Firedoglake.com is working hard to help Occupy protesters across the country brace for a long winter of demonstrations ahead.
HOW TO DRESS
Protect against heat loss through your head by wearing a hat, balaclava, etc.
Don’t constrict blood flow by tying your boots too tight or wearing too much clothing. Be sure to carry plenty of dry socks, but do not wear too many pairs of socks at one time.
Carry extra gloves and socks to change into if your first pair gets wet. They can be dried out overnight in your sleeping bag.
An efficient way of dressing in a cold climate is to use layers: A base layer, worn closest to the body, which transports moisture away from the skin; a mid-layer that adds extra insulation; and a wind and water repellent shell that protects against external cooling and retains the warmth created between the inner layers.
WHAT TO EAT AND DRINK
Include plenty of carbohydrates in your diet to provide fuel and for simply keeping your body warm.
Drink plenty of water, even though you don’t think you are thirsty. Urine will be light colored or clear if you are properly hydrated.
Water mixed with something such as Gatorade, lemonade, etc will freeze at a lower temperature than plain water.
In below-freezing weather, turn your water bottles upside down so that the ice forms at the bottom of the bottle instead of in the opening.
Unless you have the right amount of insulation below you the ground will absorb most of the heat vented by your sleeping bag and you’ll feel cold at night.
Make sure your sleeping bag is the right size for you
Choose a protected campsite out of the wind, if possible. If you are sleeping in a lean-to you should consider hanging a tarp across the opening to help eliminate breezes.
If you put tomorrow’s clothes between your sleeping pad and your sleeping bag, your clothes will be warm when you go to put them on the next day. The additional layer between you and the ground will also help you keep warm.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE BED
Eat a hot, hearty meal for dinner. Your body will use this fuel to keep you warm throughout the night. Keep a snack available for the middle of the night.
Take a brief hike around camp, or do jumping jacks or pushups before getting into the sleeping bag to get your blood circulation going.
Go to the bathroom before bed and save yourself a middle of the night trip in the cold.
Keep sleeping bags close together to take advantage of your partner’s heat.
Change into clean, dry, loose fitting clothes prior to climbing into your sleeping bag. Don’t bring wet clothes or boots into your sleeping
Sleep with your face outside of your sleeping bag. Your breath can cause dampness to collect in the bag as you sleep.
If you have tried all these measures and are still very cold, don’t be afraid to wake someone!
HOW TO KEEP WARM DURING THE DAY
Activities should be limited to two hour shifts. Heat can be created the traditional picket line way with burn barrels (50 gallon barrels burning scraps of wood), or with portable propane heaters, which have the advantage of being smokeless and not disturbing the neighbors or inciting the authorities.
Use properly secured tarps to block the wind, and, if possible, rent small office trailers for use as both an office and to provide relief from the cold.
Adjust your layers of clothing by adding or removing to prevent heat buildup and sweating.
Instead of stopping for a long lunch, snack on food all during the day at short breaks to keep you from cooling down too much and having to adjust your layers of clothing too many times.
Carry a small, insulated, thermos-type bottle full of a hot drink or hot soup.
Cold fingers or toes indicate you should stop and address the cause of the problem if possible. Bootlaces tied too tight can restrict blood flow and make your feet and toes cold as well.
STAY SAFE — IDENTIFYING COLD INJURIES AND HYPOTHERMIA
If your feet or hands are cold, now is the time to do something about it.
The initial stage of frostbite is when your skin starts to feel numb due to the lack of blood flow. To test for actual freezing, dent the skin with your fingernail. If it remains dented, you have superficial freezing.
You can vigorously shake your hands or whirl wind your arms to restore blood flow. Although a bit harder, you can do the same with your feet and toes. Once the feeling returns, head for warmth as soon as possible.
Re-freezing after initial warming can cause permanent damage to blood vessels and nerves. If you attempt to dent the skin with your nail and you can’t, you now have a serious medical emergency.
The initial stages of hypothermia simply include constant and uncontrollable shivering. The person or child is still alert and coordinated but just can’t stop shivering on his or her own. Stage two hypothermics should be evacuated immediately.
The best treatment for cold injuries is to recognize the early warning signs and take action. It also wouldn’t hurt to watch the others around.