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water and its sources

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I have been giving considerable thought to which source of water is the source that should be considered and dealt with.

This subject has come about to me as a direct concern about footwear. For over 100 years or more shoes as we know them have been made from leather and for all of this time until this very day people have had cold feet due to water accumulation in the footwear. Shoe manufacturers have worked diligently to make footwear specifically boots that would be waterproof. In my opinion they were very successful before the incorporation of materials such as goretex. Goretex and like materials only exasperated the cold feet problem!

To add to the problem sock manufacturers started manufacturing thick wool socks based upon the fact that wet wool does not lose its insulating capabilities when it does get wet. However, wool does absorb water which will draw heat from feet and in cold conditions it to will exasperate the problem and actually promote cold feet. Keep in mind the wool as well as the moisture are drawing heat from your feet, not just the moisture.

When the goretex product was shown to the footwear or specifically boot manufacturers stating that the addition of the film would definitely keep water out they the boot manufacturers were enamored by the claim and it did not take long for the boot manufacturers to prove to themselves of the fact that water did not get into the boot when the goretex film was added. Maybe they the boot manufacturers thought that this would alleviate the cold feet syndrome. But as we know it did not, the film working in concert with the wool socks did nothing other than to increase the discomfort of cold feet even more. What to do, what to do!

If someone employed in the boot industry ever thought about the problem of cold feet and what could be done about it, it never happened.

Why, because the problem is NOT water coming from the outside of the boot but rather the foot born water that comes into the boot from the pores of the feet while in the boots and this observation was not made by a single person in the industry. That is the way it was from the beginning 100 years ago and it also holds true today.

If you were to study the clothing items worn by the Eskimo peoples of the world you will find the clothing they wore was made from animal skins and that meant body to include hands and feet. They did not wear underwear as it did not exist  so ALL of the moisture coming out of their bodies would dissipate through the animal skins. If this did not occur they would not have lasted for several thousands of years. Today the Eskimo population worldwide wears garments that are made from manmade materials so they suffer as those in the lower regions of the earth do. Except that is in Alaska, where they buy Wiggy’s parkas, bibs, mukluks, as well as sleeping bags and mittens.

So as you can now understand it is the moisture from the human body that must be dealt with and that means allowing the moisture to move as quickly as possible away from the skin surface. Wear any article of clothing that is close knit as socks are and the flow of water only goes from the pores into the wool and then it stops. With a goretex liner or like material it makes sure of two actions; one the outside moisture stays outside of the boot and two making sure the moisture stays inside the boot mainly in the socks that are surrounding your feet and touching your skin guaranteeing absorption of the heat and causing the feet to become cold.

The Eskimo peoples never had cold feet because they did not wear socks a thousand years ago and they never had cold fingers because they did not wear gloves; just mittens.

This same principle applies to hand wear and rain wear. Gloves separate the fingers so they cannot help each other to stay warm. Also note that when you have your hands in mittens your palms which have a large surface area generate heat that also helps to keep your fingers warm. As for rain wear I also believe that the addition of a thin layer of insulation such as the L-3 Lamilite lining whether it is permanently sewn in as in the zippered jacket or zipped in as in the Alaska Range Parka will certainly keep you warm in the rain. A plain shell garment that has a goretex or like film laminated to the fabric will keep the rain out of the garment and the sweat inside the garment. The best shell fabrics that I use are Supplex and Ducksback; neither is coated with any film or urethane coating.

The ultimate decision any person buying footwear or rain wear has to make is do I want to be warm or be cold when venturing into the outdoors whether it is in the woods or in the city. Just remember which of the water sources you have to be concerned about!

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