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Paslode
12-06-2008, 13:37
Before I posted I did search around on this forum for some insight and I found nothing that really answered my question.

I have goretex lined boots, one pair has thinulate soles, I have tried thin socks, thick socks, cotton socks, wool socks, wool/cotton blend socks and my feet still get cold.

So how do you deal with cold feet?

Conrad Y
12-06-2008, 14:21
Keep your feet and socks as dry as possible.
Rotate socks frequently (We carried another pair under our shirts to dry as one pair is worn).
Don't lace too tight. Let your blood circulate.
Wear Gators when possible to add more insulation to your boot tops and ankles.
Use the combination of two pairs of socks at a time (layer over feet is thin polypropylene while the outer layer is thicker wool).
Every hour or so check your feet while doing your sock-change to massage your feet and get more circulation moving.
Some guys like to use foot powder in combination to the tips above.

I'm sure other winter-warriors here have more advice than I.
Good luck.

Go Devil
12-06-2008, 14:27
Keep rucking!:D

Since every one has a pair of feet, you should get some good answers, but varied.

Keeping feet dry is critical. Rub your feet with powder and add a dash to your socks.

Change your socks.

Loosen the boots around your ankles to let blood circulate.

Flex your feet and toes.

If this fails , recite the following phrase to yourself,

" Discomfort is a state of mind."

;)

Pete
12-06-2008, 14:46
....So how do you deal with cold feet?

When I sleep I stay well over on my side of the bed.:D

Some people have cold feet and there just is no way around it.

Just a bit of advice. If you want to wear two pair of socks get a set of larger cold weather boots. Stuffing two pair of socks into your normal 1 sock pair will restrict the flow of blood in your feet.

Dozer523
12-06-2008, 15:53
If you are cheap like me (spare me the obvious come back) take the pair of Army issue socks and turn them insisd out and put them on. Now you have the smooth, comfortable side against your skin. Now take another pair of the same issue army socks and put them on without turning the inside out (Inside- in or Outside-out). Now you have the fuzzy parts together between the two socks and this gives you more insulating airspace and it wicks moisture away.
Or if you can find them buy the 100% wool thick yellow one in the PX. Turn those inside-out but only wear one pair. Just be sure to wash in cold and NEVER put in the dryer. You have to keep your boots loose (but not so you slide around in them). And you have to keep your boots dry, wet boots; nothing you can do in the cold. Your feet need to come out of the boots at least once per day and get a good airing and a dry and a massage (mention that you really love them alot -- they like that!)

Blitzzz (RIP)
12-06-2008, 16:44
As stated above many people have different levels of cold sensations. Many will give you info and some of it good. You will have to try what sounds weird because you've already tried what sounds good.
I've been in subzero weather a lot in 10th Group and found that a thin set of thinsulite inside a good wool sock seems to do the trick.
You can avoid the early morning cold boots by putting the two upper ends into each other and using the "U" shaped pair as a pillow. Your body heat is released into the boots all night long and are very warm first thing in the morning.
Bet bet is good circulation and dryness. Blitz

Dozer523
12-06-2008, 19:21
You can avoid the early morning cold boots by putting the two upper ends into each other and using the "U" shaped pair as a pillow. Your body heat is released into the boots all night long and are very warm first thing in the morning. Blitz

Wow! Did that bring back memories of Korea in the Winter (November 1 - March 31). Never having been in a place that cold, I got a chance for a nice sleep in the bag, on the pad. Realizing that I might have to get going, or might have to just go in the middle of the night, I put my boots within easy reach near my head (It worked great at Ft Benninng). The next morning I woke up and had to slip my tootsies into a pair of boots that was probably 10 below zero! I walked all morning trying to warm them up. And I don't think I ever did -- the boots became heat sinks! After that I used Blitzzz' technique only I laid them sole to sole under my knees ( but between the pad and the bag). I actually looked forward to putting them on in the morning! They were probably 80 degrees! This was in the days of the old chicken feather bags so I also learned to take off my field jacket, but keep the liner on, zip it up and wrap my feet in it. Then wrap up in a poncho liner then zip up the bag but first make sure the poncho was covering all of the bag. I remember waking up in the middle of a Team Spirit Recon one night, roasting and feeling squashed. It had snowed about a foot. Pick your spot in the lee of a paddy dike, too. Oh and wear a wool hat or you will burrow down in your sleep. That just got the bag wet from your breath.
Do you know a sure way to tell if it is -50 or colder? Spit freezes before it hits the ground. That's amusing for a few minutes! :eek:

