Walk and Talk Episode 05: Three Aspects of Handling Cold Temperatures

Welcome to the Walk and Talk Podcast!

Once again, I’m always asking myself the question: “Did you write today? Did you do a podcast? Did you post a video?”

No, I have not, so I decided not to hesitate, and do a Podcast tonight.

Let’s get this started, it’s currently 0130. Listen to the new episode above or read the transcript below.


Walk and Talk Episode 5

My friends, let me tell you, a lot commotion at home base, these last few days, a lot of noise, a lot of gears moving

I am a huge believer in momentum.

And by momentum, I mean taking events, and rolling with them.

Big events = Big momentum.

Big momentum = Easy time to make Life Changes.

It finally seems I’ve been reading the correct books for the kinds of ideas I like think about.

One of them is “How to fail at almost everything and still win big” by Scott Adams.

I’m reading it on kindle cloud. I rarely buy paperback copies of books anymore, really for two reasons: One, they are a burden. A big library is something you can afford to have once you’ve settle in one location and I move around too much.

Two, is instant delivery. You click, and you read. Now, there are certain times I do get paperback. And that is so I can write notes and clip out pages. Very very specific, which books I do this for, and which I’ve probably already read on kindle.

Now, today’s topic will be about: How to effectively handle cold temperatures.

Specifically about being cold while walking/biking/camping.

It’s finally getting cold here and I’m exited.

I have winter gear that sits in store for 10 months out of the year, while it’s hot and humid. When cold temps finally roll around here, taking the gear out is like Christmas.

And another nice benefit, is not sweating after walking for ten minutes.

So, about cold. I wrote a bit about being in the cold in a few articles, mainly in the fire for camping one. First thing to understand is the human body is very efficient at thermoregulation. We are great at staying cool in heat and warm in cold.

It may not always feel comfortable, but we are great at staying alive.


Talking about cold, I see three parts to staying warm

1. Staying Dry. If you are wet, you will lose heat through evaporative cooling instantly. Add a slight breeze to that, and you’re in for some trouble. Staying dry is a must, to stay warm and to stay healthy.

Moist fabric can create blisters, and bacteria thrives on moisture. This is why all outdoor gurus preach wearing wool or capiline or synthetics, and staying away form cotton, Cotton Kills they say.

That may be a bit dramatic, however I know this from personal experience wearing thick cotton hoodies for years. Once the cotton gets soaked – good luck. Some kind of synthetic or wool may dry, but cotton is over with.

So Part #1: Stay Dry!

Rain gear is great, synthetic layers are great, there is a whole range of gear that exists for one purpose only – to keep you dry. And rain gear is usually very packable. I bring it on sunny clear days, that I wont even use it, but i know that it’s there, if clouds roll in.


2. Eating Enough Calories: Calories, by definition, are energy. 1 Calorie is the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 °C. And you can feel this in cold weather.

Man… The difference in trekking through cold on an empty stomach and after a big meal is ridiculous.

Everything feels twice as cold when you are hungry and running on a calorie deficit. Also affects your mood and you feel more negative and eventually downright angry. This is all biological, so you can hunt and kill animals when you’re hungry.

I have, many times, stopped somewhere for food in the middle of a long walk, ate something, and left in high spirits, warm as ever, even though it was only getting colder and later in the night.

Granola bars and dry snacks don’t really have this magic, but something like a ham or turkey sandwich and some tea will get you going. It’s an amazing feeling, being full and warm, while it’s brutally cold outside.

So Part #2 to dealing with the cold is: Eat enough food!

This is in part why swimmers can eat so much more, and burn off the calories. Their body has to heat itself in the cooler water.

Supplement companies push thermogenics, which are stimulant that heat you up and you burn calories. Forget those, just go expose yourself to cold.


Part Three is: Moving

The difference between moving about and sitting in cold is incredible.

Notice, how when you’re out camping, you get cold as soon as you get ready to sleep, and lay down for a bit.

Walking versus standing or sitting in cold is a game changer. I have purposefully and accidentally exposed myself to some very low temperatures here, and in Russia, and let me tell you, moving is important.

When I encountered cold while running long distance, it wasn’t a big deal. We would wear shorts, a long sleeve shirt, some light gloves and a hat, and be perfectly fine.

But that’s because the heart rate was high, and we were heating up due to exertion. Walking in those same temperatures would be a lot colder. It would be even colder still, to sleep in those temperatures.

When you sleep, the first thing that happens is you stop moving and cool down. The second thing that happens is you burn off your calories overnight and wake up even colder.

That’s why contrast showers in the mornings, first thing out of bed, are brutal. You haven’t had any time to warm up.

The first time people experience cold in the woods is overnight. They have plenty of clothing, they have some sort of sleep system usually a sleeping bag and pad, which are rated to a certain temperature.

Now, those rating are very liberal, and do not include wind chill, heat loss due to conduction, or loss of loft due to compression.

So, people stop moving, fall asleep, get very cold, and wake up shivering. For this, I recommend investing in a good sleeping bag or quilt.

Yes, I know. They are not cheap. It was a big buy once – cry once moment for me. If you want to got a cheaper route, you will carry more weight.

A thick wool blanket and a reflective survival blanket combined can make for some warm sleep.

Honestly, a bad experience with cold overnight is what keeps people out of the woods. They don’t sleep well, and hate life in the morning.

That and bugs. Bugs keep plenty people out too.


Alright my friends, lets wrap this up.

Three Key parts for dealing with cold temperatures efficiently:

  1. Stay Dry: Keep your feet dry, carry rain gear, and don’t wear cotton.
  2. Eat enough calories: Either make sure to eat enough during your trip or Load up with a huge meal beforehand.
  3. Keep moving. Understand when you stop, you will cool down considerably.

And bonus round, tip #4:

4. Never underestimate wind chill, loss of insulation due to compression, losing heat due to conduction and how cold it can truly get at night!

That is all for today’s segment, thanks for listening,

Until Next Time, and

All the Best.

-A


P.S. Hot off the press, The Walk and Think Army Urban Exploration Video: Pier + Passing Barge.