Ok, thought I’d do a proper post of my gear, with a winter theme. This is how I am currently set up for 72 hours sustainment during winter operations. Some items have been omitted, like food and ammo, as well as comms and mission essential items. Other than those items, my gear is packed and ready in case of a short notice alert.

Hopefully you guys can pick up a thing or two from how I do things.

1st line:
Consists of a winter weight field uniform, boots, gloves and Gore-Tex hat. Over that I put on my winter overalls, and my overboots:

My smock:

With content:

Left chest pocket: Notebook cover, notebook, pens, spork, FO protractor
Right chest pocket: Compass
Left shoulder pocket: 4 pairs disposable gloves
Left hip pocket: Left shooting mitt
Right hip pocket: Right shooting mitt

2nd line consists of the following:


Aimpoint Comp M4
M3X light w/tape switch
Magpul XTM hand stop kit
BFG VCAS sling (VTAC LUSA mount)
Rear BUIS (in pistol grip)

Ops Core helmet and Peltor ComTacs:

First Spear patrolling suspenders/First Spear AGB:

Pouches from left to right:
ATS single M4 mag pouch w/DBT frag pouch piggybacked
Specter Gear double M4 pouch
SORD dump pouch
SPEC OPS Brand Sheath
MOLLE smoke grenade pouch – for TQ
TT Canteen/Utility pouch
SPEC OPS Brand Utility pouch
ATS Small Medical pouch
MOLLE smoke grenade pouch – for TQ
Specter Gear double M4 pouch
DBT smoke pouch

With content:

From left to right:
3 HK416 mags
Chris Reeve Yarborough knife
SOFT-T Tourniquet
Nalgene bottle
Light Sticks and MS-2000 strobe (IFF)
Petzl Head light
Electrical tape
5 m mine tape
Clothes brush
Thermal balaclava
FO Protractor
Notebook/Cheat cards/SOP folder
SOFT-T Tourniquet
2 HK416 mags
Aimpoint 3X Magnifier

Worn, front:

Worn, left:

Worn, right:

Worn, rear:

3rd line consists of the following:

Ruck; Karrimor SF TECMAC 50L with PLCE side pouches:



With contents:

Carinthia Defense 6 sleeping bag
Ajungilak ”Bamse” sleeping mat
TT ROP assault pack
2 sandbags
2 waterproof compression sacks
Thermal Long Johns
Wool boxer
Wool socks
Toothbrush/Toothpaste/Painkillers/Clothesline/Sowing Kit
ECW Jacket

Assault pack contents:

2 waterproof compression sacks
2 spare magazines
Weapons cleaning kit/lens paper
Bottle of lube (Slip 2000)
Spare batteries
Hexamine cooker/matches
Thermal shirt

Ruck worn front:

Ruck worn left:

Ruck worn right:

Ruck worn rear:

When we bivouac, we usually store our gear outside the tent or shelter, either in a ski pit or ruck pit, in order to save space inside the tent/shelter. Weapons and load bearing gear is stored on a weapons rack that is covered up, to protect the gear from the elements. This also negates any issues with temperature fluctuations and weapons freezing. All weapons field maintenance is done outside. Snow and water are the enemies of weapons during winter, so use lube to prevent water from getting into the mechanism, and use the blue clothes brush to remove snow from critical components when time avails itself. Problems arise when leaders fail to do proper checks and inspections in the field.

One key factor for success when it comes to winter survival is to never lose your gear. We never place our gloves, head gear, tools etc on the ground. If it is snowing, if it’s windy or just plain dark, your shit will be gone before you know it. Therefore I follow a very strict regimen on how I pack my gear, and I always put things back in their place when I am done using them. This allows me to find my stuff with ease, as well as making sure I don’t lose anything. This goes for all kinds of climates of course, but winter is sort of unforgiving; you lose your gloves or mitts, you will lose the ability to do simple tasks, unless you go ahead and rough it out. Big issue there is frost injuries.

When it comes to clothing, layering is the name of the game. I am probably old fashioned, but I don’t like Gore-Tex/hard shell type clothing or synthetic underwear/moisture wicking garments. My preference is for cotton based outer clothing and wool base layers. These garments, for me, breathe better, are more durable and wool has a warming effect even when moist or wet. The winter cammies are in a fire retardant, water/wind resistant, light weight fabric. It is important to be disciplined when rucking, thus it is better to remove layers and freeze a few minutes before marching than to start walking in the thermal shirt you wore to keep warm. Dehydration due to excessive sweating as well as hypothermia from wet clothes is not recommended.