Paslode
12-06-2008, 19:34
Thanks for the replies, I was hoping there would be a few ideas on here from folks that truely have had to rough it.

The larger size boots crossed my mind as a means of having providing additional air space and the loosening makes sense in that regard as well. I like the idea of foot powder because it is a damp cold that is bothering me. I found out hunting this year Thinsulate insole make a difference for awhile. Might help to have some additional body fat as well...a rare comodity for me.

Another question I had was whether or not hydration has any bearing on the extremities and how they handle cold.

albeham
12-06-2008, 20:57
E. All the above.

Plus I use a wool cap over my head. Works for me.

AL

Blitzzz (RIP)
12-06-2008, 21:34
Yes to wool hat at night. Also, and this may sound odd, but we used to carry a collapsable stool on our rucks (it slides between the rear of the ruck and the straps nicely. Why a stool? because it's much better than sitting in the snow. I used the stool when sleeping as a tunnel frame over my head. This formed a dead space and oddly,it kept cold air off of my head.

Also used to take and wrap my feet in a poncho liner and put them in a waterproof bag inside the sleeping bag...and very warm.
With regards to the sleeping with the boots under your head, one loses 50% of body heat through the head. Enjoy the cold, it falls under Paragraph 3 of a field order..
Out, Bllitzzz

Dozer523
12-06-2008, 22:41
Here is another good cold weather tip. Reschedule your bowel movements for the evening, most folks like to do it in the morning. You don't want to expend body heat keeping a big piece of waste warm overnight. You will sleep more comfortably. There was a great WWII movie I saw once, where the Germans snuck up on the Brits in the desert in the middle of the night. Everyone was ready just before dawn. The German Commander ordered his force to hold fire until the Brits went to "take the morning constiutional" then they let them have it! The attack did not take long. As for me, personally, that is not the way I want my body found. I try to be a "tea-time" guy!
Here is one I've read about but never tried. High altitude mountaineers take a hot water bottle and pee in it at night. Then hold the bottle between your feet, or where ever is coldest, I guess. The fluid will initially be almost 98.6 degrees. The technique might also make it so they don't have to get out of the bag to take care of that. I would imagine that when the liquid begins to get cool you could put it outside the bag, but I would not want it to freeze solid. Again, no personal experience.
As for the larger boot size don't try to get warmth at the expense of blisters. You can still walk on cold feet and be comfortable. Blistered AND cold feet, no thanks.

anythingrandom
12-07-2008, 10:09
Ever since I started hunting when I was 10 I've had problems keeping my feet warm. Every other part of me stays toasty except my toes. My father wears the same socks and boots as me, and never has a problem, although his hands get cold and mine don't. Everyone is a little different. Here's what I did -

I took a pair of warm socks and sewed onto the top of the toe a pocket that stretched to the middle of my foot. Find some way to fasten the opening of the pocket, velcro or buttons have worked. Then get some of those "toe warmer" packs and slip them into the pocket. The "hand warmer types" don't work quite so well, they require more air than the toe warmers and therefore stop reacting if placed in the confines of a boot.

Hope this helps.

