2Cold, Hard FactsCold weather exposure one of the leading causes of death for hikers in the U.S.About 600 people die every year from exposure.20% of the deaths on Mt. Washington since 1849 due to hypothermia.Just a few hours in freezing, windy weather can be fatal.Source: Stevenson, Jason. “Natural Born Killers.” BACKPACKER. October pg. 32.
3Consequences: Frostbite Damage caused to skin and appendages in extreme cold.Can set in as high as 32°F.Blood vessels constrict to preserve core body temperature, resulting in blood loss to fingers, ears, nose, etc.Severe frostbite can lead to gangrene, amputation.
4Consequences: Trench Foot Occurs when feet are cold and damp while wearing restrictive footwear.Can occur in as little as 12 hours.Feet become numb, turn red or blue, then swell.While treatable, can lead to open sores, fungal infection, gangrene, and possible amputation.
5Consequences: Hypothermia Drop in core body temperature, causing metabolic shutdown.Can occur in temperatures as high as 50°F.Results in confusion, muscle stiffness, unconsciousness, cardiac arrest.Know and look for symptoms while on a trip!
6#1 Prevention: Proper Clothing & Footwear If you dress properly and prepare accordingly, you can safely enjoy the worst winter weather Mother Nature has to offer!
7Cotton: What NOT to Wear Absorbs moisture, dries slowly.Loses all insulating properties when wet.“Cotton is the work of the Devil” - Motto of Appalachian Mountain ClubBottom Line: Do not wear any cotton clothing on a winter trip. You will be cold, wet, miserable, and risking hypothermia in the process. So remember, don’t be a Denim Dan!COTTON KILLS!!! Notice the jeans
8Boots Hiking or mountaineering boots are absolutely essential. Must be waterproof.Should have some sort of insulated lining to provide extra warmth.Look for boots that have crampon connections.If your boots are NOT waterproof: Buy either Sno-Seal or NikWax and apply it to your boots. This can be beneficial even for GORE-TEX lined leather boots which are wearing out.PAMPER YOUR FEET!!!
9Socks Heavyweight wool socks are an absolute must! Provide superior warmth, cushioning.Retain insulating properties even when wet.Bring at least 2 extra pair on your trips. Changing your socks is the first step in keeping your feet dry.TIP: Look for liner socks. They are made of thin synthetics or wool, and wick moisture from your feet. They also help to prevent hot spots and blisters.
10Gloves & MittsLayer Up! Wear fleece or wool liner gloves, followed by a waterproof/breathable outer shell glove or mitt.Sweat builds up easily inside your outer gloves, which freezes quickly once removed in cold weather. Only wear them when necessary.Mitts keep your fingers warmer by enclosing them in a single chamber, allowing heat to circulate better.
11STAY WARM! Most heat loss occurs from the neck up! Neck & HeadwearWind-proof wool or fleece caps are good for retaining heat.Neck gaiters offer added protection.Balaclavas give full head, neck and face protection; highly recommended for brutal cold and extreme weather.Headbands offer warmth for ears while allowing heat to vent from the top of your head.Headwear is versatile. Mix and match to meet the weather and your needs.STAY WARM! Most heat loss occurs from the neck up!
12Goggles & SunglassesThe sun is closer to Earth during our winter, making radiation more intense.Glare on days with a clear sky can cause snow blindness.Sunglasses with side coverings offer solid UV protection on sunny days when traversing over snow.Goggles offer better visibility during winter storms and squalls, keeping snow out of your eyes.Look for sunglasses and goggles with 100% UV and IR protection.
13Here’s what the pros wear… Layering SystemOne of the most important aspects of outdoor activities in winter weather is the layering system, and it varies depending on your level of activity. A hunter in a tree stand all day in 20°F weather is going to be wearing more layers than a hiker heading up a mountain in the same temperature. Because a hiker’s exertion level is so much higher, too many layers can actually be a detriment.Here’s what the pros wear…
14Level 1: Base Layer Acts as a second layer of skin. Usually polyester, silk, or wool.Wicks moisture, dries quickly.3 tiers: lightweight, mid-weight, expedition weight.Lightweight is ideal for hiking due to better performance at high exertion levels in cool temperatures.Mid-weight better for colder conditions.Heaviest base layers only necessary when level of activity is low, or if the mercury really bottoms out.Look for features such as ¼ zip necks, and (for guys) a working fly.Recommendations: Under Armour ColdGear, Patagonia Capilene, SmartWool.
