Clothing for passive activities in cold winter

4:01 a.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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Hello.

I am going to a winter / snow festival in the northern part of Japan. There is some walking involved, but I will also spend a lot of time stationary taking pictures of snow sculptures and watching performances.

I have seen temperature drop as low as -20C (-4F) last year. It snowed almost every day, and at time, it got very windy. Though I feel warmer than most (I can stay stationary in a short sleeve T-Shirt at 10C or even a few degrees lower when there is no wind). But dealing with a wind chill of -20C, is quite a different story.

I'll definitely take my smartwool base layer and Patagonia R1. The problem is what to do in terms of insulation. Right now I own a Patagonia Nanopuff and a Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer. They are both lightweight insulation and I am not convinced that they are sufficient by themselves. Would stacking them be an option?

An alternative I thought of is getting something warmer jacket, like the MontBell Mirage Parka. However, being down, I am worried about how well it would perform under heavy snow. I do have a breathable shell so I need not get the jacket wet, but it is nevertheless quite humid over there. Would it be better to go synthetic instead?

Thanks :)

4:40 a.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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I think if you wear your baselayers , r1, nano puff, and a shell you would be pretty good. That is similar to what I do. I have never seen an r1 so not sure how thick it is, in place of the r1 I use a ww2 sas wool sweater.

Maybe bring the ghost too, and add it as a layer if needed under your shell. Can you wear all of this under your shell without it being compressed?

Don't forget about the rest of your body too. hats, gloves, long johns etc.

5:19 a.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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Thanks. 

I just tried without the R1 and it's not too bad. My Nano Puff is an XS, Ghost Whisperer is an S so they stack okay. My shell is pretty loose fitting in the first place, so it doesn't really compress. 

Well, any considering that I survived last year with much less (albeit with some discomfort), I'll chance of those. 

Hat is sorted. Lower body has never caused me any issues so I am not too worried about that. Besides, if school girls can cope those weather in mini-shirts (I am serious - I've seen quite a few stack lots of layers on top, but nothing but tights covering their legs), a hiking pants should be fine. 

However I haven't yet found a way to keep my hands warm in really cold weather. Is there any gloves / gloves + liner combo that provide great warmth while allowing me to handle a camera / hold a fork / chopsticks?

5:34 a.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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The further away down is from your skin, the more likely it will reach 'dew-point' before it evaporates completely. But down is no good as the nearest layer as it is then compressed. A waterproof also needs some pressure to get the warm damp air through. Still, as long as you are resting when the down goes on, it sounds reasonable, even if you throw the waterproof on top for comfort, mentally and physically.

Gloves, carrying a thin liner glove, a thicker powerstretch glove, a water-resistant fleece glove and a pair of super warm mittens, is how I approach it. You can get very thin softshell gloves with grip palms but I only see them now and then. They can work as liners without the risk of dropping a camera etc.

Legs can be very cold when wet and not moving, unlike in the city. Kilts and their native-american equivalent are/have been very popular, however.

5:51 a.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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Wow, so as much as 4 layers? I've never layered my gloves (perhaps where I've gone wrong). Doesn't it get quite bulky? If I can't fit it all in my jacket pockets (zipped), I'll probably end up losing them.

5:56 a.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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Sorry, I didn't mean to be elliptical in that way. People carry gloves to switch them as they get colder and/or wet, and as a backup after resting and so on. Some people carry five!

You can use layers, about three: liner, warm, waterproof. But as they are often highly water-resistant these days, I find using waterproof overmitts not that necessary, especially as it is too cold to rain.

Edit: I didn't see that you meant standing around a lot. In that case, check out the thread recently about insulated boots, I think they are called Baffin Boots. You can only get so thick a sock into your regular boots before you reduce circulation. Have a look in the outdoor shops for the thin nylon gloves with a spiderweb type pattern of silicone on the palm.

A big jacket sounds like what most people would wear, ask the Canadians. You will have to keep your camera inside your coat I imagine, so a scarf or warm inner layer is also important. You could check out the internet for photos of the festival in previous years and see what people are wearing.

Women have more insulation on their lower half anyway.

6:39 a.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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Thanks. I just spent the last 2 hour Googling, but I am really not sure where to start with gloves model wise. I often start with my research with outdoorgearlab.com but they do not really cover winter gloves.

Are there any materials / tech I should look out for liners and gloves? Any popular brands? In the end, I will still try them out at the store, but it helps to be able to narrow the options and have a decent idea of what to look for.

