Surviving the Heat
By Adelia Ladson
Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
Heat exhaustion occurs when a person becomes dehydrated, and salt depleted. Signs of heat exhaustion include excessive sweating, nausea, cool clammy skin, muscle cramps, rapid weak pulse and faintness. It can be treated with plenty of cool water, rest and shelter from the sun. Water should be consumed and applied to the skin, using wet cloth or bandannas, to cool the body down.
Heat stroke occurs when a person is exposed to sun so much that the body becomes dangerously over-heated. Immediate action to cool the individual down must be taken or death is imminent. Signs of heat stroke are a throbbing headache, rapid or strong pulse, nausea or vomiting and red, hot, dry skin. The individual will stop sweating altogether and may lose consciousness. Make sure the person is sheltered from the sun and apply water to the skin to cool the body down. If the person is conscious, give them water to drink but do not try to force water into someone who is unconscious.
HydrationThe most important consideration when you’re going out into the heat for long periods of time is that you have access to plenty of water. Whether you’re carrying it with you or are counting on sourcing it from your environment, you need hydration gear that will assist you.
If you like the look of classic, then the Desert Canteen is definitely a piece you should add to your camping or hiking gear. It has the traditional shape and look that hearkens back to the old days of camping but instead of metal, it’s made of high-impact plastic so it’s a lot lighter than its forebears. It will hold four quarts of water and the insulated blanket covering will keep your sip cool for quite a while. The adjustable shoulder strap lets you sling it over your arm and go.
If you need to keep your whole family hydrated when you’re camping or picnicking, then you need a heavy-duty container. The Swiss Military 20-Liter Water Bag is perfect way to quicky and easily transport water. It’s made of heavy-duty plastic material and features a twist spout for easy pouring when it’s hung upside down by the handle. It has a handle on each end, and it folds down for compact carry.
“Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.” Don’t ever get in that situation when you’re out in the wilderness. The Lifestraw Personal Water Filter will let you drink the entire creek worry-free. It’s so light and compact that you can carry it anywhere but don’t be fooled by its size. It will filter up to 1000 liters of water and removes almost 100% of waterborne bacteria and protozoa. I believe in “Be Prepared”, just like the Boy Scout motto says and this is an item that you absolutely have to have in your gear or even your car. You never know what’s gonna happen! Another personal filter that I like is the Trailblazer Pump Water Filter, which uses a hand-pump system to pump clean water into a container.
When you need to source water for the entire family, you definitely need the Three-Liter Gravity Water Filter Bag With Straw. It’s easy to use and has a three-stage filtration system, that will filter up to 5,000 liters (1,320 gallons). Just pour water in the top of the bag, hang it up and clean water comes out of the bottom, with gravity doing all the work. The straw filtration system consists of a hollow fiber membrane that removes 99.999999% of bacteria, protozoa and micro-plastics; a carbon fiber capsule improves taste while reducing lead, other heavy metals, chlorine and organic chemical matter; and PP cotton that reduces activated carbon powder leakage and ensures turbidity of water. By the way, the straw filter exceeds US EPA drinking water standards for bacteria and parasites, and it exceeds NSF 53 standard for reduction of lead and other heavy metals. Aside from using the filter straw and gravity bag together, you can also put the straw directly into the water source and drink through it or you can connect the filter straw to a beverage bottle with the included multipurpose adapter. It comes with a carabiner with a tree strap for hanging.
Another consideration when you’re going to be out in the sun and heat for long periods of time is that you have adequate shelter to provide shade. This can go far in preventing heat exhaustion and heat stroke, limiting your exposure to the sun. A shelter can be simply a camping tent or a large tarp that’s rigged between two trees with paracord. Of course, you can always erect one of the beach/event style tents. I just find that for all day outside sporting events or family picnics, a simple camping tent is easier to put up and take down and is just as effective. Especially, for younger children who may need a shaded place for a nap during the day.
My favorite tent by far is the Intense Wilderness Survival Gear Four-Person Teepee Tent because it stands 6’ tall with large nylon mesh windows and doors, allowing premium air circulation. The teepee tent is very spacious so that you have plenty of room for anything you want in the shade like coolers, snacks and electronics. The ultradurable, rip-resistant polyester shell features an advanced weather-resistant coating that wicks away moisture and guards against damaging UV radiation. It has a strong, steel center pole and steel anchoring stakes, making it a rock-solid portable shelter. The snag-free, continuous pole sleeves make setting it up quick and easy. When not in use, it rolls up tightly and packs away in a compact carry bag and it’s surprisingly lightweight.
If it’s just you spending a day out hiking or canoeing, the German Reproduction WWII M34 Shelter Half is one of the most versatile items you can add to your outdoor gear. It can be used as a survival shelter or worn as a rain poncho and, actually, four of them can be combined to make a full, four-person tent. It’s made of water-repellant, treated 100-percent cotton in a reversible, WWII-era Splinter Pattern Camouflage. The 6’x8’ shelter half has metal grommets in each corner and along the side, as well, as buttons for creating the rain poncho. Just make sure to drop some paracord in with it and you’re good to go!