ATR

PSM
12-07-2008, 10:26
I moved to Southern California. :D

I used to use these:

Electric Socks (http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/links/link.jsp;jsessionid=LN4GSMQPGAVR1LAQBBJSCO3MCAEFII WE?id=0005479&type=pod&rid=0180101070502&cmCat=perf&cm_ven=performics&cm_cat=Google_NonBrand&cm_pla=footwear_mensocks_general&cm_ite=heated%2Bsocks&_requestid=54929)

Pat

koz
12-07-2008, 13:42
Here's what I did -

I took a pair of warm socks and sewed onto the top of the toe a pocket that stretched to the middle of my foot. Find some way to fasten the opening of the pocket, velcro or buttons have worked. Then get some of those "toe warmer" packs and slip them into the pocket. The "hand warmer types" don't work quite so well, they require more air than the toe warmers and therefore stop reacting if placed in the confines of a boot.

Hope this helps.

ATR

For hunting it's a great idea but if the problem is in a tactical environment, toe warmers can make things worse.
- It's one more thing that you'll have to pack in and pack out.
- They also can make your feet sweat. While the heater is working, it's not a bad thing but when the heater stops, it makes things worse.
- A bunched wad of sock is bad enough, but buttons will be serious hell on your feet while on a movement.

anythingrandom
12-07-2008, 14:19
About those electric socks - they can go haywire! My father had battery powered ones that got too hot and burned him. He cut the wires, and no damage was permanent.

I was unsure whether or not the solution was under tactical constraints. My apologies.

JimP
12-08-2008, 09:20
Cold feet? put on a "head sock", or a really good hat. keep your hands warm and prevent loss of heat from your neck. preventing those sources of heat loss will help keep your feet warm. Sounds weird but works. When boots come off put on some polarguard booties and sleep with the boots to 1) dry them out, 2) keep them warm. We used to stomp a shallow trench in the snow, put out the bivy sack, slip in the ground pad and you're good to hook.

God, I HATE cold weather now.

The Reaper
12-08-2008, 09:31
Spent the coldest time of my life one February near the DMZ in Korea.

Temps with wind chill down to 57 below zero.

Kept rubber overshoes on leg boots while marching, VB boots when we stopped and set up camp.

Not too bad in a pup tent with the old Arctic sleeping bags on air mattesses, as long as the mattress would hold air. Once it let down, the frozen ground would get chilly pretty quickly. Light a candle or can of Sterno (never heat tabs) in the tent 20 minutes or so before you got up, with all of the snow on top of the tent, it got pretty cozy till you went outside.

The waterproof bag over the foot of the sleeping bag is good till the moisture condenses inside of it, then the chicken feathers freeze together and the bag has to be dried out.

Slept in a watch cap, pile cap, or sleeping bag cap. Agree that if you keep your head warm, the other extremities stay warmer as well. The sleeping shirt was also helpful in the pre- poly-pro days, as were wool outergarments and field jacket/pant liners.

TR

Blitzzz (RIP)
12-08-2008, 19:15
Also used to take and wrap my feet in a poncho liner and put them in a waterproof bag inside the sleeping bag.
Doesn't sweat inthe bag. Blitzzz

Rumblyguts
12-08-2008, 19:33
VB = vapor barrier?

Blitzzz (RIP)
12-08-2008, 23:31
You could get them in black but mostly in white. They were also called "Mickey Mouse" boots because of the bulbus appearence, although they wern't too bad walking in. Good to 60 below. When I was there the firsst time the PipeLine workers would pay soldiers over $300 for a pair, Some Commander got wise to it and started charging over $300 with an Artical 15. to keep troops from "loseing" them. Blitzzz

Longstreet
12-09-2008, 07:12
The activity you are doing may have something to do with your cold feet. Speaking for myself, whenever I am 'inactive' my feet tend to get cold, but when I become 'active' they warm up extremely well.

As for what I personally wear, when winter camping or hiking, I have always worn a light synthetic sock (a pair of Nike cycling socks) with a pair of Canadian issue wool socks over top. My feet have always been toasty warm and oddly enough, at the end of the day when I take them off and check my feet, they (my feet) are as dry as a bone. I can't say the same for my boot liners though as they are usually soaked. I wear Sorell boots and whenever I go on overnights, I always pack an extra set of liners.

