Arctic1's big winter gear thread

Has anyone tried the Heat 3 smart or special forces glove here?  I tried the search but with no prevail, and the reviews are great on them.  I currently use the OR swoop mitt and liner, which have a lot of great features, but I find are too bulky for shooting, as well don't have a dedicated pocket for hand warmers.

RIP Sgt. George Miok, Sgt. Kirk Taylor, Cpl. Zach Mccormack, Pte. Garrett Chidley 30-Dec-2009 Cpl. Joshua Baker 12-Feb-2010 TF3-09 KPRT

I've read a lot about the experience of the Falklands War and can only imagine the misery of the infantrymen, dealing with the cold and wet, day after day and only being able to look forward to getting into a sleeping bag for a few hours of rest.

 

One of the best readings about the war is "Take that hill" by Nick Vaux, CO of 42 Commando, Royal Marines. It gets ito the details of companies and platoons.

On the defense side, "From the Front", bý Carlos Robacio, CO of BIM5, is also very thorough on small unit actions and gear.

 

lcpl1066 posted:
hk3172 posted:

, but otherwise you'd have to take a ton of clothes. 

Most of the time, the wet uniform is normally composed of polypro underwear and goretex pant and jacket.  No cotton. But it's kind of noisy, and for close action you have to swich to the regular uniform. 

  

May be a bit on comfortable and seem counterintuitive, but if you wear your standard (50/50 ripstop) uniform over the goretex it will silence the 'potato chip bag' noise the wet weather uniform usually makes.

Nice! Will give it a try!

A number of places sell a Goretex "stealth suit" which is designed to be worn under regular clothing. They are/were used by the Canadian, Dutch, and various other NATO militaries.

Regarding the Falklands, I seem to recall that British soldiers preferred to wear their lightweight jungle pants rather than the heavier arctic windproof trousers, as they dried faster and were better in the cold wet environment.

Regards.

Mark

Formerly known as ML

MWL posted:

A number of places sell a Goretex "stealth suit" which is designed to be worn under regular clothing. They are/were used by the Canadian, Dutch, and various other NATO militaries.

Regarding the Falklands, I seem to recall that British soldiers preferred to wear their lightweight jungle pants rather than the heavier arctic windproof trousers, as they dried faster and were better in the cold wet environment.

Regards.

Mark

Found it! Interesting stuff! Thanks for the advice

Stealth suits are epic for rainy cold and wet.  For severe winter use they're also another thin wind break layer.  Highly recommend.  I'm looking to get a new set now even though I'm no longer in the army.  I carried one in my ruck, assault pack or the top in my butt pack always for my entire time in.   Fucking life saver in the spring and fall.  Especially before we had decent rain gear.

 

 

---------------
"Roger Wilco Over and Out"

 

Joined: 5 Sep 06  Location: Canadian LO Desk in the LF TOC.

Regarding Goretex Stealth Suits...

Those were a big thing back in the late 1980's among certain Euro formations; notably I encountered them being used by UK SAS at that time.  The idea was that you'd wear your normal combat uniform over them. That uniform would get sacrificially soaked (from rain & wet vegetation) while the wearer would reap the protection of a lightweight Goretex layer underneath. The outer uniform also helped to protect the Goretex from wear and tear.  Additionally, that reverse layering  concept better silenced and camouflaged early generation Goretex. The UK guy's Goretex was solid color (OD), so their wet DPM pattern fatigues did a better job of providing outer camo than the solid pattern Goretex.  It was very light weight and packable Goretex.  It briefed well.

I acquired a set and tried it out stateside during wet weather. I also conducted some miserable wet weather training missions up in Scotland during a JCET. Had SAS integrated with my ODA. We (US folks) wore lightweight BDUs and Gen I / II ECWS or Stashable Woodland Lightweight Goretex sets (Adventure Tech; remember those?); they had their DPM battle dress, SAS windproof Smocks, & Stealth Suits.

