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Thread: -40 Gear (Late Season Hunts)

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    Default -40 Gear (Late Season Hunts)

    Never experienced -40 hunting but Zero degrees in a Michigan 6' x 6' deer blind for 11 hours might come close. I was layered to the hilt in pac boots, expedition polys, mid wt polys, fleece, balaclava, etc. and in a sleeping bag. Sweating and a full bladder were my enemies so I wore less layers while moving and urinated often. My theory is that a full bladder and kidneys concentrated the liquid (urine) and it chilled my lower back area...I also keep my hands in light jersey gloves then tuck them inside the bibs/coveralls and inside my pant pockets. Years ago, my grandfather used a handful of charcoal briquettes in a metal coffee can for warming. I've also skinned the deer and let it hang outside overnight where it froze solid...that was not fun processing.

    What works at -40 and how long are you stationary without any supplemental heat (fire, catalytic heater, etc.)?? Without being brand specific, what is your system from head to toe? Number of layers, clothing materials (wool, fleece, etc.), and are you over-sizing the outermost layers? What supplemental heat is used if any?

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuskovich View Post
    ...urinated often. My theory is that a full bladder and kidneys concentrated the liquid (urine) and it chilled my lower back area...
    Peeing at -40 is brutal in itself.

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    You can't stay staionary at -40, just doesn't work despite all the layers one puts on. Then again everyone is different and some might be able to deal with that but I can't.

    I tend to stick with synthetics and lots of layers when dealing with any weather that is colder than I like. Bunny boots are the one constant for my feet when it is cold out and I doubt that is going to change anytime soon. I like having mittens that have just enough room to allow me to wear a thin to midweight glove inside them. This allows me some dexterity when needed.

    The outer layers have to be sized a bit larger than normal to fit everything else underneath and still allow you some movement.

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    Really nothing fun at -40. Just have a lot of layers and don't over exert yourself to where you start sweating. Protect exposed skin. It doesn't take long for it to freeze!

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Despite any claims you may hear from various people, the hunting grounds start to get pretty quiet once it drops below zero, and if you are out at -20 you will pretty much have the country to yourself. -20 is my personal hunting cut off for an enjoyable trip. I cheated on that a bit this last weekend, when I left the truck at about -25, but I (correctly) assumed that it would warm up a bit when the sun came out. At those temps, I had no issues and was successful, but -20 is a long way from -40. Even at -20ish, I didn't see any other hunters all day.

    I use lots of layers when hunting in the cold so I can adjust quickly to activity levels. I use lots of down, but like to have the second layer in as synthetic so I can get it bloody and not worry about washing it. Biggest thing to me when hunting/trapping in the cold is to do things at a measured pace. Injuries, broken equipment, stuck machines, etc can be really tough to deal with so I try and use my head and not get in a hurry.

    Yk

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    Quote Originally Posted by nuskovich View Post
    My theory is that a full bladder and kidneys concentrated the liquid (urine) and it chilled my lower back area...y?
    Wouldn't it be the same temperature as the area surrounding it? I would think that the added mass would assist in retaining heat. Besides, just think of the heat loss when you get ready to empty the tank.

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    Been out many, many times on trips all the way down to -60. I can't say they weren't fun, but it does take the proper equipment and gear to stay comfortable. Last winter hunt I did it was -40 the whole time and we enjoyed every second of it. Right gear/equipment will make or break staying alive.

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    Member DannerAK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ERDucker View Post
    Wouldn't it be the same temperature as the area surrounding it? I would think that the added mass would assist in retaining heat. Besides, just think of the heat loss when you get ready to empty the tank.
    What I was taught and seems to make sense to me is that holding your urine requires the use of energy (burning calories). That energy could be used better by your body to keep it warm. So, holding your urine will make you colder.

    When out and about in -20 or less, I wear a duofold wool union suit, wool pants and sweater, arctic carharts, apocalypse design parka, and beaver/leather hat and mitts. Heavy, durable, and warm. Not as much fun now as it was in my 20's.
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

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    Quote Originally Posted by northway View Post
    Been out many, many times on trips all the way down to -60. I can't say they weren't fun, but it does take the proper equipment and gear to stay comfortable. Last winter hunt I did it was -40 the whole time and we enjoyed every second of it. Right gear/equipment will make or break staying alive.
    What's some of your personal favorites for cold weather excursions?
    "What is it about a beautiful sunny afternoon, with the birds singing and the wind rustling through the leaves, that makes you want to get drunk? --Jack Handy

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by northway View Post
    Really nothing fun at -40.
    Quote Originally Posted by northway View Post
    Last winter hunt I did it was -40 the whole time and we enjoyed every second of it.
    Wait wait.. I'm confused. which is it?

    Bet you didn't have much competition on that hunting trip. That's actually one of the things I like most about cold hunts. It's usually very very quiet out there.

