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Lugnuts Dad

Cracker Barrel Alternatives?

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First aid for Hypothermia doesn't include solid food. Warm liquids - warm water, broth, herb teas, hot cocoa, black teas, coffee are fine, but not solid foods. When hypothermia threatens/starts, your body reacts by doing everything it can to protect the core of the body - the thorax and abdominal cavities. It starts to restrict blood flow to the extremities to keep as much heat in the core as possible - it even considers the brain to be secondary to protecting the core (which is why people who are hypothermic have trouble speaking, and have significantly reduced judgement - less blood flow to the brain).

 

Digestion works by forcing more blood flow to the stomach to get things going - and full blast digestion in the typical person runs for about an hour before tapering off. If you feed solid foods to a hypothermic person, the body will shunt a lot of energy and blood flow to the stomach to start digestion - energy it needs to keep the core warm. The body won't simply ignore the need to start digesting, it will recognize that digestion offers energy, and will try to use that as a possible fix. Unfortunately, it may take critical resources away from where it needs it at that moment, and that would be dangerous.

 

Warm liquids, however, aren't triggering that same digestive response, because they don't need to be digested. They are already in an immediately usable form - solid food isn't.

 

Relating back to eating and winter camping. A good analogy could be made with a campfire. We all know that the best cooking with a campfire is over a bed of nice, hot coals. The first 1/2 hour or so to get to that bed of coals we're burning wood, and the fire isn't as hot. If we aren't constantly stoking the fire with a piece of wood every now and then, and decide to start a fire on top of a bed of coals that is no longer cooking temperature hot by adding some more wood, it takes quite a bit of time for the wood to catch fire and start building up that bed of coals again.

 

So, consider that most units, at least in the northern states, that are camping in winter snows probably have dinner at about 5 pm (we tend to try to take advantage of as much natural light as possible when cooking outdoors, and once sun sets, without a watch its more difficult to determine time - we usually think its much later at night than it really is once winter dark hits). By bedtime, our internal fire is now a cooling off bed of coals - unless you've been grazing for the rest of the night (not a bad strategy sometimes). Put together a little snack and we're restoking that internal fire - expending a lot of energy to get that engine of digestion restarted. That energy has to come from somewhere, and its being taken from other parts of the body. Ideally, we want to have a nice "cooking bed of coals" going when we're heading to bed - that means we no longer want the engine to be starting and firing up - we want it to be running well - and that means, snacking no later than about an hour before bed time. Hot liquids right before bed will help that internal fire keep going for a time, but solid food will take the energy (heat) we need from elsewhere to start up that engine again.

 

In winter camping, we aren't climbing into a nice, warm bed (even at home, its not really warm and toasty - BUT its also not much colder than room temperature - and room temperature in a tent is pretty close to the temp outside). What warms the bed? We do - and we need to do so. Our body heat warms up our sleeping bags, clothes and blankets and that warmth gets trapped in our bags providing additional insulation. If our body is going to be diverting energy to start digestion, its not going to take it from the core - its going to take it from our extremities and surface mass - the heat and energy we need to warm our bags is being used instead to digest solid food. That may not be as critical when its 40 F at night but if its 10 F, it can be significant.

 

I've not seen much of either Survivorman or Man vs. Wild, but what I have seen is good for entertainment, and for general knowledge but there have been things I've seen that make me cringe. Sometimes because the strategy is just plain stupid (why, for example, if you're at a river - natures highway - would you start a cross country trek through a forest, perpendicular to the river, to try to get yourself unlost - the best strategy (other than staying put) is to follow the course of the river) and sometimes it may model something that might be ok in some situations and not in others - with no information about when it might not be such a great idea to try (eating snow in the Canyonlands during the day when it's in the 80's for hydration is fine - but eating snow in the winter is a recipe for bad news - best way to cool a body down internally? Eat ice cubes). Based on what I've seen, I wouldn't include these shows in a syllabus for wilderness survival, except for perhaps excerpts of what not to do.

 

Calico

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Some of the things we have done:

 

Pot of chili with fixins...sour cream, shredded cheddar, sliced jalapenos

 

Pot of chicken noodle soup made from scratch

 

Grilled brats and teriyaki chicken skewers

 

 

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Lugnuts,

Have each of the Scouts bring their favorite flavor of Jello mix and a two real Nalgene bottles. At cracker barrell, have the Scouts put the Jello mix in one bottle and add hot water. Have them drink it before it solidifies. It makes a nice fruit drink.

