Letter: Heating Concern in LP/OP

Dear Hugh,

As we remain in a long lasting frigid winter in northern Ohio, I question how anyone could maintain long term diligence in a listening/observation post that is partially open to the elements. I struggle with ways to provide a heat source without compromising a tactical location. I have read survival blog for many years, but have not seen this important concern addressed. Perhaps you will find this a notable concern, and I request this be forwarded to the masses to solicit ideas for solutions. Thanks for your consideration. – B.B.

HJL Replies: I’ve never served in the military, but I’m sure those readers who have can shed some light here. It seems to me that being in an LP/OP is not that different that sitting in a duck blind. I have spent many a cold morning sitting in a hole in the ground with partial shelter on the sides. Sometimes we had overhead shelter and sometimes not. When the temperature would drop down to 0 degrees or below, I often wondered to myself why I was even there. Of course, there was humor too, making fun of the icicles growing of the end of each of our noses. We tried all the gadgets, from battery-powered socks to Coleman fuel-powered hand warmers. The battery powered socks worked, but they were a novelty that soon broke. The Zippo hand warmer worked well though. I used only one and would put it in my trigger hand pocket. If I started to lose feeling in that hand, I would remove the glove and shove that hand into the pocket to warm it up. I would also shift pockets if the other hand needed it as well. There are some general rules that you have to abide by to stay warm though. You will need more layers than you would otherwise, and they must be layers. Sitting in one position, you won’t have the opportunity to move around and generate warmth. You must have enough layers on so that you stay warm sitting still. As the temperature fluctuates, you need to be able to peel layers off or put them back on so you don’t sweat or freeze. You also have to stay off the cold ground. You need padded seats that won’t collapse to become flush with the floor when you sit on them. You also need to get your boots off the ground when you can to help with cold feet. Blankets work well on multiple levels. They help keep you warm and they can break up your visual pattern. I also used mittens as well as glove liners. I had a pair that had a slit in the palm that would allow me to pull my hand out to use the shotgun.