Hunting in the snow is hands down, challenging, and rewarding. Wouldn’t it be a shame if it gets wasted by as simple a thing as frozen feet? Trust me; you better be prepared to keep your feet warm.
There are many fun and exciting events that take place in winter. There’s Christmas, shortly followed by the new year, visiting dear ones, sharing love and care. There are also many thrilling sports. However, to an adventurer, nothing beats the adrenaline rush of hunting.
After hours of waiting when you finally see your buck approaching – you take your position; you take your aim, you take your time, and bang…!!! You take your shot. The animal is down. Sounds cool, right? But it can easily turn into a second scenario.
You are patiently waiting at your stand. You haven’t moved for hours. Finally, you see your prize, a buck approaching you. You prepare to slowly adjust yourself from resting position to hunting position but wait; you can’t feel your feet.
You try but to no avail. You see the buck slowly making its way back in the woods. You take a rushed and cranky shot, and the buck starts running, instead of falling. Doesn’t sound so cool anymore, does it?
An experienced hunter will know what I mean. Your feet getting cold may not sound so important, but it can easily devastate your hunting trip.
If your feet get cold, you not only increase the risk of hypothermia or potentially frostbite (if the coldness is caused by sweat), but also fail to hunt or even have to return to camp early.
Therefore, keeping your feet warm is an important task. But What to do to keep your feet warm?
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How To Keep Your Feet Warm?
Actually, keeping your feet warm while hunting isn’t very hard. You need to plan though. If you plan properly, that’ll take care of it for the most part.
Proper socks, proper boots are your frontline defense against cold. The boot will do the heavy-duty of keeping the cold out, where your socks set up will nurse your feet.
There are also some other accessories that are conditional. In some conditions, they can be lifesaving, while in others, you’ll feel like throwing them away. Heat packs, insulating mats, socks, or boot lining are some of those accessories.
There are more details and fine-tuning options in almost all of the items I mentioned. I want to discuss them thoroughly in their separate sections.
It’s All About Socks
Socks are the first line of protection you are going to take. A pair of good quality socks will do a fine job of trapping the heat inside and keeping your feet nice and warm. That’s the first and main duty of socks. Here are some of the qualities of a proper hunting sock.
- Heat Locking
For winter hunting, always go with woolen socks. They are really good at locking the heat. Wool has a lot of air pockets and traps a lot of air. Both wool and the air are bad at heat transfer. Thus, good at insulating.
Another great option is synthetic materials. They are designed to lock the heat. And they are thinner than wool, that’s a bonus point.
- Wicking Sweat
Locking the heat is one big job. There’s another, though. Handling sweat is just as important as locking heat. If you walk a lot or need to do some physical labor, you’ll start sweating.
So will your feet. It is up to your socks to wick those sweat away and keep your feet dry. Dry feet equal to warm feet. If the sweat stays, it’ll get cold in no time, and make your feet numb.
Layering As Necessary
If you are going to a very low-temperature area, you should probably consider multiple layers of socks. You can wear two woolen socks. (or even 3, if you think will be necessary.) The inner layer(s) should be thinner, though, to save you from acquiring the nickname, “Bigfoot.”
The thin inner sock will mostly be keeping the moisture away, whereas, the thick outer sock will be keeping your feet warm.
If your feet are warm and comfortable, you can make your move effortlessly. But comfort isn’t only dependent on warmth. There’s more to it.
Go For Comfort
It is highly recommended to wear your socks and shoes beforehand while planning. The reason being, you might not know without trial that your new socks might be too thick for your shoes. A change will be much more appreciated by your feet.
If you make it too cramped down there, that might affect the blood circulation. Keep in mind; blood is the medium that brings the heat as well as calories to burn to produce heat. Not enough blood will result in not enough warmth, no matter what else you do.
How should I say this? DO NOT EVER WEAR COTTON. Cotton is great at absorbing sweat, but it will hold on to it, locking the moisture right next to your feet. Water is not a good conductor of heat. But it has a high thermal capacity.
Science Time –
A material with high thermal capacity will hold on to a lot of heat. In this case, the material is sweat. The sweat will acquire the heat from your feet. And over time, it’ll keep on passing the heat to the boot, which is (and always be) colder. Thus, it’ll slowly but surely keep the heat flow going.
Boots are your frontline defense from the freezing cold. Each step you take, your feet will come in contact with the -50-degree ground, or a frozen water body, or snow. Boots will be the great wall between the icy outside and your comfortable feet.
The main purpose of a pair of good boots is to make and maintain the difference in temperature between the inside and the outside. It shouldn’t need much of an explanation. The quality that achieves this is insulation.
However, insulation and breathability are the opposite. Breathability means some air will flow through. It may sound like an oxymoron, but yes, breathability is also a factor to consider. It’ll help get rid of the sweat a lot faster. Thus, a lot less warmth will be wasted.
If you hunt at a very low temperature, you undoubtedly should prioritize insulation. However, breathability should be considered with more love if you hunt in relatively warmer weather.
Go A Size Bigger
When buying boots for winter hunting in mind, it is always a good idea to go for slightly bigger boots. It’ll help with housing the sock(s), and still allow fluent blood circulation. Both are essential for keeping your feet warm.
There are a few other stuffs that you should know about and give it a thought of whether you need them or not.
- Heat Packs
Disposable heat packs are available in various sizes starting from hand warmer (you can also sneak one in your boot) up to your back. These are pretty cheap and available.
They start heating up as soon as you open the plastic wrapping. Some packs may remain warm for up to 6 hours. Just remember not to touch them with bare skin while they’re hot.
- Electric Socks And Vests
Electric socks and vests do what it sounds like they do. They have batteries, and they warm your body up. It’s not like frying heat. It’s just a mild warmth, but this will give you the ‘a bit more warmth’ that you feel like you need when it gets colder.
- Insulating Mats
Insulating mat is another one of those utility things, that’ll likely not change a life or death situation. However, it can change an uncomfortable standing session into a little more comfortable one. It’ll add an extra layer of insulation between you and the ground.
Cardboard is a free-of-cost, easy-to-get replacement for an insulating mat. It’s almost always readily available at home and works almost the same.
Keeping The Upper Body Warm
Keeping the upper body warm is a pretty straightforward thing. It’s always nice to drink some warm soup or hot chocolate with butter or even plain old water.
By doing this, your body will need to spend less energy keeping the upper body warm. Thus, other parts, like your palm and feet, will get more love.
A word of caution needs to be mentioned here, though. You should stay away from caffeine. It’ll result in urinating more often, thus losing both water and body heat.
Keeping your feet warm is important not only for a successful hunt but also for your own comfort. Your feet are part of your body, after all. And just like any other task, once you break it down to basics, it’s simple to understand, plan, and execute.
If you follow the guide, You’ll have a much more comfortable and successful (hopefully) hunt next season!