Today we present another article in our non-fiction writing contest –Jane W
Some forecasts for this winter say it will be a very cold and wet winter. When it is 80 degrees out it is hard to think about winter clothes. However, winter is coming and now is a good time to prep for it. I have seen weather temperatures at -10 degrees for a week while at the same time the electricity was out due to an ice storm. The wood stove kept us warm inside, but animals had to be fed, snow shoveled, and wood brought in for the stove. A person can get very cold in a short amount of time in those conditions if not dressed properly .
When it comes to clothing, what could make such a difference in how comfortable you are in brutal conditions, you might ask? The answer is technology. When we think of technology we usually think of computers, I phones, e readers and Big Brother. But technology has affected the clothing industry as well. Your choice of clothing in combination with techniques in wearing it could make the difference between being comfortable and freezing to death in cold conditions.
I have had the “misfortune” of needing to shop second hand stores and yard sales and rely on hand me downs for clothing for some of my families clothing needs as far back as the 1970’s. The development of styles of clothing, fibers and fabrics, and availability of cold weather clothing has changed tremendously. I still prefer to shop second hand instead of spending potentially hundreds of dollars for quality winter clothing at retail stores.
You not only avoid the higher prices by shopping “thrifty”, you also know that what you buy won’t shrink (almost all used clothes have been washed and dried in a dryer), and will withstand the wear and tear of being worn. I am sure many of us have bought new items only to find that upon being washed that they shrink or fade with one washing, thus wasting money.
Some people are worried about germs on clothing from second hand sources but clothes can be sanitized by adding two tablespoons of bleach to a washer load of clothes no matter the type of fabric. I usually add the bleach to a quart of water before adding it to the washer load so I can be sure the bleach will not damage the clothes when poured in the washer.
I have learned to look for certain types of materials and processes to help me select the best articles of clothing for my needs. For example, wool, silk, down and polyester and other synthetics are best for cold weather. Cottons, cotton blends, and linen are best for warm weather.
Cotton breathes, it hold moisture and will not keep you warm if it gets wet. Wool and synthetic fibers, on the other hand, will hold warmth even when wet. Down is useless when wet, if kept dry it is a good insulation for cold weather. Fabrics made with fibers processed with trademarked processes such as Gortex, Polartec, Thinsulate and Dri-fit as well as others may provide waterproofing, and possibly windproofing.
These processes are usually printed on the outside of the article of clothing rather than on a tag at the neck or on the inside seam where washing instructions are frequently placed. A lot of manufacturers have gone from actual tags in the garment to printing information directly on the inside on the garment itself at the neck. This has been a good thing in my opinion since I have purchased clothing with tags that scratch so badly that I have had to remove them so I could wear the item comfortably.
There are techniques in wearing clothes to stay warm as well as not get overheated and increase risk of hypothermia. Clothing should include a base layer of long underwear; bottoms and top. Personal preference dictates whether the long underwear top is sleeveless, short or long sleeved. A long sleeve shirt and sweater, or fleece make the second layer and third layer.
Pants, snow pants and/or coveralls and heavy coat are necessary if staying out of doors for very long. Obviously since you are wearing these over several layers one size larger than you usually wear may be needed. Clothing should be large and roomy enough for unrestricted movement. Warmth is increased by air trapped between layers which body heat provides, so tight clothing is not the most desirable.
I have worn as many as five layers of clothing, including two pair of socks, gloves with liners, face mask, scarf, and two hat when the wind chill factor was -30 and I was pretty comfortable. Some clothes are waterproof but most are not. Waterproofing can be added to almost any fabric by spraying with a commercial waterproofing spray but the effectiveness is not as good as a commercially produced waterproof products.
A buff (a synthetic tube of fabric worn around the neck) or scarf, hat, gloves, and gaitors (these cover the top of the shoe and bottom of the pant leg and keep pant legs and shoes from getting wet when working in snow and wet bushes) and boots or shoes complete the outfit. Shoes or boots that are insulated and waterproof are best since getting your feet wet can be disastrous.
I have never had frostbite, but came close a few times without realizing it. Warming toes and fingers that have come close to freezing is painful to say the least. I usually buy shoes and boots new, although I have found new ones at thrift store for $10- $20 as compared to the near $200 price for new ones.
The process of staying comfortable in all of these clothes includes not only putting on all of these items before going outside but also removing some of them as the day warms up and as you heat up if you are exercising or working . Sweating is to be avoided and removing your hat, scarf or buff is the first thing you should remove if you begin to overheat.
If your clothes become wet from sweat you significantly increase your risk of hypothermia. Hypothermia can be a problem in temperatures well above freezing, so avoiding get wet and chilled is very important. If removing your hat, buff or scarf is not sufficient to cool you off, you can remove your coat or coveralls next. I have literally had all of these items on for a few hours and as the temperature rose from 0 to 40 removed all except underwear and first layer of clothing, shoe, socks and gloves.
There are many stores and products out there these days selling clothing at extremely high prices and when shopping thrift stores etc. it is helpful to have some general guidelines that will help you get the best value for you money. Some stores such as Goodwill and Salvation Army are separating their merchandise accord to how high the retail price was and how new it is and calling them their “boutique” section. Expensive retail clothing is not necessarily what you are after when it comes to durable, serviceable, warm clothing for a very cold weather situations.
Sporting goods stores are good places to “window shop” to see what specialty products and brands they are selling and help you know what to look for in thrift stores. The prices in sporting goods stores, such as Cabela’s, Dick’s, REI, Bass Pro Shop etc., are for quality merchandise that will probably last a lifetime and bargains can be had at the end of seasons in their” bargain cave” and on their clearance racks.
Shopping for these kinds of items in thrift stores is best in areas where there are a lot of winter outdoor activities. Common winter sports such as hunting, 4 wheeling, biking, hiking, and fishing require specialized clothing. The availability of these specialized clothes in thrift stores increases in areas where lots of people are doing these things, so theses areas are good for shopping for your needs.
I recently spent $15 for a coat at a local thrift store . If I had not been aware of Goretex ( wind and waterproof ) I would have passed this coat over. It was only after I bought the coat and was wearing it when someone more knowledgeable than myself ) noticed it and complimented me. I was curious enough to Google the name brand of the coat and found out it was originally a $400 coat. This coat and a regular shirt are a warm as a couple of other layers without the bulk which I like when moving hay, loading wood in the rain and digging fence post holes.
I am handling the extreme conditions of winter in style and comfort at great savings. My bug out outfit is ready and waiting if the need arises. Since you might be forced to live in the clothes you have on for an unlimited amount of time selection of these articles of clothes is very important.
If you haven’t shopped for your family’s cold weather bug out outfits, consider doing so at your local second hand shops. Shopping at charity thrift store that help “our down and out” neighbors and pets, can be of great benefit to them as well as yourself. I hope you find this information helpful and you have good luck meeting your clothing needs at a savings.
Prizes For This Round (Ends December 21 2015) In Our Non Fiction Writing Contest Include…
- First place winner will receive – A gift certificate for $150 off of any bulk ammo at Lucky Gunner, three bottles of Fish Cillin – Ampicillin 250mg (100 Count) courtesy of Camping Survival, and a WonderMill Electric Grain Mill courtesy of Chef Brad Revolution.
- Second Place Winner will receive – 30 Day Food Storage All-in-One Pail courtesy of Augason Farms.com.
- Third place winner will receive – A copy of my book “31 Days to Survival” and a copy of “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat“.
Please read the rules that are listed below BEFORE emailing me your entry… my email address can be found here – please include “writing contest entry” in the subject line.