It’s that time again. Winter is in full swing all over the state and the cold fronts are finding their way south, even into our area. As a born and raised Texan who grew up on the Gulf Coast I am not a big fan of cold weather. The older I get the less tolerant I become and even when I was in my youth I was not a big fan of cold weather.
I spent time in Colorado and in Europe complements of the US Air Force, shivering. I also lived in the Kansas City, Missouri area for a few years, shuddering from the cold for seven months out of the year. When it came to shoveling snow I took the position that if we just waited long enough it would be gone and the problem would be self eliminating. That attitude did create some exciting moments at times when I tried to walk or drive on my driveway and sidewalks during the winter.
These forthcoming cold fronts can usher in a certain amount of discomfort, in the form of wintry weather. To some of us native Texans the cold weather hunting, fishing or camping experience can be uncomfortable. Speaking for myself and a few friends I have discussed this subject with, I have arrived at a number of basic reasons why cold weather can cause a degree of disquiet when we hit the outdoors during winter.
The first possible reason was related to me by my wife and certain neighbors, who originated from some God forsaken place north of the Red River. They claim I am a big sissy. I have lived long enough to know not to discount a statement immediately just because it tends to cast disparaging light on my macho, manhood image. So I thought it through and after weighing all of the facts, find they may be correct and I am the biggest cold weather sissy to ever come out of Jefferson County, Texas.
More importantly with Texas weather changing so drastically from warm to cold and back again to warm, our bodies do not have an opportunity to become acclimated to the cold weather and accomplish all of the necessary changes to try to make it somewhat tolerable as if we lived in an area that got cold and stayed that way for a few months. Also as we become a little longer in the tooth, rapid and extreme changes in weather tend to be a little harder to tolerate.
The next point to consider is many of us who were born and raised here in Texas, or have lived here for a number of years, probably do not have the proper clothes for cold weather, outdoor sporting activities. Let’s examine one simple item that can make a big difference in our outdoor comfort.
A hat is one item of clothing that is very important in extreme weather. Most Texans will agree that a hat is a necessity when participating in any summertime outdoor activities. But it is just as important to wear the proper headgear in the winter, as much of our body heat escapes right out the top of our head. You don’t have to be thin or bald on top either, so a good hat is in order. There are many different styles and shapes of hats but lets look at a few that can help to keep us warm in the field.
One design is the baseball cap, but instead of proclaiming team colors they are camouflage in greens, desert tans or blaze orange. The idea of the camouflage pattern is to break up the solid color to better blend in with the background of the area in which we are hunting. However, if we are not hunting, but merely exploring the wilderness areas of our state during hunting season, blaze orange head gear and clothing will help point out that we are human and not game.
These special hunting caps are available with no lining, like a baseball cap and are also available lined. The most efficient are made with Gore-Tex and Thermolite, or Thinsulate. Gore-Tex makes them water proof, and Thermolite or Thinsulate insulate insuring warmth by virtually eliminating the loss of body heat from the top of ones head. These water proofing and heat retaining materials are also available in the Jones style caps, caps with ear flaps, and caps with a lining that folds out to cover the ears.
Another type of headgear seen is the watch cap style. The watch cap is a knit cap usually available in almost any color you can come up. These caps are made in everything from wool, cotton, or synthetic materials. I have found this type of headgear to be my favorite in extremely cold weather. When you are choosing one of this style do not select one made of inexpensive synthetic materials, because they will not do the job. Go with 100 percent wool, or a cotton blend that has Thinsulate in it.
So as you dress in preparation for an expedition into the great winter outdoors this season, remember the points concerning hats. If you keep the top end of your person warm and stop your body warmth from escaping from there the rest will be easier to keep warm.