 

After they are finished with their nice hot fruit drink, fill one or both bottles with piping hot cocoa, tea, cider and the other with hot water, seal both tight, place in wool socks, and throw down in the sleeping bag. Instant incubtor.

 

The Jello drink will give their bodies the fuel to keep the fire cooking inside, for most of the night keeping them warm. HEY, we're at KLONDIKE. A nice hot Cracker Barrell is beneficial. A few years we dipped to -20.

 

Calico, digestion = energy = bodyheat from the working engine = warm sleeping bag. Right out of the Okpik Winter Survival book. The hot bottles in the bag will warm it up a little, ala incubator. Better then nothing. The socks keep the bottles warm long into the night, gives the Scout something to drink later in the night to warm him back up if he starts getting cold or thirsty. Plus your have one liter of unfrozen water per Scout come morning. No need for thawing frozen water when you want to eat and leave.

 

Good luck Lugs.

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Just remember, what goes it has to go out, so smaller boys drinking mass quantities of cocoa )or anything else) near bedtime will probably mean they will need to get up and find a tree sometime in the wee (no pun intended) hours of the morning, which will then make then even colder.

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I really hadn't meant to hijack the thread like this - honestly, I didn't.

 

I'm not disputing the Digestion = Energy = Body Heat formula - I'm pointing out a part that's not often thought about - Time Started. I guess I'm not explaining it well - perhaps a different analogy - this time, cooking.

 

We've all probably run into cooking directions that say something like "Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer". We know that bringing water to a boil takes a lot of initial energy. Once its at a boil, we can keep the water simmering for a long time with much less energy.

 

So it is with digestion. When we first eat solid food, our body brings the stomach up to a "boil" to get things started - and keeps it at the "roiling boil" level for quite a while. Eventually, digestion reaches the "simmer" stage - it takes less energy to keep digestion going at the "simmer" stage than at the "boiling" stage.

 

When winter camping, we want to hit the sack when digestion is at the "simmer" stage so we have use of the energy used in the initial stages of digestion to warm up our surroundings. We need to warm up our surroundings because eventually, at some point in the night, digestion will stop completely, no longer providing fuel for our body to keep us warm. Warmth trapped in the little tiny spaces of our sleeping bag fabrics help to prevent heat from escaping too rapidly - hopefully long enough to get us through the night and into the morning. If we're starting full boil digestion as we hit the sack, (and its getting that energy by releasing less blood flow and energy to our arms and legs) we'll have less energy (warmth) available to warm up the bed. If we're cold enough, our body will try to do both things at once - start digestion, and warm up our surroundings. It will do this by starting the shiver reaction - shivering creates a lot of heat and energy. But its a temporary gain, because shivering also USES a lot of heat and energy. If you're shivering in the morning when you first get up you have a chance to make the short term gains long term - by getting warm liquids in, by basking in the sun (if its up and proving to be warm). But shivering doesn't just stop because we've warmed up - it can also stop because we just don't have the energy left anymore to keep shivering. Every hypothermia victim has experienced shivering as a symptom that there is a problem starting.

 

Thus, we don't want to be eating major munchables (anything beyond a handful of trail mix) 5 minutes before we hit the sack - we should eat them at least an hour earlier.

 

Of course, this is my advice, based on the time I've spent winter camping, and teaching winter camping as an OKPIK instructor at a National High Adventure Base, and through classroom theory and experiential learning for my undergrad degree in Outdoor Recreation/Environmental Education. I know that I'm not the one that's going to be woken up at 2:30 in the morning by a Scout that is so cold that he feels like crawling into a campfire.

 

Calico

 

Ps. - when winter camping, I always suggest that Scouts bring to bed with them an empty, wide-mouthed nalgene type bottle (something with a very good screw on lid) to use "in case they need to find the nearest bush". Wrap it with a piece of colored tape to identify it by sight for its use. This way, you don't have to crawl out of the warm bag (which you'll have to rewarm again - and now you won't have the reserves you need) AND the bottle is now filled with a warm liquid - and we like warm, liquid filled bottles. It can be emptied and rinsed out in the morning.