15Level 2: Mid-Layer Provides added warmth to your base layer. Should be a synthetic, breathable, wicking, stretchy fabric such as polyester.Can be either a shirt or jacket.Jackets offer more venting options and easier on-off.Bottoms for this layer may not be necessary due to activity level.Look for features such as chest pockets, thumb holes, full-length zipper, etc.Recommendations: EMS Power Stretch SYNC Jacket & Tights.
16Level 3: Inner Insulating Layer Puffy synthetic insulation provides ample warmth, is highly water resistant, light weight, and compresses well.Ideal for inner layers where sweat is more prevalent.Fleece works well, but very bulky.Jacket should be versatile - usable as either a mid layer or outer layer.Pants only necessary in extreme cold or at camp.Look for features such as water & wind resistance, pit zips, chest pockets, draw strings, full side zips (for pants), etc.Recommendations: Marmot TR6 Jacket, Mountain Hardwear Compressor Pants.
17Level 4: Soft ShellCovers all other clothing in a wind-proof, water resistant layer.Appropriate for windy conditions, as well as light snowfall.Usually has fleece backing, providing a minimal amount of insulation.More breathable than hard shell.Pants work well over just your base layer.Look for features such as pit zips, chest pockets, draw strings, adjustable hood (for jacket), etc.When combined with levels 1 & 2, you’re set for most weather.Recommendations: Marmot Sharp Point Jacket & Scree Pants.
18Level 5: Hard Shell This is what you wear WSHTF. Provides complete weather protection for your inner layers.Should be constructed of heavy duty nylon, with a high quality waterproof/breathable membrane.Jacket should have pit zips, and pants should have full-length side zips in order to increase ventilation and easily remove.Should provide NO insulation.Look for features such as chest pockets, suspenders (for pants), draw strings, etc.Recommendations: Outdoor Research Mentor Jacket, Marmot Exum Pants.
19Level 6: Outer Insulating Layer Goose down jackets and parkas provide unheralded warmth, are ultralight, and compress well.Only necessary in extreme cold, or at camp when activity levels are low.Outer shell should be wind-proof and at least water resistant.Down retains zero warmth when wet, so reserve only for cold, dry places.Recommendation: Marmot Ama Dablam Jacket.**Unless you’re climbing Everest, you’ll never need the full suit!
20Layer by the Weather X O X = needed O = optional Weather Encountered Base LayerMid LayerInner Ins.Soft ShellHard ShellOuter Ins.Clear, calm, low-mid 30sXOClear, windy, low 30sLight snow, calm, upper 20sLight snow, windy, low 20sHeavy snow, calm, low-mid 10sHeavy snow, windy, approaching 0°FClear, calm, -5°FLight snow, windy, -15°FRecord Snow, Record Wind, Record LowX = needed O = optional
21Wait a minute…this $hit is EXPENSIVE! Total MSRP for recommended clothing $1,762.00Outdoor clothing and equipment, especially high-end brands, can be ridiculously overpriced. College students normally can’t afford most of this stuff.So…what is there to do?
22Tips for Getting Good Deals Subscribe to ing lists of as many outdoor retailers as you can find. They frequently offer sales on high-end brands, as well as free shipping.Examples:Backcountry.com (http://www.backcountry.com)Moosejaw Mountaineering (http://www.moosejaw.com)Eastern Mountain Sports (http://www.ems.com) ***EMS offers 15% off full price items to college students.Recreational Equipment, Inc. (http://www.rei.com)Campmor (http://www.campmor.com)Mountain Gear (http://www.mountaingear.com)Summit Hut (http://www.summithut.com)Altrec (http://www.altrec.com)Peak 62 (http://www.peak62.com)Travel Country (http://www.travelcountry.com)Check out the outlet sections of these Web sites. You can find some high-end clothing and gear for up to 50% off!Steepandcheep.comSteepandcheap is a Web site that sells one item at a time until it’s sold out, then brings in a new product. The good news? Everything is anywhere from 50% to 80% off!Look for similar clothing offered by brands other than the Big Four (The North Face, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, Arc’teryx). Clothing made by EMS, REI, L.L. Bean, and Cabela’s is high quality at a lower price.Check out eBay – you can find tons of new and used clothing for fractions of the full price.
23Things to Remember BE PREPARED!!! Only wear the layers that are necessary for YOU!Keep your extra layers on hand…weather in the mountains can change at any time!Have fun, and stay safe!!!