If you haven’t lived and worked in cold environments, it can be a dramatic mind shift to now travel and shoot in these areas with inclement weather. In this video from Thomas Heaton, we’ll see how he dresses for shooting in the cold while staying warm, comfortable, and safe from the elements.
Dressing for the cold while working in fluctuating temperatures is a big part for many photographers, and especially those doing landscape imagery.
The big mentality shift for those from warmer environments that are just starting to photograph in colder areas is learning about layering, which Heaton goes in depth in the video. Adding to Heaton’s examples and thought process would be taking into account where you’re traveling to and if the area is fluctuating above and below freezing temperatures. If the areas you are going to be traveling to may have a wintry mix of rain and snow, down jackets may not be the best option for the environment. Whether to due perspiration or precipitation, synthetic insulation captures and holds heat when these issues arise unlike down that stops retaining heat when wet. Some down insulated jackets have a hydrophobic coating on the down itself, but this may break down over time.
Another option to the nylon thermal undergarments that Heaton uses is polyester or wool. Polyester is a synthetic fabric like nylon but has better abrasion resistance and dries faster while nylon is a stronger material and is softer. Both of these synthetic fabrics have one large downfall compared to wool and that is that they both absorb and retain odors much more than wool. If your adventure is traveling for several days on limited clothing, you may prefer wool as odors do not get absorbed as easily.
Lastly, for longer and more strenuous hikes, a liner sock layered within a medium or heavy wool sock may work better than a water tight sock as Heaton suggests. As you perspire, you want your feet to breathe and with a liner sock that perspiration is pulled away from the skin while also allowing the wool sock to move around the foot. This allows your feet to aerate but also avoid blisters in your gore-tex lined boots. Also, if you are experiencing temperatures below freezing, it’s a great idea to have a pair of boots that have a minimum of 400 grams of insulation. Though heavier, you’re less likely to have cold toes and as boot insulation can go to 1000 grams or higher there are quite a few options. Whether you are a person who is consistently cold or easily overheated, layering with the right clothing can work for you.
Were there any other takeaways from Heaton’s video or do you prefer other options due to your experience and climates you shoot in?