Cold Weather Preps
This year so far has been pretty mild New Mexico FINALLY got some snow. We are in a La Nina pattern for us this winter which means warm and dry. (Today’s high in my town of Edgewood NM is 29.9 degrees.)
Cold weather is a topic that gets talked about a lot , and yet it is forgotten as soon as the first sunny day comes out. And we always talk about what to do to treat cold weather injuries.
The Medic Shack is about treatment. If you do not treat an injury then things get worse. But also and perhaps more importantly, The Medic Shack is about prevention. Cat Ellis (Herbal Prepper) and I on both of our radio shows have talked about prevention is the best medicine. And it is. If you can prevent an injury or sickness you are way ahead of the game.
Cold weather is no different. Sure I LOVE to share yummy images of of frostbite. But let’s start with the HOW to PREVENT cold weather injuries.
Ok here I can’t resist. Here is one!!!
Diet. Yup food is fuel. Fuel makes heat and heat keeps your warm.The body needs a constant supply of fuel to work efficiently. We parents frown on our kids eating candy bars, but by having a few in your kit can and have saved lives, Proper diet BEFORE you get cold. I am not going to discuss the pros and cons of each different diet . Pick one and stick to it. But make sure it is healthy and SUSTAINABLE.
Make sure that there is enough calories to sustain you in a cold weather environment. Shivering can burn around 100 calories in 15 minutes. The muscles secrete a hormone called irisin that stimulates heat production from white and brown fat cells stored in the body.
In fact it was an old weight loss technique to strap ice packs to the body to cause shivering which turns white fat to beige and brown which is used for fuel. Seriously look it up!!! One study conducted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health showed that just 15 minutes spent in the cold can be the metabolic equivalent of a full hour of exercise. Shivering burns up to five times more energy than a body at rest, and even mild cold that doesn’t cause you to shiver starts to burn through those brown fat stores, jumpstarting your caloric burn rate.
I digress, this is not a weight loss newsletter.
Feed the furnaces that keep you warm. It is vital.
Gear. We humans do not have the fur and specialised fats that our other mammal family members have. So we have to make up for it by using our brains to duplicate what they have.
First LAYERS. It doesn’t matter if you lean toward the synthetics or the natural fibers. You have to layer so that you can add or remove as needed. If you over dress and sweat then that layer of water will be against your skin and it will chill.
The 4 Layers of Cold Weather Clothing
- Long Underwear: Your first layer should be your long underwear. It should fit snugly against your skin and be made of a nonabsorbent material. This layer works by wicking away water and keeping your skin dry. Synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene work the best, whereas wool and silk are the best natural fibers.
Cotton is a poor choice because it absorbs water and holds the water next to your skin where it will cool you off.
- Mid Layers: The next layers are important because they serve to absorb the moisture out of your long underwear and transport it to the environment through evaporation. Once again, synthetics are best here, but wool is a good substitute. Shirts, sweaters, and trousers are what you will likely be wearing when you are active. Pay close attention to the fit, as the mid layers work by trapping air and preventing it from circulating and carrying away your body heat.
- Insulation Layer: Thickness is warmth. For sedentary activities or extremely cold conditions, an outer garment with several inches of loft is recommended. Down, Polarguard, Holofill, Thinsulate, and Primaloft are the best of the synthetics. Down is the best of the naturals but it loses all it’s warmth when wet. One that is politically incorrect to talk about but is a fantastic insulator is fur. Fun of waterborne animals and of certain land mammals is hollow. This traps insulating air and is water resistant.
- Shell Layer: The most important part of your layering system, and the most used besides your long underwear, is your windshell. Studies conducted by Recreational Equipment Co-Op show that in still air, windshells worn over any garment can add up to 25 degrees F of warmth. In windy conditions, windshells can increase warmth by 50 degrees F or more.
Footwear. If you have TV you can not help to see the ads for copper or aluminum infused socks that pop up this time of the year. Real studies are rare, but looking at the constructions they are nylon and aluminum threads woven together. Sound science. BUT the one aspect that they leave out of the ads are the outer layer that NASA uses on the gloves. Space suits are designed different than shoes. Keep that in mind before you pay 19.99 plus S&H for a pair. (But WAIT, THERE IS MORE!!) Ok couldn’t resist it.
