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Observing in the cold. Clothing choices.

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#1 Alnitak2009

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Posted 14 January 2023 - 02:57 PM

Hi all,

 

Greetings, now that I'm getting a bit older, I don't seem to want to go out as much to observe on my own as I use to do, when I was younger. It seems that the older I get, the more that I can't tolerate the cold. Yes, I can bundle up with several layers of everything and it keeps me warm for over and hour or so but unless I'm meeting up with friends or a group, I tend to sometimes put off observing due to the cold. As in cold I'm referring to lower than 32F.

 

I have considered a different approach to staying warm as opposed to all those heavy layers of clothing/boots. And that is heated vest of some sort with possible temperature control. If the core of our bodies are warm then I think we(I) would venture out much more?

 

Does  anyone use a heated vest? Any thoughts or concerns about battery powered heated vests?

 

I'm looking forward to your input.

 

Thanks,

Don


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#2 DeepSky Di

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Posted 14 January 2023 - 03:12 PM

I think about this every winter. One of my strategies is to get the thermal layer on earlier in the day rather than waiting till night. Another strategy is when in doubt, just go out and look at the sky for a few minutes, and let the internal astro-person take over the decision making.

 

I was considering Milwaukee heated clothing because they use the same battery packs as some tools that I already have. I would suggest, if you have any battery powered tools, look for clothing from the same manufacturer so that they can share batteries and chargers.


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#3 KMH

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Posted 14 January 2023 - 03:39 PM

I can relate!  That's one reason I like solar observing....

My wife and I recently got a variety of Ororo heated items - gloves, hand muff, vest, socks.  They work really well and seem to be well made.  I especially like the hand muff because I can easily stuff my ungloved hands in there when I'm not focusing, etc.

 

Kevin


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#4 stargazer julie

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Posted 14 January 2023 - 03:44 PM

I don't think this is going to be a game changer for you but there is a small heater in the flashlight.  

 

The flashlight itself is really bright white light, what were they thinking. Also, it stops lighting after dropping the flashlight one too many times.   But the heater part is nice to keep the hands (one hand at a time) warm.  

 

Not the solution, but maybe part of a solution.

 

https://www.bestbuy....wE&gclsrc=aw.ds


Edited by stargazer julie, 14 January 2023 - 03:44 PM.


#5 rgk901

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Posted 14 January 2023 - 03:46 PM

if really cold...

chemical boot warmers to keep my feets warm

layers and layers... and on top my ski pants/jacket

on the head my ski baklava and an insulated hat on top

hands get flip up finger gloves ... liners if still cold, chemical warmers if needed

chemical warmers anyplace epse necessary

also look into battery operated heated outerwear/hats/socks/gloves

#6 Alnitak2009

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Posted 14 January 2023 - 04:06 PM

I can relate!  That's one reason I like solar observing....

My wife and I recently got a variety of Ororo heated items - gloves, hand muff, vest, socks.  They work really well and seem to be well made.  I especially like the hand muff because I can easily stuff my ungloved hands in there when I'm not focusing, etc.

 

Kevin

I just looked at the Ororo brand, the vest looks good but the heating elements only cover the abdomen, upper back and neck. Other brands cover the chest area and lower back. Ororo seems to be a higher rated brand. I don't know but I'm thinking that the heat from the abdomen area will rise upward to the upper body. My thinking anyway.



#7 daveb2022

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Posted 14 January 2023 - 04:28 PM

I use either a snow mobile suit or insulated coveralls/cold weather jacket. The problem is most cold weather suits still require some layers...at least that's what I find. A battery operated vest can keep the layers to a minimum and that frees up some room. Less layers provides less movement restrictions. My feet and hands are usually good down to the upper 20's depending on the humidity and wind factors. Most of my viewing is in the mid 30's to the upper 40's during most evenings in winter. The vest works great. I have a battery heated jacket also but the vest works better being you can get it close to your body and then put stuff over top of it. If you're looking for something that helps with your arms, a light heated hoodie is also a good choice if you keep it close to the first layer. An additional battery is a good idea depend how long your observing session is. On low, mine lasts about 6 hours but different models come with different battery ratings.