Footwear for me is Alpha Omega. I have issues with iliotibialband syndrome in my right leg, so if I don’t have footwear that compensates for my over-pronation, I get issues. That said, I stay away from Gore-Tex or heavily lined boots during winter. Gore-Tex boots gets wet, never dries, and freezes and usually get very cold. Most frost injuries we see on feet are a direct result of wearing Gore-tex boots. Thin unlined leather boots, coupled with the issue over boots is the way to go. Just remember to open to over boots properly when inside to air them out, and also to remove the insoles in your boots so that any moisture trapped in the insole or underneath it also evaporates, when drying your boots.

My choice of fighting gear is based off of what enables the best individual tactics; I value being able to get comfortably into the prone position, being able to move while prone and not have pouches and mags dragging on the snow or ground. That is why I went with the patrolling suspenders/belt kit approach. I get the pouches out to the sides, and have nothing on my stomach. My critical items are easily accessible by me, non-critical items are accessible by teammates. This is also transferrable to situations where I will have to use body armor, the belt kit integrates well with BA.
The biggest minuses are of course when riding in vehicles and when wearing rucks. The belt kit is not the most comfortable kit to wear in a vehicle, but I can choose to either rough it out, or take it off while in the vehicle. It is easy to put on before we dismount. As for the ruck issue, it all comes down to choosing a ruck that rides high enough to clear the belt kit.

I chose the Tecmac 50 on a hunch, based off of a walkthrough/talk through video online by the retailer, as well as my knowledge of Karrimor quality. The issue ruck we have is too large (120L/7320 cubic inches), and I wanted a smaller ruck. I received it, and it fit my setup perfectly, it is the perfect size for what I need. It has a ton of options and possibilities:


The compression sacks in both my ruck and assault pack are used for the following reasons:

1. Easy to organize gear when packing – easy to separate different items for easy access
2. Saves space – compressed clothes take up less space

My concept for packing my ruck is based on ease of access and simplicity. The main compartment holds my assault pack and the ECW jacket (in compression sack). The right side PLCE pocket holds one compression sack containing my spare clothes; dry sleep clothing. I dry out the other garments during the night. The left PLCE pocket will hold food, extra water etc. When bivouacking, I can just unzip the side pouches, bring them inside the tent/shelter and leave the rest outside. My toiletries are kept in a zippered pouch in the lid.

If I need to escape, I will just grab my assault pack from my pack and start evading. I should be able to survive for a bit with what I have in my 1st line, 2nd line and the contents of my assault pack.

If you guys have any question, just ask and I’ll try to answer to the best of my ability.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

Original Post
Arctic, thanks for such a good post.

One of the problem sets we have been trying to figure out is body armor in the arctic environment. Our chain of command won't budge - we have to wear IOTV / Plate carriers when doing anything with live rounds (or real life, for that matter). They want us to have armor on over all our cold weather gear, however, that compresses all insulating layers and traps moisture, leading to cold weather injuries and really increasing the suck factor. The best solution our guys have found is to carry it / pull on sleds to just before the objective, then put it on. Any experience with this or thoughts on the best way to integrate armor?

Also, I saw that you had your water stored on your second line. With it exposed to the cold, do you ever have issues with it freezing up / how do you mitigate them? Our current SOP has us hanging our canteen on a strap and wearing it underneath our outer layers, which I really, really don't like for a variety of reasons.
Great stuff. Thanks for the post. I dont live in the coldest winters but we get down to 0 here and I have never thought about the goretex boots being an issue. You bring up a great point my feet are always cold and wet in my gore tex then in normal boots and I am sure its from trapped sweat. Again thanks for the post

Ah, but the one, One is a warrior, And he will bring the others back. — Heraclitus 500 BC

Nice to see how the pro's in a given climate handle the elements. Thanks for posting.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The concept that the Bill of Rights and other constitutional protections against arbitrary government are inoperative when they become inconvenient or when expediency dictates otherwise is a very dangerous doctrine and if allowed to flourish would destroy the benefit of a written Constitution and undermine the basis of our government. - Justice Black, Reid v. Covert, 1957

Great review!

..I really do envy you the overboots... and the lack of mandatory BA for every camping trip.

BTW: Doesn't the water in nalgene freeze?

