…and a new product we are refining, a Survival Blanket

A while back we did a video on Youtube, a little Quick – Tip about the spring season. Spring is always the wonderful time of year. Snows and cold recede and slowly fade away as summer approaches. The grass shoots forth, trees bud and bloom, all life is seemingly regenerated.

This blog is a follow up on the last one dealing with this time of year specifically and in more detail.

In winter the snow is cold and while temperatures remain in the 20’s and below, it is in reality a dry time. Typically spring is a time of moderating temperatures and rains. Spring can be fickle with cold one day and warm the next. This presents a hazard to those who spend time outdoors.

The Problem
Rain combined with cold can be difficult to deal with, and in many ways more troublesome than sub-zero weather. I read a book years ago where a doctor studied the results of a distance sporting event in Scotland, where athletes became hypothermic in what was considered mild weather. The factors were rain and storminess, and although not severe, they had a tragic effect on these athletes.

If you have watched a blacksmith you will note that he works steel that is red hot, he can quench this in a bucket of water, and in seconds it is cool enough to handle with bare hands. This is the tremendous heat conducting capability of water. Water can conduct or absorb heat 30 times better than air. If you think of water taking heat away from your body, you can imagine a continuous filament of water between your skin and the cooler air, your body’s heat will travel on this filament from your skin and dissipate into the the cold surrounding air. This is wonderful if you are hot, but quite dangerous if you are in colder conditions.

Rain and general wetness of the environment when combined with cool air temperatures can create situations where hypothermia can easily occur. We commonly talk of the dangers of hypothermia in very cold winter conditions. I believe it is much more a danger in wet conditions where the temperatures are say 30 deg F to about 60 deg F. Most of the reasoning for this is we are not as well prepared to deal with the wet cold.

Solutions
You must do all you can to stay dry. Overexertion can cause excessive sweating which in turn accelerates body heat loss. If it becomes rainy use a raincoat or wait it out in shelter.

We have been conducting tests adapting some clothing and shelter materials that we have used for decades in Sub-Zero camping and living.

We consider the use of cotton as a taboo in winter, and this carries over into spring until temperatures become hotter. I recently placed myself in an overnight test, to rain for hours with temperatures of 35 to 45 degrees F. I had on a Cotton T shirt, Poly/Cotton pants, wool socks
and a new product we are refining, a Survival Blanket made of foam and nylon.

As I retired to sleep, I found the T shirt was terribly uncomfortable, soaking wet and cold, and I removed it. The pants were more comfortable, but because of dampness, I could not get warm while still wearing them, so I removed them. I had on nylon/poly underclothes, they were quite comfortable and did not retain moisture or feel wet. Eventually I removed my wool socks as they were too cold.

Now in just the Survival Blanket which initially was absolutely soggy, yet still reasonably warm. Over time my body heat drove most of the moisture from the blanket, hour by hour I became more comfortable and drier.

So the rules are:
1) Stay as dry as you can, ie, raincoat, tarp or tent.
2) Wear clothing that does not hold onto water, synthetics, poly, nylon, etc.

Check back for progress in our testing.

Stay dry, stay safe, Simplifying Survival – Until next time Perry Peacock

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