 

The outer wear I use is based on the average temps I encounter. I have one set of cold weather gear that claims -20F. Maybe if I were shoveling snow but sitting in a chair in cold weather??? I think the rating should be more like +20 degrees. YMMV



#8 sickfish

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Posted 14 January 2023 - 04:44 PM

I used to wear flannel lined jeans, thermal top, long sleeve tee, flannel shirt, sweatshirt with hood.

Then a insulated jump suit, Sorrells and a hat with hood of sweatshirt over hat.

Gloves were wool mittens. 



#9 Oberon510

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Posted 14 January 2023 - 05:26 PM

I use wool base layers (Top and bottom) - Meriwool is a good brand for them. Heat escapes from your head also so a good warm head cover is essential along with gloves with finger lining so you don't have to remove them when adjusting things.

 

Keep warm,

Ken



#10 DeepSky Di

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Posted 14 January 2023 - 10:09 PM

It's -2C and I'm warm enough in my coat but my iPad just dies and won't charge in the cold. It's currently inside thawing out while Orion sails overhead on the first clear night in a while. Any suggestions for iPad warming would be gratefully received. I'm thinking a nice cover made out of dew heaters, or even a cat warmer.



#11 PhotogTom

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Posted 14 January 2023 - 10:29 PM

I was out in the cold tonight - dressed for it with insulated hiking boots and thick socks, I wore running pants (kind of like tights, I guess) under my regular pants. Long-sleeved Tee with a thermal pullover on top, under a big winter coat. I knit hat and gloves. I experimented with gloves where 2 fingers and the thumb were exposed, but they seemed to be less helpful than I had hoped. My hat was a looser knit hat, my nephew's wife made it for me a couple of years ago. There are warmer hats out there. 

 

Overall, my body was comfortable, but it wasn't extremely cold out either. Mid 20s with a little breeze - something I used to think was a warmer cold day when I lived up north. Dressing for it is the main thing. Layers. Protect the entire body, don't forget to keep the legs and feet warm, especially if you're not moving around a lot.

 

Just my $.02 (2 pence).



#12 Donacton

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Posted 14 January 2023 - 10:35 PM

I use the Ororo vest. I like it a lot. I find that if I use it under a lighter weight down jacket from LL Bean, it is all I need here in Maine. At first I thought I would only use it for looking at the sky at night but I use it for everything, walking the dog, watching college hockey, going to church, etc. It has three levels of heat and will last on high for about three hours. With a hand warmer in each pocket of the down jacket it is very comfortable. If you buy it from the Ororo site you get a three year warranty , if from Amazon, only one year. I bought an extra battery so I always have one ready. I have only had it about a month but I use it more than I thought I would. As long as you wear something over it, it works fine. The neck area heats up to keep the blood to your head nice and toasty.


Edited by Donacton, 14 January 2023 - 10:40 PM.

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#13 Alex Swartzinski

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Posted 14 January 2023 - 11:21 PM

 

 

Does  anyone use a heated vest? Any thoughts or concerns about battery powered heated vests?

 

 

I just got one of these battery vests and it's pretty nice. Instead of using three layers, I can wear the vest with a thick coat above it.

 

the longest I've used it thus far was three hours, so I'm not sure how much longer it can last. 

 

Keeping your core warm will let you stay out for hours, but it also exposes the weak links in your gear. I need to work on a better sock/boot combination now. 



#14 SNH

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Posted 15 January 2023 - 10:21 AM

if really cold...

chemical boot warmers to keep my feets warm

layers and layers... and on top my ski pants/jacket

on the head my ski baklava and an insulated hat on top

hands get flip up finger gloves ... liners if still cold, chemical warmers if needed

chemical warmers anyplace epse necessary

also look into battery operated heated outerwear/hats/socks/gloves

This is very similar to what I do...in northern Arkansas if I want to observe all night around freezing!

 

I just got one of these battery vests and it's pretty nice. Instead of using three layers, I can wear the vest with a thick coat above it.

 

the longest I've used it thus far was three hours, so I'm not sure how much longer it can last. 

 

Keeping your core warm will let you stay out for hours, but it also exposes the weak links in your gear. I need to work on a better sock/boot combination now. 

