Thus far this fall, the weather in Missouri hasn't been too bad. Though the temperatures are dipping, the worst is by far yet to come, but what are you going to do when it gets here? As you spend time hunting and camping in the wilderness, staying warm is essential to not only extending your time in the woods but also your health and wellbeing right on up to and including ensuring your survival.
In order to make the most of your hunting season and maintain good health throughout, you're going to need to be able to get and stay warm. We've all experimented with various tactics for retaining warmth and making out time spent in the field as easy on us as possible, but that doesn't mean there aren't other options worthy of exploring. Here are a few tricks to consider adding to your arsenal:
1. Cover your neck. Believe it or not, the collar area of your shirt is an easy place for heat to escape. You want to prevent this by sealing off exit route. Neck gaiters are a great way to do this. Put it on first and then place your shirt over it so that the base is securely tucked inside. Then pull the top up and down as needed to keep your neck warm. It can also be used to cover your nose, lips, and ears, keeping those warm as well while still allowing you to breathe uninhibited through the fabric.
2. Top it off with a beanie. These knit hats that fit down snug over the top of your head are excellent for retaining warmth. Since most body head loss is through the head, having a beanie hunkered down snuggly atop your dome will help you keep that much needed warmth instead, keeping not just your noggin but the rest of you toasty as well. Plus, since beanies are fitted, you can pull your hood right over the top of it.
3. Keep your hands in a warm, happy place. Having warm hands as well as avoiding frostbite is important. Many people tout the importance of gloves but the problem with gloves is that they can cause a lack of dexterity. For some of us it can be difficult to manipulate things (such as guns and bows!) with gloves on, but without gloves, our hands are then too cold to accomplish the task at hand. What is one to do? Well, one option is to wear a hand muff around your waist and stuff your hands inside. When the time comes to take a shot, pull out warm hands and pull the trigger. This is not practical for hiking and driving, of course, but while you're waiting to take a shot from a shooting house it will be perfect.
4. Give your boots a buffer. Yes, good socks and boots are important, but you can take foot warmth a step further by adding boot covers. These will give you an added layer of insulation that will keep feet from getting too cold or, worse yet, becoming frostbitten. They can be worn when you are stationary and taken off and placed in a pocket when you're on the move, then placed back in when you're seated again.
5. Put a patch on it. We've all heard about hot hands but there is another option for cranking up the heat against your body. Salon-Pas Capsaicin Patches are a personal favorite for this purpose because they are long lasting, flexible, and generate a good bit of heat without becoming uncomfortable but any therapeutic heat patch will do. When you're in the field and feel a chill set in, apply one of these patches to your lower back or shoulders. The patch will do all the work, heating up quickly and warming your chilled body. As a side benefit, if you have any aches and pains, these patches will ease them at the same time. They are very inexpensive and one large patch can even be cut down to a smaller size with the pieces used whenever you wish.
Just because the weather in Missouri gets downright frigid at time doesn't mean you have to. Simply try one or all of the tactics above and you are sure to make those cold days much more bearable. After all, when it comes to staying warm, sometimes a small purchase is worth its weight in gold.
What do you to keep warm in the field? What tips and tricks do you swear by? Let us know in the comments.