In times of crisis when you are unable to build a camp due to injury, fading daylight, dropping temperatures or chances of being noticed it is important to know how to stay warm and avoid freezing in the frigid temperatures of darkness without fire or little more than the clothes on your back. Night is falling, it’s starting to rain and the past few days have been abnormally chilly. What do you do?
You can become a victim to hypothermia in as high as 40 degree Fahrenheit with rain, snow or wind. Getting your clothes dampened reduces their insulating properties by as much as 80% leaving you practically naked. Don’t forget too much clothing and perspiration can dampen the cloths just like rain can. The most important step in staying warm is finding good shelter, free of rain, falling snow and wind.
It largely depends on your location, but caves, overhangs, pre existing shelters and trenches can all be used as primitive shelter if there is no time to build one. Once a shelter is found it is important to craft insulation by gathering a large amount of leaves, debris, dry dirt and anything else that can create a large bed and mound on top of the body. Secondly you can stuff your clothing with the same materials for the “Scarecrow method”. If you have an fat like substance on hand, say crisco or rend fat from a recent hunt, you can cover your skin with it to provide better insulation and protection from the cold.
Once shelter and insulation are found it is important to conserve and replenish as much energy as possible in order for your body to protect itself and stay warm to the best of its ability. With the little material and clothing you may have, it is of most importance to cover the head, hands and feet. The head has so much circulation and regulates the rest of the body, so keeping your head warm is very important.
It is important to not overheat yourself though, because sweating and moisture will cause a loss in the effectiveness of insulting properties. Also bundling yourself up may seem like a good idea, however keeping space between layers and wearing loose fitting clothes is a better option due to ability to dissipate excessive heat.
When your body gets abnormally cold, even with the insulation of heavy blankets and good clothing your body can go into survival mode and essentially trigger a fever, raising your internal body temperature. If you find yourself with cold sweats, numbness or excessive tiredness it may be too late.
If you are in an extreme survival situation stop and evaluate where you stand in order of supplies, energy, shelter and what not. It is important to rank your needs using the rule of 3 and work from the top of the list down, in the short time that you may have. If you are terribly famished it is important to eat, especially if a cold night is on its way. Your metabolism helps provide vital body heat. Remember that with morning comes the warmth of the sun so you just need to hold out. Tomorrow you can work to improve your circumstances and maybe begin to make fire from an alternative method.