6:52 a.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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The problem with synthetic liners, and I suppose wool liners, is that they are very slippery. They cannot be worn with vinyl drop bars on a bike, for instance, and your camera gear will hit the dirt or snow at some point. So I use the thin ones with sticky palms but the companies that make them are probably not there in Japan (Blacks, Extremities, Mountain Equipment)?

But in a good outdoor shop, you will also find very thin rope gloves, or tough suede and nylon gloves for summer. I am sure they will have the newer stickie-thinnies over there. You can use these and just layer some cheap warm mittens over them between activities. There are specific photo gloves (lowe alpine) and now there are smartphone gloves but I have never used those.

Oh, and I wouldn't order gloves online. They only work best when they fit, though some fingers are more important than others. Sizing is not the same globally.

Hey, if they are on sale, try some Arcteryx gloves, I was wondering what those superduper things are like.

8:04 a.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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Yeah, I definitely play to get them in the store so that I can try them for fit too. In my Googling, I have seen gloves for cycling, gloves for climbing, gloves for skiing and so on. Do they have special characteristics? Come to think of it, skii gloves have in the past kept my hands pretty warm. Although they do get sweaty.

For the warmer, insulating gloves, I note that many use primaloft and the likes for insulation and goretex (or similar) for water/windproofing. I take it that this is what I would need over the liner?

Also, could you please post a link to a photo of a liner with "sticky palm" so that I know roughly what to look for?

8:52 a.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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Sticky Power Stretch Gloves

There are even thinner versions which, as I say, have a kind of spiderweb pattern of silicone grip. I just don't have them to hand right now, so I couldn't tell you what brand they are.

Outdoor Designs do some really good gloves. My partner has some wonderful thin, rope gloves with grippy fingers and suede palms, but I think they have been discontinued. Marmot make good gloves too but really it all comes down to the size of your fingers more than the width across the palm, IMO.

You don't need to buy expensive warm mittens. Having a grip is not that important if you are not active with them, they're just to keep your hands warm. There are mitts that have almost as much warmth as polarloft, polarguard, at less than a third of the price of the ones for high altitude. Some cheaper brands even use the same high-end synthethic insulation at half the price.

Ski gloves would be fine, some are very warm, but you cannot use a modern camera with them. Gloves vary, you don't need palm or knuckle protection, for instance. You don't need a membrane mitten for taking photos of a festival.

Make some string or elastic, there is a good thread on here. Some of my heavier winter gloves have an elastic loop that you enter first before putting the glove on, which is handy.

11:13 a.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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Except for the other-side-of-the-world thing, you could be visiting me! Today's forecast: high of -17C, humidity 74%, winds 40kph gusting to 70. (It's ok, it'll be 0 by Sunday). There's good advice above, but if it helps, here's what I'd wear if I was ice-fishing today, instead of snowshoeing.

Most places that get that cold are also dry, but not Newfoundland, so no down insulation for me. It's not about precipitation, only an air-tight seal could keep that dampness out. Synthetic all the way. The important part is blocking the wind.

Baselayer, wool or poly zipneck. (My current favourite for supercold is actually a running jersey from Salomon, a very thin softshell, shiny outside, fleecy inside, stretchy, with mesh armpits. The little low-profile zip pockets in running clothes are very useful in winter for things that have to stay warm.) Outer layer, an Outdoor Research uninsulated Goretex shell, the kind with pit zips that go to the hem.

In between, insulation. Key item, a Polartec Windpro fleece jacket. Mine is made by MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op, Canada). Thick, soft, stretchy, but also very, very dense, with a membrane to stop wind. So warm. (This and the goretex shell would be enough for activity.)  I actually have two Patagonia Nanopuffs (I know, decadent, but they're perfect things and I love them), a pullover with no hood, size small, and a zip-front hooded jacket, medium. Today I might put the pullover under the fleece, which is size medium for this reason, and the jacket over, if I wasn't moving. The jacket can come off and pack tiny if it's too much. It probably would be.

I do own an insulated winter jacket, but I never wear it. I can move better and adapt to changing weather better in the layers. The Nanopuff/shell combo is basically a winter jacket in halves, anyway.

I can't imagine going out with only one layer on my legs. Long poly underwear, then thicker leggings, then uninsulated windproof/water resistant nylon shell pants. (Another benefit of the layering system, economy! Year-round use for uninsulated shells.)

