Artic kit questions.

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RE8ELD0G

Full Member
Oct 3, 2012
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Kettering
Yeah all my kit will be tested first in the UK locally.
Then upto Scotland where the temps are a lot colder.
Then Norway around - 15 to - 20.
If all holds up well then I will use it on the Arctic survival course to try it properly at -20 and below.
By then I should have made any changes and got it all working to keep me really warm and cosy.

Only then will I be looking at going to somewhere - 30 or below.
With people who have done it before.

Like maybe Jokkmokk with the group.
 
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SGL70

Full Member
Dec 1, 2014
609
106
Luleå, Sweden
My unsolicited advice is not about kit, but to have in mind that everything take lot of time and is more cumbersome than normal...from moving about to taking a leak. Snow slows most everything down and layers upon layers of clothing don't improve your dance moves.

Aim for being Warm, Dry, Fed and Hydrated.

Winter is stunning (except when I am off for work and the plow has made Hadrians wall in my driveway)

Greger
 
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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Jokkmokk is nice. Has a famous Winter Market since centuries. Becoming a bit touristy I imagine. You can buy lots of stuff. A nice Reindeer pelt to sleep on maybe? Buy choose carefully, pick one where the hair can not be pulled out.
Last time I was there, 15 years or so, lots of the Same stuff was factory made.
The Real Deal is expensive, but worth every krona!
Head to the west from Jokkmokk, some great lakes there. Buy a permit, catch your own food!

Greger knows that the most common cause of death for middle aged men during winters in Sweden is the snow removal of the drive way in the morning.
He is clever, he sends his wife instead!
:)
 
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Wayland

Hárbarðr
Snip>
It is a myth the head has more blood flow than the rest of the body.
Same per square cm as the rest.
To remove your head gear in severe cold to cool off is risking your ears.

<Snip
Should have said blood flow near the surface.

We do radiate heat most quickly from the head. It's a side effect of having a large brain.

If your body is over heated and you have normal blood flow and you are not in strong wind there is little danger to your ears but they do need protection if you are cooler.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
I think that ’the Truth’ got adjusted a while ago.

The measurements were done so that the head was not covered/protected but the rest of the body was. The heatloss was (by far) the largest from the head then.
I think it was WW2 era German research done on Soviet pilots or something.
The latest test were done using heat sensitive cameras/equipment, showed the same heatloss over the whole body.

Most of the blood in the head is deep inside, in the brain tissue, and is not exposed to the cold.

All protruding bits like ears, nose, fingers and toes are vulnerable.
The bloodsupply TO them is shallow, will cool, and the blood running FROM them is shallow too.

But the head is the most difficult to keep warm.

In the old days ( my granddad’s generation) some armies equipped their soldiers eith a padded felt facemask, with holes for the eyes and a molded nose protrusion with a hole for the nostrils.

Granddad fought against the Italians and Brits on the Italian front during WW1, in the Dolomites, and he kept all his gear from that time. He had such a mask.

After I suffered the frostbites on my head, I learned to use the neck and front upper torso to regulate the heat. And started to use a silk balaclava as a furst protective layer.

I am happy not to have to live in the Arctic or Sub Arctic.
 

Wayland

Hárbarðr
OK, whatever you say, I'll remember not to wear a swimsuit in the Arctic then.

I thought we were having a conversation about practical real world situations. Maybe I was wrong.

In my experience from practical, real world situations it is still a lot easier to take you hat off and then put it back on again than bare your chest by removing multiple layers for short term temperature regulation.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
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Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
I think it is easy to open and ventilate the neck/ upper chest area.
A zip and a button or two.

My advice is for severe cold, as I assume the OP’ question is connected to his plans to spend time in as cold climate as he can?
 
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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,262
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
So in start to my planning for an Artic trip to Norway/Sweden I am starting this thread to ask kit questions.

First 2.

Mitts.....
Will brit army fur linners in the goretex outers do for these sort of temps?
If not then pls tell me some others that would work.


Mukluks.
Canadian army mukluks with felt/wool liners?
Would lowa goretex boots with either my Berghaus yeti gaiters or brit army mukluk over boots work?
Or something else?

Thanks.
Check out a guy called Eric Larsen. He has extensive experience if the cold, has done some epic trips.
He holds courses, something I recall you wanted to do!

