Explorer Mikael Strandberg

Extreme cold; 5 tips how to deal with it

Right now I am getting many emails on this topic of extreme cold and to help those who have now time to rea my longer articles or reports I have found these 5 tips I gave after the Siberian Expedition back in 2004. I wrote this blog report back then:

The heating just died, we are dressed up inside like we would be outdoors, I could hardly get the door to our room open a few minutes ago, it had frozen solid to the frame and when I did finally get it open, I got hit by a mean cold air I haven´t  felt since Siberia. It is -35 degrees Celsius below zero here in Minneapolis and a wind over the prairie that chills the bones worryingly. It seems like a cold wave have hit the northern most countries of the World. It is cold in Siberia, Northern Europe, North Asia and North America. And since I have endured a freezing cold far worse than this, well, I guess this temperature would be considered a heat wave in Siberia, I thought I´d would leave 5 solid tips to those of you who fear the cold and still want to stay outdoors!




  • A good hat is more important than anything!75% of the body heat goes through your head. So basically, you use the head cover to regulate your body heat. And it should be a head cover which also covers the ears and the neck. But if you heed tip number two, that will be done by a hood…
  • The layer system of dressing. Instead of putting on one big, thick jacket, build up a system of layers. Like the layers of an onion. Next to your body, a thin line of underwear, followed by a thin layer of trousers and shirt and than depending on the cold, add on either a gore tex jacket/fleece jacket and if very cold and you are not doing any serious exercise, a down jacket. And as an accessory on the jacket, there should be a hood, which works as an extra cover for your head and will protect neck and ears.
  • Boots/footwear.A mistake many people do is to believe that one needs a full covered boot not to freeze, but even here in the existing cold of Minnesota, mainly due to that I don´t have any winter gear, I just wear trainers with thick soles. It is the thickness of the sole which regulate the main heat of the foot and isolates from the cold. I don´t feel cold at all. That is, if I don´t stand still, which I never do, and nobody should in extreme cold.
  • Move around, don´t stand still! The idea is not to sweat nor freeze, so one just have to find a level which is comfortable. Because if you are working out to hard, sweating, this is as dangerous as not moving at all. Once you stop, which one eventually has to do, you will freeze solid.
  • Fill yourself with lots of carbohydrates and fat!This is the most positive thing when dealing with the cold, you just need a lot of body energy and heat and fat food and carbohydrates will give you this! So even if you are only staying outdoors for a few hours, eat a really fat breakfast dominated by good carbohydrates!

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