Not from a style point of view, as it’s my own personal opinion that style and warmth do not go go together like a horse and carriage. Once you’ve mastered the art of a good coat and huge scarf then that’s the only time that style and warmth go together hand in hand, anything other than that you’re going most likely end up with frost bite, a decent case of pneumonia and suffer the loss of at least one foot.
As some of you will know, I have signed up for the Big Sleepout Aberdeen to support the Bethany Christian Trust and raise money for the homeless. This isn’t because I’m a saint, in fact it’s the complete opposite. I am like the devil’s younger bratty sister, and also I am aware that I can no longer claim that my zealous charity shop habit is doing enough to support the charities themselves.
So, if you’re thinking about taking part this year you can visit the Bethany Christian Trust website and sign up to the event. It is a night for all the family with tea and coffee on tap, a prize for the most creative shelter and hot snacks available. It’s a great way to raise money for the homeless and there are events taking place in Dunfermline, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and St Andrews. You can even apply to hold your own.
If you want to sponsor me you can click on my ‘Just Giving’ link on the side of my page, or see my page here.
Now, the main aim of the game for this event will be to stay warm. I shall do this by wearing very very bright colours and hoping that they emit heat.
Just kidding, but this yellow Haglofs Primaloft jacket is excellent at conserving heat. Primaloft is like synthetic duck down so remains warm even when wet. Which reminds me, I hope you’ve all been doing your dry weather dances.
Obviously, you want to be able to stay dry too so it helps to have a waterproof as this won’t keep me dry in heavy rain. Haglofs steps up to the bar again with a Gore-Tex Windstopper softshell. This will be warmer than your average waterproof jacket:
Obviously it’s important to keep your extremities warm as these are the things that will suffer the most and become cold the quickest.
For my head I have the obligatory bobble hat, but for my hands I have the ever practical Montane ‘buffalo’ style mittens which essentially have a very heavy pile in them. Mitts are far better than gloves because once your finger goes cold in a pair of mitts, the other fingers are still able to provide it with warmth. If you’re wearing gloves, it’s all on it’s lonesome and is just going to continue to get colder. Obviously your dexterity suffers, but really I’m only going to need to be holding a cup of tea, turning pages in a book or gesticulating wildly while I tell yet another of my scintillating stories. As I’ll be trying to make friends, it’s unlikely that I’ll need the use of a solitary finger…
Your feet will deteriorate the fastest as they are the furthest away from your heart so it is really important to pay special attention to them. Wellies are a mistake as they offer no insulation, even a decent pair of socks won’t save you from chilblains and frostbite. The only option will be amputation. In fact, if you wear wellies you might as well take a hacksaw to your own leg and get it over and done with.
I am the lucky owner of some Montrail primaloft booties which are the warmest things known to man. They’re also £50 a pair so are not cheap, but as a bit of a camping enthusiast I picked a pair up in a sale for £25 and have never looked back.
I’m not going to lie, they are also the ugliest thing known to man, but like a say, you can’t be warm and stylish when you’re spending 12 hours outside overnight.
There’s also the tricky question of what you should take refuge from the cold in. It is imperative to have some sort of sleeping mat to stop the permeation of the cold from the concrete underneath into your sleeping bag. I would recommend that the comfiest night’s sleep will be experienced by those with some sort of inflatable mattress on top of a foam one. The foam keep the cold at bay and the air mattress will offer the best cushioning. You also need a decent sleeping bag and resist the urge to pile on the clothing inside your bag if you start to get cold. The job a sleeping bag is to spread the warmth of your body around making sure that you are evenly heated. If you are wearing a big thick jacket, you’re containing all the warmth of your torso within that meaning that while your chest is warm, your legs, neck, feet and arms won’t be. If in doubt, take a blanket to go over the top. This keeps your body heat within the bag most effectively.
After that, there’s the question of staying dry. I own a Gore-Tex bivi bag which will go on the outside of my sleeping bag, mat and blanket and ensure that everything stays dry:
I have no doubt that I will succumb to some sea gull poo at some point during the night as this is Aberdeen we’re talking about.