See above for advice on feet. Most important, no tight boots. At least half size up for winter. Wiggle room prevents freezing. My Baffins have wool/reflectix liners, you can buy reflective insoles, good for standing still on snow and ice. Hands: I wear thin wool or poly gloves, and the rest is activity dependent. Thick wool or fleece mittens under a wind/waterproof shell mitten sometimes, but if I need dexterity in this weather, here's my trick: latex gloves. A nurse friend supplies me with the tough ones used for chemo treatment, but any will do, the main thing is NOT TIGHT, just snug. These go over the liner gloves and inside the mittens. (I like mittens with flip-tops so I can get my fingers out without taking off the mitten.) Then I have warm, windproof, waterproof, grippy fingers for fiddly tasks with tiny things. Extra liner gloves for swapping out if my hands get sweaty. If anybody makes a truly warm glove that lets you work knots out of fishing line at -20C, I haven't found it, so please let me know if you do!

Cripes, longest post ever. Sorry for the wall of text and probably unnecessary advice! My climate is so similar I'm compelled to offer it all, just in case something in there helps. I wish you happy travels!

Edit: Not latex! Nitrile gloves. Non-allergenic.

4:01 p.m. on January 18, 2013 (EST)
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shell mittens with removable liners (i prefer primaloft liners, some like down) are going to be the warmest option.  there are lots of good options out there.

Outdoor Research's alti-glove is expensive but pretty darn warm for a glove:

http://www.backcountry.com/outdoor-research-alti-glove?CMP_SKU=ODR0815&MER=0406&CMP_ID=SH_SHP001&mv_pc=r110&003=7163546&010=ODR0815-BKCH-S&mr:referralID=f383a5c0-61b1-11e2-b779-001b2166c62d

for the kind of hand dexterity you need with a camera, i wear glove liners like these within the mitts, and only remove my hands for a minute or two to actually take the photo:

http://www.tackledirect.com/47813blk155.html

although not really warm enough for sub zero weather, i can use the same liners with these kinds of glovers into the teens - or colder if i'm moving and exerting myself.  not as warm as the alti-glove, but they offer pretty good (but not perfect) use of your hands:

http://www.backcountry.com/outdoor-research-gripper-glove-mens?CMP_SKU=ODR0599&MER=0406&CMP_ID=GAN_GPLA&003=8219600&010=ODR0599-BK-L&mr:trackingCode=76D8691C-0F69-DF11-9DA0-002219319097&mr:referralID=NA&mr:adType=pla&mr:ad=26467793625&mr:keyword=&mr:match=&mr:filter=20762933025&origin=pla&gclid=COutkN_l8rQCFdKd4Aod3EQA7w

5:25 a.m. on January 19, 2013 (EST)
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Thanks for taking the time for the thorough replies. It is very much appreciated. When I went there last year I was (dangerously) under-equipped. Short sleeve cotton T-Shirt, two "look over function" jackets bought in Hong Kong during spring time when the temperature hardly drop below +20C, both of which proved completely useless against wind, water or provided any insulation.. and a pair of trainers. No gloves (although I very quickly rectified that with something that was nowhere adequate but better than nothing), no hood.

I survived, but needless to say, it got very uncomfortable at time. Without wind, it was fine, but windchill would go right through my clothing. But it was my fingers and ears/face that caused the most discomfort. 

Which brings me to the next question. Is there an effective way to protect one's face? All my jackets have hoods, and I have a windstopper bonnet, so that should be my ears covered. I find that masks tend to get wet from condensation when breathing, is that better or worse than having the face exposed?

9:21 a.m. on January 19, 2013 (EST)
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i have done a few different things to protect my face.  in the past, i tried a windstopper face mask, but i find that is fairly uncomfortable. 

http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/50836?productId=885795&subrnd=0&qs=3016887_pmd_google_pla

currently, i use a neck gaiter that has windstopper material in the front of my face, but regular fleece in the back, like this:

http://www.rei.com/product/788754/the-north-face-windstopper-neck-gaiter,-tnf-black?preferredSku=7887540001&cm_mmc=cse_froogle-_-pla-_-product-_-7887540001&mr:referralID=8c9fb57f-6241-11e2-97b3-001b2166becc

combined with a non-windstopper balaclava like this:

http://www.brms.com/patagonia-r1-fleece-balaclava?gclid=COSyrdHM9LQCFU-d4AodKmMAGA

most of the time, the neck gaiter simply stays below my chin, and the balaclava is open, face exposed.  if my face is starting to get cold from the wind, i'll pull the balaclava part over my face (that gets a little damp, but the moisture from your breath eventually freezes up on the outside and does a decent job blocking wind as a result, if it's pretty cold out).  in really high wind/cold where the balaclava alone doesn't feel protective enough, i pull the windstopper neck warmer up to cover my lower face.  that combination, plus ski goggles, has taken me through the worst wind chills i have experienced, around -75f.  the more you cover your face, though, the more likely you are to fog your goggles. 

