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yari
10-23-2010, 08:29
I was wondering if people have found that after doing a lot of hiking, they are more impervious to extremes of temperature. Maybe impervious is the wrong word, tolerant might be better.

I got a bunch of flak last night from friends that came to pick me up to go out. I haven't turned my heat on yet and it was 58 degrees in my apartment, 39 degrees and spitting snow outside. I had a window open and a fan blowing out because I was smoking inside.

Now, I am comfortable at 58 degrees with a fan on. They weren't in the apartment more than 15 min. max. It isn't like they were there for the weekend, and had to deal with it naked after showering, hell, they never even took off their coats. What is it with people that they have turned into such hot house flowers?

Is it that hiker's bodies actually become more acclimated to temperature extremes? Or do we get to a point we just deal and don't notice it anymore? Saturday morning musings........

4shot
10-23-2010, 08:49
I was wondering if people have found that after doing a lot of hiking, they are more impervious to extremes of temperature. Maybe impervious is the wrong word, tolerant might be better.

Is it that hiker's bodies actually become more acclimated to temperature extremes? Or do we get to a point we just deal and don't notice it anymore? Saturday morning musings........


on my hike I found I could tolerate cool/colder weather much better than before. I think some of it may have been learning "to deal" (sometimes didn't want to hassle with putting on and taking off layers for short intervals) and wondered if perhaps my metabolism hadn't increased as well(a guess on my part). Whatever the reason I was comfortable in t-shirt and shorts, even when not hiking, in weather I would not have been prior to my hike. I do think that learning how "to deal" (with weather, pain, fatigue, etc.) is the biggest thing to be gained from a long distance hike imo.

Pedaling Fool
10-23-2010, 09:20
Is it that hiker's bodies actually become more acclimated to temperature extremes? Or do we get to a point we just deal and don't notice it anymore? Saturday morning musings........
Yes the body can adjust to many "hardships" (not just WRT temps), provided the individual doesn't fight it.

An example of what I mean by "fight it":

I met another thru-hiker, somewhere in Virginia (so he already had about 6-700 miles down). This guy was complaining about how to get his pack weight down even further and was bitching because he was carrying ~30lbs:rolleyes:. Here I am twice this punks age and carrying twice his weight. The weight was a problem for me in the beginning, but after 600 miles your body adjusts. Unless of course you don't want it to adjust (by focusing on the hardship as an unsurmountable problem).

Another way I've "acclimated" to hiking are my ankles. I feel impervious to a threat of a twisted ankle. But I had to hike over 100 miles on a twisted ankle to get that way. I still occasionally roll my ankle, but it never results in an injury.

I've have also become impervious to false peaks:D Those things use to really piss me off:mad:

generoll
10-23-2010, 09:38
maybe they just didn't like the smoke and were looking for a graceful way to exit.

Slo-go'en
10-23-2010, 09:47
I belive the body becomes accusomed to the average temps you spend the most time living at. So, if your used to high 70's, low 60's is going to feel cold.

People who work outside all winter can likely keep thier living space temps a lot cooler then those who work in a well heated office all day.

Pedaling Fool
10-23-2010, 09:58
Is it that hiker's bodies actually become more acclimated to temperature extremes? Or do we get to a point we just deal and don't notice it anymore? Saturday morning musings........
How much a thru-hiker's body changes/adapts vs. just dealing with it (uncomfortable temps) I don't know, but you can change you physiology to be more tolerant of abnormal temps. In the same way your body changes to become more efficient at walking (with weight) day-after day... And in many other ways.

Most thru-hikers don't really work at it, when it gets cold they bundle up when it warms the take off and some adjust their hike to deal with the temps avoiding the problem, by hiking in less heat.

I'm sure cavemen could withstand greater temp extremes than most today, primarily because they had to. Modern Heat and A/C systems has just made us a bunch of wussies, but hasn't fundamentally change our physiology, not yet anyway.

garlic08
10-23-2010, 10:22
Vasodilation and vasoconstriction (the immediate physiological responses to heat and cold) work differently for different people, and differently for the same person depending on conditions at the time. I've heard medical people say that both of those responses can be "trained" with frequent exposure. Prior food, drink, fitness and general health, and pharmaceuticals (including nicotine) can really affect responses too.

