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Some cold weather training thoughts.

Home Forums Self-Reliance & Preparedness Some cold weather training thoughts.

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  • #38865
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    The Merino Wool Base Layers Thread brought this to my memory.

    Seemed worth sharing.

    Even though I now live in Florida I have an extensive background in extreme cold weather environments.

    If you have spent much time here you know I’ve trained and overnighted in temperatures down to -65°F real temp, not wind chill corrected. Much of this was way North of the Arctic Circle.

    The quality and variety of gear has improved dramatically since my days.

    Just don’t over heat.

    It’s real easy to do, probably easier to do than in hot weather (know the signs of heat injury), and dehydration is a real problem in extreme cold. Drink plenty of water at timed intervals regardless if thirsty. Got untrained family or people with you? You will need to monitor their water consumption and probably make them drink. Check the color of the snow after they urinate, if too yellow they are not hydrating enough. Think this is too extreme? Want to carry them and their gear? Or have to consider leaving them behind if in a E&E? Sometimes you even have to babysit adults.

    One thing to remember; particularly when dealing with cold weather gear, there is no one size fits all solution.

    Getting advice to establish a baseline starting point is great and will help speed up your learning curve, but you have to actually get out there and train in these extremes of your AO.

    What works for one, won’t be right for another.

    Have a escape planned when conducting cold weather training to avoid damaging injury. Frost bite effects you for the rest of your life and doesn’t make you tough.

    Live in a cold weather area? Test your cold weather gear overnight in your backyard.

    Train safe and effective.

    Prove your skills and gear now!

    Your life depends on it.

    #38867
    Profile photo of Roadkill
    Roadkill
    Participant

    Joe is completely correct. Another thing to consider is the length of the cold season. I work outdoors and in the early part of the winter I’m freezing my butt off in 20 degree weather because my body has not acclimated from the summer/fall season. Towards the end of the winter season on last ice that same 20 degrees can be handled in a sweatshirt and windbreaker. This being said your gear is going to change based on how much time you spend out there. The guys on the Shackleton adventure to the South Pole were comfortable wearing lite clothing in the teens.

    RS/CTT Nov 16
    HEAT1 Aug18

    #38868
    Profile photo of Robert
    Robert
    Participant

    Great thread, thanks!

    Folks down South would be wise to head this info also. Back in 91 or 92 we were out in Central Florida doing some training. A handful of us did a solo night land nav class, with most not returning till about 1 or 2am. I was 19, young, dumb and full… Anyways, a young dipstick. I didn’t have good cold weather gear and I didn’t pack it. The guys on my team one of them had a small tent, they knew I didn’t have a bag- “you want to set up the tent?” I did the wanna be tough but very damn answer- “if YOU want to put up the tent” (in other words, I don’t need it but your pansy arse might… LOL). The guy just smiled and climbed in his extreme cold bag.

    It got to 19 that night. With normal BDU’s, a poncho and a space blanket I lay next to and probably sometimes IN the small fire. Woke up every time the first went out and shivering uncontrollably stumbled around to find more wood. Worse night in the woods I’ve ever had.

    A few years later I was buying an ECW sleeping bag system rated to negative 20 complete with fleece booties and hood. “Why you buying that, it doesn’t get that cold in Florida!” I said “I learned my lesson.”

    I got a mild case of hypothermia a few years before training in Feb in the rain. I’ve heard that you are more susceptible to hypothermia if you have had it before? Is that true?

    Don’t mess around with the cold folks!

    www.jrhenterprises.com
    RMP, TC3, NODF, CRCD 6/14, CP 9/14. NODF, Land Nav, 6/15. Rifleman Challenge 9/15- Vanguard. FOFtactics 3/16, 10/16, 11/16, 6/17,11/17 CTT, 6/15, 11/16, , LRMC-1 9/17 GA Mobile CTT and DA 10/16, GA mobile DCH 3/18, HEAT1 3/18 Alum weekend 8/18, Opfor CLC 10/18, DA 11/18 CQBC 12/18

    #38877
    Profile photo of wheelsee
    wheelsee
    Participant

    Many don’t realize that hypothermia is more of an issue in the South versus North or Mountain. A temp of 45 with 90% humidity will quickly chill one “to the bone.” Hypothermia is an insidious injury, you probably won’t realize its happening until too late.