Wool. Merino wool to be exact. Hands down the best socks. Warm, light, water repellant and wicking And no itch. Worth every penny paid. ‘Nuff said.
Boots. The US Army made the best cold weather boot.s We called em Mickey Mouse boots. They would keep you toasty warm even in Barrow Alaska in February. They have disadvantages. Bulky Heavy Cumbersome and Pricey. Choose good quality footwear. There are hundreds of brands. Pick the best you can afford and treat them well. I wear the same boots most of the year, except when working in the snow. A cheap pair of RG Tactical boots. In the winter I just add in a pair of Thinsulite insoles and good socks. For snow work I have a decent pair of Timberland Earthkeepers .
Gloves and hats. I personally use a cheap ass pair of 2 for 5 bucks leather work gloves. But inside is a pair of US Army wool glove liners. The outside is treated with neatsfoot oil to waterproof. Total cost 8 bucks for 2 pair that are warm dry and protective. I love my wool Fedora. For 3 of the 4 seasons it is perfect. But come winter. I take a lesson from my son. It’s beanie time. He goes for the stylish Neff beanies, (You GOTS to be cool!) Me I stick to the tried and true Thinsulate or wool watch caps.
Herbs that warm.
Ever wonder why cinnamon, clove, nutmeg or ginger are so associated with the cold? They are herbs that warm. And they each have their special place in your cold weather preps. These heating herbs bring blood to the surface of the skin, acting as a radiator of sorts, and warming the body. Warming herbs also tend to soothe the stomach, aid digestion, and regulate blood sugar.
Cinnamon is good for people who complain that they are always cold, no matter what the thermostat says. Cinnamon dries dampness in the body (you know—that cold-to-the-bone feeling) and stimulates circulation.
Ginger really does it all—boosts the immune system, fights allergies, lowers cholesterol, relieves arthritis pain, stimulates digestion, fights nausea and morning sickness, and warms the body. Try drinking ginger tea, ginger hot chocolate,
Cardamom is also a member of the ginger family and has the same warming, stimulating effect. It also opens the respiratory passages and helps clear the mucus associated with a heavy chest cold.
Nutmeg is good for preventing and flatulence, treating diarrhea in children, and for breaking up chest congestion. It also has antiviral properties.
All of these have a place in your preps. In addition to their medicinal properties they also boost the spirit. The mind must be treated and cared for also. Cold affects the mind and can cause bad decisions to be made. And as important is to buoy the spirit.
Our Russian friends say that cold is not meant to be endured but enjoyed. By being properly prepared it can be.
The holidays are coming and one of the best gifts to give is a Medic Shack Herbal First Aid kit. Time is running out to get one before the holidays.
The Medic Shack Herbal First Aid Kit is a comprehensive kit designed to supplement your standard first aid kit by using herbal and natural alternatives to the most common medicines found in your first aid kit.
The kit comes in 2 sizes Large and Small
Small Kit $35.00
Note there is @ 3-4 day build time for the kits
The Small kit contains
1 ounce tin of each Salve
Cuts and scrapes: Sage Pine and Plantain Comfrey salve
Burns: Chaparral Plantain Calundula Marshmallow salve
Insect bites: Yarrow chaparral salve
Rashes: Plantain Comfrey chaparral salve
Muscle Aches Strains and Sprains Arnica Cayenne salve.
All Salves are made with 100% coconut oil and stiffened with Beeswax
The Glycerites are packaged in 5cc sealed bottles 2 bottles for each glycerite and 1 tincture for a total of 10 bottles
Cold Flu Sore throat. Elderberry Echinacia Slippery Elm Osha glycerite
Sore throat Osha, Yerba Mansa, licorice slippery elm Glycerite
Allergy Mormon tea tincture
Pain relief Willow Devils claw glycerite
Upset stomach Mint/Mesquite glycerite
All the glycerites are made with 80% natural vegetable glycerin 20% RO water.
The 1 tincture is made with wildcrafted Mormon Tea tinctured in 50% grain alcohol
The large kit is identical but double in size.
The kit bags come in Tan OD Green and Black and the price includes USPS shipping Order yours here. TMS Herbal First Aid Kits
For the time being I am discontinuing the Herbal Hot pack. My wife makes them and with her health of late she is unable to make them. I’ll refund all that purchased one.