Great comment above about false summits. I noticed that after my AT hike, small hills (less than 1000') don't even register on my radar any more. There were so many of them (MUDs and PUDs) on the AT, if you worried about climbing a little hill you wouldn't think about anything else, so I stopped thinking about the hills and it worked.

DapperD
10-23-2010, 10:45
I was wondering if people have found that after doing a lot of hiking, they are more impervious to extremes of temperature. Maybe impervious is the wrong word, tolerant might be better.

I got a bunch of flak last night from friends that came to pick me up to go out. I haven't turned my heat on yet and it was 58 degrees in my apartment, 39 degrees and spitting snow outside. I had a window open and a fan blowing out because I was smoking inside.

Now, I am comfortable at 58 degrees with a fan on. They weren't in the apartment more than 15 min. max. It isn't like they were there for the weekend, and had to deal with it naked after showering, hell, they never even took off their coats. What is it with people that they have turned into such hot house flowers?

Is it that hiker's bodies actually become more acclimated to temperature extremes? Or do we get to a point we just deal and don't notice it anymore? Saturday morning musings........Yes I agree with this. But not just hikers can handle colder temperatures better. People who have to work outside in the cold, spend large amounts of time in it, say do to their environment, etc...Something else I learned, people with a large amount of bodyfat on average appear to stay warmer easier in the cold than the people who have really gotten themselves in to good shape and have reduced their body fat percentage.

Rocket Jones
10-23-2010, 10:47
I was born and raised in California, but after spending five winters in North Dakota, I found that cold didn't bother me any more. Heck, after months of sub-zero wind chills, when the thermometer read above 32 you wouldn't think twice about running out to the car in your shorts because it felt downright tropical.

yari
10-23-2010, 13:56
maybe they just didn't like the smoke and were looking for a graceful way to exit.

This site really needs a Bronx cheer emoticon.

mateozzz
10-23-2010, 15:11
I grew up in New England and a 60 degree day was cause for joy. Now I live in S Texas and when it gets below 90 I feel chilly.

Kerosene
10-23-2010, 15:21
My personal thermostat definitely adjusts after only a few days on the trail. Consequently, I know that I can get by with 15-20 degrees less insulation than I need around town.

I went to elementary school in northern New England and I've always been more comfortable in cooler temperatures, even after living on the Jersey Shore and southern Michigan for years.

Dogwood
10-24-2010, 00:22
Is it that hiker's bodies actually become more acclimated to temperature extremes? Or do we get to a point we just deal and don't notice it anymore? Saturday morning musings........ - Yari

I think both situations occur. A physiological aspect is involved as well as a mental/emotional aspect.

I rarely meet a long distance hiker, who completes their intended hike, who is consistently bitching, depressed, and/or negative. These hikers soon remove themselves from the challenges of a hike. I suspect this process occurs in many areas of the lives of many of those who quit.

Odd Man Out
10-24-2010, 00:22
Yes, it is a scientifically proven fact that a 50 degree day in March is a lot warmer than a 50 degree day in October!

The Solemates
10-24-2010, 16:56
the body grows accustom to what it is used to. we dont typically turn on the heat until christmas or after, which for where we live means its 56 in our house. people who come over think we are crazy. on the flip side, we usually dont turn the air on in our house until May, which where we live means its 84 in the house. our bills are low though :)

we had family come pick us up after our thru-hike. we took a side trip to bar harbor on the way home. we were wearing shorts, sandles, and a light jacket. everyone else was bundled up like the arctic. it was 43 degrees. it was interesting just how acclimated we had become.

Erin
10-24-2010, 18:40
I am the same, cold house, open windows, low heat, but I chalk that up to age:sun

sbhikes
10-24-2010, 19:40
I live in Santa Barbara. It's not a particularly warm place, but it's never very cold, either. Usually when people move here from Michegan or somewhere cold, you can totally tell who they are. They are the ones in shorts and flip-flops in December. Give them a year or two and they become like the rest of us locals: down jackets, hats and ugg boots. Meanwhile, I had fun in Miami one winter poking fun at people wearing down jackets when it was actually pretty warm out to me.

