There are two things that will ruin a hunt faster than anything else: being cold, and trespassers. There’s only so much you can to do trespassers without going to prison—and I’m not going to get into that—so let’s focus on what you can easily control: being cold.
In my early days afield, I found that the cold wasn’t so bad once I went numb … that toughening up and dealing with frigid temps and snow was something that Northerners did. And I take pride in being a Northerner. But like Grandpa said, “It feels pretty good once you stop beating your head against the wall, Luke.” What is it about Grandpas and always being right?
Don’t get me wrong, I wear great gear from head to toe. I wouldn’t wear it if it wasn’t great. But sometimes that’s just not enough to keep warm when not moving a muscle means everything. That’s when I turn on the reinforcements.
A few years back I started using ThermaCell’s Heated Insoles in my “damn, it’s cold today” boots, which I wear for everything from late-season whitetails to frigid January coyote hunting. They’re in those boots 100 percent of the time. They’re off when I’m on the move—walking to and from stands or sets—and they’re on when I need them.
ThermaCell recently upgraded and expanded their Heated Insoles line with the ProFlex, and I’m jacked up about it. They’re petite and comfortable, but here’s my suggestion: Buy your boots a half- to a full-size bigger than normal. These are boots you’re likely not going to be moving around a lot with and thus a little extra bulk isn’t going to hurt. But the additional heat circulation you’ll get from that bit of extra space will make your toes think they’re cozied up next to a fireplace.
Don’t get me wrong—they’ll work great in any pair of boots you already own. But if you have the option, opt for more space to retain heat. Take it from an expert in being cold.
- ProFlex Stats:
- Rechargeable, removable batteries. Translation: You can recharge without removing the insoles from your boots.
- Made from polyurethane: Translation: Comfortable, breathable and they circulate heat very well.
- No heat, medium (100 degrees) and high (111 degrees) settings. Translation: Pick your poison to meet your comfort.
- Wall charger and USB cable included. Translation: Charge them anywhere.
- Highly water-resistant. Translation: Won’t die if your feet get wet, and won’t stink with foot sweat. Yeah, that threat is real.
- Batteries last up to 5 hours of constant warmth: Translation: Your buck will show up before your feet will be cold.
- Available for men and women, in customizable sizes small through 2XL. Translation: There’s one to fit you perfectly.
You’ve seen and used the on-time-use hand warmers, right? You know, the ones that made sledding as a kid bearable. They’re great—and they work well—but you can burn through a pile of ‘em in a hurry, and the heat can be less consistent than desirable. Been there, done that … and they’re better than nothing.
Well, ThermaCell has a long-term solution for you: rechargeable Heat Packs. Like the Heated Insoles, the Heat Packs have three temperature settings for constant, regulated warmth.
The beauty of the heat Packs is that you can stick them anywhere (that’s your business), and move them as needed, to wherever is getting cold: gloves, hat, back, pockets … you name it. And they’re available in two different sizes, hand warmer (two-pack) and pocket warmer (one-pack). Put the hand warmer size under your hat without it looking and feeling like you have a cranial contusion, and put the pocket warmer size on your lower back for a full-body heat recharge.
The Heat Packs are a bit hard to find right now because they're brand-spankin' new, but it won't be long. No more freezing in ground blinds, or at high school football games.
- Heat Pack Stats:
- Thin and lightweight. Translation: Heat without bulk, so matter where you stick it.
- Water-resistant: Translation: Bring on the snow and rain.
- Versatile, portable and shock-resistant: Translation: Hunt aggressively.
When it comes to being cold, I’ve learned enough lessons to last your lifetime and mine. After all, it’s what we Northerners do.