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  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    On the Colorado Trail in summer, I got chilled in a thunderstorm and apparently borderline hypothermic (I didnít realize it but hikers I encountered asked me if I was Ok - I must have looked bad). I set up my tent, got into my sleeping bag and had a hot meal. And I was fine in an hour. I think the hot food probably helped physically, but it 100% helped mentally and emotionally. I felt better as I started eating.

    If stoveless, at least have the ability to make an emergency fire.
    You know how backpackers go on and on about heating up a hot water bottle and putting it in their bags on cold winter nights? Well, ingesting a pound or so of hot food does the same thing into the "bags" of our bodies.

    Eat a lb of hot oatmeal and feel the heat radiating into your body. There's a reason winter mountaineers are always brewing up hot drinks.

  2. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    To extend the glycogen discussion, as someone with hypothermia descends trough the finals stages of hypothermia, their gut shuts down, by this time the hiker is long past the point of being able to rescue themselves. The only way of getting glycogen into the body in the field is warm liquid loaded with glycogen. S&R folks in the whites carry hot jello and if the hiker able to swallow they pour it into them. The gut lining can absorb it with the gut shutdown.

    The one time I and a friend had mild hypothermia we self rescued by getting in our sleeping bags and heating up every bit of food in our packs. I expect we would have been in far worse shape without a source of heat. I also got borderline mild hypothermia on day on the AT hiking in the pouring rain for 4 hours in 50 degree weather. We were shivering and luckily came upon a shelter and got a pot of soup going (I used to carry a Lipton Noddle Soup mix pack for emergencies). 20 minutes and we were good to go.
    I have had hypothermia a few times. What I learned is to respect the early warning signs. If you stop shivering, you have let it get away and is it even possible to rewarm oneself? Could you light a stove and warm the water while in the sleeping bag? Shivering is the only way I would recognize early symptoms hiking whereas on a bicycle, it is easy to detect earlier by interpreting power output vs heart rate. As you start to get cold, heart rate and breathing increase quite a bit even though power might actually be lower. Shivering and lazy feet might be what to look for hiking. I haven't had it hiking but had hypothermia hunting once where the temperatures were just below zero and I was stationary all afternoon. I let it get a little too far in terms of being cold. I drank the hot, honeyed tea in my thermos and began stumbling out with a very, very heavy load. It was maybe a 90 minute hike out. Within about 40 minutes, I was down to my base layer climbing out of a steep river valley. Was it the hot tea? The honey? The extreme exertion? Luck? I studied enough physics decades ago that I should be able to calculate if the heat content of a pint of tea is sufficient to warm someone from mild hypothermia from say 92F to 96F, but is a calculation even needed? OTOH, if just a little cold and still shivering, the added sugars of the drink and being well dry and insulated and out of the elements would or should bring temperatures up. (I realize caffeine in the green tea might not be the smartest, but it was all I had). Having come full circle on my question. A stove in May would be merely false security for me. If I made such an error as to get so cold that I could not recover, a stove probably is not going to help. I would venture I could not heat and drink the 5-6 litres of warm liquid needed to heat me up, even if that volume were to be available and assuming I had sufficient fuel to heat it. Sugar and anaerobic movement on the other hand is extremely wasteful and inefficient and would heat me up much faster than trying to heat and drink the volume of warm fluid necessary to warm up.

    I appreciate all the thought provoking responses. This has helped me think it thru. It was probably fear that had me wanting to bring the stove. I won't need it.

  3. #43

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    Having "Uncontrollable Shivering" you will not be able to function very well at all. You would probably not be able to setup your tent and get into your sleeping bag.

  4. #44

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    Clearly your question is pretty much a metabolism one. One aspect people have been getting at is the energy your body “uses up” warming up cold food. That seems valid. I’ve not used it, but perhaps the crotch pot might be useful in this regard. https://www.gossamergear.com/product...nt=30497157388

  5. #45

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    Hypothetically speaking,if one were drenched under their rain/wind shell but kept on moving and kept on eating could they keep on going with sleep deprivation and exhaustion being the only limiting factors?This would assume of course that the temps are not that severe....wondering what those temps might be?