Lone Wolf
10-24-2010, 20:07
i was a snowmaker at jay peak for 10 winters. i know cold. bein' cold on the AT ain't nothin'

10-K
10-24-2010, 20:20
Great comment above about false summits. I noticed that after my AT hike, small hills (less than 1000') don't even register on my radar any more. There were so many of them (MUDs and PUDs) on the AT, if you worried about climbing a little hill you wouldn't think about anything else, so I stopped thinking about the hills and it worked.

Same here! I was bad about letting the elevation profiles set my mood for the day.

Anymore I don't even care - I tell myself even Everest has a top.

johnnybgood
10-24-2010, 20:47
Most of hiker acclimation to cold or other external forces begins with your mental mindset . I personally feel better hiking in cold weather but know my attitude toward hot summertime hiking is piss poor. A thru would acclimate my physical & mental approach since I would be encountering hot weather for 3 months .

leaftye
10-25-2010, 00:44
I've read that blood vessels shift their proximity to the surface of your skin depending on the surroundings. So while part of the tolerance may be mental or eased by experience, part of it also seems to be physical.

DapperD
10-25-2010, 19:44
I've read that blood vessels shift their proximity to the surface of your skin depending on the surroundings. So while part of the tolerance may be mental or eased by experience, part of it also seems to be physical.Of course it is. That is why people in cold climates for the most part can tolerate it better than people arriving or transplanting there from warmer locales.

Prettywoman0172
10-25-2010, 20:35
Yes I agree with this. But not just hikers can handle colder temperatures better. People who have to work outside in the cold, spend large amounts of time in it, say do to their environment, etc...Something else I learned, people with a large amount of bodyfat on average appear to stay warmer easier in the cold than the people who have really gotten themselves in to good shape and have reduced their body fat percentage.

Ooooohhh, I agree with this. I could tolerate heat a lot better at over 300lbs than I can now at 130-140lbs. I had my body fat down to 17% (125lbs) and cold was a serious problem last year. I have more body fat this winter (got lazy and gained about 15lbs over the last year) but I am still freezing all the time.

I am also looking for ways to adapt to and tolerate the cold because I am still wanting to get outside and hike and I want to learn to snowshoe and cross country ski this year. Gaining back the 175lbs I lost is not an option :D

sbhikes
10-25-2010, 20:53
I can't tolerate heat when I'm heavier as well as I can when I'm lighter. When I'm lighter it's usually because I've been spending a lot of time outdoors in the heat sweating and exercising and I don't even notice the heat anymore. I'm pretty good at tolerating heat as a whole.

Prettywoman0172
10-25-2010, 21:37
I can't tolerate heat when I'm heavier as well as I can when I'm lighter. When I'm lighter it's usually because I've been spending a lot of time outdoors in the heat sweating and exercising and I don't even notice the heat anymore. I'm pretty good at tolerating heat as a whole.

Me too. As a lighter person heat doesnt bother me at all. I actually prefer running outside in summer heat to winter cold.

4eyedbuzzard
10-25-2010, 21:54
All other things being equal (height and frame), a heavier person has a lower skin surface area to mass ratio (surface area of skin is not directly proportional to mass - it increases only slightly) and more insulating subcutaneous fat. Heavy, rotund people don't lose heat as easily via any of the three ways of cooling - evaporative, convective, or radiative. Conversely, a thinner person has a higher ratio of surface area to mass and very little subcutaneous fat, so they lose heat more readily. Thus heavy people usually have more problems dealing with the heat, and thinner people more problems dealing with the cold. Of course, there are other compounding issues, such as obesity causing poor circulation to the extremities which can cause heavy people to have problems with cold as well.

