Dear Mr. Rawles:
n reference to the recent SurvivalBlog article “Surviving The Cold”, by The Other D.B.: It is never repeated enough: wet cold kills. The advice to test your rain gear with a garden hose is priceless.
A piece of kit that I have found invaluable exercising or working in the cold is the Neck Warmer / Head Wrap. This is a simple tube of stretch polypropylene or polyester fleece or wool. Critical to better protect the vascular area where you lose the most heat–our head and neck.
You can see some examples at these three vendor sites:
Using a Wrap as a base layer allows you to apply the layering effect for your head and neck, fine tuning your head and neck insulation to your level of exercise and heat buildup. If you only have one thick layer on your head, you have to choose between a hot, sweaty head with your hat on, vs. chilling off too fast going bare.
These Wraps are so light you can keep extras in pockets, so you can swap out to a dry wrap if you do get sweaty. In the cold I like to use two at a time – one as a neck and lower face wrap, and one as a base layer on the head, under helmet or cap. I keep two in my car, two in my pack, and two in the pocket of a jacket.
Another great feature is that they dry out very fast attached to the outside of your pack.
Beyond being a neck warmer or head warmer the Wrap can also be a balaclava, helmet liner, dust mask, facial camo, goggle cover, sun protection, etc., etc.:
Another somewhat obscure article of clothing with similar benefits is the “neck dickie”.
This is literally a polo neck that has been cut off to just cover the neck and upper chest and back. The huge advantage here is that you can add a layer without adding more bulk on the shoulder socket/arms, and it can be quickly and easily pulled off to adjust your layering (without the hassle of taking off a jacket or pack, or webbing).
Important proviso – as with almost all synthetic materials they are lighter than wool – but are vulnerable to melting in a fire, causing more severe injury than a natural fabric burning. Don’t wear synthetics in high fire hazard areas! (Note – there are synthetics made out of Nomex that are fire-retardant – but they are very pricey.)
Full disclosure: We sell head wraps as accessories to our tactical goggles, but – we specialize in Body Armor, not clothing, and are really not looking to sell small, individual clothing items, so our bias here is quite minimal!
Yours Truly, – Nick at BulletProofME.com