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My experience operating in the cold started in the military both in training and real world. I’ve worked in -25 up to just below freezing for long stretches (days not hours) of time. When I came into the military there was not a lot of good gear to be had. This changed later with consulting from Mark Twight via Natick Labs. Today we have more quality choices from more manufacturers but there is also more confusion in some areas. Hopefully this series of articles will help out those who are looking to buy quality gear for training in the elements for extended duration.

While you’re reading remember that exposure time is a major factor. A lot of students I see miss this important fact when showing up to a class. This happens with our military contracts too. I’ve heard comments early on about how we (instructors) are overdressed or that they (student) “don’t get cold”, “I’m from the North”, “I’m used to it”, etc. Somewhere around the hour mark completely exposed with no break is where most people realize basing your needs for shooting and training in the cold on the jacket you go get the mail in or take the dog for a walk with was a huge mistake.

Lastly, physical conditioning plays a huge role in staying warm. This mostly concerns circulation and over very long stretches, metabolism. Bottom line is the better shape your in both cardio wise and strength wise the easier your body can adapt to an unusual environment. I’ll leave you with the words of the Norwegians who’ve been training and shooting in cold conditions a long time arguably as good as anyone- “there is no bad weather, only bad gear”.

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