Practicing survival skills is important for preparedness, and one must always consider the worst possible case scenario. So envision for a moment that you are out for a hike on a beautiful day, and the weather dramatically drops to a sudden cold environment. You weren’t dressed for this, obviously, and have quite the distance between your current location and shelter. You’re worried about your survival… here’s what to do in this situation.
Utilize the natural vegetation around you as insulation, by stuffing it into your clothes and footwear. Look for light, fluffy fibers. Obviously you’re not bothered by fashion or looks, what matters is survival skills. Down from cattails or thistle, dead leaves or grass and even bark fiber will all work wonderful as insulation material to keep you warm.
These survival skills can be practiced in other environments as well. If this emergency situation were to happen in the city, you would simply use newspaper or cardboard for the same insulating effect.
The trick behind emergency insulation is to use material that creates dead air space which will keep your body warm, even better if that warmth can be maintained when getting wet is unavoidable. Maintaining body heat is one of the most important concerns with survival skills, and understanding how to create insulation in an emergency is an important step.
Make an insulated vest
This will require repurposing two old t-shirts. Simply cut off the sleeves and sew the remaining portions together to form a double vest, leaving an opening near the neck which you can use to stuff with cattail down before sewing up the top. In the spring, you’ll want to dump out the old stuffing, wash, and re-stuff but you will have an effective insulated vest for… free.
Keeping warm in the cold weather is a critical survival skill. Like any skill, understanding is root to mastering.
To begin with, here are the 5 leading cause of loss of body heat
- Radiation is an invisible energy emitted objects, which can be reflected back to the body by a shiny or light-colored surface.
- The transfer of heat from one molecule to another is called conduction. When you touch a warm hand to a cold object, for example, the heat will leave your hand and warm the object. To minimize this type of body heat loss, use insulation that contains “dead air space: and thick material.
- Convection is a type of body heat loss that happens when the warm layer of air next to the skin is carried away, usually by wind. To prevent this, wear clothing that is dense enough to contain the warm air and prevent the wind from reaching your skin.
- When trapped perspiration evaporates, this cools the layer of air next to the skin. The best way to minimize this problem is to have proper ventilation before you sweat.
- Respiration is the process where we inhale cold air and exhale warm air, and there’s not much which can be done about that.
Here are some types of insulation to minimize loss of body warmth
Natural Insulation includes down, which comes from the undercoat of waterfowl and is widely regarded as a powerfully effective material for insulation. However, when down gets wet it will lost up to 95% of its’ value and takes a very long time to dry. For that reason, down clothing is not the best option for practicing survival skills.
A better option for natural insulation is wool, which will retain up to 95% of its’ warmth even when wet.
Synthetic insulation options that are effective for practicing survival skills in snowy conditions include: fiber pile, Polarguard, Quallogil, Thinsulate, Softique, and Tex-O-Lite.
Almost all of these types of insulated clothing should be encased in some type of shell (usually nylon or another synthetic material) with wool and Fiberpile being the only exceptions.
Here are some extra tips on insulation:
- Be sure to wring out wet clothes as soon as possible, so they will dry quicker. Wet clothes will conduct heat away from your body.
- Two light sweaters are better than one heavy sweater, because the layer of air trapped between them will add more insulation.
- Remove a few layers of clothing when you begin to swear, to prevent evaporation from cooling the skin.
- Up to half of your body warmth can be lost through the head, so be sure to wear a hat!
- If you are caught in extremely cold weather conditions, the best survival practice is to stuff your pant legs into your socks, fill your pants with debris that will create dead air space, tuck your shirt into your pants and fill your shirt as well.
The following post was written by +Sarah Clarke who blogs for Al Fresco Holidays, specialists in camping holidays in France. For more information, visit the blog
Backpacking can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. It can be a great workout as well and be a way for friends and family members to spend quality time together. For this to be the case, there are a number of essentials to pack and some safety considerations to keep in mind.
Before heading out on any trip, it is necessary to do some degree of planning. This is true for a simple weekend trip just like it is necessary for a month long backcountry excursion. In this planning phase, maps and information about the area should be reviewed. Take into consideration the ability and skill level of other backpackers and the type of hiking and adventure that is desired. A basic route for each day should then be planned along with alternative routes and options for leaving the area in an emergency situation. Knowing the nearest hospital, access points and other areas of civilization is critical as well. Once everything is well planned out and any necessary permits acquired, it is wise to leave a copy of this itinerary or schedule with a friend, family member or neighbour. In the event of an emergency, this person will know an approximate location of the backpacking group.
The right equipment is important when it comes to the safety of everyone in the group. This would include things such as camping stoves, adequate food and water, and a decent first aid kit. All members of the backpacking group should be relatively familiar with all of these supplies which includesknowing how to use and cook on stoves and be able to take care of minor first aid emergencies that might arise. The more knowledge people have, the better. Everyone on the trip should be able to contribute in some manner.
Even in warm summer weather, having the right type of clothing is necessary. Dressing in layers will help to best regulate the body temperature. If a person does not have appropriate backpacking clothing, it is best to borrow some items or make a trip to an outfitter to purchase the appropriate clothes. When possible, cotton should be avoided. Clothes that wick away sweat and moisture will keep a person dry, comfortable and safe from problems such as hypothermia. Well-fitting boots will be needed as well. These should be comfortable and broken in before the trip begins. Otherwise, a person can quickly get painful blisters and find out the boots do not fit correctly.
When backpacking, safety should always be thought about. By having the right gear, making an appropriate plan and dressing correctly, everyone is sure to have a safe and truly amazing and memorable time backpacking in the wilderness.