Hey, that's cool. The problem for me is that I can keep everything warm all night long...except for my feet. So, I probably need to eventually buy heated socks since chemical foot warmers only last so long. But batteries only last so long, also. I don't care where you live, keeping your feet warm is the hardest part since more stuff on them makes simply walking difficult!

 

Scott H.



#15 Alex Swartzinski

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Posted 15 January 2023 - 10:35 AM

This is very similar to what I do...in northern Arkansas if I want to observe all night around freezing!

 

except for my feet.

I agree! Keeping my feet warm is always the toughest part, especially when there's snow on the ground. 

 

Does it get far below freezing where you're at? 



#16 rhetfield

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Posted 15 January 2023 - 11:08 AM

Spend significant time outside in the cold. Your body will acclimate after a few days and you will need less clothing. This is especially important for hands/feet. I have found that nitrile gloves help delay the inevitable when handling cold gear.

Edited by rhetfield, 15 January 2023 - 11:09 AM.

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#17 izar187

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Posted 15 January 2023 - 12:15 PM

In addition the good advice already shared, I'll add a vote for insulating layers under the feet.

Shoes or boots large enough for warmer socks, sure. Yet also larger enough to add in an extra moisture absorbing insulating layer on the bottom, inside. Old school is felt insoles, but odor absorbing insoles help too. Makes a great difference when out on frozen ground.

 

Also:

https://www.cloudyni...whats-too-cold/

 

https://www.cloudyni...inter-clothing/

 

https://www.cloudyni...ther-gear-recs/

 

https://www.cloudyni...reezing-temps/ 

 

https://www.cloudyni...87552-too-cold/


Edited by izar187, 15 January 2023 - 12:22 PM.

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#18 SNH

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Posted 15 January 2023 - 12:48 PM

I agree! Keeping my feet warm is always the toughest part, especially when there's snow on the ground. 

 

Does it get far below freezing where you're at? 

Well, Alex, I'll put it this way. In the heart of winter down here, our average morning low is around 28F and our average afternoon high is around 48F. So I have absolutely no trouble these days (in the past is a different story) observing all night without a warm-up break when it is above 30F and there is no wind.

 

I keep records, but off the top of my head, we only dip into the single digits about twice a year on average and into the teens about a dozen days. So, by Meeechigan standards, we've got it good. In fact, my weather is usually good enough that I don't have to observe on snow or below 25F because it will be equally clear but warmer if I just wait a day or so! And to boot, I don't live under the eternal jet stream like you do.

 

 

Spend significant time outside in the cold. Your body will acclimate after a few days and you will need less clothing. This is especially important for hands/feet. I have found that nitrile gloves help delay the inevitable when handling cold gear.

I've come really close to using nitrile gloves since they make a huge difference when I'm deer hunting.

 

 

In addition the good advice already shared, I'll add a vote for insulating layers under the feet.

Shoes or boots large enough for warmer socks, sure. Yet also larger enough to add in an extra moisture absorbing insulating layer on the bottom, inside. Old school is felt insoles, but odor absorbing insoles help too. Makes a great difference when out on frozen ground.

 

Also:

https://www.cloudyni...whats-too-cold/

 

https://www.cloudyni...inter-clothing/

 

https://www.cloudyni...ther-gear-recs/

 

https://www.cloudyni...reezing-temps/ 

 

https://www.cloudyni...87552-too-cold/

I thought you were going to say a rubber mat when you mentioned "insulating layers under the feet". It's a trick I found helps a bit!

 

Scott H.


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#19 Alnitak2009

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Posted 15 January 2023 - 02:23 PM

It's -2C and I'm warm enough in my coat but my iPad just dies and won't charge in the cold. It's currently inside thawing out while Orion sails overhead on the first clear night in a while. Any suggestions for iPad warming would be gratefully received. I'm thinking a nice cover made out of dew heaters, or even a cat warmer.

I've read that there are warmer plates for laptops. Plus a insulated box of some sort should help keep the heat in. They say infrared light source is good. What are you using the I-Pad for? Mount control? Other?

