Page 50 - WCM 2023 Winter Flip
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 Snowmobile rides in the harshest winter weather are fun and comfortable when properly geared-up.
threatening” situation. At all times, it would have been easy for me to walk to any of the nearby homes along the trail if I needed to. During the ordeal, I occasionally checked my thought processes when tying knots on the tow rope. My thinking was that if I started to go into hypothermia, my small motor skills would be the first to go, but I seemed to be unaffected. So what did I have going for me?
I was wearing Smartwool long johns and socks, Merino wool boxers, a pair of Danner winter boots with sock liners by Under Armour, a simple pair of poly blend bibs with a thick wool shirt, and a poly- filled snowmobiling jacket. My mittens were wool- lined leather.
My belief is that if I had been wearing cotton-blend, down, or synthetic insulated clothing, the whole scenario would have been different. This is a true testament to the effectiveness of wool clothing in cold weather. I don’t ever go out in the field, in those types of conditions, without wearing some variation of the name brands mentioned above. Thank you Smartwool, Danner, and Under Armour!
Insulation Evolution
I’ve evaluated outdoor clothing made with various types of insulating material, from fluffy cotton, to the best goose down, to the highest tech stuff on the planet. I grew up wearing “thermal” underwear products from cheap box stores and really thought that it was an improvement to move up to the then- popular Duofold long johns, the best thing around at the time.
I’ve tried some of the latest synthetic insulation at temperatures below zero on various camping trips. Those (and down) really do keep you warm, but I can never rely on not getting wet, so I tend to stay away from anything but wool. Nowadays, I wear all wool – everything, except for sock liners, a jacket liner filled with PrimaLoft insulation, and rubber or leather boots.
I remember hiking up Old Speck Mountain with
a fellow that insisted on wearing all cotton. Temps were only in the fifties, but a brief cool downpour must have really chilled him, even though we were constantly climbing the hill at a good clip. By the time we reached the lookout tower near the summit, his teeth were chattering and his whole body was shaking uncontrollably. He started shedding his wet clothes, and we noticed he couldn’t speak clearly. I had him start jogging up and down the trail while I fired up
my stove and made a cup of hot tea for him. After downing the tea and eating a power bar, he warmed up enough to follow us back down the trail to our cars.
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