    Which is heavier - a soldier's pack or a slave's chains? Napoleon

    Strength, Honor. Maximus (Gladiator)

    If you tolerate evil, you yourself are evil.
    Col Hugo Martinez, Commander Search Bloc

    William, in The Republic - CRS/CTT 2017, HEAT 2/CQB/FonF 2018, DCH 2018

    #38881
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    I’ve heard that you are more susceptible to hypothermia if you have had it before? Is that true?

    I had never heard this and can’t find any information to support this so I would say that is false.

    Hyperthermia (heat stroke) can damage the bodies ability to regulate body temperature in the future so this is what your are probably thinking of.

    I have mentioned this case before…
    4 Army Ranger Candidates Die in Chilly Florida Swamp

    Col. Galen Jackman, commander of the Ranger Training Brigade at Eglin, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying yesterday that the water temperature was 52 degrees, just above the 50-degree threshold set in 1977 after two soldiers died from hypothermia during Ranger training. The air temperature was in the 60’s after several days of chilly weather.

    Cold water (less than 70°F) can lower your body temperature, causing hypothermia. The human body cools 25 times faster in cold water than it does in air.

    Though rare in can occur in 80°F water if body is in a starving condition.

    Some Thread drift…
    If interested the data is out there, but there was a girl with a core temp near 50°F under water for more than an hour that survived without brain injury. Though it took something like 6 hours of CPR with full ACLS meds/techniques to achieve this with external/internal warming.

    I mention this only to provide hope to not give up; even in a “Post-Event” situation, if physically able.

    The rule that someone isn’t dead until they are warm and dead applies.

    #38884
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    About the charts, the core temp chart is needed for medical trained, the water temp chart needs to be briefed when conducting water ops whether by boat or swamp conditions, or if aviation over water.

    Yea, aviation maybe a stretch for us, but there are pilots here and you never know what may come available “Post-Event” so I don’t completely rule it out.

    #38893
    Profile photo of wheelsee
    wheelsee
    Participant

    Plenty of anecdotal evidence but here is information on disability guidelines that mentions long-term cold sensitivity

    http://www.mdguidelines.com/frostbite

    Which is heavier - a soldier's pack or a slave's chains? Napoleon

    Strength, Honor. Maximus (Gladiator)

    If you tolerate evil, you yourself are evil.
    Col Hugo Martinez, Commander Search Bloc

    William, in The Republic - CRS/CTT 2017, HEAT 2/CQB/FonF 2018, DCH 2018

    #38896
    Profile photo of First Sergeant
    First Sergeant
    Moderator

    Once someone was a cold weather injury or a hot weather injury, we kept a record of it. They were monitored more closely than others.

    As Joe and others said above, the only way to learn this stuff is to actually get out in it and learn what works. Just because something is advertised as cold weather gear doesn’t necessarily mean that it is.

    Several guys learned some hard lessons in reference to gear at the November 2015 CP.

    FILO
    Signal out, can you identify.
    Je ne regrette rien...
    Klagt Nicht, Kämpft

    #38897
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Plenty of anecdotal evidence but here is information on disability guidelines that mentions long-term cold sensitivity

    Just in case we are crossing wires here, hypothermia doesn’t have lasting affects with the exception of extreme cases, primarily we are talking where an individual was resuscitated.

    Frostbite is another matter all together, even mild frostbite has lasting consequences. Cold sensitivity, nerve damage, etc…

    Have a escape planned when conducting cold weather training to avoid damaging injury. Frost bite effects you for the rest of your life and doesn’t make you tough.

