This page is for those who understand how Frostfall works on a basic level, and would like to get a deeper understanding of Frostfall's mechanics in order to maximize their survival time in the cold.
Exposure Protection is the benefit granted by your worn clothing and armor. You can think of Exposure Protection like a Defense rating against the cold; more is better, and acts as the foundation for how quickly your exposure will be lost.
Exposure Resistance is a bonus granted by several different items, such as torches, stews, and wearing a cloak. This can be thought of similarly to spell resistances; the closer to 100% you get, the more your rate of exposure approaches 0.
This diagram might better explain their relationship than words:
As you can see, Exposure Protection is the foundation upon which everything else rests. Exposure Resistance becomes more effective the more Exposure Protection you have.
Example: Egrid the Elf, foolish when it comes to cold weather survival, and decides to wear only a pair of fuzzy boots. She eats a hearty stew, equips a cloak, and wields a torch, which grant her a 50% bonus to Exposure Resistance.
Nelod the Nord, wise to the ways of survival, equips head-to-toe clothing. He eats the same stew, wears the same cloak, and wields the same torch, receiving 50% Exposure Resistance.
A blizzard strikes. Egrid's base survival time is only 30 seconds, due to being scantily clad (and, therefore, having very little in the way of Exposure Protection). Her Exposure Resistance doubles her survival time (her rate of exposure is cut in half). She has a minute to live.
Nelod, being well dressed, has a base survival time of 5 minutes. His Exposure Resistance doubles his survival time. He has 10 minutes to live!
As you can see, the same amount of Exposure Resistance is far less effective without the foundational support of Exposure Protection underneath.
Campfires (and other heat sources) are most effective in good weather conditions. During these conditions, you can restore your exposure up to +20 (Warm).
During rainshowers, your campfire will only be able to warm you up to -30 (Cold). Placing your campfire near a tent and then getting inside the tent will allow you to get to +20 (Warm). You can also place your campfire near anything you can stand under, which will grant you the same benefit. As long as your head is covered, you can fully warm up. And of course, you can go inside the nearest inn, house, or dungeon and warm up completely there if a fire is available.
During snow and blizzards, your campfire will only be able to warm you up to -50 (Very Cold). You must use a fur tent or go indoors to warm up completely in these conditions. Leather tents are of limited use in snow, allowing you to warm up to -30 (Cold) but no more.
As a mage archetype character, you may feel at a disadvantage in cold areas, especially when playing with W.E.A.R. turned on; there are no clothing items that grant Full exposure protection!
First, learn the Foxskin, Wolfskin, and Bearskin Alteration spells. This will put you on equal footing with other playstyles, especially when combined with the Mage Armor perk, which can (at rank 3) triple the spell's effects. Dual-casting these spells also greatly increases their duration.
Next, review some of the more utilitarian spells on the Spells page to see if they fit your playstyle and skills. You can transmute deadwood to firewood, summon cloaks, and more.