Page 51 - WCM 2023 Winter Flip
P. 51

 This clearly was a case of what folks refer to as “cotton kills.” Proper insulation must provide layers of your captured body heat and draw the moisture away from the skin. Wool does this, but down, cotton, and the new synthetic products do not. They absorb cold air and moisture and allow them to be held against your body. Wool wicks moisture from your skin and keeps you warm – even if you get wet through perspiration or contact with the elements. Wool provides this lifesaving, wicking process unlike any other material.
I still enjoy the high-tech gear sometimes. PrimaLoft insulation, made from a synthetic, single strand, provides great protection if it remains dry. I rely
on a sleeping bag filled with PrimaLoft, and boots insulated with Thinsulate, another great product that must remain dry to work in cold weather. I also wear a vest filled with PrimaLoft under my wool coat. If
it gets wet, I take it off before it becomes a problem. When it stays dry, it really helps cut the cold when
it gets near or below zero. Other newer synthetic clothing wicks moisture, but doesn’t keep you warm if it gets really cold. I often rely on synthetic clothing during the hot summer months because it keeps the sweat off my skin and dries quickly.
Guiding Secrets Toolkit
As a Maine Guide, I have a few tricks up my sleeve for when I am going to be outdoors for more than a few hours. It pays to have an extra edge if you want to stay comfortable when the temps dips near or below zero.
Besides wearing wool clothing, I have found that if I am going to be stationary (like when ice fishing, snowmobiling, or sitting on a deer hunting stand), I can stay toasty warm by slipping some of those heat-producing chemical packs between my shirt and long johns near my underarms. The heat packs keep my core temperature nice and warm for several hours at a time. I keep a few in my pockets to keep my hands warm, too.
I also wear a funny looking trapper’s hat, especially
if I am going to be out in the raw wind, or if the temperatures promise to get below zero. Some folks call this a “Bomber” hat. Mine is lined with rabbit fur, and has ear flaps that button down tight to my head. It holds the heat in so well that if I get moving around at all, I have to remove it and switch to something else before I get overheated!
Another key element to staying warm is finding a
way to keep your feet from getting cold. If I’m mobile in the woods, even in freezing temperatures, my
feet seem to stay warm without wearing huge, over- insulated boots. If I am stationary, that’s when I put on the best cold weather boots available. I used to own
Above:There’s nothing warmer than a real fur hat.
Below:The ol’ L.L. Bean pac boots are pretty warm with heavy wool socks.

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