Google him as ‘Erik Larsen explorer’

One more person I would think could be if interest to you is Lars Monsen.
He is a Norvegian (same) that is a true expert on the arctic.

He does courses too.
 
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We often have winter temperatures down to -30c and sometimes -40c depending on where we winter. We generally don't have fancy equipment or specially bought clothing.
Only advice I can offer is make sure you have nice big overmittens - even with wet/cold hands you will keep warm and gloves will not. When Its likely to be windy in the open most of the older hunters fixed mitts to a long thin leather string which we put through sleeve of coat and down to other mitt so both mitts were tied together That way you never loose mitts and they never drop into the snow which if they do and you are not careful it means any snow you don't brush off will melt when you put your hand back in them. I watch too many inexperienced people put their gloves or mitts on the snow and they end up with cold hands.
I also notice that these people who are not used to cool winters put too much clothes on in the morning. Five or ten minutes later when they are working hard on the trail and start to get hot and swet they have to stop and take clothes off. But they are now damp and soon get cold again. Better to start cold and get warm. that way you still have spare clothing which is dry and not damp and you don't swet.

Avoid getting wet by making sure you don't handle snow with gloves on. Most of us always take gloves off if we are handling things that are in the snow to make gloves stay dry. If you hands are keep dry they should not stick to metal - but Same for all clothes. Brush off snow (I use a small brush) so it doesn't wet your clothing and always do the same when you come in your shelter at night.
 

sunndog

Full Member
May 23, 2014
3,552
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derbyshire
Whe
We often have winter temperatures down to -30c and sometimes -40c depending on where we winter. We generally don't have fancy equipment or specially bought clothing.
Only advice I can offer is make sure you have nice big overmittens - even with wet/cold hands you will keep warm and gloves will not. When Its likely to be windy in the open most of the older hunters fixed mitts to a long thin leather string which we put through sleeve of coat and down to other mitt so both mitts were tied together That way you never loose mitts and they never drop into the snow which if they do and you are not careful it means any snow you don't brush off will melt when you put your hand back in them. I watch too many inexperienced people put their gloves or mitts on the snow and they end up with cold hands.
I also notice that these people who are not used to cool winters put too much clothes on in the morning. Five or ten minutes later when they are working hard on the trail and start to get hot and swet they have to stop and take clothes off. But they are now damp and soon get cold again. Better to start cold and get warm. that way you still have spare clothing which is dry and not damp and you don't swet.

Avoid getting wet by making sure you don't handle snow with gloves on. Most of us always take gloves off if we are handling things that are in the snow to make gloves stay dry. If you hands are keep dry they should not stick to metal - but Same for all clothes. Brush off snow (I use a small brush) so it doesn't wet your clothing and always do the same when you come in your shelter at night.
When we were small children our mother's would put our mitts on string through coat sleeves..........mothers know what they are doing lol
 

Wayland

Hárbarðr
Good post Joe. Spot on about wearing too much.

I usually try and aim for a slightly cool feel. Like walking down the chiller isle in the supermarket wearing a T shirt, which most of the Brits should understand.

As I mentioned somewhere above, dress for what you are going to do, not how you feel at the moment. If you are going to travel or work hard, take stuff off first.

If you know you are going to be sitting around inactive, put more stuff on to retain the heat you have built up, don't wait until you are cold.



I use an over the head rig which you can see at the top of the picture. I found it easier to take on and off when needed and while working I usually swing the mitts behind my back and hook them over the opposite lead which keeps them out of the way but still secure.

One of the reasons I carried several pairs of the fleece gloves is that I found they would keep my hands reasonably warm while working even if they got wet from the snow. When I stopped, I would wring out the wet gloves and I had cloth pouch hanging inside my clothing where I could then dry them out. I'd then pop a dry pair on before putting my hands back in the mitts.

This meant I was constantly rotating wet , semi dry and dry gloves but I never worked without something on my hands to prevent contact injuries.
 

