From our Other Members...

Staying warm at a Star Party

As you know March and Oct is when ASN holds its all night star parties. With that in mind I’ve written this article on staying warm and comfortable while you’re doing an all niter.

While having the right observation equipment is important, staying warm on a cold viewing night is the key to having a good night. When I go to a viewing site on a cold night I have two sets of clothing, one for setting up and one for viewing. Since I’ll be moving around a lot and more than likely sweating I like to dress in shorts or light long pants and a t-shirt when I set up. I do this so I’m able to get dry before I put on cold weather cloths. Wearing wet cloths in the cold will rob your body of the warmth it needs and it could cut short your night. So once I’m set up and I’ve dried off I will then get ready to put on my cold weather cloths and I won’t start that till I start feeling cool. I do this so I don’t start to sweat.

As I start to feel cool, (not cold if you get cold your already starting behind the 8 ball) I will put on a sweat shirt and long sleeve t-shirt or undershirt and if it’s going to be cold enough both. The next item I put on is a pair of doubled layer pants. I have a pair of fleece pants that are lined with a layer of cotton long john material. The next thing I put on is my cold weather boots. I have 2 different pairs. One pair that is rated for 30 degrees plus. My second pair are rated down to 5 degrees plus. Depending on how cold it’s going to get will ultimately decide which pair I will use. It’s at this moment you will need to decide if you’re going to put a pair of foot warmers in your boots. If you decide to do use these please read the instructions before doing so. Some foot warmers need to sit in the open air for a few minutes before they will work. I’m currently thinking about adding Icebreaker Insulated Boot Blankets. These are used over your boots to help keep your feet warm. Having the two layers on top and bottom will usually keep me warm for a while. If it’s truly cold I will add a third layer on my legs.

My hands are a completely different matter. They tend to get cold fairly quickly because of this I have 3 different pairs of gloves. I have one pair that can be used as a pair by itself or they can also be used as glove liners. I also have a pair of fleece gloves which I can use with or without the liners, and my third pair is a cold weather pair that I can also use with the liners. I will even use glove warmers also.

For my head I have two hats one made out of Gortex that can be used as a liner or by itself and of course a wool/acrylic hat. I will put a hat on when my ears or feet start getting cold. Most of a bodies heat is lost through your head so when you feet start getting cold put on a hat. It’s also a pretty good sign that you body is starting to conserve heat and that you will need to start adding layers to stay warm.

As the night goes on I also have a hooded sweat jacket that is also doubled lined and a wool jacket that is lined to keep the wind out that I can put on as I get cold. A recommentdation that I can make is long jackets. Try to have at least one jacket/sweatshirt that goes down to your lower back. This way as your hunched over you back won’t be exposed to the cold air.

As you can I’m a big fan of layering and that really is the secret to staying warm and staying dry. This really came home when I went to the Grand Canyon one year for Easter. They had a late winter storm come in and the only cloths I had was 2 sweatpants, t-shirt, long sleeve t-shirt sweat shirt and a sweat jacket and a hat. I put all of it on and went out to the canyon and I hoped to stay warm. Half way through the day it started to snow and there was near white out conditions. I made it back to the info center and went inside. Just inside the entry way they had some mirrors set up. I glanced at myself and I saw a snowman looking back at me. The laying worked so well not only was I warm but I was insulated enough that the snow that landed on me didn’t melt.

Another item that I use is a scarf. I’ve found when my head is bent down looking into the eyepiece my neck becomes exposed to the cold so to help keep this from happening I use scarf to help.

While having so many layers could impede your movement a little, you will be more comfortable in the long run.

Category: Other Members