Monday, February 13, 2012

Cold Weather Living: Random Tips

This last post on winter living includes a few tips on staying on warm and dry that didn’t quite make sense anywhere else.

Eat food.  This seems like common sense, and your body will certainly help you figure out when to eat by being hungry, but don’t underestimate your calorie needs in cold weather.  You can easily burn 5,000 or more calories in a day if you’re active in cold weather.  Don’t be afraid to eat plenty of fats as well, as the slow-burning calories will keep you warmer longer.

Take advantage of stove heat.  Your stove pumps out a lot of heat, so if you have it on to cook food or melt snow, don’t waste the excess heat.  You can use the heat and steam to warm your boots in the morning, revitalize cold fingers, or even start melting a bottle of snow.  If you take care to ventilate your tent properly, a hanging stove also makes a great space heater.

Ventilate.  Keep your tent as well-ventilated as possible to prevent a pesky ice crust from forming on the interior walls due to condensation from your breath.  Otherwise, expect to soon have some very wet evenings in your tent as your body heat melts off the condensation.

Form a strong opinion on hot drinks.  While you don’t technically need to have a strong opinion on hot drinks, it seems that everyone who spends significant time out in the cold has one.  On the one hand, hot drinks are a great psychological boon, taste great, encourage hydration (provided they’re not laced with caffeine), and provide external heat when stashed in your jacket.  Plus, they don’t require your body to heat the fluids you’ve ingested.  I know folks who swear by them and call them an “attitude adjustment” when things get rough.  On the other hand, they require extra fuel, take time to make, offer purely psychological benefits, can result in spending a lot of extra time operating a stove in the cold, and are no more than a drop in the bucket in the battle to keep your body warm.  Your mileage will vary, but I recommend experimenting with various hot drinks, thermoses and water bottles.  I’m personally a big fan of warm Gatorade when it’s cold out.

1 comment:

  1. Warm gatorade is a new one! But I'd guess that psychological kick from something warm, whatever it is, would be really useful.