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Books on dressing for cold weather while observing

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#1 k9yr

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 12:28 AM

Are there any books or guides on dressing for cold weather while observing? Might be something to add to our club library

#2 MikeBOKC

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:46 AM

I doubt there are whole books on that subject but I am sure ample information is probably contained in guide-type books about hiking or mountaineering. Additionally, every well equipped library for amy individual or group involved with any outdoor activity should have a copy of The Boy Scout Handbook.

#3 okieav8r

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 12:33 PM

I'm sure I've seen threads here on CN that have addressed this topic, so a search should turn up something.

From my own experience, I'd say wear layers that you can put on and take off as needed, and wear undergarments, like Under Armour, that wick away moisture. And, make sure you keep your head and feet warm, lest the rest of you be miserable. I live in Oklahoma, where it generally doesn't get too awfully cold, so dressing for the weather is pretty easy. A set of Carhart coveralls or insulated bib overalls is a very handy thing to have.

#4 rookie

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 07:10 PM

The saying at astronomy club goes like this:
Dress for 20 degrees colder than the thermometer. If you decide not to do it, you'll learn. :ubetcha:

#5 beatlejuice

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:28 AM

I'm sure I've seen threads here on CN that have addressed this topic, so a search should turn up something.


Here's a couple: One

Two

Eric

#6 PhilCo126

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:55 AM

I guess it's all about layers :goodjob:

#7 Tony Flanders

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:17 AM

Are there any books or guides on dressing for cold weather while observing?


There's definitely not a full book's worth to say on that.

The bottom line is: Wear plenty of clothing everywhere on your body, including your head, legs, and feet. Normal street shoes are not adequate for seriously cold weather. And hands and face poses special problems for stargazers.

#8 k9yr

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:36 PM

Thanks for the tips, looks like there is a small void in the book market for Astronomers

#9 faackanders2

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:38 PM

Why need a book for dressing in cold weather - just do it!

I use doule thick underarmor top & bottoms, ski overalls, double insulated boots (oversized insulated boots with insulation from 1st boots that were my size), thick insulated camping socks, two sweat shirts with hoods, down jacket with hood, dual facemasks, and finger folding mittens (to be able to expose fingingers for tightening thumb screws when changing eyepieces.

Add/remove layers as needed. Before ki overalls and underarmor I ised to wear 3 jeans.

Good luck!

#10 faackanders2

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:38 PM

Why need a book for dressing in cold weather - just do it!

I use doule thick underarmor top & bottoms, ski overalls, double insulated boots (oversized insulated boots with insulation from 1st boots that were my size), thick insulated camping socks, two sweat shirts with hoods, down jacket with hood, dual facemasks, and finger folding mittens (to be able to expose fingingers for tightening thumb screws when changing eyepieces.

Add/remove layers as needed. Before ki overalls and underarmor I ised to wear 3 jeans.

Good luck!

#11 turtle86

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 06:50 PM

The saying at astronomy club goes like this:
Dress for 20 degrees colder than the thermometer. If you decide not to do it, you'll learn. :ubetcha:


Great advice. 50 can definitely feel like 30 if you're outside for hours and not moving around much.

#12 jrbarnett

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:02 PM

Be careful relying on dressing advice from hobbies with higher levels of activity. Astronomy is a sedentary pursuit. You need to dress far warmer for sitting around at -10F than you do for climbing a glacier at that temperature. I think the best advice is to dress in layers, far more warmly than you think you'll need. It's easy to remove layers. It's hard to warm up in the cold once you get too cold.

If it's really cold here (high 20s is really cold for my home site) I've been known to wear an 8000 Meter suit for an all-nighter. Mine is the North Face variety, but many other gear makers offer them (Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, etc.). Yeah, I look like the Michelin Man, but I've never NOT needed to unzip the front for venting. Extreme? Yep, but it's better to be over-prepared than unready any day.

http://141.217.114.6...inter/climb.jpg

Mine's red, not yellow, but you get the idea. Very light and warm, and requires only a baselayer top and bottom underneath for even the coldest nights suitable for observing. You still need to deal with your feet and head, but the thick waterproof down hood lets you get away with beanie and facemask. For feet, thick, tall wool socks, Kamik, Sorel or Baffin PAC boots, and proper closure of the ankles of the suit around the boots.

Regards,

Jim

#13 LivingNDixie

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:45 PM

Layering is the key. The more layers the better. And like Jim said, it doesn't have to be the high quality top brand stuff. Just wear lots of layers. If you need something for your hands I highly recomend glomitts. Numerous outdoor sales places sell them. I have these these.

#14 Tony Flanders

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:07 PM

I much prefer one or two thick layers to many thin layers. It's less time-consuming to put on and take off, and also less cumbersome.

As for getting too hot ... that's never a problem for me doing astronomy in cold weather. I often strip down to a T-shirt when I'm cross-country skiing at 20F. But I rarely have to unzip my down jacket when I'm doing astronomy at 50F.

However, if you happen to own a bunch of thin layers that will work, using them is cheaper than buying a thick layer.

#15 mountain monk

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:56 PM

I've never had to wear more than four layers under any conditions--even at forty below, sitting around trying to cook dinner. Too many layers and you begin to bulk up under the arms and in your crotch--which begins, in turn, to limit circulation. If you need many multiple layers because that's all you have, fine. But good thick layers are better. Jim's outfit is superb; pricey, but superb. Lots of our guides use them in the the Antarctic and the Himalaya.

Dark skies.