Greg

Full Member
Jul 16, 2006
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Pembrokeshire
Having spent 5 full winters in Northern Norway this subject is one I enjoy talking about... I do enjoy hearing all about these super experienced Scandanavians who because they live there they know exactly what they are talking about... But from personal experience working with the Norwegian 5th Telemark Division.. Not many of the Norgy soldiers knew all that much.. The liason officers were good and knowledgeable but thats as far as it went..
As for clothing.. We got by without any fancy stuff, but admittedly we did augment ourselves with civilian equipment (Mostly from Cotswold Camping because we got it at 30% off and had it delivered to Norway so we didn't pay tax either )

So what did we British soldiers wear...

On the ski march / Snow Shoe Patrol
Two pairs of Arctic Issue socks
Goretex Boot Socks
Issue Thermal Long Johns & Long Sleeved Thermal Vest
Norwegian Army Shirt
Light weight issue trousers
Windproof Arctic issue Smock jacket
Inner issue gloves (similar to gardening)
Issue ECW mittens
ECW Deputy Dawg Hat
Goretex Gaiters
Ski March Boots
(If we were on a tactical patrol the Arctic Nylon Whites would be worn in which ever configuration suited the terrain)

Digging snowholes / shelters
Remove Arctic Smock
Wear Arctic issue Goretex Jacket & Trousers
Remove Thermal ECW mittens
Wear Goretex outer mittens
(I used to remove my hat too as it gets very warm digging)

On Guard duty (standing in a snow trench / built up defensive position)
As per Ski March order plus
Wooly Jumper
Issue Thermal Jacket (Chinese fighting suit)
Arctic Issue Windproof Over Trousers.

Ski-Orring
As per Guard Duty Order plus
Ski Face Mask with Nose Guard
Toe Mittens
Goretex Over mittens

Civilian Gear replacements

Thermal Wool Beany hat /Balaclava (white)
Meraklon Magic Inner Gloves
Dachstein Wool Mittens
Sealskinz Thermal over socks
HH Field Jacket (fleece)
Softie Thermal Jacket
Lundhag Ski Patrol boots
Berghaus Yeti Gaiters

Extras
Softie Thermal leggings
Thermal Snow work overalls
Mukluk Boots and Felt inner socks (but only in the driest conditions... Wet Mukluks are a nightmare)

I would obviously say that with the advances in clothing technology you could probably replace most if not all the gear I was issued with.
But 5 full winters in Northern Norway Skiing in the high mountains I never once got any form of frostbite.
But I would have to say that was down to personal admin & hygiene because there were other lads that did suffer who had the same gear as myself.

Just my pennies worth.. Take it as you will
 

Greg

Full Member
Jul 16, 2006
3,579
55
Pembrokeshire
Other additions that are good for temp regulation are thermal wrist warmers...

As for venting heat... We always used to have a saying when about to undertake any form of work or arduous event in the Arctic (but really it appliea anywhere) . ...."Start off cold.. Because you'll soon warm up"
Earlier there was a debate about venting heat during hard work.. One was, simply remove your headware the other was vent the upper chest area off... Well both are right in my opinion.
On Ski / Snowshoe Marches... We'd have a "Vent stop" every 15-20mins...where we would stop skiing and open up the top of our smocks for a couple of minutes before carrying on... Then at further regular intervals we'd stop for a hydration break... Bergans/Patrol packs would come off... We'd remove our smocks and hats for a couple of minutes to fully vent then put on a warm top and sit and have a brew.. Before resuming the ski march.. All that was in temps - 20 and lower.
 
Having spent 5 full winters in Northern Norway this subject is one I enjoy talking about... I do enjoy hearing all about these super experienced Scandanavians who because they live there they know exactly what they are talking about... But from personal experience working with the Norwegian 5th Telemark Division.. Not many of the Norgy soldiers knew all that much.. The liason officers were good and knowledgeable but thats as far as it went..
As for clothing.. We got by without any fancy stuff, but admittedly we did augment ourselves with civilian equipment (Mostly from Cotswold Camping because we got it at 30% off and had it delivered to Norway so we didn't pay tax either )

ll
Interesting. I'm afraid we don't wear any fancy gear either. But are you saying all the Norwegian people you were with got cold?
 
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Greg

Full Member
Jul 16, 2006
3,579
55
Pembrokeshire
Not all....but a lot of the ones that I personally met were just as much novices in the Arctic as I was when I first found myself deployed to the Arctic with the army.. Simply because they didn't originate from those areas in Northern Norway themselves....kinda like people in Florida visiting Alaska in winter.