Bushcraft: Racking Out When its Cold

14 03 2011

So you’ve been out on patrol and its time to hit the “fartsack” for a good nights (or couple of hours) sleep. Here are some tips to prepare yourself for the best possible rest in a cold weather environment.

Hydrate, Hydrate and Hydrate. Not unlike operations in hot weather, operating in cold weather conditions takes a lot out of your body and the body’s demand for water in the winter is essential. As your lungs lose more moisture humidifying and warming the dry, cold winter air on average a soldier requires anywhere between 2.5 to 5 liters per day. In order to burn fuel efficiently you must keep your body hydrated.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Caffeine is a diuretic causing accelerated water loss and dehydration. Alcohol creates peripheral vessel dilation resulting in the rapid loss of body heat. Nicotine, a vasoconstrictor, decreases circulation to your extremities and promotes frostbite.

Eat a hot, hearty meal for dinner. Your body will use this fuel to keep you warm throughout the night. Don’t eat your ration cold, take the time and heat it up. Chuck the instant coffee and opt for some hot chocolate or whey powder!

Eating a a high calorie, high fat content snack before bedtime will give your body more fuel to help keep you warm. If you bring snacks remember that proteins, such as cheese, nuts, or grains, are better than simple sugars. Maybe even put some chocolate whey powder in your pack!

Go to the bathroom before bed and save yourself a middle of the night trip in the cold. If you do have to get up in the night remember to save your ration pack wrapper for some midnight slippers over your socks!

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