 "Anatomy and Physiology is EVERYTHING. It is the difference between being a trained monkey and a medic"


Could you show us how that boot and overboot system works? I can't say I have ever seen a combat overboot. Also where is the Norwegian Army Shirt? When I first entered service that was the thing to have. It might have been the first non issued item I ever purchased to wear in uniform. Nice terry cloth/wool feel in a 1/4 zip. Still rock it every now and then 21 years later.

Sir, we fought the same issue. Higher wanted armor over everything - when pressed, it was revealed they wanted it visible to ensure people were actually wearing it. Small Unit Leaders had a field day with this, and the Risk Assessments being written changed dramatically to clearly isolate the same problems you described - specifically cold weather injuries. I would start there, to have something in writing that Higher had to be apprised of during the planning process that you can rub their noses in when one of your guys gets hurt. in our case, it came to the Post Commanders attention who sorted it out right quick.

Arctic1 - excellent stuff, and thanks for taking the time.

"I came here for one reason: to attack and keep coming.- Ultimate Warrior


"Americans don't deserve America." - Timmy

Sinister, that's what I thought... I kind of want to bash on my leadership for a bit, but lets just say they have made uneducated decisions that go against whats taught up at NWTC. (Example: Kneepads will be worn at all times, including over your marshmallow suit) I'll be taking this in to show some guys as an example.

Mick, spot on. I'm only here a little bit longer, but I agree with that approach. I think that it will have to be from the ground up.

Another question: What do you use as your contact glove? I don't mind the US issue trigger finger / arctic mittens, but haven't been able to find a decently warm glove for underneath that still allows weapons manipulation.
Bloody good post Artic!
Makes me glad I don'thave to worry about the cold.

Where we are, where we belong, where we should be.


Location: Back in Bris-Vegas, wondering at the bright lights of the big smoke

I can't recall if you mentioned it on another thread, but is your assault pack docked on the outside of the Karrimor? What does that look like?

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.


                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence




I like the ruck packing, very good stuff.

I run my personal kit and clothes very similar to how you do it.

-We are the sheepdogs, bad people looking out for the good people by killing worse people
-Don't get PTSD, Give PTSD. Make the taliban wake up screaming in the night because he fears Canadians are coming to Kill him.

-Location - Canada - Joined - 2006MAR19

Originally posted by Basicload:
No just, crocs, and snakes, and spiders, and Abo's Wink

Abo's not so much where I am, more bogans/rednecks Wink

Then there was that wierdo catching rats for his pet snake...

Where we are, where we belong, where we should be.


Location: Back in Bris-Vegas, wondering at the bright lights of the big smoke

Awesome post! I love to see how others do things and this is a great look at fieldcraft stuff that I've been missing lately. I've got a couple of questions:

- What is your climate like? Average temps, humidity, etc. I see your preference for unlined boots and cotton outer layers which tells me it's cold and dry. Is your AO always dry my experience with snow in North America ranges between nice dry pellets to some nasty wet slop. The nasty wet slop is the worst to be out in because it soaks everything worse than rain. I'm guessing you don't have to deal with this as much?

- Do your overwhites have pass through slots for pocket access? It seems like it'd be a pain in the ass getting into your smock for a compass when fully outfitted and kitted up. I see the zipper on the top but the pants don't appear to have access?

- What's primarily used for travel out there ski's, snowshoes, crampons, or just boots? I guess I'm curious how everything does with heavy exertion and about the boots system. This probably ties directly back into my first question about the climate.

- Any issues with the water freezing, batteries not working, etc? I've only used my contour down to about -10 and haven't seen any issues but I stow it inside my jacket when it's not in use. I am wondering about durability after it's been cold soaked.
Hi! Great posts!

I wonder how you can get yours waters worm and drinkaply? I have used to keep my water canteen under my jacket and pulllower, so it is always worm as your body.

And also I wondering your boots, aren't those slipery? I like use winter rubberboots whith felty innner boots and whool scoks. They are good even -30 degree chelsius.

Winter rubberboots:
Was just about to comment on the rubber boots.

They work really well in even more colder conditions and the felt inner boots are easy remove for drying.

A lof of our guys also used their personal thermal underwear, gloves and things like that.

However even the issued clothing here is pretty good. I was surprised when I was issued a merino wool mid layer at a recent reserve exercise.

We had two types of overwhites and I prefered the anorak model with a big front pouch, could stuff a bit of food and plenty of other small items there for CTR.
Ok, I'll try to answer this in order.