Paslode
12-09-2008, 19:48
The activity you are doing may have something to do with your cold feet. Speaking for myself, whenever I am 'inactive' my feet tend to get cold, but when I become 'active' they warm up extremely well.

As for what I personally wear, when winter camping or hiking, I have always worn a light synthetic sock (a pair of Nike cycling socks) with a pair of Canadian issue wool socks over top. My feet have always been toasty warm and oddly enough, at the end of the day when I take them off and check my feet, they (my feet) are as dry as a bone. I can't say the same for my boot liners though as they are usually soaked. I wear Sorell boots and whenever I go on overnights, I always pack an extra set of liners.

My activity is Hunting and work for the most part. When moving no problem with cold feet, but sitting idle even in a warm car in the morning my feet have a damp chill. Today it was cold and sleeting, same thing warm when I was walking and cold when sitting idle, but I decided to try some hunting/hiking in the afternoon 2 hours, in gusty winds 15-20 mph, high in the 20's no problem but a chilly face and all the way home warm cozy feet....only difference a different set of boots, a looser fitting pair and my feet didn't feel damp.

What I noticed today was that with my tighter Merrill hiking boots the chill from the wind seems to transmit almost immediately to the sock, the other boots I wore hunting are looser which allows for an air space between the exterior and the sock. This is makes sense because the Merriills are warmer with thinner socks.

perdurabo
12-16-2008, 23:32
When mountaineering, trail running, or even hiking in the winter:


WigWam brand sock liners (unknown part #, white, very thin yet durable, synthetic fabric that wicks well. If you're concerned about blisters, check out the "double layer socks from WigWam or WrightSocks.

Wool socks over the liners, I like SmartWool

Goretex shoes/boots with vibram soles. BTW, stay away from The North Face gore-tex shoes, they're crap

I buy all my junk from REI.com

This combo has saved my ass, well my feet rather, a couple time in SHTF scenarios.

Keep your feet dry, use a non-cotton, wicking layer against your feet.

An additional note. This keeps your feet toasty in the cold, but is perfectly doable as "office wear" here in the PNW. My feet don't cook, HTH

NPG162
12-29-2008, 03:57
Read this article about vapor barriers.

http://www.ssrsi.org/Onsite/vapor_barriers.htm

lksteve
12-29-2008, 11:49
VB = vapor barrier?Yup.

Diablo Blanco
01-04-2009, 12:25
Cold feet? put on a "head sock", or a really good hat. keep your hands warm and prevent loss of heat from your neck. preventing those sources of heat loss will help keep your feet warm. Sounds weird but works. When boots come off put on some polarguard booties and sleep with the boots to 1) dry them out, 2) keep them warm. We used to stomp a shallow trench in the snow, put out the bivy sack, slip in the ground pad and you're good to hook.

God, I HATE cold weather now.

This is the best all around advice. I've spent two winters in Korea (DMZ too), one in Bosnia and one at CW in Utah. Korea would get -40 with the wind. Bosnia wasn't too bad (lot's of walking) but my experience in Utah really taught a lesson about gear.

In Korea we would fight over patches of sunlight on the ground to stand in. Once we went on a patrol and frago'd into an LP/OP for way too long. No one had any sleeping bags except for ponchos and one poncho liner. We took turns snuggling each other under the poncho+liner while the temp dropped to -40 (with the wind chill). After that everyone went out and bought better neck gaiters, gloves, (and those little space bags JIK)

Bosnia wasn't bad with the trees blocking the wind. If you kept moving your blood would circulate more. But we did a lot of PT. Nearly every morning consisted of a 5 mile perimeter run around the camp. That really helped with the CW conditioning more than anything. We were the old cotton PTs. In fact our section was the only unit that didn't wear goretex or bear suits on a casual basis because we were comfortable in just BDU's poly pro.

