This time of year there are a lot of us spending time outdoors, especially those of us who enjoy hunting sports. It’s very important to prepare not only for the activity you’re participating in, but also for the weather you will be exposed to.
One of the most important rules to remember is also probably the oldest advice in the book.....always dress in layers.
Dressing in layers will provide a balance between your body temperature, your clothing and the weather. This doesn’t mean that the more clothes you wear the warmer you’ll be. It’s actually the type of layers you wear that will help you.
The layer closest to your skin should move moisture away from the body to prevent chill. You want to stay away from cotton because it absorbs moisture. A good first layer can be made of silk or a synthetic material like polyester or polypropylene.
The second layer continues to move moisture to the outer layer, but also traps warm air for insulation. This layer shouldn’t be too heavy or too tight-fitting. Clothing that is too heavy or too tight can cause you to overheat.
The outer layer’s purpose is to protect you from the elements. Down filled jackets are good if it is going to be cold and dry, and products containing Thinsulate® or wool are a good choice. If the outer layer needs to protect you from wind and water, a more water proof material is needed. You could use a vest, jacket or a completely breathable, waterproof suit made from products such as Gortex®.
Even if you’re not expecting wet weather, you should consider carrying a rain poncho with you. If the weather turns cold, a plastic poncho can help hold in body heat.
Another important thing to remember is accessories. As much as 70% of your body heat escapes through your extremities. Adding or removing a hat and gloves can help regulate body temperature.
It’s also important to keep your feet warm and dry. Avoid cotton socks since they hold in moisture (they didn’t call them sweat socks for nothin’) and you should also invest in a good pair of waterproof shoes. Be sure you ask questions and read the information available from the manufacturer. Most outdoor supply stores will be able to make suggestions and help you with your choices.
If you have room, it never hurts to pack extras. It’s always a good idea to have a spare set of clothing, gloves, socks and shoes in your vehicle or in your pack. You never know when you’re going to get wet and may need a change. Remember it’s never a bad decision to be prepared for anything.