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Cold weather gear

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Selftest, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. Selftest

    Selftest Bellingham, WA Member

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    This winter, I will be working outside. Being a native of a much warmer climate, I don't understand the concept of "layers."

    I was told that the gore tex stuff is good if you wear layers in the deep of winter. Keeps you insulated and dry. One problem: It's really expensive! Any advice on how to keep warm without breaking the bank?

    To add: I work security, so all my gear will need to be dark blue/black and professional looking, as far as in a patrol capacity. Also, seeing as how I am going to be in a heated vehicle the majority of the time, what is the best way to get warm when I need it, and stay cool in truck on patrol? Again, I have no concept of what it means to be really cold. My last patrol job in California, I did experience cold weather, but we had specific uniforms to wear without the benefit of being allowed to dress for the cold. I found myself either far too warm (long johns under BDUs and Polo shirt with a zip out fleece liner and a windbreaker) or absolutely freezing without the long johns... Never found a good balance, as our cold weather never lasted very long.
  2. jordanka16

    jordanka16 Albany, OR Active Member

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    Layers are by far the best way to stay warm.

    I usually wear a long sleeve shirt, a fleece jacket, and an M-65 with a liner. The jackets come in a dark blue and black, and it's easy to take off the jacket when you get in the truck.

    as far as rain goes I usually just add a pvc rain jacket if i need it, it comes off easy when I get in the truck too.

    I really like those wool mittens where the mitten part flips up to a regular glove, they work really well in case you need to operate a firearm.
  3. smithmax

    smithmax here Member

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    Also see what hat options you have, and those little chemical hand/pocket warmers can be an excellent treat on those really cold days (I bought a bulk pack 3 years ago at costco for $14 and they are still good when I open them up).

    For work in the winter I'll usually layer with long underwear bottoms then thick carhartt pants. Top is long underwear type top -> t-shirt or long sleeve shirt -> then our companies puffy/quilted bomber style jacket that can zip into a rain jacket, and then I'll wear a beanie if it's really cold.
  4. Chee-to

    Chee-to Oregon Well-Known Member

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    +1 on thermal undies :thumbup:
  5. dario541

    dario541 medford, or 97504 Member

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    I have lived in Oregon since 1955. Prior to that I lived in Colorado for 7 years. The truth is, I did not know how bad those Colorado winters can be until I lived here in Oregon for a few years. I personally do not dress too much differently in summer or winter. One concession I make to winter is a stocking cap (I no longer have sufficient hair to protect my head) and a jacket. If I have to go into the rain I wear a slicker. I NEVER wear thermal underwear or a heavy coat. Other than that I don't do anything differently summer or winter.
    After a while you will become acclimated to the mild Northwest winters and I don't think you'll have any problems.
  6. darkminstrel

    darkminstrel PDX Well-Known Member

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    Stay away from cotton, wool is your friend. mil-surp CWSG can be had in khaki and navy so you don't look like gi-joe at work.
  7. 9MilMan

    9MilMan Milwaukie Active Member

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    A fleece pullover and Gortex shell, along with a pair of waterproof gloves will give you what you need for 95% of Oregon winter. Your typical Oregon winter day is in the mid 40s and drizzling. Take it from someone who grew up in Florida and came here from S. California. It's not that bad. If you buy a bunch of heavy garb (like I did when I moved here), you'll waste your money.
  8. dario541

    dario541 medford, or 97504 Member

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    I have lived in Oregon since 1955. For years all the extra I wore during the winter was a sweat shirt. Now, I have a light jacket. After a winter or two you'll see how mild the weather is in Oregon.
  9. treemanx

    treemanx Spray, Or. Active Member

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    Hit your local Army Surplus store and look for polypropelene long underwear. Put that on as an underlayer, and your regular clothes over the top and you'll be great. They breath well so you dont sweat, but keep you nice and warm. They are likely going to be used military issue, so make sure you wash them before you wear them, but they are inexpensive and work great!
  10. Mr.510

    Mr.510 Belfair Washington Member

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    If you're on patrol in Bellingham it's going to get pretty cold and windy at times and you'll be in the snow too.

    You said you don't get the concept of "layers" so I'll address that. Dressing in layers is simply wearing multiple garments over each other. In our climate this works very well as you can adapt your level of protection "on the fly" depending on what you're doing. As an example, I always wear a T shirt as the bottom layer. Then a fleece zip-up jacket. If I'm out in the rain I throw on a Gore-Tex shell with a hood over the top. If I get too warm I can either unzip the shell and fleece or take the fleece off and put the shell back on. If it's really cold my bottom layer is long thermal underwear. Layering is about being able to adapt to the conditions at hand, rather than just having a parka or heavy jacket that only gives you two options: on or off. Also, staying warm is about trapping air between the layers of your clothing. You'll be warmer with four thin layers than with one really thick one and you can mix-n-match the layers depending on conditions.

