermore, layering allows you to remove clothing in case you get hot. This will help you cool down if needed and limit the amount of sweat produced.
Why Is Cotton Bad?
Cotton is a very sponge-like material if you really think about, and it should rarely be used as base layer when hunting. This material is great at absorbing sweat and holding it - something you don't want. This moisture directs heat away from the body, keeping you colder for longer.
For our blog about the Best Deer Hunting Blinds click here!