If you want to learn a potentially life-saving action, you need to practice it. And if you need to learn if your clothing and other gear is capable of saving your life, you need to test it. This is how the Navy SEALs do just that for cold weather emergencies.
Down is the most effective, commonly available insulator known to man. So long as you keep it dry. But, new hydrophobic down coatings promise to retain its warmth when wet. We tested that claim by cutting a hole in a frozen lake and jumping through it.
"He was wearing all cotton, which is the worst fabric for cold, wet weather. The weather just got the best of him," reads an official statement by Alaska State Troopers about the death of a hiker there in 2005. This is how and why cotton can kill you.
When a Swedish man drove down a deserted forest road near Umeaa, Sweden last December 19th, he was probably looking forward to Christmas. But that day, his car somehow became buried under a mountain of snow. He was trapped there for two months, suffering insanely low temperatures, with no access to food. Last Sunday,…