Jack

#16 jrbarnett

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:26 PM

Incidentally, if you wait until the end of Himalaya summiting season (end of May) you can pick up ab 8000M suit for much less than the MSRP. I bought mine the year before last in June for ~$400. Retail on that one is $1000. You can also get basically the same suit as a two-piece (overalls and parka) for about the same price, but I find the one piece suits warmer than the two piece units in breezy cold conditions.

Regards,

Jim

#17 turtle86

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:24 PM

Incidentally, if you wait until the end of Himalaya summiting season (end of May) you can pick up ab 8000M suit for much less than the MSRP. I bought mine the year before last in June for ~$400. Retail on that one is $1000. You can also get basically the same suit as a two-piece (overalls and parka) for about the same price, but I find the one piece suits warmer than the two piece units in breezy cold conditions.

Regards,

Jim


Good info. A couple of times I've observed and camped at Chiefland when it was in the 20's, and an 8000M suit would've been great.

#18 LB16europe

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:14 PM

Thanks for the tips, looks like there is a small void in the book market for Astronomers

Why don't you write such a book?

#19 csa/montana

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:19 PM

Also, bear in mind that different areas require different clothing in order to keep warm. In my area it's a dry cold, whereas in the Southern states, it's a damp cold. Also, it depends on a person's "cold" tolerance. I'm comfortable down to about 10 degrees to be outside shoveling snow without a jacket. However, viewing, one is not moving much, so cold will be noticed much sooner. I always wear a very good warm hat, & good foot protection, such as my Sorels. No two people will be comfortable in the cold with the exact same clothing.

Best thing, is simply to try different clothing you already have, & see if it's sufficient first; and then if not, decide where you felt the cold most, and go from there.

#20 PJ Anway

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:26 PM

I live on the northcoast (Lake Superior) and a lot of my viewing is done in the cold. Here is my typical cold weather outfit: wool is at the top of my list - wool vest, wool sweater, wool pants. Next the extremities: 1) LaCross Iceman boots (think Sorels on steroids) for the feet, 2) a nice thick tuque for the head and 3) convertible mittens for the hands (mittens with concealed finger holes). Works for me.

#21 CounterWeight

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:56 PM

Is there the equivelent of 'the polar bear club' for observing? well minus the water that is?

#22 stevecoe

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:38 AM

Carol;

I agree that different observers have different needs. Once it gets really bitter cold in southern Arizona--unknow, like 45 F or so--it is time to start putting on all that gear;-)

I also use the warming bags that are sold at sporting goods stores. Just open the plastic covering and they warm up with contact with the air.

Here is me in my Michelin Man outfit at McDonald Obs. Climbing up and down the ladder to the 36 inch (Tom and Jeannie Clark's) does also keep one warm.

Clear skies;
Steve Coe

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#23 Starman1

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:30 PM

I've never had to wear more than four layers under any conditions--even at forty below, sitting around trying to cook dinner. Too many layers and you begin to bulk up under the arms and in your crotch--which begins, in turn, to limit circulation. If you need many multiple layers because that's all you have, fine. But good thick layers are better. Jim's outfit is superb; pricey, but superb. Lots of our guides use them in the the Antarctic and the Himalaya.

Dark skies.

Jack

You're right, and I would love that. But I have been unable to find thick enough clothing. It seems to always be made for people moving around and generating body heat.
If I could get a down suit the thickness of a really good NorthFace -80 sleeping bag (about 6" of loft), that would be great. Because I currently have up to 12 layers on at 10F, and the last two ARE down parkas. And I'm STILL not too warm.
So let me know: where do you get that thick of an outer layer? I've tried snowmobile suits, and they're simply not warm enough. Everything is warm enough for an hour, but I'm out for 8 or more hours at a time, and sometimes in wind at 15 degrees. Were can you find apparel thick enough to keep you warm at that temperature with fewer than 10-12 layers?

#24 mountain monk

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 12:19 AM

Don,

Just saw this. Back to you tomorrow.

Dark skies.

Jack

#25 jrbarnett

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 11:22 PM

The 8000 meter suits use quite a lot of very light but very lofty down. 800 rating down; just about the most thermally efficient you can get. It's not about thickness, per se, but rather how efficiently your insulation traps and retains body heat. There's no comparison between these Himalayan climbing suits and snow mobile suits, really. Snow mobile suits have to be thick because they use dense, heavy, inefficient synthetic or even cotton insulation batting. These climbing suits are an order of magnitude lighter and more effective.

North Face's best expedition bag, the Inferno, is down, good to -40F and weighs just a little over 4 pounds. It's not the thickness but the effectiveness of the insulation that cunts. I know a few high elevation experimental glider pilots (sedentary, oxygen assisted and cold as hell) who use these suits too. It's the closest thing you can buy to a NASA-style space suit. In fact, they are too warm for hanging around at Everest basecamp (17,600 feet). You typically don't see the suits come out until Camp III (26,000) hence the nickname - "8000 meter suit".

The prices are maxed on these suits right now, but should drop at the beginning of June. It happens every year. But I did find a last season version of the Mountain Hardwear iteration on sale here:

http://www.everestgear.com/om1298.html

The suit plus a mid-weight fleece top and bottoms layer (such as REI's) would likely keep your core quite warm; warmer than double parkas! The one-piece design ensures that all of your body heat is trapped in a single space rather than multiple spaces. These climbing suits are crazy warm even sitting around. There's lots of sitting around climbing, and these are designed to fight exposure moving or still.

- Jim






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