 

12:42 p.m. on January 23, 2013 (EST)
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The undisputed solution to staying warm in cold conditions that involve standing around is a set of insulated Carhartt overalls.  About $100 and you can laugh at the cold.  Ask anyone that works outside for a living in cold country like the Northern Rockies.

1:43 p.m. on January 23, 2013 (EST)
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You wont be laughing at that kinda cold when it's -4F out and your wearing Carhartt insulated overalls. They are decent for work wear don't get me wrong, but arn't really the most practical or comfortable thing to be wearing around in this scenario They are good to the teens, as long as you have plenty of stuff on underneath.  I work outside daily, and own several pairs of the carhartt insulated overalls more for the durability fact than the warmth. They are warm, but not great by any stretch of the word. The only things that makes them anything special at all is they are made of 1000d cordura, and just have a thin quilted lining. They seem pretty darn warm when your actively working and moving around. But whenmyself and other guys i work with stop moving for a break etc they are throwing on jackets and other garments immediately.

They can certainly be part of a system, but are not a single answer to the problem by any means.

3:10 p.m. on January 23, 2013 (EST)
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For gloves, you will need layers. I worked as a cinematographer for 30 years and the system most of us used in cold weather started with silk gloves. These provide a good feel for the camera and allow you to operate the camera features easily. Over these, fingerless wool gloves. A simple ragg wool will do. Finish off with a mitten.

A balaclava is a good headgear, as it allows you to easily regulate your temperature. As a photographer, your clothing needs to allow you to move quickly to get the shots, but you will also spend time just standing. So clothing that is warm, but allows free movement, is imperative. Carhartts work great for some things, but are too restrictive, IMO, for what you are doing. Loose fitting wool pants work well, but they may be overkill. In 0 degree temps, I often wore a wool sweater for its supreme breathability, poly underneath that for the wicking, and then donned an Eddie Bauer "Blizzard Proof" proof parka in between work. Don't forget your feet. You will be standing a lot, and your feet won't be moving, so there will be less circulation. Sorels are too clumsy and overkill for the temps. Something lighter, that allow you to move quickly with good soles is important.

5:41 p.m. on January 23, 2013 (EST)
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Rambler,

Next time you are out feeding in the dark or checking newborn calves when it is -30 degrees notice what people are wearing.

9:33 p.m. on January 23, 2013 (EST)
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ppine said:

Rambler,

Next time you are out feeding in the dark or checking newborn calves when it is -30 degrees notice what people are wearing.

As an individual that owns so much Carhartt gear that I should own stock in the company(I am a supervisor for a commercial/industrial/steel erection construction company) I can truly say that TheRambler is spot on with his assessment of the coveralls(not overalls which I do own as well and prefer for movement when combined with either the Arctic or Sierra Sandstone jackets.)

They are best utilized with layers underneath when the temps drop into the single digits.

I own the quilted as well as the flannel lined versions

As a standalone item without layers underneath them you would be in a bad spot if subjected to single digit temps for an extended time period. 

This is not only my opinion from my own personal experience from being in the trade for quite a few years but also those of anyone that is on my crews as well as those of the subs we bring in for various jobs. 

I can tell you for a fact from running decking 5 stories up for the past 2 days from sun up til sun down(temps in the single digits w/wind temps in the negatives(F) that there is noway in Hades I or any of my men would have been caught dead in those conditions with the Carhartts as a standalone item.

For the op's use there are most certainly better options... (yes, I retired this hardhat right after the pic lol.)

on-the-site.jpg
 As my grandfather use to say when I was a kid growing up in regards to layering.

 "If you are too hot you can always take it off if ya have it on but if you are too cold and don't have it you are up a creek w/o a paddle."

12:36 p.m. on January 24, 2013 (EST)
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When did I say stand alone?  I am not in the business of getting into pissing contests.  But this whole thread misses some obvious points.

Urbanites that go outside once in awhile in cold conditions love to create computer programs with equipment lists and ponder catalogues and web sites.

A lot of blue collar types work outside every day of the year and just get up and put on what they can find at WalMart and a western wear store.  They do fine because they have a of experience, and don't know that "their equipment is sub-standard."

