A lot of survival forums have special sections on wilderness survival or cold weather survival – I think there should be a section for hot weather survival. In cold weather you can put more clothes on (if you have them), you can build a fire, build a shelter, build a wall to reflect the heat, use a space blanket, buy on the best insulated clothing – boots, gloves – parka,,,,,, you get the idea.
But when your dealing with the heat, its a little different – sitting in the shade, limiting physical activity, and drinking water can only take you so far. When the outside temps in the shade reach 100 degree – if your outside humping a pack through the woods you can be in trouble.
The current day time temps are in the mid 90s, say around 93, 94 and 95. By the end of June, temps should be in the mid – upper 90s. By the time July and August get here, we should be seeing low 100s everyday.
As heat exhaustion and heat stroke starts to set in – there is only one option, and that is too cool off and quick. The problem is, when your in the middle of the woods, with no water near-by, cooling off might be a problem.
Keep a bandanna or spare shirt in your pack – use some water from your canteen or water bottle to wet the rag and apply to your neck, forehead, wrist, ears,,,,,, anywhere the blood vessels are close to the skin.
Keep an instant ice pack in your backpack or first aid kit – this could give temporary relief from the heat.
Know what to look for in heat exhaustion and heat stroke – do not ignore the early warning signs.
Take breaks before you reach your limit – do not tire yourself out. when on the hiking trail, be aware of your physical limitations, do not act like your a super hero, because your not.
Bring TOPO maps on your hiking / camping trips – that way you can look for creeks and streams near your location.
Think of water sources as cool down areas – when you stop to fill up your canteens, take the time to cool down – wet a spare shirt or bandanna and apply to your neck, arms, ankles, ears, forehead,,,,,. Sometimes I will take my boots off and put my feet in the water, or lay down in the water with my clothes on. With temps in the 90s – 100 degree range, the wet clothes will dry pretty quick. The evaporation of the water will help your body cool off.
Wear a wide brimmed hat to keep the sun off the back of your neck – the major blood vessels run through the neck, if you keep the sun off your neck, the skin will stay cooler, if the skin stays cool, the blood vessels stay cool, if the blood vessels stay cool, the brain stays cool.
If you do not have a wide brimmed hat, use a bandanna tucked into the back of your hat to keep the sun off your neck.
Keeping the sun off your neck also reduces your chance of getting sun burned.
External or external frame backpacks
Internal frame packs – usually stay right up against your body, which helps retain body heat. In “really” hot weather, you do not want to retain body heat.
External frame packs – usually hold the pack off the back, which allows for some air flow. This allows sweat on the back to evaporate easier then if the pack was right up against your back.
Post your comments in this forum thread about hot weather survival.
This video was filmed in the summer of 2009 while my son, my nephew and I were on a hiking trip. It got a little hotter then what I expected.