@Boltgun and Jon:

I haven't used the EWL lube that long, but so far no issues.

We are issued BreakFree CLP, and it has worked fine for me over the years.

And thanks!

@Ribot0, sinister, kaja and Mick:

First, I agree that body armor in cold weather is a problematic issue. I also agree that mandating it to be worn on top of insulating garments negates whatever effect that garment would have provided. It is also downright dangerous, because like you say it leads to excessive heat, which in turn leads to sweating, wet clothing and then heat loss; the worst case result is dehydrated and hypothermic soldiers.

Operating in cold weather, you need to take into consideration the climate as part of your MDMP/TLPs. If you are on foot, marching to the obj, my recommendation is to wear the BA during the march and go as light as managable on the clothing. A thin wool top under the uniform shirt, for example, depending on the temp. You need to find the balance between not freezng when you are marching and not becoming a human steam machine. In your assault packs, have the happy suit easily available, and during short halts put it on over your gear to minimize heat loss.

I usually only have a t-shirt or mesh shirt under my jacket and winter camo anorak, even if it's -30 celcius. I get so warm when marching, that any more than that and I would become a heat casualty. I think it is unavoidable to suffer a bit, but in my experience it is better to freeze a bit and just stay active to generate heat, than to wear everything and not last even a few clicks before being exhausted from excessive heat.

Hope that makes sense.

As far as the water goes, yeah it freezes. We are also taught to have our water bottles in a string around our necks. I don't care for that technique at all. Two tips/tricks that might work:

1. Water freezes near the surface, where there is air. Turn your bottle up side down in the pouch to mitigate the issue

2. Always fill bottle with warm water when possible. Refill with snow as you drink.

Water management/hydration is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of winter operations; reduced thirst sensation reduces drinking frequency, cold diuresis increases risk of dehydration. Inexperienced leaders also often mandate emptying canteens; max water uptake is about 150ml every 15 minutes.Empty your canteen and you will just piss out the excess water very quickly, and basically run out of water. Discipline is needed to maintain the water supply for as long as possible.

As far as gloves go, I personally use these:


I also use these two in combination when it isn't too cold, issue combat glove and wool liner:

And thanks guys!


Here are a few pics of the overboot system:

Full view:



With boot:

It is a very simple design:

-Top half is rip stop nylon with a shock cord draw string and cord lock
-Bottom half is waterproof rubber, with a fleece'ish liner, and a draw string that you tie up
-The sole provides a pretty good grip on snow

It is very easy to take on and off, just pull it over the boot.

The most important thing to do with these boots is to air them out when you can, as well as when you are inside. As you guys probably know, no garment provides heat by itself, clothes help keep the layers of air warm. If the air is compressed, never vented/replaced etc it get's cold, and then you get cold. The same goes for the overboots. If you never air them out, even when you are inside, the overboots will become a refrigerator for your feet and you will get cold. You need to stick to routine, and be disciplined.


My assault pack goes into the main compartment of the ruck, not docked on the outside. I only keep my sleeping bag and sleeping mat on the outside. My summer weight sleeping bag will also go in the main compartment.


The climate varies greatly with where in Norway you are, but at my current station the climate is usually dry and cold. Along the coast and in south-western Norway the climate is milder and wetter. They don't always get that much snow though. We usually get a few mild periods just before winter sets in for the season, and during spring thaw. I agree that wet slop is the worst environment to be in, as everything gets wet like you say. Our overboots are waterproof, and the winter overalls are water resistant, so it helps. We are also currently issued aa Gore-Tex uniform for that kind of weather (0 degrees, wet snow etc).

Both the overwhite trousers and the anorak have access points for pockets. The trousers have full length zippers that run down the outsides of the legs, with pulls both at the hip and the ankles. The anorak has a flap in the front that can be opened via a zipper. You can see it run across my upper chest in the winter camo first line pic. The anorak is designed so that you can wear it over your combat gear, in case you want an all white appearance with regards to camouflage. If you need access to your vest, just pull on a tab, and the flap opens up.

For dismounts we primarily use snow shoes for travelling cross country. We have skiis available, but they are not really suited for fighting. Skiis are great for movement though, but we use either snow mobiles or BV 206 Bandvagn for transport (or other vehicles based on TO&E). Skiis are mostly used for physical training or for winter spesific instruction, with a reduced combat focus. The bindings on both the skiis and snowshoes accept boots with or without the oveboots.

