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Weather protection gear, what are you using?


JimB1
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So around here it is definitely winter now with temps at night consistently near freezing or below. The flip side is that cold weather often brings clear skies. 

I have been using thermals under my clothes and layering up but bulk gets in the way a lot as do heavier gloves. I started using a product called “hot hands” which has wrist straps that you put those little bags that heat up when exposed to air. The theory is that the heat at your wrists warms the blood going into your hands so your hands stay warmer. It does work up to a point but the colder the air, the less effective it is. I’ve been thinking about electric socks and gloves… 

I’m sure a lot of you are in similar scenario, How do you stay comfortable for long viewing sessions in colder temps? 

-Jim

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Certainly I enjoy cold weather observing, it is definitely a preference, for those crisp clear skies, under winter constellations. Often my concern is the approach to my dark sky observing sites in my average commuter car, when winter has gripped. 

Approach to clothing is very standard in terms of layers, that includes an outer very warm down filled smock with through hand warmer pockets. Gloves invariably have to come on and off, the deep through pocket, a boon for retaining dexterity in preventing otherwise numb finger tips. Head gear includes a fleece neck gaiter that can also be pulled up over my nose, a variety of warm fleece, wool and down filled beanie type hats. Feet: thick merino wool socks and my four season hiking boots with good insulated soles. Then a flask of coffee; almost as important as remembering to take the telescope.  

Have considered pocket hand warmers but too much of a faff. Also I use an observers chair with a foot rest, therefore keeping my feet off the colder ground for periods, standing on a mat, or carpet off-cut might also provide a little extra insulation. 

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Unfortunately those "crisp clear nights" are now just a fond memory. With the effects of global warming, especially in the north Atlantic, cloud cover is increasing as is humidity, so even if by some miracle the sky is clear humidity is in the 90+% range with dew dripping off every surface and the dew heaters struggling at full power to keep your optics from dewing up.

In fact I have serious doubts as to the future of astronomy from this horrid dank swamp of a country.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It just depends on the environmentals on how i dress.  Is the air dry or moist is the real question.  20 F can feel ok or it can rip right through you.  For me it is usually Arctic Carhartt bibs, a long sleeved thermal shirt, jacket and watch cap. Insulated Rocky boots keep the feet warm and dry.  

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I have a pair of Sorel snow boots that are so well insulated my feet and lower legs end up cooking in their own heat. I also have a pair of mitts (I cant recall  the make) that follow the same principle, I have to take them off from time to time to let my hands cool down which I have to do anyway to change eyepieces etc.

However both the boots and mitts are so bulky they are useless for anything else.

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