What I found (YMMV):  

1. Moving while wearing Goretex anything requires the ability to ventilate and quickly add/drop layers to meet both weather conditions and sweating. Far easier to accomplish with an easily donned/doffed Goretex outer layer that features vents & accessible  zippers. Humping/Tabbing while wearing a stealth suit pretty much sucked. When you got overheated, removing anything took longer, because you had to strip off a wet uniform, then take off the stealth rain suit. As a consequence, some of the UK fellas just saved the stealth suit for RONs, Hide Sites, etc. Walking in the rain or snow just meant being a hard man.

For us Yanks, it was far simpler to make a short patrol halt and throw on a hard shell parka that could be worn unzipped and armpits vented. Then take it off quickly as conditions changed for the better. We wore knee high Goretex gaiters over our ERDL/BDU pants and that worked well for busting though moderately tall wet vegetation or gorse. Rarely broke out the Goretex pants unless at a long halt in drenching rain or while travelling in deep wet snow.

2. By definition, with the stealth suit, you were resigned to allowing your outer battle dress / fatigues to get completely soaked and heavy in wet conditions.  Which blows if that's the only field uniform you've got (our normal SOP). An outer layer of hard shell Goretex did a better job across wider circumstances, because there was at least a hope that you'd keep your uniform dry. Maybe. When I wore the stealth Goretex, I found that the breathable feature pretty much crapped out... because the moisture was hitting a soaked outer uniform. So much of the primary advantage to Goretex (venting sweat) was lost.

3. The Stealth Goretex suits were great for SICTA type missions (occupation of SR hide sites for many days). They kept the wearer dry when movement was very limited and stealthy/quiet camouflage was a premium requirement for actions on the reconnaissance objective. 

4. The Stealth suits had one nice advantage in that they took up little room. So could be carried in a buttpack or thigh cargo pocket. On the other hand, so could our stashable Adventure Tech outer layer Goretex suits. ECWS Goretex? Good stuff against wind & elements, but heavy and bulky. So those pieces pretty much had to be stashed in a ruck or pack.

5. Generally, I stayed drier (and maintained drier clothing) when using a hard shell Goretex outer layer.  Naturally, most of the time in Infantry/SOF work, you just got soaked and embraced the suck. But I eventually traded off my stealth suit, stuck to the light weight stashable Goretex rain suit,  rarely used the ECWS Goretex layers, and never looked back. 

6. I used the stealth pants under BDUs a few times for downhill skiing, and they worked nicely. But I eventually gravitated to outer hard shell and (later) soft shell pants.

7.  After a very drenching wet and cold 1980's SR exercise in the UK, and after getting suitably liquored up for Barter Town, I noticed that our SAS Brothers were willing to trade their Grannies for our issue Goretex.  They were then using the stealth suits, but had no issued hard shell Goretex. The US ECWS Woodland Goretex was premium trade bait for a few years. Later, they got their own comparable issue from UK MOD.  

 

Regarding use of light weight jungle fatigues in cold/wet weather because they dry faster. Very true. Whether OD Jungle fatigues, ERDL cammies, or later lightweight BDUs... the lighter rip-stop stuff was the ticket for wet cold conditions in the pre-soft shell or Goretex pants era.  Just dried out immensely faster than heavier uniforms. Wet is wet, whether in tropical jungle or a cold Northern Europe maritime environment. Stuff designed to dry quickly in the jungle will also dry quickly anywhere else.  I never wore a set of the early Heavy Weight (so called "Winter") BDUs to the field.  Yeah, cotton kills in cold weather, but I've done alpine ski tours while wearing 100% cotton rip-stop jungle fatigue bottoms wrapped in Goretex gaiters. With a pair of wool Bundhosen in rucksack reserve. Battle dress uniforms are for utility pockets & camouflage, not insulation. You defeat cold, wind, wet, or snow by employing various other layers. 

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

Thanks, Astronomy! That was superb info. 

By the way, on my last winter in Ushuaia y bought a COTS jacket made of eVent. I used it a lot for alpine touring and it excelled. I was really surprised by it. This jacket in particular had a good pocket and vent design, but you could tell the fabric really breathed a lot. Skiing uphill with skins is the touhest way to test winter clothes for breathability, and this eVent thing clearly defeated softshells. And it was quite sturdy.

