Keeping warm in wet conditions

Beginners often wear too much under their rainproof gear. This results in increased perspiration and condensation, and all clothing worn becoming wet. Windchill on wet clothing can be serious, so people should be encouraged to maintain a comfortable balance of warmth. Use the layer principle with undergarments of polypropylene or chlorofibre to wick away the moisture from the skin, followed by a light jumper or a woollen shirt, then a heavier woollen or fibrepile jacket with zippers, and finally a wind- and rainproof outer shell. It is particularly important that your head be kept warm and dry.

Seize any opportunity to dry wet clothing or gear. A brief burst of sunshine can make a great difference. Be very wary of beginners drying clothes around a fire as natural fibres can be ruined by scorching and most synthetic fibres burn readily. Boots are often ruined in this way, and in general, should not be dried with applied external heat.

If tents are secure and the occupants warm, they will stay much drier by cooking on stoves in the vestibule or just outside the tent, or by having an uncooked meal. Consider having a cooked lunch or a breakfast instead of the traditional evening meal. Morale will be boosted if you, the leader, visit each tent with a cheerful greeting. If someone does have to leave the warmth of the tent, instead of removing dry warm socks, slip a plastic bag onto each foot and then put on the wet boots. It will take less time and their feet will still be warm when they return.