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Does anyone have any recommendations as far as cold weather gear goes? I am looking for a spandex type shirt of some kind. I need somthing that will keep me warm and keep the wind out. I was thinking some underarmor coldgear? This will have to be worn under BDUs btw, so it has to be black/brown. Thanks.
How cold are we talking about?
down to teens I guess. Wind chill is a huge factor.
my preference: Patagonia Capilene if fire resistance is not a factor. Merino wool if it is.
edit: no outer layer? No wind resistant layer? No insulating layer? JUST BDUs and "long johns" in a subfreezing, windy climate? Uh...rotsa ruck...
I have a gortex but I don't know if my tac gear will fit over it
Many things come into account:
-Time being exposed to elements and temp.
-Tolerance to Cold
Gore-tex is nice, but it doesn't breathe. Whool is heavy, not waterproof, stays warm when wet. You get where I'm going with this.
I often wear my birdman rompers for a lot of the stuff we do, which blocks exactly zero wind, so I wear a lot of the thinner Mountain HardWear stuff underneath, the tight knit WindStopper fleece.
They and Outdoor Research make balaclavas of the same material, which work pretty well.
I usually wear that stuff over UA ColdGear or Patagonia Capilene long johns. Mock turtleneck tops, no zippers, so I can tuck my neck gaiter into it and have it stay. I'm not a big fan of spray-on clothing, so while I'm usually an L, it takes a XXXL top to fit the way I like it because even what they tag loosegear is cut very snug. Bass Pro carries all the UA colors, tactical and otherwise, and REI has the Patagonia stuff, which is availale in all sorts of earth tones.
Is fire-retardance a concern? I know we operate under a no-synthetic-against-the-skin rule (which I pretty much ignore, due to the flight suit and general insubordination in the face of stupidity), but that stuff doesn't insulate well at all.
At the recommendation of a friend who sits in deer stands for hours at a time in northern Michigan, I just picked up a set of upper and lower polypropylene underwear from these guys (http://www.1starmy.com/products.asp?subCategory=18&parentCategory=581). I'm told that this plus fleece layer(s) and then wool or Gor-Tex depending on if you're expecting wet or dry will do the trick. I haven't had to wear it yet, but one of the groups I just started shooting with runs their matches in any weather so now I'm ready for the December match. January and February should be fun.
That stuff works pretty well, just be sure that you don't dry them in a high heat dryer. Always low, because that type of polypro has a fairly low melt point, so high heat can make it stiff and scratchy, and draping them over a space heater is a REAL bad idea.
Don't be surprised if it retains whatever stink you may generate. I know mine did, but it kept me warm in the process.
The labels say "line dry" so I will probably just do that. No big deal. And I'm not too worried about odor as I'm not going to be doing any heavy work in them, just the typical match routine of shoot then stand around for 30 minutes in the cold.
Underarmour cold gear should fit the bill.
There are alot of good choices out there.Really depends on your operational needs.Avoid anything cotton,old saying in outdoor/backpacking world "cotton kills".
Key is to use a layering system.Depending on your level of exertion and climate,layers can be added/deleted to avoid overheating.Sweat filled clothes are sure way to cause hypothermia.
I still use alot of wool clothing in my cold weather system along with modern synthetics.The combination works well for me and I never get cold.Synthetic polyester/polypropylene base layers help wick away moister into outer layers.
I find a base layer of a poly-pro(light to medium weight),wool sweater/shirt,fleece(200-400 weight depending on conditions),outer gortex ECWCS or heavy wool jacket/pants works well for me.The exact combo depends on how cold and my expected level of activity YMMV.
I use high wool content socks 70%+ in the cold,coupled sometimes with a lightweight poly-pro liner.Same for gloves mittens,wool poly-pro mix.
Boots depend on temperature,if walking alot or if stationary.Stationary/limited walking the USGI black mickey mouse(20 below) or white bunny boots(30 below+) cannot be beat.My lightweight boot could be Redwings black all leather 200 gram duty boots,various insulated Wellco USGI boots.
Keep your feet dry,clean them and keep powdered with good foot powder,change socks often if they get moist.Gortex great for waterproofing but it doesn't breath all that great.
Hats/head I like a fleece beany and wool outer covering.Poly-pro and wool balaclavas.
Synthetics are lightweight/insulate and wick moister well.They hold odors(Brits call em "smelly hellys"),do not insulate well when soaked and are flammable/melt.
Wool insulates well,naturally water repellent,flame retardant,insulates when wet,quiet.Wool can be heavier,itchy,expensive.Use a high wool content as possible.
Gortex is good for breaking the wind.Works well in really cold(below 0),but is noisy,burns,and doesn't breath as well as many claim IMHO.
I wont list any sites for USGI/surplus stuff as everyone has their favorite.I do use alot of surplus ECWCS as its dirt cheap right now for GEN I-III stuff.Bear suits run under size and only for 20 below+ or you will sweat.I used the basic GEN III ECWCS in some 11 below F without the windchill and was roasting.
I can't comment much on most cold weather gear since I just use the old basic stuff. I would recommend getting some good gloves though. I can remember trying to hunt jackrabbits on a below zero day with a good wind and let me tell you not being able to use heavy gloves( wouldn't fit in the trigger guard) sucked. After that I got some relatively thin but fairly warm knit wool(i think they were wool) gloves. I can't remember if I used them in any real cold temps, but last weekend I used them in about 10-20 degrees for shooting and they worked great since they keep your fingers warm, but you still can have pretty good dexterity.
I have been having a huge dilemma with what cold gear to get.:confused:
Could you guys with experience with the any of the following or similar put in your 2 cents?
My uses are everyday wear here in NY (colder weather) as well as outdoor, camping, hiking, shooting, paintball, etc.
Hardshells: Looking for good water/wind protection. Looking for good ergonomics, good function, and good features (Good adjustable hood, cuff closure, etc.) Either way I will be getting softshell/insulating layers from TAD, so I'm mostly looking for a good outer hardshell.
Drop Zone Tactical
Cold base layers: Looking for best quality and warmth. Not much else since they all the same regarding moisture wicking and anti-bacterial features.
Mainly looking for personal experience here.
Thanks in advance for any information. :)
It's been in the low 30's with high-teens windchill in the evenings here in SE Michigan and the dog isn't going to walk himself. After 2 nights of very cold legs I decided to break out the polypro drawers I bought that I linked to in post 8. I didn't need the shirt as it's not that cold yet but just jeans weren't cutting it in the wind. They performed excellently and did exactly what I wanted them to. They're soft against the skin, didn't bunch up, fit under my jeans, didn't impede movement at all, and kept my legs toasty for an hour long walk. Great stuff and 1/2 the price of Underarmor without the heavy "compression" you get from that stuff. I recommend it.
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