There are three ways to lose body heat. Keeping them in mind will help you be much more aware of what you are or could be doing to keep your body warm.

1. RADIATION - The emission of body, especially from the skin areas exposed to the elements. A good set of gloves, hat, and scarf can help best in keeping bare skin to a minimum.

2. CONDUCTION - The absorption of cold by the body when sitting or laying on cold ground, or handling cold objects such as metal cooking utensils and metal canteens. This is why a decent sleeping pad is required for cold weather camping. The same goes for wearing gloves. A camp stool is a must on a winter camping trip. Try not to sit on the ground.

3. CONVECTION - The loss of body heat due to wind blowing across unprotected body parts. This situation can also be reduced by keeping bare skin covered with hats, scarves, and gloves. It is important to keep exposure to a minimum, ESPECIALLY in a windy situation. Convection heat loss can reduce body heat the fastest. Wet clothing will accelerate this process, making staying dry even more important Cold WX Medical watch outs. See page 321 in handbook.
HYPOTHERMIA - When your body temperature drops below normal because of exposure to cold.
Frostbite - When your body parts freeze.
Dehydration - When you do not have enough water in your body. It can happen in cold as well as hot days. On a cold day you may exercise & sweat and not notice it. You will dehydrate & that will make you weak to the other cold weather watch outs.
Tent Placement - Whenever possible, place your tent in a location that will catch the sunrise in the morning. This will aid in melting off any ice and evaporating any frost or dew that may have formed during the night. This will also warm your tent as you awaken in the morning. Cold air sinks. Try to place your campsite on slightly higher ground than the rest of your surroundings. Try to choose a protected site if it is snowing or the wind is blowing.
Water Consumption In Cold Weather - Dehydration can seriously impair the body's ability to produce heat. Drink fluids as often as possible during the day and keep a water bottle or canteen with you at night.
Cooking In Cold Weather - Cooking in cold weather will take about twice as long as normal. Always use a lid on any pots that you are cooking in. This will help to hold in the heat and decrease the overall heating time. Make sure you start hot cleaning water before you start cooking. The pots and utensils must still be cleaned. Try to keep your menu to good one-pot meals. Things like stews, chili, and hot beans stick to your ribs, lessen the cleaning time, and provide good sources of energy and fuel for your internal furnace. A good high-calorie snack before bedtime will also keep you warm all night. Stay away from an overabundance of sugar, cheese is a good high-calorie bedtime snack.


Keeping Warm
1.    REMEMBER: The sleeping bag doesn't heat you, you heat it. So use this rule, "Thickness is warmth", to keep this heat. If you're cold, add some more insulations (blankets, clothes, more newspaper).
        a.    Don't underestimate the insulating quality of a good ground pad. The flat closed cell foam pads are ok (open cell just act as sponges getting everything soaked), riderests are better, but thermarests are the best. You should have 3 times (in insulating value) under you that you have on top of you. Make sure you never come in direct contact with the icy floor. Stay on the pad.
        b.    Wear a ski hat to bed; REMEMBER 70% of body heat is lost through the top of your head. (Not the one you wore all day.)
2.    DO NOT SLEEP IN BOTTOM OF BAG: Your breath contains water. If you close your bag with your head inside, then this water sticks to the bag. Wear a hat to keep your head warm. The moisture of your breath will condense in the bag, and cause it to become wet and ineffective as an insulator.
3.    CHANGE CLOTHES: NEVER sleep in wet clothes. Even perspiration will chill you at night. Don't wear the same clothes to bed that you wore that day: too much perspiration in them. And don't wear jeans for any purpose. A sweat suit makes a good winter pajama set. Wear a hat to bed. If wool makes you itch, wear something else. Make sure you don't try to sleep dehydrated: you'll sleep colder.
4.    EAT A CANDY BAR: This increases your metabolism (moves your blood faster) and it helps keep you warm.
5.    GO TO THE BATHROOM BEFORE BED: This saves you a middle of the night trip in the cold.
6.    DO NOT DRY "WET" CLOTHES IN BAG: Moisture will travel from wet clothes to sleeping bag.
7.    PUT TOMORROW'S CLOTHES UNDER BAG: This heats up clothes for tomorrow's cold morning and also provides more insulation.
8.    FLUFF UP YOUR BAG: Always fluff up bag before using to create the thickness important in keeping warm.
9.    MOST IMPORTANT, KEEP IT DRY: Keep all your sleeping gear dry and follow these rules, and winter camp should prove to be a rewarding experience.

1.    Clothing does not make you warm; it is your body processes that keep you warm. Clothing merely provides the insulation to preserve your warmth.
2.    Layered thickness is warmth.
3.    Keep your torso warm so that it can send heat to the extremities.
4.    Avoid sweating by ventilation.
5.    Keep rain and wind out of your insulation.
6.    Use your head. Keep it covered when you're cold; remove cap as you warm up to avoid sweating.
7.    Strain one muscle against another to maintain metabolism.
8.    Wool clothing is best but needs wind protection. Synthetics are next best. Down is okay as long as it stays dry. Cotton is a poor choice.
9.    If your feet are cold, put a hat on.

True winter campers avoid those warming fires. All they do is make you sweat which later freezes. So how do you keep warm?

Keeping warm is the most important part of cold weather camping. Use the C-O-L-D method to assure staying warm.

C - Clean
Since insulation is only effective when heat is trapped by dead air spaces, keep your insulating layers clean and fluffy. Dirt, grime, and perspiration can mat down those air spaces and reduce the warmth of a garment.

O - Overheating
Avoid overheating by adjusting the layers of your clothing to meet the outside temperature and the exertions of your activities. Excessive sweating can dampen your garments and cause chilling later on.

L - Loose Layers
A steady flow of warm blood is essential to keep all parts of your body heated. Wear several loosely fitting layers of clothing and footgear that will allow maximum insulation without impeding your circulation.

D - Dry
Damp clothing and skin can cause your body to cool quickly, possibly leading to frostbite and hypothermia. Keep dry by avoiding cotton clothes that absorb moisture. Always brush away snow that is on your clothes before you enter a heated area. Keep the clothing around your neck loosened so that body heat and moisture can escape instead of soaking several layers of clothing.


In addition or in substitution to what you would normally bring to camp, bring:

Normal Campout:
Note: Put items you want to keep dry in a gallon zip-lock plastic bag.