- outdoor activities guide for hikers, campers, explorers


Planning Tools







Staying Warm or Cool

  1. Eat foods with lots of fat content, like a handful of nuts, just before going to bed to keep you warm during the night.
  2. Some say put on rain gear in bed if your are really cold. It will act as a vapor barrier. Others argue that it will also keep in moisture and your clothing will chill you in the morning as the moisture evaporates. If you do use a vapor barrier, it should be worn between a base and outer layer..
  3. Stop hiking before you are completely exhausted, especially when it is cold and wet.
  4. In your sleeping bag, put on a balaclava hat and/or pull the sleeping bag hood up and around your head.
  5. You will tend to hunker down into your bag when it is cold. Just don't bury your head in the bag as breathing into the bag will cause it to become wet and loose insulating qualities.
  6. If your back is hot and sweaty from your pack, but your front is cold from the wind, wear your jacket in reverse with the back unzipped. Put the jacket on before your pack and the pack will hold it in place.
  7. After a day of hiking in cold wet weather, set up camp and change into your dry clothing. Hang the wet clothing up to dry. In the morning put the dry clothing in your pack and change back into yesterday's clothes, even if they are still wet.
  8. Rather than take off clothing to keep cool in your sleeping bag, unzip the bag and use it like a quilt. If still warm slide it off part of your body.
  9. Air out your sleeping bag daily, especially if on a long hike. Your lunch break is a good time to do this. Drape it over rocks rather than vegetation for best results. Even wrapping it around you as you walk will help if you can't take the time to air it during a break.
  10. Carry wood, strike anywhere matches and some kindling, in waterproof containers in your pack for starting a fire in an emergency. I collect lint from our clothes drier, mixed with Vaseline, for this purpose.
  11. The first week of winter spray your feet three times with an aluminum chlorohydrate antiperspirant. After that, once a week. This will stop 50 to 75 percent of foot wetness which leads to foot coldness.
  12. In winter, rub your hands with Hand Sense. This cream was developed by the military to block bad things from penetrating the skin. It will keep your hands dry and consequently warm inside your mittens. Hand Sense: North American Safety Products. 800-589-6536
  13. Clothing should be your main protection from the sun. Suntan lotion can interfere with the body's ability to cool itself by blocking perspiration and its subsequent evaporation.
  14. In hot weather, walk in the morning and evening and take a long break in the middle of the day. Eat dinner during this break and lunch food in the evening.
  15. Soak your head, hat, shirt, or your towel placed under your hat, in lakes and streams to keep cool.
  16. In hot weather don't skimp on the salt.
  17. Ray Jardine uses an umbrella both for rain and sun. In the desert this is a must.

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