 

Yeah, you've got to have ventilation when skinning. For those that haven't ski toured on skins, it's the same as doing stair climbs with weights. It's a workout and the torso/head becomes a hot sweaty furnace. Back in the day, my normal military ensemble for moving uphill with a ruck on a sunny day was minimal. A pair of ski boots, tall Goretex gaiters, knee high wool ski socks, a pair of cammie fatigue trousers, and a silk weight polypro top. If there was a bitter cold wind blowing, might add the Goretex parka as a wind break (completely unzipped). Gloves/hats appropriate to meet current temps.

At short halts, you threw on a fleece or wool sweater (or a down parka if it was really cold).  At long halts, go big with a down or synthetic fill parka. Add insulated pants or bib for camp. If  wet snow, add breathable pants for travel through the slop.

Soft shells are really nice as long as you understand both the advantages & limitations. Same with ultra light nylon wind shirts & pants. Moving in winter is all about thermo-regulation. But it's also about humidity, wind chill, precipitation, ambient temps, and dry vs. wet conditions. So clothing needs to be scalable & convenient in order to meet rapidly changing conditions. 

Move in the lightest ensemble possible, add/subtract middle weight stuff as needed, and save the big puffy  stuff for when the meat puppet has cooled down & sweat has mostly evaporated.

 

A point I forgot to mention about the stealth suit Goretex. You could just wear it as the outer layer. People did. But it wasn't quite as resistant to damage as heavier versions of hard shell. More like one of those sauna track suits from back in the Age of Disco. 

I still think the old Adventure Tech manufactured stashable/camouflage Goretex sets were some of the best bits of kit ever. Both jacket & pants would stuff into a thigh cargo pocket (or their own integral pouch). Half the weight and bulk of ECWS stuff and just as effective. They used to be available in the US from places like Brigade Quartermaster. In Group, we were issued them. They were the default EDC rain wear for all teams, whether in the field or in garrison. I still have a new reversible parka (US woodland/3-color desert). Hard to find these days; the occasional examples on e-bay are either in Mountain Dwarf or Sasquatch sizes.

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

Good points.  The stealth suits are a great "as well as" for regular rain gear,  not the best "instead of".    

Good in a pinch, highly portable,  great if you can't make any noise or have any exterior reflective properties.  Not the greatest rain stopper, but better than just a uniform.  Winter time they're awesome little windbreakers in admin areas, or an extra layer in the defensive.

 

 

---------------
"Roger Wilco Over and Out"

 

Joined: 5 Sep 06  Location: Canadian LO Desk in the LF TOC.

Never having worn a stealth suit, hearing information from end users is interesting.

For the best part of the last 20 years, I have worn gear from Buffalo Systems in winter. I have just about everything they make, so I can mix and match it to whatever the conditions are, and whatever activity I am doing.

I have used it in the dry cold of Europe, and the wet cold of Atlantic Canada, down to -30C or -49C with wind chill. Generally, I wear as light a layer as possible, and pull on one of the wind shirts if it gets cooler, or heavier layer jackets when stopping. Going from breaking trail in 2 feet of new wet snow with snowshoes to stopping for a brew is a huge change in requirements. The stuff has a lot of venting zips and wicks and breathes better than anything else I have tried.

There is a video of a guy jumping into a river and then walking himself dry wearing the stuff.

I imagine you could wear it in place of a stealth suit, with BDUs over the top for camo and subduing the noise from the material. Although not designed for that, it would probably work better than a stealth suit.

I read "cotton kills" all the time on survival sites and other places, but if you read "Mad, bad, and dangerous to know", Ranulph Fiennes goes into the equipment he wears for polar exploration, and ventile cotton shells (as found in the traditional SAS smocks) is the go-to material in Arctic/Antarctic dry cold when working hard. There is however, a big difference between wearing Chinese made cotton tighty whiteys and UK made ventile cotton.

Regards.

Mark

Formerly known as ML

The ventile cotton acts very much like a soft shell below 0°f, but the synthetic shells have been a better choice  for me above that. The old M65 field pants are also good gear when it gets that cold, never used the liner, but as an outer shell they did very well down to -17°f( about as cold as  it get here) with 300 weight polarfleece and moderate stop and go activity.

fiveninerone posted:

Has anyone tried the Heat 3 smart or special forces glove here?  I tried the search but with no prevail, and the reviews are great on them.  I currently use the OR swoop mitt and liner, which have a lot of great features, but I find are too bulky for shooting, as well don't have a dedicated pocket for hand warmers.