I was in logging and construction in Denver back in the 80s.  We had some 10 day periods when the high temperature was -6 degrees F.  It was -36 degrees F in my driveway in the morning.  Ask some Canadians what they wear in winter.

 

 

1:29 p.m. on January 24, 2013 (EST)
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Not trying to get into a "pissing contest" at all. Just making a point that the insulating properties of Carharrts are honestly about average.

Unless abrasion/wear resistance is truly needed a snow mobile suit would be better in cold conditions.

2:11 p.m. on January 24, 2013 (EST)
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i'm not sure how warm the carhartt clothes are, but the 12 oz cotton is very durable for construction or other outdoor work.  the ultimate combo of warmth and durability for cold weather that i have heard about is Duluth Trading Co's firehose down gear.  they make down overalls too, out of thick nylon. 

http://www.duluthtrading.com/store/mens/mens-outerwear/75012.aspx

the First Ascent "emperor parka" is down fill and has a ridiculously heavy 500d cordura outer shell - not unlike the main backpack material that Mystery Ranch uses.  it costs a fair bit more than most people would spend on a parka that would be at risk of getting ruined on a work site, but probably pretty useful for hard work in antartica, where you don't have a choice. 

i suspect a highly durable outer shell might be overkill for a "winter snow festival," and that if you layer a down sweater and a nano-puff, you're going to be fine, especially if one has an insulated hood - which makes a big difference.

 

 

 

 

 

2:12 a.m. on January 25, 2013 (EST)
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If you really want to know what Canadians, or at least some of them, wear in deep winter (down to -40C or so) go to www.wintertrekking.com and ask them.

This bunch is often wearing wool layers and canvas/cotton anoraks. Some wear modern insulated jackets such as mine (TNF Baltoro) and insulated pants when in camp. For hands, they wear gloves under big mitts.

If I was going out in the weather you describe and just standing around, I would have on my Capilene base layer (mid weight, plus expedition top); Go-Lite insulated pants, fleece jacket, TNF Baltoro, REI fleece gloves under Grandoe Himalaya mitts, fleece balaclava, Capilene expedition weight socks (not sure Patagonia still makes them) and a pair of insulated boots of some kind, maybe Northern Outfitters. I'm thinking this would be good down to around -30F.

10:22 a.m. on January 25, 2013 (EST)
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patagonia used to make a great thick wool/capilene blend sock; it looks like they have completely converted to merino wool socks, though i think they still stell capilene liner socks.  smartwool and bridgedale both make excellent merino blend expedition-weight socks.

one more thought about face protection.  as i was laying out gear for an upcoming trip, i noticed one of my kids swiped (and probably lost) a seirus face mask i used for the worst cold/windy weather.  never liked it much, but it does prevent frostbite.

anyway, i saw that outdoor research also makes a hybrid face mask, mostly stretchy fleece but strategically-placed windstopper over your cheecks, nose, mouth.  the nose has a downward-facing vent, and the mouth is perforated.  one size for everyone.  with the obscene wind chills this winter up on Mt. Washington, it's probably what I'm going to wear.  while OR also makes a fully windblocking balaclava, the Gorilla some mentioned above, i borrowed one on a trip and was constantly overheated; too much of a hot box for me, even in awfully cold weather.  to each their own.    http://www.outdoorresearch.com/en/accessories/hats/hybrid-face-mask.html

 

 

11:00 a.m. on January 26, 2013 (EST)
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Thanks for the information.  To each his own.

6:27 p.m. on January 26, 2013 (EST)
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Leadbelly, I have two pair of those Patagonia socks. They are great. Couldn't find them the last time I was in the Patagonia store. I've got a Serius balaclava somewhere I really like and a face mask, but I bought that more for skiing and maybe wore it once. A balaclava with goggles pretty much works for me.

There is an Italian company that makes heavy duty balaclava/face masks but I don't think they are sold in the US. This is one of them-

http://www.untraced.it/en/8000mask.html

8:18 a.m. on January 27, 2013 (EST)
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that's quite a mask, Tom.  i love gear that's beneficial for 'top athletes' at 8000 meters....i'm wondering how much benefit they provide for middle-aged dilettantes....==

9:16 p.m. on January 28, 2013 (EST)
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I live in Canada and worked outside for the railroad for seven years, mostly standing still checking in/out trucks at an intermodal facility.  Coldest I experience was -16F with high winds...brutal wind chill.  I wore insulated Redwing boots with the thickest socks I could buy.  The steel toes are the devil in cold weather so sometimes I used footbed warmers.  If I wasn't forced to wear safety footwear then I would have opted for some good winter boots with lots of insulation.

