Take precautions when dressing for the outdoors in the winter
Posted: Friday, November 11, 2011 3:02 pm
I thought with the cold weather just starting to arrive and stay for the next few months, I would go ahead and pass along a few tips on keeping warm while outdoors in the cold and extreme weather conditions.
This applies to most everyone who plans to be outdoors for most any length of time, no matter what the activities or plans are.
The weather will and should dictate how you should dress for that day. One thing I tell folks living in the area of the United States that we do is that weather swings are sometimes frequent and can be brutal. So my first bit of advice to you is watch the weather. There are many ways of doing so with the Internet, cell phones, radio and TV just to name some resources. This is very important and by doing so, you should apply the following tips in trying to stay warm and dry.
Remember, it is so much easier over preparing by wearing to many clothes than not wearing enough. Being able to shed clothing you have on is a better choice than not having the clothing to add to what you started out the day with if you were to get cold.
Layering simply means wearing a combination of clothes (in layers) to help regulate your temperature and keep you warm and dry. The layers you wear for a given activity should be matched to the weather, your activity level and your personal preference. There are essentially three layers to consider: base, mid and outer. Each layer has a specific function. The base layer wicks moisture and perspiration away from your skin to keep you warm. The mid layer is for insulation and keeping you warm and the outer layer allows moisture to escape while blocking wind and repelling water.
Also, you want to avoid wearing too many clothes because of sweating. You don’t want this to happen because that could cause moisture build up in your most important clothing closest to you skin and body — your base layer.
Decide how many layers of clothes you might need for that day. If changes in temperature aren’t going to be extreme, you can limit your number of layers by being much lighter. However, if there are going to be great fluctuations in weather throughout the day, it’s a good idea to wear as many layers as you are comfortable wearing so you can shed or re-add as needed. If you are hiking or traveling outdoors, consider not only how cold it is outside but how warm it will be at your destination.
Begin with your bottom layers. You should wear an undershirt, underwear and socks. If it is going to be extremely cold, consider wearing long underwear. Your socks should be thick enough to protect your feet from cold weather. I like either wearing one pair of 100 percent cotton or wool socks.
Add your next layer of your choice over your undershirt. I like to add the Columbia or other major brand name base layers now. I also like adding the 100 percent cotton long sleeve over the Columbia stuff. The shirts shouldn’t be baggy, but it also shouldn’t be skintight. You want to create a thin layer of air between each layer of clothing for insulation. That warm air that is trapped between each layer will keep your warm.
Put on a pair of long pants. Denim and corduroy are good materials for cold weather and are versatile enough to wear in cooler temperatures if the weather changes. If you expect rain, consider a pair of Gore-Tex pants.
Wear a sweatshirt on top of your other shirt. The sweatshirt should be slightly more baggy than the shirt. It should not be extremely thin, but also not so thick that you can’t fit your jacket on over it.
If you are hiking or walking through snow or ice, select boots that are made of waterproof materials like Gore-Tex. Do not wear shoes without traction. In the winter, it is easy to fall on ice and get injured.
Finish up with your final layer, consisting of an overcoat and protection for your head and hands. An overcoat is vital in cold weather; choose a slick wind breaker or raincoat depending on the forecast.
Protect your head with ear muffs, scarves and hats. The body loses the most heat from the head and the feet; therefore, it’s very important to keep these areas covered and warm. Add a pair of gloves to protect your hands.
People don’t understand but by keeping your head and neck warm and covered, it will assist in keeping the rest of your body warm. This kind of acts like a chimney, so to speak.
There are many companies today that offer all types of fowl weather clothing with one of the oldest and the best, Columbia Sportswear. Under Armour is another popular brand name with other major brand name clothing which are not only limited to just the outdoorsman but for all athletes and people who are in the outdoors any length of time.
It is also a good idea to have a complete change of clothing with you as a backup just in case you are to fall in water or get wet in some way.
Moving on to hunting, the Reelfoot Lake Duck zone two-day waterfowl hunt will be this weekend on Reelfoot.
Ducks: The Daily bag limit of ducks is 6, and may include no more than: 4 mallards (no more than 2 of which may be a female); 1 black duck; 3 wood ducks; 2 pintails; 1 canvasback; 2 scaup; 2 redheads.
Also, you may have 15 coots and Gallinules; and 5 mergansers(only 2 of which may be hooded mergansers).
Please be advised that Reelfoot Lake waters levels are still very low and slow navigation is advised until we get some water in the lake. There will be tons of folks who will be on Reelfoot that aren’t from this area wanting to hunt and have no clue on the lake levels. So please keep a close eye on one another being safe at the same time.
The crappie fishing should be getting better and better in the coming weeks. Watch the weather for wind conditions as well. Water temps are in the mid-50s.
Don’t forget, the 200th Anniversary Bicentennial Celebration of Reelfoot Lake is still going on and that the Bicentennial Committee will hold a auction of donated specialty items including duck hunts, artwork, books, folk art and many more very nice items.
The items will be available for viewing Saturday at the Tennessee State Park’s Ellington Hall and Visitors Center. The auction will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Til next week’s column,
Catch ya on the water folks.
Published in The Messenger 11.11.11