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    ... I studied enough physics decades ago that I should be able to calculate if the heat content of a pint of tea is sufficient to warm someone from mild hypothermia from say 92F to 96F...
    I think you conclusions are pretty much spot on, but as this is what I do for a living (teach chemistry and biochemistry), I can't let this calculation go undone. It's at best an approximation. For ease of calculation, we are heating a 90 kg body from 34 C by then drinking 1 liter (ie 1 kg) of water at 60 C. I know the bp of water is 100 C, but by the time you get the het tea to you lips it will have cooled considerably and 60 C is the threshold if pain, so you would find this to be quite hot. I also assume the body's heat capacity is the same as water, as we are mostly water. I don't have a better approximation for this number. This gives a delta T of the body of 0.6 C or about 1 deg F. One could argue the effectve benefit could be a little greater as the heat will be mostly raising the core temp rather than the extremities, which is probably a good thing.

    But I agree that burning food internally is ultimately going to be more effective if you can manage. The heat delivered by the hot beverage is only about 25 kcal which is 25 dietary Calories. Also, it is the aerobic catabolism that will generate the heat. Anaerobic catabolism will only keep you going for seconds. Short term anaerobic exercise will be followed by long term aerobic recovery which is where the Calories will be burned and heat released.

    The sticking point is that exertion may be a net loss if you are out in 34F rain and wind and your weather protection has failed.

  7. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Five Tango View Post
    Hypothetically speaking,if one were drenched under their rain/wind shell but kept on moving and kept on eating could they keep on going with sleep deprivation and exhaustion being the only limiting factors?This would assume of course that the temps are not that severe....wondering what those temps might be?
    The problem is that you really cant digest food on the run, about all you can do is absorb simple sugars and then you need to balance out the equation of fuel in versus energy out. Cold and damp just is another thumb on the scales. There are some pretty incredible running "machines" out there that can extend the math but at some point hypothermia is gnawing away at upper brain function to the point where the runner is on autopilot. They done even know how screwed they are. This article is about a very well trained athlete in the whites that ended up being beaten by the math https://sectionhiker.com/death-in-th...sova-incident/. There is also a book with a lot more details https://www.amazon.com/Where-Youll-F.../dp/0996218157. She had high altitude training and experience. Her body was found with food and water in her pack.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    I think my stove is about 3 oz and a 110g cannister is 7 oz and my pot is 3 oz. So, it is 13 oz. It is also space. Logically, it makes sense to leave it home. My gut says bring it and then ship it home. Part of this issue is that I have a bad back and that is why I don't want to take extra weight if it is not needed. I don't expect my pack to ever weigh more than 15 pounds even with a long carry, so, 13 oz is relatively a lot if not used. Thanks for the comments and advice so far.
    Lots of calculations and plans and such, which are really cool to play with, as are average mileage/pace plans, trail budgets, etc. But like Mike Tyson said, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." This isn't meant as an insult. Plans change, and the more optimistic they are, the more they tend to change. I think one can certainly thru-hike without a stove - just not something that I would enjoy. I'm more skeptical about the calculations/plan that come to the conclusion of only having to carry 15lbs maximum INCLUDING 4-5 days of "no cook" food.
    I was self employed once, but it proved too stressful. My boss was a jerk and my employee was a slacker - I didn't know whether to quit or fire myself.

  9. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    The problem is that you really cant digest food on the run, about all you can do is absorb simple sugars and then you need to balance out the equation of fuel in versus energy out. Cold and damp just is another thumb on the scales. There are some pretty incredible running "machines" out there that can extend the math but at some point hypothermia is gnawing away at upper brain function to the point where the runner is on autopilot. They done even know how screwed they are. This article is about a very well trained athlete in the whites that ended up being beaten by the math https://sectionhiker.com/death-in-th...sova-incident/. There is also a book with a lot more details https://www.amazon.com/Where-Youll-F.../dp/0996218157. She had high altitude training and experience. Her body was found with food and water in her pack.
    The situation with the decreased isn't even remotely comparable to May in the Smokies carrying a tent, a high quality sleeping bag, mat, a down anorak with hood, goretex rain gear, and other cold gear (wool). She did not even have a bivvy or sleeping bag and the temperature was well below zero with wind chills at -94F if I recall the article correctly. The all time record low in May is 17F in the area of AT in the Smokies with the average low of 43F.

    I am not sure why you say you cannot digest food on the run or maybe I misunderstand what you mean. Hikers are walking and maybe burning 3-500 kcal/hr depending on pace, terrain, and weight. There is clearly a limit to how many calories one can digest in a day or in an hour. Some can process 200 kcal/hour in moderate exertion and some can process 350-400 kcal/hr but that is the upper limit. It is actually possible not to deplete glycogen if one paces properly and eats constantly thru the day. Some of that depends how much fat one burns at moderate exercise levels. At least this explains my comment about having the reserves to actually shiver. If one is "bonked" or very low, their blood glucose can drop quickly adding to mental confusion.

