Staying Warm on the Hunt
Chemical hand warmers work great to help a hunter stay warm, but if you hunt a lot sooner or later you are likely to run out on the coldest day of the hunt. Through the years I have learned to be innovative with what I have when an hour or more out in the wilderness.
There is an alternative to chemical hand warmers that is reusable over and over again. If you have ever had a back ache you may have used heat to relieve the pain. Heating pads are okay but bulky and tend to slip for some areas of pain such as knees and between the shoulder blades. I searched the shelves in drug stores and retailers and found some alternatives that you heat in a microwave for my lower back pain and unlike a heating pad they were portable. I decided to try them in hunting season one frigid week at bear hunting camp utilizing a fellow hunters camper generator powered microwave.
Wrapped in flannel or a towel they hold heat for hours and are a great solution for cold weather hunting. Available in various sizes (depending upon where you shop) the smaller sizes are great to slip into pockets for hand warmers, just heat them up before leaving home or in the camp microwave if available.
If you have access to a microwave in camp, whole shelled corn or rice in a sock works for a couple hours worth of relief for sore muscles. For the average tube sock half-full start at 30 seconds and check. Add 15 seconds until you have the heat you desire for stiff & sore muscles. I don’t advise this for hand warmers as corn and rice provide a moist heat, which can ultimately cool you down. The moist heat sure feels good on sore muscles though. Be aware though, that corn and rice heated too long will burn!
Self wicking socks are unsurpassed in performance. Field tests indicate self wicking socks can stay dry as long as 3 days without changing. For those die hard hunters who refuse anything other than wool socks carry extras and change when sweating makes the feet cold. Just be sure to bring a Ziploc bag to store the ‘old stinkers’ in when you change.
Insulated coveralls can’t be beat for keeping the body warm. But let’s face it, sometimes things happen like a spill in the creek, or forgetting to ensure they still fit before packing for the trip. A trick this writer has used in such situations was wearing sweat pants under outer pants. This may require a larger size of pants but works well, and are comfortable if thermals make you itch. When sweat pants are bit more extra insulation than is needed, flannel pajama bottoms worn under pants are a more light weight alternative to sweat pants. Though these alternatives won’t match your coveralls performance, they aren’t a bad substitute in a pinch.
When the weather is frigid and the fur lined hat doesn’t keep your head and ears warm enough, slip a toboggan on before donning the hat.
Wilderness camp sometimes requires a little innovation when you forget to pack all the essentials or the unexpected happens. Use your imagination and take stock of what you have to use as a substitute and keep on hunting!
GrabAGun’s online gun shop offers camping and hunting supplies as well as guns for sale for all your shooting and hunting needs. Give us a call, we will be happy to assist you.