I know that there are a bunch of folks that have cold-weather experience, but some people may have their heads deep in other LARP-oriented prep and may forget to prepare for cold weather. So I am just going to post some “take it or leave it” advice here for cold weather sleeping/dressing/etc.
It looks as though we will be getting down to near freezing temperatures. There will likely be frost in cooler areas of the camp.
Layering is not about having lots of things on at the same time, it is important to remember that air is an insulator. Proper layering requires that you have some air between your layers. I recommend a wicking base layer that can keep moisture off of your skin. This should be followed by something that fits over this allowing that layer of air to be about .5 cm to 2cm. Too much space and the air will circulate too much.
Staying dry is important. If you shower or get wet by any other means, try to make sure you’ve dried yourself out in some way.
Eating before sleeping
Calories are a measure of energy. Your body requires a lot of calories to keep your body warm. You’re not looking for a burst of energy, because you want to sleep. You’re looking for something that is slow-release. So think nuts or whole grains. If you wake up cold though, having some sort of dried fruit can be a good source of quicker calories. If you’re into candy bars, they are actually good if you are feeling particularly cold.
Warm feet make you wake up happier
I like to try to sleep on my wool socks. They don’t really make my sleep uncomfortable, and they are being warmed by my body all night. That way first thing in the morning I can put on fresh, dry, warm socks. This tip was a game-changer for my cold-weather LARP experience.
Similarly, good wool socks should be part of ever LARPers costume design. Whether they are knit, or commercial blends, the wicking properties of wool, and its ability to keep you warm even when wet, make them an invaluable asset. Avoid wearing cotton socks if you can help it as they will no doubt lead to cold feet if your feet sweat at all.
A good cloak (or blanket)
Wool (and some Synthetic Blends) make for great cloaks. Also, from a period standpoint, it is not inaccurate or strange to just throw a wool or wool yarn knitted blanket over yourself. If your character isn’t loaded with money, it may make more sense just to have a plain-looking wool blanket. Depending on the material, faux-furs can also be warm and look really cool in-game.
Gloves and Hat
Hats and gloves can completely change your experience, plus, gloves have the in-game benefit of looking cool and helping prevent getting poisoned by contact poison.
Take care of yourself
Staff usually does a good job at letting us know where good places are to warm up. Even if your character is rough and buff, don’t let your pride keep you from taking care of yourself. Get warm.
I am sure there are lots of other LARPers who will see this and have other cold weather advice. I seem to write a thread like this every year though.
Looking forward to this coming event. I will see you all soon.