    With Winter here, I hope to help those dealing with it to avoid these problems.

    As well as pointing out that it doesn’t have to be Arctic conditions to experience cold weather injuries.

    Remember those Rangers in the above article, trained physically fit servicemen with professional instructors providing supervision and still 4 died.

    Lack of respect to these dangers is very costly!

    Several guys learned some hard lessons in reference to gear at the November 2015 CP.

    Don’t let VTC be the place to learn such lessons, you have plenty to occupy your mind those classes.

    #38898
    Profile photo of Mike Q
    Mike Q
    Participant

    As one of those guys in the November 2015 class. Let me just reiterate; each person is different. What is comfortable for one person is freezing for another. I did everything Max and 1st Sergeant suggested online, during the patrol base overnight. I learned a massive difference of 3/4 sleeping pad vs. full length that night! I don’t think I slept at all that night and was physically worthless the next day. 1st Sergeant had to keep a close eye on my that next day. That’s when he pulled me aside and started suggesting some of the below actions and letting my know my build type is the hardest to keep warm in winter months.

    I’m a relatively slight build, 5′-11″, 165 lbs. Therefore I’m always cold, and when I sleep I get even colder. I will have to carry more cold weather gear and sleeping accommodations then larger warmer body guys. It’s a fact.

    I’ve spent some nights in the cold since trying to adjust my gear to make appropriate changes.

    As Joe stated, learn these lessons on your own. Losing one third of your training time is double shitty.

    There never seems to be enough time to do it right, but there is always enough time to do it twice.

    CRM Sept. 2014, CTT 1505, CTT July 2015, RC-Rifleman 1502, CP Nov. 2015, FoF March 2016, CCW May 2016, FoF Oct. 2016, FoF Nov. 2016, CLC April 2017, FoF Nov. 2017, Alumni weekend Aug. 2018, CQB Dec. 2018

    #38900
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    I’m a relatively slight build, 5′-11″, 165 lbs. Therefore I’m always cold, and when I sleep I get even colder. I will have to carry more cold weather gear and sleeping accommodations then larger warmer body guys. It’s a fact.

    I’ve spent some nights in the cold since trying to adjust my gear to make appropriate changes.

    I feel your struggle. I’m 6′ 183-ish, and I freeze every winter. Very little body fat. I have yet to find a pair of gloves that will keep my hands warm. Wool seems to be the only thing that works well.

    #38902
    Profile photo of Robert
    Robert
    Participant

    Growing up fat I always heard the “fat is an insulator” thing and thought it was BS. Then I lost about 50 lbs. and winter’s started seriously sucking for me. I believe the saying now.

    www.jrhenterprises.com
    RMP, TC3, NODF, CRCD 6/14, CP 9/14. NODF, Land Nav, 6/15. Rifleman Challenge 9/15- Vanguard. FOFtactics 3/16, 10/16, 11/16, 6/17,11/17 CTT, 6/15, 11/16, , LRMC-1 9/17 GA Mobile CTT and DA 10/16, GA mobile DCH 3/18, HEAT1 3/18 Alum weekend 8/18, Opfor CLC 10/18, DA 11/18 CQBC 12/18

    #38904
    Profile photo of wheelsee
    wheelsee
    Participant

    Just in case we are crossing wires here, hypothermia doesn’t have lasting affects with the exception of extreme cases, primarily we are talking where an individual was resuscitated.

    Frostbite is another matter all together, even mild frostbite has lasting consequences. Cold sensitivity, nerve damage, etc…

    Joe, the crossed wires are my fault….I had responded earlier with a hypothermia comment. I should have clarified the frostbite (local injury) versus hypothermia (system injury).

