On Cold Weather Clothing

This Friday (the first night of HelgaCon 2011), I'll be running the classic Gygax adventure G2, Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl. So this past weekend I thought I'd brush up on some of my cold-weather knowledge.

Thanks to Google, I found one of the most awesome pieces of research I've ever seen on this subject in my many years of looking after it -- Proceedings of the Journal of Fiber Bioengineering and Informatics, 2010 edition. It starts with testing recreations of the different clothing used by Scott and Amundsen in the Antarctic, and Mallory on Everest, with gobs of great data. Then there are lots of other remarkable articles testing both modern and traditional materials (like Tibetan robes) on thermal manikins, etc. Several designs for computer simulations of this stuff. I found it be fascinating. (Looking at the graph here, keep in mind one detail: Amundsen was relatively sedentary riding a dog sled, while Scott & Mallory were both very active in their modes of travel, so it was reasonable for them to need less total insulation. That said, the latter two did both die in the wilderness.) You can see the JFBI paper here.

And a couple of other things. The replica Mallory gear (8 layers of fitted wool, silk, and a Burberry coat) was actually worn on Everest a few years ago, with complimentary reports on its protectiveness and freedom-of-movement (lighter than modern gear).

More pictures from a gallery at Gizmodo.com:

And here's a discussion at MyArmoury.com by some people that have worn replica armor in really cold weather, and what their experiences were. Some interesting observations there. Obviously, you need a thick undercoat with no contact between skin and and metal. I'll let you read the rest of it, if you want.

(Picture above linked from a post last month at The Armour Archive.)

So: Layer up your wool and gaberdine, it's cold out there!

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