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#124125 - 02/17/08 05:33 PM Re: Testing wet wool clothing at -30 [Re: clearwater]
BruceZed Offline

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 317
Loc: Canada
Cotton feels real good, is cheep, helps the NA clothing industry, works great in hot weather, but kills in the cold. It wicks, drys from the outside in, and drys slowly. I avoid it like the plague in Winter.
Bruce Zawalsky
Chief Instructor
Boreal Wilderness Institute

#124161 - 02/17/08 10:18 PM Re: Testing wet wool clothing at -30 [Re: Russ]
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Originally Posted By: Russ
I like mixing materials. My polyester next to skin layers consist of CoolMax or Nomex. Over that will be either a wool or poly fleece material and over that the opposite. For flight ops I have a nomex fleece jacket and I'm considering a nomex mid-layer. Nomex has some nice properties in the right weave. CoolMax, poly fleece and wool (inner to outer) works well. If it's raining add non-insulated raingear over the top.

Possibly the biggest gripe I have with poly is that it can be a hazard if exposed to fire.

Way back in the olden days, the 70s (when we rode on dinosaurs ... like a '74' Bonneville), when polyester was the fashion (Anyone here old enough to remember those gosh awful leisure suits?) the military started running into problems with synthetic underwear. People caught in fires were often escaping relatively intact only to find their underwear had melted onto and into the family jewels. Necessitating surgical removal and skin grafts.

After some testing it was determined that if the cloth had at least 50% natural fiber content it didn't adhere to the skin or cause the sorts of traumatic damage that the mostly synthetic ones did.

This may be the single exception to the straight 'Cotton Kills' line. A light and thin natural-fiber banana hammock helps keep the boys safe, if not always as warm as they might be. I tried silk, a good alternative, but I found my boys were just a little too happy with them.

The other related hazard is that the better synthetics are so good at insulating that if you get too close to a fire you can have it catch and be totally unaware of it. Right until the time it melts onto the skin. Several times I have had to beat out flames on a fellow camper.

My long hope has been that they would come out with a good low-cost Nomex fleece. Last I heard they had something like that but it wasn't anything like cheap. Find me a fireproof fleece that works as well as the existing poly and is not to much more expensive and I'm all over it.

#124168 - 02/17/08 10:54 PM Re: Testing wet wool clothing at -30 [Re: Art_in_FL]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5338
Originally Posted By: Art_in_FL
. . .Find me a fireproof fleece that works as well as the existing poly and is not to much more expensive and I'm all over it.
It's not cheap, but it works. If it was cheap I'd have lots more of it.
Better is the Enemy of Good Enough.
Okay, what’s your point??

#124169 - 02/17/08 11:01 PM Re: Testing wet wool clothing at -30 [Re: Russ]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Wool is flame retardent in some weaves, and won't stick to flesh, same as cotton.

Wool doesn't pick up orders like synthetics.

Cotton as an outer layer in extreme cold doesn't kill. It can't
get wet barring jumping in the creek. Even then the right weave
of cotton is used in some immersion suits.

#124465 - 02/20/08 02:39 AM Re: Testing wet wool clothing at -30 [Re: clearwater]
justmeagain Offline

Registered: 12/07/07
Posts: 67
Cotton outerwear in sub freezing temperatures is great stuff. Key is to keep it dry, but not that hard to do when you won't get rained on. I have one of these, http://www.empirecanvasworks.com/arcticanorak.htm and it's a stellar piece of kit.

#124472 - 02/20/08 04:38 AM Re: Testing wet wool clothing at -30 [Re: justmeagain]

Unless you fall in water...or...
Unless it's above freezing during the day but 20 below at night...which isn't that uncommon here.

#124507 - 02/20/08 03:42 PM Re: Testing wet wool clothing at -30 [Re: ]
justmeagain Offline

Registered: 12/07/07
Posts: 67
Above freezing during the day and -20 at night is one whale of a daily temperature shift. That is certainly not the norm in Minnesota. The cotton anorak isn't worn for warmth, but for wind protection. If you fall in the water you'd still have wool layers underneath. At temperatures above freezing I doubt I'd have need to ever wear an anorak.

#124512 - 02/20/08 04:08 PM Re: Testing wet wool clothing at -30 [Re: justmeagain]

Here's a few records I keep in mind when dressing for Alberta weather:

December 27 and 28, 1999: It was so warm in parts of Alberta (as high as 20.6C in Claresholm) that grass fires broke out and trees sprouted leaves. It was hotter in Alberta than in parts of Mexico.

January 29-31, 1989: Alberta was experiencing a mild period during the latter part of January up until a particularly vicious cold front from the Yukon dropped temperatures from plus 2 C to -12 in the span of an hour, as it charged through Edmonton during morning rushhour on the 30th. Rain rapidly changed to heavy snow and the mercury fell to the -25 range and was still falling at noon. By that time the front had surged through Calgary, and by late afternoon the entire province was in the grips of a blizzard. The Edmonton area received the most snow, around 35 cm, an all-time January record. Portions of the province south and east of Red Deer were spared the snow, but still had to endure the bitterly cold winds. The effects of the storm lingered for days. Temperatures were in the minus 30's. In the Edmonton area alone, seven deaths were directly attributed to the storm's fury.

January 15th, 1971: A Chinook blew into Lethbridge, AB, raising the temperature from -20C to 1C in one hour.

January 6th, 1966: A spectacular weather change occurred at Pincher Creek, AB. Thermometer readings were -24.4C at 7 a.m., 0.6C at 8 a.m., and -21.7C at 9 a.m. The temperature remained steady until 3 p.m. and then rose to 2.2C for the rest of the day.

Rare no doubt but there are many more examples which are less extreme but still amazing...these are just some of the record weather events. Summer is no different sometimes but nobody dies when it goes from +30 during the day to freezing at night so it doesn't as often make the news or the record books LOL.

#124514 - 02/20/08 04:12 PM Re: Testing wet wool clothing at -30 [Re: ]

Oh. And I forgot my favorite:


That picture was taken July 11, 2004 (linked from the above site).

I'm always anal about what I wear when I go out because I've been caught in that crap before.

#124524 - 02/20/08 05:30 PM Re: Testing wet wool clothing at -30 [Re: ]
Frankie Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 734
Loc: Montréal, Québec, Canada
Originally Posted By: Hacksaw
My guess on why they wore Cotton was a worse case scenario test.

I don't think so. Cotton has been used traditionally in dry-cold conditions for outer layers and/or insulating layers. It breathes and breaks the wind. Examples are moleskin trousers often used in antartica, Grenfell cloth, 60/40 mountain parkas, etc.


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