Wednesday, January 11, 2017



Though a non-Canadian, I guess I am something of an expert on cold weather.

My first years in the Navy were spent between Newfoundland and Iceland.  By my mid-twenties I was a Navy survival instructor – instructing winter bush survival.  I attended two Navy survival schools and the Canadian Forces Winter Bush survival school.   My wife and I lived in rural Maine for four years off the grid and eleven years in the Alaska bush, including one year on the Arctic Circle.    Now we are back in the western Maine mountains.

Winter preparedness is simply a matter of preparation, beginning with the clothes you wear.  

I don’t bother with L.L. Bean and Cabala's when preparing for deep winter cold.   Their products are fine if you want to flash their labels on the ski slopes; but for true winter preparedness you should look to people who work outside for a living and find out what they wear.

Logging in Maine is a big business.  Hear in the mountains logging trucks are as common on the road as 4X4 pickups.   Nobody is more exposed during the winter than loggers and they shop at Labonville.  You won’t find loggers wearing silk long johns

I dress in layers in the winter.   When working outside I wear double layered wool and cotton long johns (Coldpruf from Labonville,) wool shirts (not those yuppie light weight wool shirts – but heavy Woolrich 100% wool,) I have wool sweaters, wool mixed socks, and a wool bush coat.  I do wear L.L. Bean rubber bottom boots.   For gloves I buy work gloves one size too large and a pair of cotton gloves for liners. 

Empty wine bottles a good way to dry gloves.
Drink more wine.

In my car I carry extra gloves, and emergency equipment including a light axe and shovel.

I love the winter, because I dress for it.   If you are cold outside it is your own fault – you are not dressed properly.

The Ol’Buzzard 


  1. Our winters are off and on during the season. Sometimes 3 to 5 days ice cold in the low teens, then a week of 70's or 80's. It's crazy living in Texas. We get a hard freeze just enough to kill the bugs off and then instant spring.

  2. I hope you and yours had a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and are having a very HAPPY NEW YEAR. May we display your header on our new site directory? As it is now, the site title (linked back to its home page) is listed, and we think displaying the header will attract more attention. In any event, we hope you will come by and see what is going on at

  3. There is nothing worse than having to be outside and being cold. The only problem I usually have is my fingers being cold. I'm better with mittens, but usually I need gloves so I can use my hands. -Jenn

  4. You have plenty of experience with True Cold! And your layering strategy is exactly right.

    As much as it's politically incorrect to say it, there is nothing warmer than fur. Nothing. I always wear fur-lined mitts in the winter. You need no glove liners with fur unless it gets super-duper cold.

    But it's okay. My fur comes from animals who passed away of natural causes and in their wills left their fur to mitt manufacturers for that express purpose.

  5. Like the saying goes, there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong gear. If I believed in a god, I'd nominate the people who came up with Thinsulate for sainthood.

  6. Great advice. Layers and layers. And always carry enough clothes in the car to either survive staying put or to walk out. I carried a shovel and sand but in Saskatchewan an axe wouldn't do me much good in most places.


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