    Thank-you for the clarification, and yes, frostbite has long-term consequences/damage :good:

    Which is heavier - a soldier's pack or a slave's chains? Napoleon

    Strength, Honor. Maximus (Gladiator)

    If you tolerate evil, you yourself are evil.
    Col Hugo Martinez, Commander Search Bloc

    William, in The Republic - CRS/CTT 2017, HEAT 2/CQB/FonF 2018, DCH 2018

    #38905
    Profile photo of DiznNC
    DiznNC
    Participant

    Yep that time of year. I have been out training in it on a regular basis, which I find works well for me. Like a little bit every day so that you slowly build up a resistance to it.

    Overnight when you are static, the worst time. Obviously enemy sit drives the deal; when you can, you warm up with fires and such. When you can’t you suffer. I have found that 3 days without warming up is about my limit. After that I need to warm back up. So the thing is to try and limit your missions in close contact with the enemy to 3 days or less, then fall back “behind the lines” and warm up.

    Even the GI sleep systems get cold in extreme temps. You just need an enclosed shelter to warm up; bashas, lean-tos get cold, especially if the wind shifts.

    The other problem is movement and overheating during the day. Almost funny but the exact opposite. I am constantly hiking in all weather so I have my layers dialed in. It’s all about the level of exertion, and what corresponding clothing layers you need. And having a system that’s relatively easy to switch in and out of. So stay away from heavy, all-in-one clothing; keep base, insulation and shell layers separate to mix n match.

    Water bladders freeze up in colder temps. I use wide mouth Nalgene bottles instead. Fill them up with warm water to start with. Put them in upside down so the bottom freezes first and you will still have water at the top. I also use the 18 oz Yetis with hot ranger coffee and chicken noodle soup. They are usually good for 6-8 hours.

    Cannister stoves can be a little anemic in colder temps, especially at altitude. Keep your Nesbit stove handy or even your liquid fuel stove for extended ops. Hot liquids are essential.

    Feet are the big problem. When it’s really cold you need a good vapor barrier or over boot. Mickey Mouse, Sorrel, etc. The Norwegians have a nice issue over boot, similar to our Muk-Luks.

    For slightly warmer stuff, I still prefer a non-gtx boot. I’ve had really good luck with REI liner socks and Sealskins waterproof socks, along with OR gaitors, although I’m testing out some Bergan Yetis this year.

    For lube the synthetic stuff is good to around zero, then consider a good dry film lube. The old timers swore by Marvel Mystery Oil. Don’t know if that’s even around any more.

    Keep your weapons and equipment outside in the cold. Do not thaw then out with you. Doing so will cause condensation and possible malfunctions.

    Consider the jarhead happy suit as an alternative to a sleeping bag. Wear all your kit underneath it. Throw off when ready to move or fight. Great for sentry duty.

    CTT 1505, NODF 1505, CP 1503, LN 1, RC II, Rifleman

    #38908
    Profile photo of wheelsee
    wheelsee
    Participant

    Consider the jarhead happy suit as an alternative to a sleeping bag. Wear all your kit underneath it. Throw off when ready to move or fight. Great for sentry duty.

    Diz,

    I was totally ignorant of this, so i went looking.

    Here is a link from eBay
    http://www.ebay.com/bhp/usmc-happy-suit

    GREAT information :good:

    Which is heavier - a soldier's pack or a slave's chains? Napoleon

    Strength, Honor. Maximus (Gladiator)

    If you tolerate evil, you yourself are evil.
    Col Hugo Martinez, Commander Search Bloc

    William, in The Republic - CRS/CTT 2017, HEAT 2/CQB/FonF 2018, DCH 2018

    #38913
    Profile photo of Wes
    wesmc
    Participant

    I have found that while moving briskly, under a load of around 50 lbs, down to zero, I can only wear a thin base and a regular BDU shirt. Ceramic plates are great for staying warm, in my experience. Just need to pull on an outer layer like that happy suit, or something, as soon as you stop, right? I’m considering this piece of gear by Hill People Gear.