As for clothing:

Carhartt quilted bibs with DWR(totally bomber).  Carhartt heavyweight long underwear (it sucks and the fabric pills, go with Smartwool).  A $100 North Face hyVent shell over a cheap but warm synthetic puffer jacket and Carhartt thermal long underwear top(like I said, it sucks).  Mountain Hardwear windstopper hat under my hood.  Black Diamond insulated ski gloves with liners.

You say it gets to -4 degrees which isn't as bad as it sounds.  You don't need coveralls unless you want to look like a complete tool at the festival.  I would suggest three layers so you can go in and outdoors comfortably.  A hooded puffer jacket will do nicely.  The Ghost Whisperer is a superb jacket.  Wear that over your Patagucci mid-layer and the Smartwool base and you will be fine(I'd suggest the heavy weight stuff).  Toss your hardshell in your suitcase as insurance but I doubt you will need it.  WARM FEET STARTS WITH WARM LEGS so make sure you have more than jeans and a baselayer on.  Thick Smartwool over thicker softshell pants should do.  If you have a second baselayer bottom toss it in the suitcase for insurance but I, again, I doubt you will need it.  Two layer gloves so you can shoot pics.  No need for mitts.  The Ghost Whisperer is hooded so a comfy Windstopper hat is a good pairing.  Insulated footwear with wool socks.

Japan isn't Nunavut or Vostok Station.  You will be fine.  No need to rush out and buy a $350 Montbell.  Don't forget some handwarmers and thick rubber bands to hold them to your camera because at -4 you will be most likely be having operational issues.

3:18 p.m. on January 29, 2013 (EST)
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>Your baselayer and mid layers are good. I'd add a wool sweater or fleece shirt under your midlayer.

>Wear a WPB shell parka (W/hood) like Gore-Tex Pro or eVent.

>Wear a balaclava or "Peruvian" style wool hat

>Get some good boots.   For light weight warmth I recommend mid height NEOS overboots with a thick feltpac liner  W/ 1/4" closed cell foam innersole underneath the feltpac and a mouded, supportive hard foam insole.     This footwear combo will be good to -20 F. for sedentary activities.

>Buy some windproof ski pants or use WPB rain pants and wear  200 wt. fleece pants as a mis layer.

>Get a pair of GTX glove shells and removable fleece liners. Actually I'd recommend mitten shells over thick pile glove or mitten liners for this weather.

>Remember to wear sunblock and lip balm. Good sunbloxk like Neutrogena will protect against frost bite on nose and cheeks.

STAY HYDRATED beginning in the morning. Trying to "catch up" on hydration later is nearly impossible.

** This is advice from a Nordic Ski Patroller who patrolled the biathalon events in -20 F. at Lake Placid, NY. The lowest I've patrolled in was -40 F. that same week.

 

 

 

 

 

7:37 p.m. on January 29, 2013 (EST)
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Halcyondays said,

"Don't forget some handwarmers and thick rubber bands to hold them to your camera because at -4 you will be most likely be having operational issues."

Having shot a lot in cold conditions, both video and motion picture, as well as still film and digital, I would discourage the use of handwarmers on the camera. You will create more problems than you solve. You are not going to be working in extreme cold. If you are shooting film, which I suspect you are not, you might encounter shutter issues, but I doubt it. The two concerns you'll have are battery life and condensation. If you can get some Lithium Ion batteries, they work well in cold conditions. Keep spares near your body and that will ensure they deliver a full charge. Be careful when going in and out of heated spaces. I used two techniques on my cold weather shoots to avoid condensation. One was to have two cameras, one dedicated for inside and one for outside. The other was to take a single camera and put it in a large sealed plastic bag, make the transition and then wait for the camera to reach the surrounding air temperature. These techniques prevent condensation, not only on the electronics, but also in the lenses. While the former can usually be fixed with a hair drier, the latter can quite bad requiring the lens to be taken apart. Not a field fix.

In extreme conditions, such as well below 0 F, we would sometimes prep the cameras by putting lighter lubricant on the moving parts. I had a heater barney for my Aaton cameras and that helped. Some guys would run their cameras dry, but I never liked that as shutters, gears, etc. wear out fast, a bad thing on an $80,000 camera!

September 17, 2014
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