While we don’t expect people living with Raynaud’s to try camping at the North Pole, following the Polar explorer survival tips we found on the Expert Vagabond web site can help Frosties cope with frigid winter weather conditions.
Here are some of their tips:
- Follow Basic Layering Techniques – Layering is important to help regulate your body temperature, as well as to ensure sweat doesn’t seep next to the skin and make your colder. There are three basic steps to layering: Wick, trap and block. First, use high-performance materials next to the body to wick moisture and sweat away from the skin. Second, wear a loose insulating layer to trap air near the skin and retain body heat (fleece works well). Finally, wear a top layer that blocks wind, cold air and water – look for breathable wind and waterproof materials.
- Feet Protection – We often spend so much time thinking about our body and the right gloves or mittens, we just assume a pair of warm winter boots will suffice in cold conditions. But there’s more we can do to protect our toes from winter Raynaud’s attacks. Best if the boots are winter-rated. Brands like Sorel, La Canadienne, Santana, along with more well-known brands like UGG, BearPaw, and Columbia offer good options. Make sure you buy them large enough to allow room for feet to swell during attacks, plus accommodate an extra layer of socks or those made with thick insulated material (like those from Heat Holders). For layers, start with a thin liner, followed by a good pair of wool socks (particularly merino wool), as wool does a good job of wicking moisture away from the skin. The article suggests an alternate to a thin liner sock is to wrap the feet in plastic bags to trap heat and prevent sweat from soaking the skin. This may be an extreme strategy, but I have done this after getting my toe nails manicured to protect the polish and found my feet to be pretty comfy and toasty!
- Stay Hydrated – We think about hydration more in the warmer temps, but when it’s cold, staying hydrated does help keep the blood flowing. The article suggests keeping a supply of warm water handy in an insulated container. Warm soup or broth is another good option.
- Don’t Forget About Protecting the Head and Neck – We hear this all the time, that adding a scarf around the neck helps warm the whole body. That’s because when the neck is cold, it quickly sends the signal down the rest of the body and lowers your overall body temperature. The article suggests ski masks, but since we’re not likely to become Arctic explorers, a good wool or fleece scarf or gaiter will suffice. Better yet, consider a heated scarf (we love the one from Volt!). You’ve likely heard the tips on how we lose so much body heat from the top of our heads, so covering it (and the ears!) with a good warm, toasty hat or hood is important.
The article also covers tips for staying on schedule and building well-insulated sleeping shelters, as the subject is Polar explorer survival tips, but I doubt too many Frosties will actually be spending that much time exploring the great outdoors in frigid weather.
Here’s the full article: How To Survive Cold Weather Like A Polar Explorer. We’d also love to hear your cold survival strategies, please share them us!