    Fleece is your friend. There's a reason most of us natives wear it all Winter. It's really light and traps lots of air to keep your warm, but it's still breathable so you don't get clammy underneath it. There is also wind-block fleece which is not as breathable but keeps you warmer in the wind. I would start with a good zip-up fleece jacket over a T shirt. Then add a waterproof shell only when you need it, like if you need to walk a long ways in the rain or snow. If you just need to hop out for a minute in the rain the fleece hardly absorbs water and dries very quickly.

    Gore-Tex is the original membrane fabric that allows air and water vapor to get out without letting rain or snow in. There are a ton of "knock offs" now that are much less expensive and work almost as well. For mountain climbing, get the real deal. For your situation find something that's breathable and "water resistant" and you should be fine. You'll probably find you rarely put the rain jacket on, unless it's raining or snowing sideways. Something like a PVC slicker will be absolutely miserable unless you have fleece under it, and even then it sucks after about half an hour as you get wet and clammy from trapped sweat vapor. Probably the most important thing in a rain coat is that you get a "shell" which is just the outer layer with no lining inside. If the coat is lined you're stuck with two layers and your adaptability sucks.

    If you can, go with something like Carhartt double-front work dungarees. I wear them all year. They're as tough as anything, have great pockets, and the double front panels help keep the cold off your thigh muscles. Keeping your thighs warm is key to retaining body heat in the cold. Since the double panels stop short of your crotch you don't end up with schvettyballz when sitting in a vehicle. :) When it's snowing you'll probably want some poly long johns under the Carhartts if you're out of the vehicle much.

    There are some great tricks for layering gloves as well. Get some loose fitting water resistant gloves for the outer layer. Then get some of those glove liners with the aluminum strands in them that all the outdoor stores sell. If your fingers get cold slip those under your outer gloves and you won't believe the difference. For when it gets really nasty carry some disposable latex gloves that are one size too big. Put your glove liners on, the latex gloves over them, then your outer gloves. This setup will keep your hands warm down into the low 20s, and it's still adaptable since you're layered. I always carry glove liners and latex gloves under the seat of my motorcycle for this purpose.

    As to warming up, keep a thermos of hot coffee, chocolate, or water in the vehicle. Sipping hot liquid does wonders to warm up your neck and this takes away most of the discomfort of getting chilled. You'll probably find you keep the temp in the vehicle relatively cool, just warm enough to keep the fog off the windows. That way you can dress for the weather without getting overheated driving around.
  11. elsullo

    elsullo Portland Oregon New Member

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    I spent most of my life before retiring working outdoors, and paid a lot of attention to keeping warm but not getting too hot while working physically. I found that keeping my legs warm allowed me to wear lighter jacket layers that I could zip open to cool down during exercize.

    I eventually found the most comfortable, effective, and warm element was SILK LONGJOHNS! Don't laugh, it won't make you effeminate, just warm and comfortable. They don't hold dampness like cotton, or get itchy like polypropalene, and are warmer than both. Cabela's sells boatloads of washable silk longjohns to skiers and ice skaters, and their price and quality can't be beat (order one size too large).

    My second and less-expensive choice was Duofold double-layer longjohns: soft cotton on the skin and heavier wool on the outside, which wicked moisture away fairly quickly, keeping warm even while damp.

    Next, you have to keep your feet warm with heavy wool socks! If you don't like the itch, wear light cotton socks under heavy wool socks. I found the best were the "red-top knee socks" by Wigwam.

    Finally, a simple scarf of cashmere wool or fleece will make every day a comfortable existance. Wear it straight down to insulate your jacket zipper, or wrap your neck well to seal your collar from the wind. Stuff it in a pocket when warm.

    Oh, yeah, don't forget to keep your EARS WARM. Lightweight wind-block ear bands are great, or "Ear-Pops" that hang on your ears work well if an earband interferes with your hat. If nobody cares what you look like in the dark hours, try a flannel hard hat liner, sold in industrial clothing shops, which gives you a thin and warm form-fit hood. These stuff well into a pocket for emergencies.

    AND, try that silk!............................elsullo :thumbup:
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
  12. Silver Fox

    Silver Fox Puyallup, WA Well-Known Member

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    Gore-Tex is a thin membrane that water (supposedly) does not penetrate but presperation will pass through, or so the theroy goes. The weak link are the seams. If you get a gore-tex jacket ensure it is sealed w/ gore-Tex tape on the seams.

    +1 on silk weight long johns

    +1 cotton kills

  13. Buddhalux

    Buddhalux Hillsboro, Oregon Active Member

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    I just got two Under Armor Cold Gear 1.0 mock turtle neck long sleeve shirts this week. They do keep you pretty warm but not uncomfortable after you get used to having something tight on you like a second skin.
  14. GabbyHaze

    GabbyHaze Milton, Wa New Member

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    What some didn't mention is if yo are wearing baggy clothing to wear at least one layer close to the body to maintain your body heat. this will keep you warmer than waring 4 or 5 baggy shirts.