The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

December 27, 2012

Keeping warm in the cold

BY SAM VAN CAMP
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — We finally got a taste of winter and it is something we should have expected after the mild winter we had last year. There is even some skim ice forming on some of the smaller bodies of water and, with the nighttime forecast for the next week, we may well have some ice after all this season.

When people tell me they are cold during weather like this I can’t help but ask why. With all the outdoor items available at this time, it’s hard for me to believe people can be cold. Getting out and moving around every day will get you acclimated to this sudden change in temperature.

If you are going to spend time in the elements, you need to have the thing necessary to keep warm. I won’t wear a coat until I absolutely have to. With all the clothing now made of goose down and thinsulate, I find that it is easy to cut the cold on most of my body. Having the clothing and knowing when and how to wear it will keep you warm even in the very windy cold days.

Keeping your head covered is very important as much of your body heat goes out of the top of your head. Keeping your extremities warm is easy now days with the insulated gloves and the throw-away hand and foot warmers available today.

I like to layer up as I call it. Wearing layers can keep me warm without wearing a bulky coat. If you can keep your head and extremities warm, you probably won’t get cold. While ice fishing, if I get cold, I simply go for a short walk; maybe drill a few extra holes.

Keeping your back to the wind will also help keep you from getting too cold. This isn’t always possible if you are walking into the direction of the wind. If you are ice fishing, try to find a place where there is a high bank to block the wind or sit with your back to the wind.

Small portable heaters can be used while ice fishing, on camping trips or while sledding and ice skating.

Remember the rules of getting on the ice. There should be at least four inches of ice to support a person on the ice; clear ice is more solid than milky ice and therefore holds more weight. Think of an ice cube and a snow cone to give you an idea of the difference.

Be extremely careful of early ice which is what we will have fairly soon if the weather forecast is correct. Also be wary of late ice and ice around objects in the water.

An area drowning during ice fishing that happened close to two years ago should remind all of us that safety on the ice is very important as is keeping warm outside during these colder months.

Stay safe and use common sense while on the ice and snow.

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: pamnsam@nwcable.net