It is much more difficult to survive in a cold weather climate than mild or warm climates. This is very obvious, but surprisingly many people fail to understand the basics of cold weather survival and generally dealing with normal cold weather environments.
There is a mnemonic device used to remember these basics. C-O-L-D is easy to remember, especially when you are freezing your nubs off.
C – Clean Clothing and Body
Keeping your clothing clean and free from mud and dirt will not only help with sanitation and comfort but will also keep you warmer in the winter months. Moisture and air pockets hide in dirt and mud. This will lower your overall body temperature.
O – Don’t Overheat
Probably the most common mistake is to wear too much clothing. This can cause you to overheat, especially while working on something, walking through the woods or any other activity. Overheating will cause you to sweat and your clothing will act like a sponge absorbing the moisture.
L – Loose Layers
Multiple layers of loose fitting clothing will help keep your natural body heat in and the cold weather out. An internal layer of an UnderArmor type of material will also help. The outside layer should be water resistant or repellant if possible. Having multiple layers also allows you to take off excess clothing while doing activities to help prevent overheating. If clothing and footwear is too tight, it can restrict blood circulation, which can reduce your resistance to cold weather injuries.
D – Dry Clothing
It is vital to stay as dry as possible in cold weather. Your feet will most likely be the first to get wet. If possible, wear waterproof boots and a plastic bag between two thick layers of socks. Tie the bag around your foot and secure with tape before adding the second sock. Having water resistant clothing is crucial, especially to combat the elements such as rain or snow. Clothing that absorbs moisture will multiply your chances of cold weather injuries exponentially. Brush off any excess snow or mud before warming up to prevent it from melting into water.