How to keep warm

By Chris Bray and Clark Carter 13 April 2010
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Two cold-climate adventurers give their tips on staying toasty.

IN AUGUST 2008, CLARK Carter and Chris Bray became the first people in history to travel across Victoria Island in the Canadian Arctic, on their 1000 Hour Day adventure. After spending a combined 128 days hauling, paddling, and dragging 250 kg of gear over the tundra, frozen lakes and mud plains, and covering a total of 1100 km of the largely unexplored island, it’s safe to say that the two learned a fair bit about how to stay warm when the mercury drops. They dropped us their fail-safe tips.

1. Eat lots of high calorie foods – they’re great for energy and will help keep you warm. Cashews, milk chocolate, peanut butter on tortillas and oats are all great. (Sucking chocolate until it melts totally in your mouth is a good trick to ‘feel’ warm).

2. Bring a pair of ‘bed only’ socks for when you get in your sleeping bag. They will keep your feet dry and warm – especially if you sprinkle some talcum powder on your feet before putting them on. It’s also a good chance to give those poor feet a good rub and massage before putting the bed socks on – it will improve circulation and be your little bit of luxury on a harsh trip.

4. Bring a thermos, fill it with hot coffee in the morning, then at lunch you can re-hydrate and warm yourself with this hot drink. Great for morale and will warm you during those extra cold days.

5. Icebreaker merino wool is fantastic for warmth, breathability and smell (for those extended trips) and Gore-Tex® is great for over the top when its windy, rainy, hailing or just plain unpleasant. Ideally, wear warm wool thermals top and bottom and possibly a second layer of wool on top – just enough so when you’re working hard you’re still warm but not sweating profusely – then keep a big fluffy down jacket handy. As soon as you stop, put it on and you’ll be toasty.

Source: Outdoor Gear Guide Winter ’09