Battery life is an issue, but mostly on frequent use items like the GPS, comms, NVGs etc. Not so much with the Aimpoint. Alkaline batteries are more prone to life reduction in cold climates than lithium. We are supposed to get lithium batteries for all our stuff now, but they are more expensive. As for the Contour it lasts for several hours in -10 to -20 degrees, though not continously filmimg. I mostly use it for range stuff, so I shoot a string, stop, shoot a new string, stop etc. It stays on the helmet all the time though.

Hope I got to everyone.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

Great post. I wish some of our superiors here in MN would take note. Body armor over clothing, desert boots to the range in winter, and shitty gloves all piss me off during the winter months. Heaven forbid the CSM mafia would look at keeping troops warm and functional as opposed to dress right dress.

On a side note, got the chance to meet some of your Norwegian brothers this weekend here in Minnesota. I believe the MN National Guard - Norwegian Home Guard exchange is the longest going exchange program in the military, 40 years and counting.

"These are the rules. Everybody fights, nobody quits. If you don't do your job I'll kill you myself."


Joined: 04/01/2004     Location:  Twin Cities, MN

I use my armor under my uniform. I place it on top of the baselayer, which is usually Helly Hansen Dry or Warm shirt, or the issued mesh shirt. There are several reasons why I choose to wear it under uniform, but the primary reason is to have access to all the pockets on my jacket(s). Other than that, it's easier to vent out since you can zip down the jackets and still have armor on. Quick drying baselayers are key when you wear armor on top imo. As for carriers, I've used a cordura backed carrier, and a mesh backed carrier. I think I prefer the cordura backed type, as the mesh will hold moisture.

The primary difference between my (winter) gear and Arctic is that I use the issued Goretex jacket and the old (and heavy) cotton M75 pants. It's simply because I'm no fan of the issued cotton jacket (it's way too heavy, and the cut isn't good imo.), and can't justify buying a more modern variant.
For gloves, if I need dexterity or think they'll end up wet, I use my thin work gloves. I have a pair of fleece lined gloves if I need a bit more heat (but I switch to the thin ones for actual work). The mittens come on when it's extremely cold.

My fighting gear isn't set up for infantry work, since that's not our primary task or a likely scenario for us Home Guard gumps.. It works for me, but I'd absolutely get a belt rig if I was doing more infantry type work.

LightScout: I was nr. 2 on our list (HV02 Derby) and didn't get to go. Hopefully I'll be able to go sometime in the future.
Originally posted by doctorrich:
Absolutely awesome post.

And timely. We are deploying for Arctic Care 2013 to Alaska in April, and I'm saving this post.

Thank you, Sir.

Sequestration..... You HOPE you are deploying for Arctic Care in April.

"You can all go to Hell, I am going to Texas" David Crockett

Originally posted by LightScout:
Great post. I wish some of our superiors here in MN would take note. Body armor over clothing, desert boots to the range in winter, and shitty gloves all piss me off during the winter months. Heaven forbid the CSM mafia would look at keeping troops warm and functional as opposed to dress right dress.

On a side note, got the chance to meet some of your Norwegian brothers this weekend here in Minnesota. I believe the MN National Guard - Norwegian Home Guard exchange is the longest going exchange program in the military, 40 years and counting.


One of my best buddies is over there now, guy with a red beard.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

A guy with a red beard? All you guys look like a bunch of Vikings, how can I tell them apart? Wish I was able to be more involved with the exchange; the two days I did have were great.

"These are the rules. Everybody fights, nobody quits. If you don't do your job I'll kill you myself."


Joined: 04/01/2004     Location:  Twin Cities, MN

Thank you for the run down, and confirming something I have long thought about gore-tex boots. Unfortuantely, finding a good pair of all leather boots that aren't gore-tex is a pain. It used to be easy to find my preferred boot in the non-gore-tex version. I am going to have to try out some overboots.

I would like to hear more about your snowshoes/skis/bindings (size, shape, type of bindings, etc...). Also do you guys ever use pulks, and if so how do you integrate the (2 guys per pulk or?) and what is your attachement system for pulling them.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear

"If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston

Don't worry, I was giving you shit! Every one of them that I did meet and talk too was professional. The info sharing was definitely a two-way street. I hope to get the opportunity to come your way on the next exchange.

"These are the rules. Everybody fights, nobody quits. If you don't do your job I'll kill you myself."


