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The pro hunter's guide to staying warm in cold weathers

Updated on December 29, 2015

Keeping yourself warm and toasty is a critical part of hunting during the winter season or in places where the weather is perpetually cold, because no matter what they say about global warming, it still gets cold. With most hunters having to spend hours on end in the outdoors, staying warm is crucial if you don’t want to freeze to death. So here’s a guide on how all hunters, professional and amateur, can stay warm in cold weather.

External Heat

External Heat
External Heat

The most obvious way of staying cold is to bundle yourself up in as many layers of thick, insulating clothing as you can. This is a no brainer and the kind of layers you put on depends entirely on your choice and comfort level. There are tons of external layers that you can add in order to keep yourself warm, including a wide variety of clothing and apparel technology that has been designed especially with hunters’ comfort in mind, such as the ThermaCELL Rechargeable Insoles and insulated wearable fleece blankets.

If clothing and apparel aren’t for you or if you don’t want to invest in expensive heating tech, you could always buy a number of disposable or reusable heat packs that can keep your body warm for a couple of hours. Just remember to keep your midsection warm because the body draws heat from your extremities when your core isn’t warm enough.

Internal Heat

Internal Heat
Internal Heat

When it comes to braving the cold for hours on end, piling on layers of clothing and hot water bottles just isn’t enough. One needs to generate heat from within by eating foods, the ultimate source of energy. A diet rich in protein and carbs would be ideal to keep the inner fire burning throughout the gruesome cold day. Start your day with a heavy breakfast of hot food, consisting of bacon, grilled chicken, ham and eggs, or just a hearty bowl of steaming hot oatmeal or muesli in warm milk. Once you’ve filled up on breakfast, you could wash it all down with a hot cup of Joe.

You’ll have to pack a lunchbox, depending on the amount of time you plan on spending outdoors. Try carrying an insulated Thermos of hot coffee, cocoa or some soup, this will not only keep you warm, but will also keep you alert throughout your session. Since you’re going to be out in the wild, it goes without saying that you should pack food that is both nutritious and convenient.

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Warm Ups and Stretching

Warm Ups and Stretching
Warm Ups and Stretching

The best hunters are those that can lie in wait for hours without moving so much as a muscle, but such determination requires preparation. Although warm-ups are mostly associated with exercise and other strenuous activities, they are equally important when you know that you’re going to be cooped up in the same position.

Plus, a short workout will help warm up your inner core. Once you’ve found that perfect vantage spot and nestled yourself into position, don’t forget to stretch regularly in order to prevent your muscles from cramping up or your body from getting stiff. All these proactive efforts will ensure that your body remains alert and functional, apart from allowing you to stay outdoors for longer.

Timing

Timing
Timing

While hunting is usually restricted to a particular season, depending on the kind of game you’re looking for, the time at which you choose to hunt can also make a big difference to the temperatures that your body is exposed to and the overall success of your hunt. The ideal hunting timings are typically during sunrise and sunset, while the afternoons are when you should bundle yourself indoors so that you don’t end up like a Popsicle when that prized buck finally passes by in the evening. But then again, not everyone might have the luxury of choosing the time when they go to hunt. In such cases, one can only do the best with what they have.

Choosing the Right Kind of Footwear

Choosing the Right Kind of Footwear
Choosing the Right Kind of Footwear

For any normal activity, footwear is nothing more than a style statement, but when it comes to hunting in cold weather, it’s best to choose function over form and wear something that is both sturdy and durable. Although this piece of advice might prompt you to go and buy the heaviest pair of mountain boots that you can find, your footwear should just be suited to the kind of terrain you’ll be walking in. Rubber boots would work best on jagged terrain, while heavy soles with leather uppers would be suitable for mountain regions.

You might also want to consider how sensitive your prey is to the smell of human scent in footwear, as it can be a dead giveaway. Also consider the kind and number of socks you plan on wearing with your shoes. You’ll need a larger pair of you plan on wearing more than one layer of socks, but also keep in mind that a loose pair of shoes/boots can and will cause your feet to blister.

Hats

Hats
Hats

Yes, hats! Though there’s no real proof of the proverbial hot head, it is a good idea to be covered from head to toe when you go hunting. Keeping your head warm in extremely cold weather is said to have a positive effect on the wearer and also keeps their facial extremities warm. When you’re sitting in the cold wilderness for hours, you will eventually realize that keeping your scalp covered was one of the better ideas you’ve had!

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Cardboard

Cardboard
Cardboard

This most unassuming of materials can be a great tool for staying warm during cold weather hunts and works especially well when used on your feet. A piece of cardboard strategically placed between your feet and the sole of your shoes will effectively block out the cold, which tends to creep into the shoes through the soles. Cardboard can be a real godsend in extreme cold because it blocks the frigid air from seeping in and freezing your toes!

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