Jump to content


keeping the cold at bay

Recommended Posts

what items of clothing would you recommend for those cold winter night? last time i went out i had some thermal socks plus my normal sports sock, some pyjama trousers under my jeans, t-shirt with 1 jacket and 1 coat, scarf and i ended up with 2 hats on at the same time. at the end of my 1.5 hour session i was still very cold. the ait temp out that night was about 3C. i would like to last longer than 1.5 hours some times. especially when you include setup and breakdown time

i'm going to be buying a Thermal Balaclava as i think that will help keep my head/neck warmer. i'm also need some suitable gloves i'm thinking some with removeable finger tips.

are there any items you feel you can't do without?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes I have finger gloves / mittens where the mitten bit folds back so you can use your fingertips.  Very handy for fiddly knobs, collimation, etc.


Layers is key but you seem to have that covered so it them comes down to having a suitable top layer that will keep the heat in and stop wind chill.  The bottom layer is also important in that you want something that is warm but breathable as if you sweat you will get cold, wool is good for this.


I have a balaclava but this I normally use with binoculars rather than scope, it is good for stopping me fogging them with my breath as I can pull it over my nose but it is a bit too warm for scope work where the hood of my coat is normally enough and acts as a good stray light shield too.


My heated observing stool keeps my bum warm so that about covers it :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi. My clothing ritual is 2 pairs of pj bottoms,saves messing about when coming back in to bed, polo shirt, rugby shirt, berghaus fleece, berghaus jacket, thick socks and walking boots. Then I set up and am quite warm at this point. Back in to house for fleecy hat and gloves, back to shed for old golf waterproof trousers and 1 more fleece over the lot. 

The hat and gloves come on and off as I go depending on what I'm doing ( observing or imaging) but these last 2 items are my savour in terms of how long I can manage. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hat and gloved with Thinsulate, pair of jeans, Uggs and a fleece lined 'hoodie'; But do not need to have be outside more that setup time as an imager.

I set up in daylight hours - need to do a complete teardown overnight unfortunately - so, have everything assembled in about 2hrs just now (new OTA so not organised with where everything sits yet).

Then, after polar alignment (Starsense) just around sunset (3:30pm) retreat to the warmth of the lounge with a mulled wine at this time of year.

The Thinsulate stuff is good tho'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The layer system is good but you have to be observant that it works best for outdoor activity, as opposed to outdoor inactivity (astronomy). It also does not work if you have too many layers. This is because what keeps you warm is the warm air between the layers, not the layers themselves.

Winters here can be very cold. I use long underwear as a first layer, with thick wooly socks; a second layer of fleece material (polartec); and a third outer layer of dun jacket. I have also considered buying an overall of the type used by hunters but have not tried that yet. Good leather shoes, a thick baclava and gloves with optional "free fingers" will work well.

Cheers and good luck.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

As has been said, layers are the way to keep warm. I wear a cotton vest, then a T shirt, then a jumper, then a padded jacket. Keeping the feet warm is essential so I wear thick soled walking boots with thick woolly socks, with thin socks under that. After that just a thermal pair of gloves and thermal beanie hat, both by Thinsulate. A scarf as well to keep the neck warm. If the seeing is good but I am freezing after a while then I just pop indoors for a warm up and hot drink, after that ready to go again.

Edited by Moonshed
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The secret formulae that I use is:
I wear multiple layers.

Thermal leggings and tee shirt, thin thermal socks.
Second layer of thermal leggings, by Fourth Element (a dive clothing manufacturer), Thermal long shirt, Hoodie and thermal socks.
Third layer of thermal waterproof fishing onsie type suit from Argos.
Thermal balaclava, thermal neck tube, merino wool bobble type hat.
Heavily insulated soled boots.
Thin fingered gloves thinsulate insulated.

That lot keeps me warm enough for - temperatures for at least 3 hours without needing to warm up and sometimes is a little too warm.
However as I have arthritus I need to keep warm to keep any additional pain at bay, so works for me.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always start off with a base layer of a decent set of thermals and a second pair of thin thermal socks (overly thick sock can restrict blood flow to the feet, making them colder!)

Next is a t shirt and a thin high density fleece and a pair of jeans.

On top of this (working downwards) -

  • A thinsulate hat 
  • a fleece body warmer with a puffer jacket on top
  • Thin silk gloves with thinsulate fingerless mitts (with a bit that pulls over the top)
  • If it's really cold - a pair of insulated over trousers
  • Walking boots

This keeps me nice and toasty!

PS - It also helps that I come 'pre-insulated' (i.e. I'm a bit podgy)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use an anglers thermal two-piece on top, wool-lined boots and thick woolly socks, thermal undies beneath, jeans and sweatshirt between the two. Thinsulate gloves that you can peel the finger tips back on, and a Russian trappers' style hat.  I did buy a 3-hole balaclava from Amazon but they sent the wrong hat (a very small woollen cap) but will try again from another seller.

I also make up a flask of tea or coffee if I'm away from the house, or nip inside on occasions if needed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All good advice given, but you can only try each to find what suites you. The worst thing you can do and you did it was to wear jeans. They provide absolutely no insulating qualities at all. Any mountain shop will tell you that. I wear many layers as has been said by others but also try to keep my feet warm and wear snow boots. Not the cheap kind as they tend not to last and are not as good after  while. Buggaboots are really good but cost unless you can get them on offer, there are plenty of others though.

just do not wear jeans!



  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You will have to think about the clothing. To retain heat you can ultimatley go to down which is excellent, drawback is it is often costly. The ones I have I bought yeears ago and I notice that this year their prices have jumped significantly, as in 25-30%.

Find a couple of good thermal layers in the New Year sales. There is a good Rab thermal top around it seems a price of £50 everywhere but appears very good. Fancy one myself but I have 3 alternatives and so getting another seems pointless. However that as a first layer, then an inexpensive fleece top - one of the Craghoppers are fine - then a down jacket and you will cook.

I don't really have trouble with legs, fortunately at present, any pair of trousers seem fine to me. Footware I usualy get thermal socks and boots with a decent thick sole. You can find relatively inexpensive snow boot these days. Picked up a nice pair at Mountain Equipment reduced from £85 to £25 once and they are used when necessary.

One thing you do not want is anything tight and snug fitting. That includes footware. If they are "snug" then air is excluded and the air acts as the insulation and heat retention.

Hands again no problem, jacket has pockets and often I am warm enough that the hands are the part of me that are keeping me cool by losing heat. The only set of gloves I make sure I take are the 99p single layer ones from Decathlon. They are thin, a bit warm and no bulk.

Not sure what you have or may purchase but yesterday I dropped into a SuperDry Jpn store, they had a fawn coloured hooded jacket in there that looked very warm indeed. Cost was either £85 or £89, probably the higher. Half thought on one but I have too many at present so another is a little pointless. But if looking for one and if a store is withing visiting range maybe have a look. Don't get from the net if they do that as the sizes looked strange. The tags said Medium - 38 chest, Large was 40 and that seemed small, XL was 42 and XXL I think was also 42. None made sense sizewise. You would need to stand there and try one on. Nothing actually read as I expected. Having returned to the shop twice I decided against one - no real need, but still there is a lingering thought. Remember  oget something a little loose for layers underneath.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.