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Conserving Body Heat- The Prime Objective

Posted on Jan 11, 2012 by Troop63

There are three ways body heat can be lost. Understanding how they work can help one prevent the loss of heat as much as possible.

  1. Conduction- The absorption of heat by objects the body comes into direct contact with. Examples: When one sits or lays on the ground, the ground absorbs body heat; when one handles metal cooking utensils heat is transferred from one’s fingers into them. This is why it is necessary to use a decent sleeping pad when winter camping- it prevents the direct transfer of body heat from ones body into the ground. Wearing gloves or mittens prevents problems with metal objects. A camp stool is recommended to prevent contact with the ground when sitting.
  2. Convection- The loss of body heat due to wind blowing across unprotected body parts. This can be prevented by keeping bare skin covered with hats, scarves, and gloves. It is important to keep exposure to a minimum, ESPECIALLY in a windy situation. Out of the three methods of heat loss, convection can reduce body heat the fastest. Wet clothing will accelerate this process, making staying dry even more important.
  3. Radiation- The emission of body heat, more exaggerated in skin areas exposed to the elements. A good pair of gloves, a hat, and a scarf can aid in keeping bare skin to a minimum.

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