Joined: 04/01/2004     Location:  Twin Cities, MN

Norgies, Finns, and Swedes do cold right -- they LIVE there.

Geronimo's query as to cold-dry and cold-wet is applicable to many places in the US that don't get below 20F often, leading to slush conditions.

The topics seem to come up every winter because Old Man Winter can be a killer. Simple unfrozen drinking water, anti-contact gloves (especially if you're handling petroleums like AVGAS or stove fuel), overboots, battery life, and keeping IV fluids warm are always popular topics.

The fact junior and mid-grade leadership has to be trained EVERY winter (especially if you don't live there) is telling.
Arctic1, Great post. As Four niner Zero confirms, some of us in the Arctic climes do things very very similar.

As far as armour goes, I wear a wicking layer, then Armour then my other layers go on top. It took 2 days freezing at -40C to learn that one.

Originally posted by 8th:

Ref the Overboots, Id heartily recommend NEOS.

Ive had a set for three years and used them in everything from CFB Suffields muddy wastes, Gagetowns Swamps and up in the High Arctic and they are the tits!


Whiskey, Dip, Long Rifles and Short Fuses? Welcome to Alberta son...


"You get the boys into the corolla and go downtown for some shwarmas and titties." - GoFaster775


Joined: 25/05/10  Location: The Oil Patch of Canada 


I see I missed a few questions:


The Norge shirt is still issued, but I don't use it in the field since it is mostly cotton. We have a new version in wool. By all means, it's not a bad garment, it's just that we have something better.

When I feel like going retro, I put on my OD field pants, my Norge shirt and a NATO sweater.


I forgot to answer your question on temps and humidity. Like I said, the area I am in now is mostly dry during winter. Since Dec 1st last year the coldest we have had is -26C, with the normal being about -10/-12 the last few months, although fluctuating a bit. The weather has become a bit more unstable these last few years, with more mild days interspersed. Wreaks havoc with road traffic Wink

I also wanted to expound on what sinister stated about anti-contact gloves, and hygiene in general.

Keeping your hands in good working order is very important, and this means being disciplined (I am a bit sloppy here, sometimes). Protect your hands when doing simple tasks like maintenance, working on vehicles, handling fuel etc.

Getting cuts on fingers, or getting your hands covered in fuel can render them useless very quickly. If you can't use your hands, you are non-op. Especially in a survival situation.

A common reason for what we call "field fingers", the skin on the fingertips drying up and cracking, is a result of people warming their hands over the stove (primus). Not advised.

Use gloves when handling any metal objects. Frostbite happens fast, especially when wind and/or moisture is involved. I have literally seen a frost injury develop right in front of me, on a guy's nose. Suddenly, out of the blue so to speak, the right side of his nostril wall turned white.

Also, take care when handling large fuel containers. Getting a pant leg, for example, covered in diesel or gasoline might ruin your clothing, but can also cause severe chemical burns.

Lastly, ingesting diesel is a surefire way to clear out your bowels. Just sayin'. I keep disinfectant towels handy (they come in our rations).

Protect your hands.

We follow a very strict dirty/clean routine, to make sure that no clean items (food, water etc) never comes in contact with dirty items (fuel, garbage etc). Inisde the tent we usually keep clean stuff on one side of the entrance, and the dirty stuff on the other. Same when we pack cooking gear/stoves in our rucks; keep fuel and stoves spearate from food and other clean items.

Nothing wrecks a good outing like a squad with the shits.

A few general tips:

-Never shave during winter when in the field; you will remove the natural fat layer that covers the skin, making it more vulnerable to frost injuries. If you absolutely, positively have to due to dumb policy, do it in the evening, before getting in your sleeping bag. Never in the morning. That way the fat layer will come back slightly.

-Stay away from so called "cold creams". Many contain water, and can compound frostbite issues as well as making the skin more vulnerable. Also, if it is a type meant to be put on thick, you won't be able to see frost injuries during buddy checks

-If your hands are drying out and starting to crack, you can use moisturizing cream, but try to get a type that has a low water content, and try using it when in a sheltered environment. Don't apply it and head straight out into the cold.

-Never wear a mask that traps moisture over your mouth or nose, use items made for that purpose (like neoprene face masks. If you don't use the correct gear, moisture will get trapped, and can increase the likelyhood of frostbite around the nose/mouth area.