    https://www.hillpeoplegear.com/Products/tabid/762/CategoryID/4/ProductID/19/Default.aspx

    C2G Feb 2015, CTT March 2016, CQB June 2018

    #38917
    Profile photo of DiznNC
    DiznNC
    Participant

    Yeah the HP Mt Serape is a pretty good piece of kit. This takes the happy suit to a new level. Designed from the bottom up as a insulating layer for use when stationary. Simply thrown over all your existing kit. The idea being you’re not wearing any insul when moving, so it is worn external just when needed. So you don’t have to jocky around multiple layers to add insulation.

    CTT 1505, NODF 1505, CP 1503, LN 1, RC II, Rifleman

    #38920
    Profile photo of SeanT
    SeanT
    Moderator

    Frostbite sucks, ask my toes… I have a very hard time keeping my toes from freezing when it is deep cold.

    I have also given myself hypothermia in Virginia in the springtime so you can certainly get caught and suffer if you are underprepared.

    I’m built like Mike and don’t have much insulating fat. I try to stoke the furnace so to speak with high calories from fats and protein. Stay hydrated but empty bladder frequently so the energy is not trying to warm that liquid. Drinking warm fluids helps to not chill your core. Wind is the devil when you are cold so wind shelter is very important.

    #38923
    Profile photo of Ralph Kramden
    HiDesertRat
    Participant

    My brother sustained severe cold injury to his foot when age 19. Inebriated, crossed a frozen lake in sneakers with no socks. The next day, 4 of 5 toes on one foot were black. Mom had the family doc make a house call. He spread them out, gingerly with cotton, loosely covered, nothing touching. Said if it got worse or didn’t improve in 2 days, off to the hospital for surgery, i.e. they are coming off. He did ok.
    But to this day, 30 years later, cannot endure cold on that foot. Has forced him to purchase the best boots, socks for winter. Big price to pay for teenage stupidity.

    #38932
    Profile photo of Diomedes
    diomedes
    Participant

    So just as clarification:
    If you have hypothermia or heat stroke, you are not more more vulnerable to having it happen again.

    If you get frost bite, you can get nerve damage, which makes you more sensitive to heat and cold stimuli, thus the story above…..

    Dr. G

    #38933
    Profile photo of wheelsee
    wheelsee
    Participant

    If you have hypothermia or heat stroke, you are not more more vulnerable to having it happen again.

    Re: heat stroke, a couple or articles suggests otherwise, albeit temporary (in one article).

    This article from Current Sports Medicine Reports (2012) suggests that, in the case of heat stroke, you are more vulnerable, IF the events that led up to the heat stroke (at least in athletes) are not learned from. As well, the thermoregulatory functions may have been damaged. The article does point out that “the heat intolerance experienced after a case of exertional heatstroke often goes away within a few months.” https://www.outsideonline.com/1784146/am-i-more-likely-get-heatstroke-if-i’ve-already-had-it

    This article from Mayo Clinic also lists previous heat stroke as a risk factor for heat stroke (though doesn’t go into detail, which the above article may explain – one didn’t change or learn from the first one). http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-stroke/basics/risk-factors/con-20032814

    Which is heavier - a soldier's pack or a slave's chains? Napoleon

    Strength, Honor. Maximus (Gladiator)

    If you tolerate evil, you yourself are evil.
    Col Hugo Martinez, Commander Search Bloc

    William, in The Republic - CRS/CTT 2017, HEAT 2/CQB/FonF 2018, DCH 2018

    #38934
    Profile photo of Diomedes
    diomedes
    Participant

    I think we are confusing a few things here.
    So I’m not going to get into study design of strength of evidence or the biostats that lie behind it.

    It is true if you are not healed from the first insult, you are susceptible to the same insult again. That is different. Don’t confuse that with being more susceptible next time.

    The reason the lay mayo arrival reads that way is that if you are dumb enough to let it happen the first time…that stupidity is a risk factor.