    Yk

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowknife View Post
    Wait wait.. I'm confused. which is it?

    Bet you didn't have much competition on that hunting trip. That's actually one of the things I like most about cold hunts. It's usually very very quiet out there.

    Yk
    I guess I should have stated that if you aren't prepared, they are no fun at all!

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly Man View Post
    What's some of your personal favorites for cold weather excursions?
    I am relatively simple, and I am lucky that I stay pretty darn warm. I have cabelas predator extreme pac boots, Skidoo bibs, I wear a fleece shirt, a fleece zip up, a cabelas wind shear fleece jacket and I have a carhartt extreme jacket that I have on my pack if needed. I have a heavy fleece neck gaiter (basically a turtle fur on steroids) and a beaver fur hat. I have a pair of really nice cabelas gloves in my pack but I usually only wear these black and tan gloves sold at AIH called heat loks. Only about 8 bucks a pair and I carry multiple pairs with me. I always have a pack with me with a satellite phone in it with matches and fire starter. If overnighting, a must is an arctic oven tent.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Three key areas you need to keep warm, head hands and feet. I like a fur hat, trapper style, fur overmitts with fur on inside of palm, and double layer of gloves, and bunny boots or mukluks. A parka with a ruff is pretty much essential as well. Layer up, good set of synthetic thermal underwear, fleece, insulated carhart bibs or full suit.

    One thing to realize at temps -40 and colder is that you're getting into the realm where there is little to no room for error. Let your hands get cold and it's going to be real difficult to warm them up without external heat of some kind. Some of the handwarmers and footwarmers work well and are good to have. The one thing that has saved me countless times in the deep cold is a thermos of hot tea and a metal cup. Great for warming hands and warming up from the inside if you get chilled.

    Any tent and stove combo will work. Keep in mind though with an outside fire, it takes a real big fire to get warm in the deep cold. I once found myself in a very bad situation, shivering badly, -45, physically spent, got a fire started but my backside would continue to shiver while I warmed front side, vice versa, basically was just continually revolving around but not really getting warm. And the bigger the fire the more sparks on parka, you can catch yourself on fire pretty dang easy in that kind of situation <grin>.

    It may not be possible at all times to avoid sweating...I carry change of upper body layers, thermal shirt, fleece shirt, and that has really helped to take off top layers real quick, change into dry under layers. Take off parka before you start sweating, last thing you want is to let your parka get all sweated up inside.

    If you're dressed adequately you can be stationary at -40 for quite a while and stay warm. Doing some jumping jacks or something every once in a while helps. If you have a moose down at those temps you can use the warmth of the gut cavity to warm your hands while butchering. Don't let your only gloves get bloody and wet. You can suck down some blood too to help warm up from the inside and get some energy.

    Main thing, again, in the real deep cold you just gotta be extra careful not to get too close to the threshold between staying warm and going the other direction. It happens surprisingly fast. Be safe, good luck.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    food...sugary food or smoked salmon will help ALOT. we always kept a snickers or hard candy in our pockets when i was out in the interior, smoked salmon really warms your core too....
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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    This is what it looked like coming out last Sunday. Temp was probably around -15 at the time, although it had been much colder that morning. I was wearing a wool undershirt, wool overshirt, Carhartt Extreme bibs, down vest, Cabelas "synthetic down" jacket, and the light (but oversize) down jacket you see. When it gets <-25 or 30 I switch to a much warmer down parka. The hat is a marten fur, but I've used and like beaver fur just as much. The outer layer got dropped for walking and when gutting and loading the moose to avoid sweating. The synthetic jacket is the one that gets blood on it, since it doesn't soak it up or loose much insulation value.

    I bring a variety of gloves so I can switch out wet/bloody ones. Always have a pair of heavy over mittens in the pack also.

    Yk

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    whats all that white stuff on the ground there?
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    Zero in Michigan is = to -40 here IMO

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    Default -40 Gear (Late Season Hunts)

    Quote Originally Posted by rnykamp View Post
    Zero in Michigan is = to -40 here IMO
    Zero in MI is cold, a more humid cold. It hurts the skin and wind chill there can easily cause frost bite. -40 in interior AK is so much more dangerous even if it feels = in your opinion. It will kill, freeze and destroy like nothing MI has to offer.
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

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    Layers, mittens and light gloves, oversized outer garments, parka/hood with ruff, food, emergency equipment, supplemental heat source (coffee thermos, hand warmers, fire), and keep moving but not too fast. Got it...

    Idea for the kill sight: pack in tarp, emergency reflector blankets, three 6' poles, catalytic heater (Mr Buddy) and a few 1 lb LP canisters. Erect a man-sized reflector oven next to kill sight.

    Lastly, at the low temps you don't see a lot of competition. So, what are the caribou or moose doing? Milling about, standing in cover, bedded on sunny side or on the move?

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