-Never breathe inside your sleeping bag while sleeping; this will cause moisture to form inside the bag, making it damp. Worst case means ice forming in the insulating filler. It's not cool to try to roll out your sleeping bag and hearing the ice crack. Gonna be a cold night, and the issue never really corrects itself.

-Wear boots large enough so you are able to wiggle your feet, and if you like, wear two pairs of socks.

-Prioritize what garments you want to dry when bivouacing; socks, moisture wicking garments, boots are priority 1. Trousers, jackets etc are not important to dry out, as you will most likely sweat the next day anyways.

Never dry these items inside your sleeping bag; moisture that evaporates will be trapped inside the sleeping bag, and the same issues as above will be the result. If you are using a stove to heat the shelter, dry your stuff when you are on stove watch.

I'll try to get some pics of my skiis and snow shoes as well.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

This is probably a stupid question considering the mobility expected in combat these days, but in reading histories of the Winter War, the Finns constructed saunas, which turned out to be a huge factor in their ability to fight when compared to the Russians in the same area. The lines had to have been fairly static at those points, but they said the ability to come off the line, go into a sauna and get toasty down to the bones, was both a huge morale factor, but a health one as well. It meant they weren't fighting the cold all the time.

So the question is, do you try and create a condition where someone can get totally warmed up from time to time?



Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still


Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

Heated tents is more or less the norm for regular units around the year, running dieselburners and/or kerosene stoves, not sauna temps but comfy enough.

I`ve done a mountain crossing in July on a traning ops, where it snowed/sleeted for the better part of the day.

Best regards Harry

Arctic1, no issues with the nalgene ever freezing especially with it being worn in your webgear outside of all your layers?


In whatever you choose to do,

Do it because it's hard,
Not because it's easy. -NdGT


Joined: 11/16/08                             Location: GA

I really have learnt a shit tin reading this thread, thanks again Artic!

Where we are, where we belong, where we should be.


Location: Back in Bris-Vegas, wondering at the bright lights of the big smoke

Originally posted by Niquorice:
Arctic1, no issues with the nalgene ever freezing especially with it being worn in your webgear outside of all your layers?

It does freeze eventually, but like I stated earlier I store it upside down in the pouch to prevent the opening from freezing, as well as fill it up with warm water whenever possible.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

Originally posted by Dorsai:
This is probably a stupid question considering the mobility expected in combat these days, but in reading histories of the Winter War, the Finns constructed saunas, which turned out to be a huge factor in their ability to fight when compared to the Russians in the same area. The lines had to have been fairly static at those points, but they said the ability to come off the line, go into a sauna and get toasty down to the bones, was both a huge morale factor, but a health one as well. It meant they weren't fighting the cold all the time.

So the question is, do you try and create a condition where someone can get totally warmed up from time to time?

Like HP said, when it is very cold we need some form of shelter. For conventional forces you will usually see one of the following (quick google search for photos):


Not very well built.

It basically made by buttoning together a set amount of old german diamond shaped shelter halves, usually 5 or 7 (as pictured), but can be configured with 4, 8, 10 or 16.

This tent is heated by using a kerosene stove. The tent is carried either pre-buttoned, in a pack or on the pulk during winter, or each soldier can carry his own shelter half and the tent can be assembled as needed. Easy to bring for dismounts. A well drilled squad can put up a pre-buttoned tent in about 10 minutes.

It is a bit old fashioned, very heavy when wet but provides good shelter for most weather. Will leak water if the insides of the tent is touched. Does not allow light to shine through.

A few links to pictures showing different configurations:


The we have the best tent as far as comfort is concerned, but not possible to bring on foot marches:

Squad tent:

This tent is heated by a big mulit-fuel heater, fueled by a 20L can of kerosene:

We are seeing more and more civilian type tunnel tents, but they have several weaknesses at the moment, such as light signature and thermal signature. Not good enough yet.

We do practice "hard routine", meaning cold bivouacs, for a few days. As long as we get one hot meal per day we can sustain ourselves maybe 72-96 hours without a heated shelter. We use the "knappetelt" or the tunnel tents for the cold shelters.
After that amount of time has elapsed, we will usually be pulled to the rear for restitution. We then use the squad tent. This might last for 12-24 hours depending on operational needs.

We usually operate on a given notice to move (5 min, 15 min, 30 min or 1 hour), and that decides what kind of shelter we put up.

Our ISR units have a bit more ECW gear, so they can usually sustain a cold bivouac for a bit longer.

It's not about surviving, it's about winning.

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