    What is the limit of endurance or as Five Tango asked, can one just keep pushing on. Good question. I dunno. I would hunker down myself. I can say for myself, I have done a 54 hour push with nearly a 16 hour period of time with no food over a distance total of 1230 km and no sleep. Evening temperatures were 38-40F and I was wet. This was on a bicycle where speeds make wind chill more serious. I know that does not answer Five Tango's question....I do not know the answer. I would never intentionally take such a risk in a back country environment

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    Lots of calculations and plans and such, which are really cool to play with, as are average mileage/pace plans, trail budgets, etc. But like Mike Tyson said, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." This isn't meant as an insult. Plans change, and the more optimistic they are, the more they tend to change. I think one can certainly thru-hike without a stove - just not something that I would enjoy. I'm more skeptical about the calculations/plan that come to the conclusion of only having to carry 15lbs maximum INCLUDING 4-5 days of "no cook" food.
    I am not sure why you are skeptical. Your punch comment in the face is kind of an insult.

    I know how many calories I need. 7.5# base, 5 days with 5-6# food, and no more than a liter of water carried in the GSMNP and often less. I would normally drink a lot before breaking camp, drinking a lot a water sources, and carry 0.5 L often depending on the next source. If I am off, it isn't by 5 pounds. Maybe half a pound. As mentioned, I could leave the trail and resupply in GSMNP but that is not my preference.

    Look at the number of calories in a #10 can of MH Beef Stew. 2000 kcal. Approx. 2.75L in volume. 16 oz. Around 125 cal/oz $50. Rice is like 100 calories per oz. Couscous is around 95 cal/oz. Many vegetarian dehydrated packages are under 100 cals/oz and cost a boatload. Parma de reggiano cheese is $15 a pound, 122 cal/oz and much smaller and much more enjoyable to eat. My normal trail mix that I love and eat all the time is 130 cal/oz. Powdered milk is around 150 cal/oz. There are a variety of energy dense powders that would be in my bottle during the day. Walnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts are around 170 cal/oz. Jerky is around 120. Ghee is 200 cal/oz. Olive oil and other oils are 250/oz, some are less. Dried sausages are 100-120cal/oz depending on the fat and water contents. Dried fruits aren't bad but a luxury, Almond butter on pita. Just a few examples showing much higher density than coucous, rice, pasta, Knoor sides, etc. Etc. 5 pounds of energy dense food is more than enough to fuel 4-5 days for me. There are so many opportunities to eat near or on the trail that certainly add tons of calories and variety.

  11. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    I think you conclusions are pretty much spot on, but as this is what I do for a living (teach chemistry and biochemistry), I can't let this calculation go undone. It's at best an approximation. For ease of calculation, we are heating a 90 kg body from 34 C by then drinking 1 liter (ie 1 kg) of water at 60 C. I know the bp of water is 100 C, but by the time you get the het tea to you lips it will have cooled considerably and 60 C is the threshold if pain, so you would find this to be quite hot. I also assume the body's heat capacity is the same as water, as we are mostly water. I don't have a better approximation for this number. This gives a delta T of the body of 0.6 C or about 1 deg F. One could argue the effectve benefit could be a little greater as the heat will be mostly raising the core temp rather than the extremities, which is probably a good thing.

    But I agree that burning food internally is ultimately going to be more effective if you can manage. The heat delivered by the hot beverage is only about 25 kcal which is 25 dietary Calories. Also, it is the aerobic catabolism that will generate the heat. Anaerobic catabolism will only keep you going for seconds. Short term anaerobic exercise will be followed by long term aerobic recovery which is where the Calories will be burned and heat released.

    The sticking point is that exertion may be a net loss if you are out in 34F rain and wind and your weather protection has failed.
    My back of the envelop assumed the specific heat of water and the human body were equal since we are mostly water. A quart weighs 2 pounds. I weigh 200 pounds. Water heated to 140F is a differential of around 50F over a cold body. A liter of warm beverage isn't going to do much and that is a lot to drink under any circumstance. I completely agree with assertion or exertion of your sticking point. You have to get out of the elements and into dry clothing and into the tent and sleeping bag, which I think is much more beneficial than warm drink. Sugars in any beverage is probably more valuable when cozied up in the sleeping bag (or quilt).

