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Wilderness safety: Tips for maintaining body temperature in extreme conditions
By Virgilio Marin // Oct 13, 2021

The wilderness may be an excellent place to be when SHTF, but it's not without its dangers. Extreme weather conditions, coupled with the absence of many comforts, can easily turn a camping or bug-out trip into a life-threatening survival scenario. This is why you need to learn how to stay cool or warm when you're in the wild. (h/t to AlphaSurvival.net)


How to stay cool

Know how to keep your body cool to prevent dehydration and heat stroke. Here are some tips on how to maintain your body temperature in extreme heat:

  1. Find shade. You need to avoid direct sunlight because prolonged exposure to the sun can cause your body to overheat. When you're bugging out or hiking in the day, look for a shady trail to travel. You should also rest somewhere in shade and avoid traveling at noon.
  2. Wear light colors. Dark clothing absorbs a huge amount of heat energy from the sun. This makes you heat up quickly and causes you to sweat profusely.
  3. Hydrate. Staying out in the sun drains your body of water and causes you to sweat profusely. Drink water frequently when you're out in the sun to prevent dehydration.
  4. Swim. There's a good reason why everyone likes to jump into the pool or vacation in the beach during the summer. Swimming helps cool your body and gives you relief from the harsh rays of the sun.
  5. Wear wet clothes. Drenching your clothes in cold water will help keep your body cool. If the heat begins to be too much for you, find a stream to soak your clothes in.
  6. Avoid intense activity. Strenuous exercises will cause you to sweat a lot.
  7. Wear lightweight clothing. Lightweight clothes allow the air to circulate with ease and help keep your body temperature low. Wear tank tops, T-shirts and the like when traveling in the wilderness.
  8. Avoid caffeine or alcohol. Drinking either of these two beverages will make you feel warm and cause you to pass urine more frequently. This, in turn, can cause dehydration. (Related: 5 Ways to stay cool when SHTF during a heatwave.)

How to keep warm

You need to find a way to stay warm in extreme cold to prevent hypothermia. Here are a few tips:

  • Bundle up. Layering your clothes traps the heat in your body and protects against the cold. Wear a jacket and parka on top of your shirt and put on a beanie and a pair of gloves. Consider wearing thermal underwear as this type of clothing is specially designed to keep the body warm.
  • Start a fire. What better way to keep warm than to sit near a nice, warm campfire? Learn how to start a fire to maintain your body temperature in extreme cold.
  • Use hand and foot warmers. These are disposable packets that produce heat on demand to warm your hands and feet. You place one of these packet on your person and let it do its work.
  • Insulate your wilderness shelter. You should also focus on keeping your tent warm so you can rest and sleep comfortably. There are many ways to insulate a tent for winter survival. For one, you can pitch a tarp in the direction of the prevailing wind to block the cold breeze.
  • Drink warm beverages. Use a insulated water bottle so you have hot drinking water.
  • Keep moving. Exercising increases your body temperature and causes you to perspire. Make sure you're constantly moving to stay warm in extreme cold.
  • Sleep in the day. Your body temperature decreases when you sleep. So it's a double whammy when you sleep at night because that time of day is when temperatures start to drop.
  • Hydrate. Drinking water does not warm your body up directly but it does help keep your body functioning properly. This, in turn, helps maintain your body temperature.
  • Snack on magnesium-rich foods. Magnesium plays a role in regulating body temperature. Magnesium-rich foods include nuts, potatoes, oatmeal, spinach, soybean and brown rice.

Extreme weather conditions make the wilderness a dangerous place. Learn how to maintain your body temperature in extreme heat and cold to survive the elements.

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