    No evidence exists (varified by uptodate) that increased risk exists.

    And by the way. All medical journals are not created equal. The report that you quote, is in fact not rigorously peer reviewed and thus crap….

    #38935
    Profile photo of Diomedes
    diomedes
    Participant

    This whole conversation reminds me of why I hate the way media and the web portrays medical science. If it’s on the interwebz it’s got to be true.

    People don’t know what they don’t know. But google and internet experts make them think they do….

    Wheelse this is not directed at you just a general vent

    #38943
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    It is true if you are not healed from the first insult, you are susceptible to the same insult again. That is different. Don’t confuse that with being more susceptible next time.

    I think for the layman; vice medical professional, this is splitting hairs.

    It is true that the blanket statement “hyperthermia causes susceptibility to hyperthermia” is incorrect, however hyperthermia can cause permanent damage to the brain (hypothalamus) which has a number of possible problems to include hyperthermia risk.

    Traumatic Brain Injury from other sources than heat has also demonstrated this.

    Hyperthermia (heat stroke) can damage the bodies ability to regulate body temperature in the future…

    The reason the various US military survival schools have been teaching this; for at least the last 50 years, is to emphasize prevention and caution the layman treating this under survival conditions with little expectation of advanced medical treatment within 72 hours.

    Now if you have new evidence that all damage received from hyperthermia is fully recoverable I would like to see it.

    #38945
    Profile photo of Diomedes
    diomedes
    Participant

    Joe.
    Happy to continue this conversation if you find it useful. But I’m not sure it is.
    Still some concept confusion going on. And and biological plausiblity issues.
    Not Interested in arguing to argue.

    #38946
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Not Interested in arguing to argue.

    Agreed, I’ll send you a private message so we can discover the source of the confusion. :yes:

    #38947
    Profile photo of Diomedes
    diomedes
    Participant

    Lol good
    We are all the same tribe.
    No flame war needed or wanted.
    :rose:

    #38950
    Profile photo of DiznNC
    DiznNC
    Participant

    Yeah I mean you can argue the general theory all day but what really counts is what works for you. Lots of old wives tales, and I guess new wives tales and pseudo science to boot.

    I’ve heard all the old saws, and a few new ones, and really it comes down to personal experience. For instance, I’ve had lots of folks tell me that colds are not caused by cold weather exposure, but it’s some germ or whatever. OK, that’s nice but just about every time I over-do it in cold weather I get sick. Now you can tell me all day long that’s not what causes it, it was already there, blah, blah, blah, but at the end of the day, every time I stay out too long in cold weather, I get fucked.

    Now to me, I really don’t care what the science is, I just know what happens to me with cold weather exposure. Especially at the beginning of the season. Now I suspect it has something to do with my sinuses, but again, doesn’t really matter, it just is what it is.

    I layer up, limit exposure, and avoid cooling off too rapidly after rucking.

    So there’s my 2C from 61 winter seasons. Sometimes you just gotta get out there and figure out what works for you.

    CTT 1505, NODF 1505, CP 1503, LN 1, RC II, Rifleman

    #39185
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    deleted by skywalker

    #39186
    Profile photo of Hello Kitty (Craig)
    hellokitty
    Participant

    After reading this thread (thanks Joe), I decided to try out a new patrol bag in my bivy in 27 degree weather. I wanted to make sure it was enough for that temp. I did this in my backyard so if it wasn’t working I could just come inside. Patrol bag was OK temp wise, although I bit cool but doable. the problem is that the bag was too short. My shoulders were frozen. Also I felt like I was in a straight jacket. I think I will stick with my Intermediate bag. Its warm and roomy, even if heavier. :good:

    CTT 1502, NODF 1502, CP 1503, RC 002- Rifleman, FoF x 2, Run and Gun, RS/CTT, CLC, CQBC, Heat 1

    Craig S.

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