Of further interest though, is that due to this, evolution favored genetic lines of tall, thin people in most hotter regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, and shorter, heavier people in the far Arctic regions.

leaftye
10-26-2010, 02:11
This is about acclimation though. I'd assume short term acclimation instead of the long term generational type like the Eskimo's since we can't do anything about the latter. This being a hiking website, a trim hiker is more likely to be in better shape than a morbidly obese hiker and have the higher metabolism to go with it. The physiological changes due to weather conditions and metabolism will allow that trim hiker to be warmer even when inactive. The fat hiker may also become acclimated to the weather, but a slow metabolism won't create enough heat without activity. This may be masked somewhat by the fat hiker generating a lot of heat by doing simple things like standing up that would barely increase the heart rate of the trim hiker. This can again work negatively against the fat hiker. Once the fat hiker heats up, the surface area ratio means sweating is more likely to be a problem. The trim hiker has a better surface area ratio that makes it easier to adjust the workload to find a happy medium between being cold and overheating.

I've experienced this from being very trim and in spectacular shape to being quite morbidly obese. A high metabolism and time spent outdoors allowed me to stay comfortable in the cold, but I've also been very fat and had a hard time staying warm in the cold. I tell ya, when I'm near 50% body fat I can't do much without sweating, and that means trouble when it's cold.

It's not so simple as only looking at body type, and I don't believe body type is the biggest variable unless all else is equal...of course then it'd be the only variable.

But we can also expand this beyond acclimation and body type. A thinner body requires smaller and lighter clothing. This means a fat hiker can actually be warmer by losing weight and using that weight savings to carry better insulation. That insulation improvement may not even weigh more because the extra area of clothing that isn't required anymore can be switched for thicker insulation. It's also more difficult to stay on a standard 20" wide pad when really fat. Being thin has so many advantages on the trail, many more than I'm willing to write at once.

4eyedbuzzard
10-26-2010, 07:35
Leaving out the evolutionary comment, my experience is
1) that heavy people can't get rid of heat well. They get overheated more quickly in hot weather than do thin people and take longer to cool down.
2) that thin people tend to have problems in the winter staying warm. They lose heat more rapidly and have less thermal mass to begin with.

Again, a lot of it goes back to a person's skin surface area vs mass, their absolute mass (thermal), and the thickness of insulating subcutaneous fat layer.

grayw0lf
10-27-2010, 13:36
Being originally from Minnesota & then moving to GA/AL, I can confidently say that you can definately acclimate. When I moved to Savannah, I thought I'd die in the heat while sweeping the driveway (big driveway).

Now I can barely imagine that I went to play hockey when we hit the record cold of -42F without windchill, nearly -150F w/ the horrendous windchill.

4eyedbuzzard
10-27-2010, 14:11
Being originally from Minnesota & then moving to GA/AL, I can confidently say that you can definately acclimate. When I moved to Savannah, I thought I'd die in the heat while sweeping the driveway (big driveway).

Now I can barely imagine that I went to play hockey when we hit the record cold of -42F without windchill, nearly -150F w/ the horrendous windchill.

WOW! Based on the wind chill formula of:
Wind Chill F = 35.74 + 0.6215T - 35.75V^0.16 + 0.4275TV^0.16

that would be a 905 mph wind. :eek: ;)

Pedaling Fool
10-27-2010, 14:55
Too bad JAK isn't around; he's somewhat of an expert on all things windchill:D

max patch
10-27-2010, 16:47
that would be a 905 mph wind. :eek: ;)

My handy dandy conversion sheet doesn't quite get to 905 mph but close enough for government work...once the wind gets up to 40 mph or so the effect on wind chill is minimal...i guess you can only get so cold.

max patch
10-27-2010, 16:52
My handy dandy conversion sheet doesn't quite get to 905 mph but close enough for government work...once the wind gets up to 40 mph or so the effect on wind chill is minimal...i guess you can only get so cold.

oops, i transposed a number on my handy dandy conversion sheet, 905 is spot on. hard to believe, isn't it.

yari
10-27-2010, 18:14
oops, i transposed a number on my handy dandy conversion sheet, 905 is spot on. hard to believe, isn't it.

Probably a good zero day. :D

My friends have decided I am officially a cold blooded animal. I didn't have the heart to tell them that means I would have to always have it warm, sunning on hot rocks like a snake.