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I'm not saying to go to bed with a full course meal on the stomach, but a light snack will give you the tools to make it through a cold night. Especially a protein snack (smoldering fire), not a high fructose one (flash fire). Hot Jello is great to bring back the dead. We used it at our last Okpik. Sugar and protein in a liquid form really fires up the furnace. Had a pre-hypodermic youth in the morning at Okpik, the hot Jello really turned the worm for him.

 

For a pee bottle, don't use a Nalgene! Use a disposable energy drink (aka Gatoraid) bottle. Real easy to figure out which is which in your dark cold quinzy/tent. Can be reused if you want, but you will never confuse it with your "drinking" bottle or your mates.

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Gern makes a very good suggestion.

 

Way back when we all carried metal Army canteens (this was during the pre-Nalgene epoch), I remember hearing a tinkling metallic sound coming from Phil's tent in the middle of the night. Next morning we saw him washing out his canteen in the creek. None of us ever shared a drink from him again.

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Yah, Calico, I've gotta agree with Gern and others, eh?

 

Digestion takes hours and hours. The difference of one hour just ain't real. And digestion will naturally be slowed by sleep in any event.

 

Folks who are cold should eat. And drink. If there's a real energy deficit (the person is already seriously hypothermic), they should start with simple sugars and work up, and be heavy on the fluids. Digestion does take a bit of energy to get goin'. But it yields more energy than it takes, eh? That's the whole point. Kids or adults just goin' to bed aren't hypothermic. They can afford the small initial expense in exchange for the energy gained throughout the night.

 

I'd never want to see anyone encouragin' a winter camper not to eat, no matter what time of day it was. Just the opposite - they need to eat more than usual, and drink a lot more than usual. Not necessarily a huge feast, but constant grazin'.

 

Besides, I suspect what you're feelin' is a fluids effect, not a digestion energy one. Digestion takes a lot of fluids, eh? Enough to turn all solid food into the equivalent of soup. If you're eatin' but not drinkin', that fluid comes from the blood & tissues, which reduces heat transfer to the extremities and makes yeh feel colder. As long as you drink enough, I think you'll find yeh can eat just fine without experiencing the effect you're talkin' about.

 

And pee bottles should be stored outside of the sleepin' bag, eh? :) The pee ain't warm, it's at body temperature by definition. Very little added energy keepin' it around, but it takes energy to keep a bunch of liquid like that warm. Puttin' it next to your skin can feel warm temporarily (it's a bit warmer than the bag to start), but that opens up surface blood vessels which cool the core.

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Oops... back to da non-hijacked part.

 

I suggest some fats to provide energy durin' the deep dark of the night, eh?

 

How about a hearty soup with cheesy garlic bread?

 

B

 

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My favorite cracker barrel is some sliced pepper jack cheese and Triscuits . Maybe some dry salami if I feel carnivorous. Gives you fat, protein, and complex carbs to balance the digestion. And the pepper jack gives just enough spice to make you feel warm inside.

 

As for burning body fuel cold camping, my son is type 1 diabetic. When we winter camp, his blood sugars go through the floor. We stop his insulin pump and jam lots of extra carbs down his pie hole to keep him alive. You'd be amazed at how your body adjusts to keeping warm by eating itself if you don't have enough food in your belly.

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In addition to my earlier post ... they way I see it you can do anything that is easy on prep and easy on cleanup... other wise what the point its another full blown meal ;)

 

Other ideas I got thinking about include: hot dogs, pizza, English muffin pizza, chex mix, fruit platter, vegetable plater (if your kids will eat such things), dutch oven french fries, and dutch oven indian bread (take the pre-made biscuit dough that comes in the tube and deep fry it) ... ok some are healthier then others .. but you just asked for ideas :p

 

just my wakcy 2 cents...

 

 

Scott Robertson

http://insanescouter.org

Helping leaders one resource at a time...

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ROFL - wonders how many here know what vegemite is considering I only sort of know myself ... lets feed it to Mikey and see if he will eat it ... Mikey likes it ;)

 

just my wakcy 2 cents...

 

Scott Robertson

http://insanescouter.org

Helping leaders one resource at a time...

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Our Troop enjoys a Fear Factor Feast. All items must be edible and the only other rule is once its opened it must be finished. We have had linburger cheese and onions, sardines, caviar, Brie and various fruits such as ugli and blood oranges.

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