The human body is a magical machine that is miraculously adaptive and resilient. Losing excess body heat is great in harsh hot ecosystems, However during the cold winter months, reducing heat loss can be the difference between survival and well … not surviving!

5 ways the body loses heat:

  1. Radiation – Loss of valued body heat occurs when the air temperature is less than your core temperature of 98.6ºF. It doesn’t take much. I have seen wet paddlers suffer hypothermia on an 80-degree summer day.
  2. Conduction – Through direct contact between objects. Water conducts heat away from the body 25 times faster than air. Steel conducts heat away even faster than water. You will lose heat 5 times faster when your clothing is wet. So stay dry and be safe, comfortable and warm.
  3. Wind Chill – Wind can increase heat loss. Wind chill tables show a factor of heat loss relative to a still air temperature.
  4. Perspiration – Evaporation of water to remove excess heat body. Your body is a wonderful machine. When you overheat the body sweats to cool down. However, without appropriate clothing, moisture will remain in the clothing. During the winter and when cold weather camping, this could be deadly.
  5. Respiration – A large amount of heat and moisture is lost by simply breathing. There is nothing much that can be done with this, just understand this reality.

Finally, it’s important to understand the relationship between hydration levels and heat loss. When we lose valuable body fluids, it can lead to dehydration and dehydration makes you more susceptible to hypothermia, frostbite, fatigue and zombism.

Bottom line stay hydrated on your inside and dry on your outside!

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