I bought a pair a year ago, opened up the box, tried them on and put them back in the box for a prompt refund. Not worth nearly half of what they charge. Cheap looking/feeling construction and the snap to lock the mitt portion back does not even have a subdued finish. Felt like I was wearing a pair of women's Isotoners. Didn't even bother testing warmth. 

 

 

 

God doesn't believe in athiests

MWL posted:
...

I read "cotton kills" all the time on survival sites and other places,

[ The mantra "cotton kills' started after WW2, AFAIK, when searchers would find lost persons dressed in cotton, when the only other options were wool, silk and feathers.  This reflected inadequate preparation, not clothing choice.   It also indicated a reaction instead of analyzing  and applying logic to the problem. Most of my issued gear had a lot of cotton in it and I really never had a problem. ]

There is however, a big difference between wearing Chinese made cotton tighty whiteys and UK made ventile cotton.

[ Can you tell us what those differences are? ]

Regards.

Mark

 

Sincerely,

 

Trajan Aurelius

 

“Do not leave the humans unsupervised.  Seriously.  Get a supply of safe animals for  the humans to bond with or they will make their own.  I mean, they will try to befriend anything they come across anyway, but without any permanent pets, they can get ... creative.  Don't even get me started on the time one of them taped a knife to one of our auto-cleaners and named it Stabby."  Bekka Tiddalk

 

As a former Antarctican, I had a couple of those cotton shells.  The ventile cotton is woven different to be a tighter woven fabric.  It's made to swell when wet and this tightens the weave making it more waterproof/wind proof.  It doesn't sop up water like a cotton towel or tshirt, but is slightly breathable (vs nylon) and kinda water resistant and dries much faster as the weaving holds little water.  Kinda similar to a waxed canvas but not waxed.  Ice seems to stick to it a bit better though.

Best way to describe it getting damp in the cold is kinda like how higher count down gets puffier and more rigid as it gets cold.  Similar effect.   It gets stiffer, and actually blocks the wind more than I was expecting.

Weight wise it's heavier for the performance but fairly durable mechanically and doesn't melt.  I'd trust the fabric to hold longer than most synthetic shells.

That explains it very well, especially from an end user standpoint.

More information can be found here:

http://www.ventile.co.uk/about.php

Ventile® was the first truly effective all weather fabric whose breathability performance remains unsurpassed. Its secret lies in the uncoated and unlaminated construction. The fabrics are 100% cotton, utilising the finest, long staple fibres, only found in the top 2% of the world's crop. After gentle spinning and doubling, the yarn is woven into a very dense Oxford weave, using up to 30% more yarn than conventional woven fabrics.

The performance of Ventile® fabrics results from the properties of cotton fibres which expand when they come into contact with water. The combination of fibres, yarns and weave causes expansion in a uniform manner. This allows the interstices within the fabric to close up, preventing the further passage of water. In addition to this, Ventile is impregnated with a high quality DWR system which enhances the fabrics water resistant properties and increases performance.

The fabric therefore provides excellent protection against the wind, rain, snow and cold.

Regards.

Mark

Formerly known as ML

Just to add a bit more on cotton, I usually preferred to wear a cotton/poly blend tshirt as my first layer.  I liked something that would wick and hold some moisture against my skin, but not so much to be cooling.  Some of the more pure synthetics clothing while they don't hold water in the fibers, would just seem more damp.  The synthetics wouldn't soak up water, but would allow the water to just sit there until it evaporated away or froze to the ice inside your wind shell to be shaken out later.  That water against my skin would lead to chaffing over a couple days.

In the polar places, we pretty much never had wet conditions.  Sweat regulation was always the key though, as well as monitoring what your body was telling you.  Wearing your stand around warm layers and doing work could give you heatstroke, which is complicated to treat in really cold environments.  Easy to cool someone down but tricky to not go too far.

Gear was about 40% of the staying warm equation.  I'd put 20% at being in good enough shape to maintain just enough work to keep muscle generating heat.  Hydration and eating right the other 40%.  I'm a larger human, but would go through an honest 3+ gallons of water combined with about 9,000-10,000 calories a day on hard working field camp days.

