Part of the Lore and Saga family of web sites
Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure Ice Raven is a partner site of Ravenlore Bushcraft and Wilderness Skills

Winter Clothing Solutions.

Here you will find details of the clothing that we use in cold conditions. It’s not the only way to do things and they might not even be the best ways but it is our way.

As with any clothing it’s not totally fixed, things change as conditions or my requirements change, but it will give you an idea of how a basic layer system for the Arctic environment works.

Arctic-Clothing - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.
Layer Systems-1
Layer Systems-3
Layer Systems-8

Damian has a slightly different and in many ways more conventional approach compared to me for his clothing system which relies more on modern materials. A lot of that is invested in a well insulated but breathable down parka and breathable, windproof and waterproof leggings.

This can be opened up easily for heat regulation which offsets any issues with the breathability of modern materials in cold conditions.

Underneath that he uses an insulated midlayer  with a hooded top that can be zipped open to further vent heat if required and insulated trousers.

The base layer is made up of Merino wool long-johns and top.

My base layer starts with a merino wool long sleeved top and leggings next to the skin. Currently I’m using Icebreaker® 260g for the top but I’m considering changing over to Woolpower® 200g after very being impressed with their quality. The leggings I use are Woolpower® 400g.

I carry a spare base layer of thinner merino which can replace these if conditions are mild or can be added underneath for more warmth if needed. It also means I have a dry base layer in my pack if I should I get wet for some reason.

My mid layer consists of a thin wool sweater, a medium weight wool shirt and a thicker wool jumper worn in any combination according to need for my upper body and a medium weight pair of wool trousers for my legs. The thin sweater is a usually a generic lambswool one, over this is a Bison Bushcraft Guide Shirt and I use a Norwegian army jumper over that if required.

The trousers I currently use are Danish military ones which fit loosely enough to not crush the insulation of the 400g leggings. I bind the bottom of the trousers to the top of my boots with traditional Vouddaga to stop snow from getting into the layers where it could melt and cause problems.

The shell layer depends upon conditions and activity. If I am working in still conditions I may not need the shell at all. If I just need protection from a light wind or snow then I use a thin Paramo Fuera Windproof Smock which packs very small and can sit in my day pack until needed. This is one of the very few synthetic garments I use and notably the only one that came back with a spark burn from my last expedition.

For harsher conditions I made my self a double skinned Canvas/Ventile® Anorak which is large enough to cover all my clothing with room to spare.

Layer Systems-2
Layer Systems-4
Layer Systems-7
Layer Systems-6

The principle is that the anorak is large enough to draw your arms back into the garment to adjust the layers underneath without exposing yourself to the wind. It can also be ventilated by just unhooking the belt and opening the neck gusset to create a chimney effect where the warm air can rise out through the hood if you start to overheat.

Gloves and Mitts - Ice Raven - Sub Zero Adventure - Copyright Gary Waidson, All rights reserved.

For my hands I am using some excellently made German cold weather over mitts on top of British army wool pile liners and a thin pair of poly fleece gloves as liners. In really extreme conditions I have a pair of waterproof British army mitt shells that will fit over the whole arrangement.

This allows me to remove the mittens but still keep the gloves on, which are fine enough to handle the controls of my photographic equipment but does not expose me directly to the elements.

For working around the camp I have a pair of leather gloves, again with removable wool liners.

The removable liners allow the gloves or mitts to be dried more easily by separating them and by carrying spare liners any wet insulation can be swapped out for dry liners if needed.

To reduce the risk of losing a glove or mitt, these will be attached to a leather yolk strap worn around my neck with elastic and small karabiners.

I have decorated the mitts, with the simple addition of a spare piece of patterned tape left over from an earlier project and added a sheepskin patch to the back of each mitt for wiping my goggles with too.


Sub Zero Crew - Bushcraft UK

Unless noted otherwise, all photography, artwork and content on this site is copyrighted. © Gary Waidson 2020 All rights reserved

The Ice Raven Project promotes sustainable and low impact bushcraft and wilderness skills in Arctic and winter conditions. This includes the use of  tents, tarps  and snow shelters where possible. Fires are only used where safe and where use and collection of firewood will not damage the natural environment. We often travel to locations by public transport and then use snowshoes, sleds, toboggans and pulks to transport our equipment into the wilderness.