If you want to survive in the cold weather during winter hunting seasons, being prepared is the only way forward. The difference between surviving and beating the elements, however, lies in the hacks you use to get there. Surviving in the freezing weather takes serious temperature management. We aim to enlighten you as to the best ways to keep your core temperature up while you are out in the field.
We researched some of the best hunting gear hacks on the internet for those about to set off on a mid-winter adventure. Before you go, study up on these tips and tricks to make your winter hunting experience that bit more comfortable.
The 7 Ultimate Hunting Gear Hacks for Cold Weather Conditions
Before you go and buy the cheapest available gear, read these hacks for hunting supplies that will save your life in extremes of temperature.
1. Quality over Quantity
You will want to layer, yes, but if those layers are inadequate quality, cotton, or thin fabrics, then that’s wasted energy. You don’t want to make yourself sweat under those base layers, so opt for good quality fabrics and long-lasting, durable materials. You already know that Merino Wool garments are the best, but there are other elements to cold weather hunting gear that helps you get quality over quantity.
For example, a backpack containing the meshing lets you carry more with less packing space. The mesh is more expensive, but it’s worth it when you have to trek miles in the snow with all your gear on your back at once.
The quality over quantity rule extends especially to the purchasing of tents, snow boots, heating devices, sleeping bags, and everything else you use in the field.
2. Consider Heated Clothing
You can buy clothing that helps you stay warm in the same way as an electric blanket does. You can purchase reactor heating vests, which respond to and store your body heat. These helps keep that all-important core temperature up, and keep you cozy. Some of these come with charging capabilities. If you take a solar power pack or two, you can charge these vests and gloves up using a USB port.
Heating your extremities is no bad idea when you are chilly weather hunting. As studies show, frostbite is entirely preventable. Keeping your extremities dry and warm helps keep blood circulating and stops it freezing in the capillaries. Heated gloves and thermal underwear go a long way to helping prevent it.
3. Hand and Foot Warmers
We have all said this a hundred times, and perhaps it’s down to the advocacy of airgun magazine, but hand and foot warmers could save you from the dreaded perils of frostbite on a long trek. Placement is key here. You could keep your hand warmers on your hands and heat pads on your feet, or you could use them strategically.
A good warmer is reusable but even the disposable ones will keep you warm for up to 18 hours. Simply place them at the areas you are likely to feel coldest. Yes, this means the extremities, but it also means the lower back where your clothes connect together. This is a problem area for letting cold in.
4. Carry that Thermos Flask
It doesn’t need to be a thermos specifically, but any flask that keeps liquid warm long enough for you to be out all day and still have hot soup in the evening, is worth its weight in campfire gold. Fill it to brimming with packet soup. Heat your water over your camping fire or stove in the morning, fill your flask, and off you go. All day long you can stop for a sip. Coffee is great, yes, but soup gives you calories while it heats you on the inside. That’s a double whammy for your average hunter burning between 8 and 11k calories daily!
5. Portable Heaters and Braziers
There are no rules to say that you can’t heat up a blind. It might not hold the heat for long and you will burn through fuel, but if you are desperate, this little trick can get you warm enough to stave off the cold for another hour or so. It buys you time in the field, and that’s valuable when you are fighting the elements.
Braziers and portable heaters come in all shapes and sizes. You can buy tents specifically for winter camping which include these. Some tents even have a built-in space for the chimney, so look out for those if you intend to camp in the winter months.
6. Don’t Stop Moving
The two elements responsible for frostbite and cold and wet. If you are freezing for long enough, you risk freezing your flesh and blood. Keeping yourself moving is the best way to stave this off if you are in a desperate situation. Say, for example, you fall in a river 5 clicks from your camp. The sun sets and the temperature drops well below freezing. You didn’t expect to have to walk back wet, and now you’re in danger.
Don’t stop moving. If all your kit is wet and you are losing heat by the second, keep your blood flowing through your extremities. Hypothermia can make you tempted to sleep. It can also make you feel warm. Don’t fall for either, just keep those extremities moving until you hit your camp.
7. Protect your Head and Feet
Heat leaves the body all over, but the two places we feel it most are in the top of our head and the tips of our toes. To prevent heat loss, think about keeping these areas covered. A good hat that covers the sides of your head and the back of your head can keep your neck warm, your ears warm, and your face warm in harsh weather. A mask can cover your nose and cheeks to prevent exposure. Placing a hood over all of the above adds a further layer to support heat retention. Don’t forget to keep your feet warm, dry, and under multiple layers, too.