Utah...we were sent there with the wrong gear basically. The weather got real cold real fast. Had just regular boots. Ended up putting on wet weather boots to keep the cold moisture out (and in apparently). I spent a lot of time wriggling my toes and flexing my feet when stationary. When I took the boots off at the end of the day the leather was soaked. They spent all night in front of the heater and were crusty every morning.

Lessons learned:
* protect the key areas: head, neck, hands, feet
* have the proper boots
* change socks regularly
* include more cardiovascular in your PT (if you're there awhile) Improves circulation
* have the proper gear. On a light patrol in cold areas split one sleep system between four as a minimum. Additionally it helps to if each person has a poncho+liner of their own. If you have to hunker down awhile you have enough gear for a sleep rotation.

alright4u
01-04-2009, 18:25
Yes to wool hat at night. Also, and this may sound odd, but we used to carry a collapsable stool on our rucks (it slides between the rear of the ruck and the straps nicely. Why a stool? because it's much better than sitting in the snow. I used the stool when sleeping as a tunnel frame over my head. This formed a dead space and oddly,it kept cold air off of my head.

Also used to take and wrap my feet in a poncho liner and put them in a waterproof bag inside the sleeping bag...and very warm.
With regards to the sleeping with the boots under your head, one loses 50% of body heat through the head. Enjoy the cold, it falls under Paragraph 3 of a field order..
Out, Bllitzzz

I am not up on today's equipment/clothing etc. I agree about the Korea comment. I have had Simms goretex guide waders for fly fishing since about 95. They are great.

LibraryLady
01-05-2009, 11:27
I have poor circulation in my feet and hands. I'm always inclined to put more on my feet to keep them warm, but that frequently backfires. Putting on enough to keep them warm when I'm inactive is ok, but the minute I become active they slip from warm to too warm and they sweat. Once there's moisture around my feet, they rapidly cool off and then they get cold whether I'm active or not. Doesn't matter what kind of fibers they are contained within, wet socks + inactivity = cold feet.

LL

perdurabo
01-05-2009, 11:54
I have poor circulation in my feet and hands. I'm always inclined to put more on my feet to keep them warm, but that frequently backfires. Putting on enough to keep them warm when I'm inactive is ok, but the minute I become active they slip from warm to too warm and they sweat. Once there's moisture around my feet, they rapidly cool off and then they get cold whether I'm active or not. Doesn't matter what kind of fibers they are contained within, wet socks + inactivity = cold feet.

LL

I recommend that folks always wear a "wicking" layer on each part of the body whenever possible. Wickings fabrics pull the moisture away from your skin and keep you much drier.

Wicking WigWam brand socks are approx $8 at REI. When on outdoor excursions, I wear a wicking layer sock and a wool sock over it. I sweat like a pig and usually dont have wet feet.

Wicking shirts and glove liners are also fantastic. Layers is key, and the base layer should always be a thin wicking one. And with modern fabrics, you can layer well without looking like an Eskimo.

HTH

LibraryLady
01-05-2009, 12:09
I recommend that folks always wear a "wicking" layer on each part of the body whenever possible. Wickings fabrics pull the moisture away from your skin and keep you much drier.

Wicking WigWam brand socks are approx $8 at REI. When on outdoor excursions, I wear a wicking layer sock and a wool sock over it. I sweat like a pig and usually dont have wet feet.

Wicking shirts and glove liners are also fantastic. Layers is key, and the base layer should always be a thin wicking one. And with modern fabrics, you can layer well without looking like an Eskimo.

HTH

Depending upon what you wear over the wicking layer, you will still have moisture in your clothing layers. Activity will dry out the moisture in the outer layers unless you are in a heavy humidity environment. I'm speaking of that point when you have the moisture contained within the clothing, your humidity is close to saturation and you are inactive.

From your profile, you know the type of weather I'm referring to here in the PNW, but I'm speaking of those times when you are not moving outside - inactivity - how you dress for it is different then dressing for activity.

LL