 I'd use the bio indicators for me.  Veins in forearms not showing, I'm either cold, getting less hydrated.  Solution was sugar, carbs, fat and water.  Hands feeling cold?  Need more sugar.  Basically you'd eat all day to keep the furnace running.  While I fully believe some people are built better for cold, you would just have to be cognitive of your body to let it tell you what you needed.  Plus it helped having sharp people around to help watch for signs #1 and #2 of hypothermia.  One being peeing lots as you get a hormonal shift where your body tries to dump excess water.  Two being the 'umbles' where your higher brain has issues and you mumble, fumble, stumble and bumble and stop wanting to keep moving.

My target was always being cool to comfortably cool in day, and hope for warm, dry and cozy at bed time.

Do you have recommended vendors for Ventile clothing?

Sincerely,

 

Trajan Aurelius

 

“Do not leave the humans unsupervised.  Seriously.  Get a supply of safe animals for  the humans to bond with or they will make their own.  I mean, they will try to befriend anything they come across anyway, but without any permanent pets, they can get ... creative.  Don't even get me started on the time one of them taped a knife to one of our auto-cleaners and named it Stabby."  Bekka Tiddalk

 

For me, I am rather ignorant of who is making good ventile type cotton stuff currently.  I had purchased the shells from some place in Kiwi-land years ago (2003-5ish) that I can't remember due to booze and jetlag, and they were a bit pricey.  Just keep in mind that I wouldn't call it rainwear, more of a breathable hard shell that only holds so much water.   Think something like a carhartt jacket, but better wind blocking and less water holding ability.

Hey UVVIS...

What was the consensus favorite (or mandated) hand gear system? Preferred brands of over-mitts/gloves/liners for Antarctic work days?

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

Ventile has definitely tuned into a luxury item, and near impossible to find anyone making gear. I had a simple drawstring waisted shell parka back in the 90's that I am pretty sure cost less than 100 bucks.

Looking at the Musto ventile primaloft parka nearly gave me chest pains, and some of the strictly fashion brands, damn.....

Kinda like ring spun cotton, turned into a cult of fashion thing.  

https://www.countryinnovation.com

Hand gear, goodness, we'd get a pile of gloves from the program, and bring personal ones too.  I mostly used 4 types.  Polypro liners, fleece, cheap durable leather lined, and a heavy warm wind mitts.  If doing some some things I had some neoprene gauntlets to keep water off me.  The lined leather ones got lots of use, wouldn't last, and I treated as disposable.  The heavy mitts were marmot, outdoor research, black diamond, maybe a REI house brand.  

It really depended on the work/activity.  Warm comfy hands meant no dexterity.   Durable leather that could take a beating and work around rope isn't super warm and sucks when wet.  Fleece is warm but doesn't cut wind.

I would always carry the heavy mitts with me.  When standing around loitering they were nice or using poles for some trekking, shoveling, cutting snow, ice axe killing penguins...  The big two things, make sure you can tether them to your wind shell, make sure you can easily get them on/off.  Past that, if they fit, are warm enough, a glove is a glove.  I never found a heavy glove versus a mitt that gave me enough dexterity to justify the added bulk.

Now jacket wise, the feathered friends valont jacket I got years ago is worth every penny.  Granted I now live in Florida, and it's hot year round and my cold gear barely gets used.

Not to beat a dead horse, but if you aren't fueled right food and water wise, nothing can keep you warm.  Also, with a thermal camera looking at well insulated people in cold places, we were pretty much ghosts.

What ever happened to that Epic stuff by Nextec?  Wasn't it silicon encapsulated cotton threads?  Supposed to have all the benefits of cotton, but not absorb water.

Jason -------------------------------- "Consumer, how many times have you hankered for vegan mayonnaise only to realize you're not man enough to open the jar?" -- Bucky B. Katt

For the rain, one word: poncho with hood! It offers great transpiration underneath and you fit under with all the equipment, backpack included.  

Joined: 30DEC08      Location: SPAIN

Take care, keep safe, stay frosty, brother!

tirotactico.net

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