 

Don
 



#20 Alnitak2009

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Posted 15 January 2023 - 02:26 PM

I was out in the cold tonight - dressed for it with insulated hiking boots and thick socks, I wore running pants (kind of like tights, I guess) under my regular pants. Long-sleeved Tee with a thermal pullover on top, under a big winter coat. I knit hat and gloves. I experimented with gloves where 2 fingers and the thumb were exposed, but they seemed to be less helpful than I had hoped. My hat was a looser knit hat, my nephew's wife made it for me a couple of years ago. There are warmer hats out there. 

 

Overall, my body was comfortable, but it wasn't extremely cold out either. Mid 20s with a little breeze - something I used to think was a warmer cold day when I lived up north. Dressing for it is the main thing. Layers. Protect the entire body, don't forget to keep the legs and feet warm, especially if you're not moving around a lot.

 

Just my $.02 (2 pence).

Same for me and even extra clothing. I do keep warm for hours in 10F while friends complain that they are cold and I tell them go down inside the heated garage and warm up:)

 

I just don't care for all the bulk. Feels like I'm in space in a space suit. Hee Hee

 

Don
 



#21 KMH

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Posted 15 January 2023 - 02:27 PM

It's -2C and I'm warm enough in my coat but my iPad just dies and won't charge in the cold. It's currently inside thawing out while Orion sails overhead on the first clear night in a while. Any suggestions for iPad warming would be gratefully received. I'm thinking a nice cover made out of dew heaters, or even a cat warmer.

We use a Brewers Heater Pad from Foxx Equipment.  It doesn't get too hot and with the computer in a sun shield enclosure to hold the heat in it seems to do the job.  My problem is overheating while solar observing in the summer!

 

Kevin


Edited by KMH, 15 January 2023 - 02:28 PM.

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#22 Alnitak2009

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Posted 15 January 2023 - 02:29 PM

I use the Ororo vest. I like it a lot. I find that if I use it under a lighter weight down jacket from LL Bean, it is all I need here in Maine. At first I thought I would only use it for looking at the sky at night but I use it for everything, walking the dog, watching college hockey, going to church, etc. It has three levels of heat and will last on high for about three hours. With a hand warmer in each pocket of the down jacket it is very comfortable. If you buy it from the Ororo site you get a three year warranty , if from Amazon, only one year. I bought an extra battery so I always have one ready. I have only had it about a month but I use it more than I thought I would. As long as you wear something over it, it works fine. The neck area heats up to keep the blood to your head nice and toasty.

Thanks good to know info! Hey, how does the vest feel on medium or even low during cold temps? Or is it necessary to have on high when its really cold.

 

Don



#23 Alnitak2009

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Posted 15 January 2023 - 02:32 PM

I just got one of these battery vests and it's pretty nice. Instead of using three layers, I can wear the vest with a thick coat above it.

 

the longest I've used it thus far was three hours, so I'm not sure how much longer it can last. 

 

Keeping your core warm will let you stay out for hours, but it also exposes the weak links in your gear. I need to work on a better sock/boot combination now. 

Yes, this is what I thought. My Jeep has leather seats and after a long cold night of observing/imaging I start the Jeep and the heated seats and steering wheel are very toasty:)

 

So the vest should be somewhat similar.
 


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#24 Alnitak2009

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Posted 15 January 2023 - 02:36 PM

I agree! Keeping my feet warm is always the toughest part, especially when there's snow on the ground. 

 

Does it get far below freezing where you're at? 

I'm usually in an observatory with a wood floor and on top of that a rubber matting. I where a regular set of socks and then a thick wool sock and then heavy winter boots. Still after about 2-3 hours I can start to feel a slight sting in the toes. That's when I go in the heated garage for a while. If I'm imaging I can setup the equipment and go to the garage. When waiting for the camera to collect the images for about 30 minute sessions. I take off some layers when in the garage to prevent over heating and sweat.
 


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#25 Migwan

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Posted 15 January 2023 - 02:38 PM

I found a second hand climate controlled suit.   If my bid fails, I think I'll make a dew belt and anklets and get a long extension cord.  

 

Seriously, I think the heated vest sounds great.   Especially if it has heat on the back, cause that is where I get cold first.


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