    What is interesting to me is that this discussion has allowed me to think rationally about whether I need a stove or not. It took my fear away.

  12. #52

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    I found some hikers who report only needing 15 oz of food on a LCHF ketogenic diet while backpacking for 12 days. They report 3000 oz calories per day. Just sharing to support my notion of 1-1.2# per day is way more than my daily caloric needs.


    https://www.reddit.com/r/Ultralight/..._lighter_load/

  13. #53

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    There's no fear associated with going out w/o a stove. I worry more about lightning strikes and falling dead trees on my tent.

    And I always carry ample nut butters on a long trip---like almond and cashew and peanut butter. Why not? It's heavy but high calorie.

    Here's a pic at the beginning of a 21 day winter trip with all my Nut Butters on display---(in yellow lids)

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    I found some hikers who report only needing 15 oz of food on a LCHF ketogenic diet while backpacking for 12 days. They report 3000 oz calories per day. Just sharing to support my notion of 1-1.2# per day is way more than my daily caloric needs.


    https://www.reddit.com/r/Ultralight/..._lighter_load/
    Just my opinion, but I think you are going to lose weight and be very hungry after the first couple of weeks on the trail if you only consume 3K Cal/day. You may not be hungry in the beginning stages of a thru-hike on that diet, but I think after a few weeks of running a caloric deficit you'll encounter a phenomena known as "hiker hunger", that occurs when hikers can't/won't carry enough food to meet the 5K to 6K Cal daily demand. Hence the popularity of hiker feeds, gorging on town meals, etc. It takes a lot of fuel to hike 15 miles and go up and down 3500ft in elevation on average every day.
    I was self employed once, but it proved too stressful. My boss was a jerk and my employee was a slacker - I didn't know whether to quit or fire myself.

  15. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    The problem is that you really cant digest food on the run, about all you can do is absorb simple sugars and then you need to balance out the equation of fuel in versus energy out. Cold and damp just is another thumb on the scales. There are some pretty incredible running "machines" out there that can extend the math but at some point hypothermia is gnawing away at upper brain function to the point where the runner is on autopilot. They done even know how screwed they are. This article is about a very well trained athlete in the whites that ended up being beaten by the math https://sectionhiker.com/death-in-th...sova-incident/. There is also a book with a lot more details https://www.amazon.com/Where-Youll-F.../dp/0996218157. She had high altitude training and experience. Her body was found with food and water in her pack.

    Thanks,I will check it out.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    I found some hikers who report only needing 15 oz of food on a LCHF ketogenic diet while backpacking for 12 days. They report 3000 oz calories per day. Just sharing to support my notion of 1-1.2# per day is way more than my daily caloric needs.
    The only thing that exceeds 200 cal/oz is oils such as olive oil, and just barely at 220. The next thing that comes close is alcohol at about 180 cal/oz. So to get your 3000 cal out of 15 oz you would basically need 7.5 oz olive oil combined (or washed down with) 7.5 oz Everclear.

    While I'm sure people are reporting those numbers the math does not appear to me to add up.

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    My back of the envelop assumed the specific heat of water and the human body were equal since we are mostly water. A quart weighs 2 pounds. I weigh 200 pounds. Water heated to 140F is a differential of around 50F over a cold body...
    Suggestion - Use the metric system. 1 kcal heats one L of water 1 deg C. Lots of multiplying and dividing by 1 !

  18. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by zelph View Post
    Having "Uncontrollable Shivering" you will not be able to function very well at all. You would probably not be able to setup your tent and get into your sleeping bag.
    I don't recommend being in that state but I was able to help my hiking partner put up shelter, managed to cook a horrible dehydrated meal, get out of wet clothes and into my bag. I could not have put up the tent myself. It was not my tent and the poles were confusing even in summer. It's a bit like being really drunk.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
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  19. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    Can somebody with hiking wisdom help me make a good choice? I am very green so to speak. Am I stupid not to carry a stove at that time of year? Please be honest with me. I am not sure if my thought process is correct. Thank you.
    In a true emergency, I cannot think of a reason to not just build a fire to warm up. As far as hot food? Try it at home for 2 weeks, eat no stove meals 24/7 and see how you like it. I have done many 3 day weekends with no stove and had no problem.

  20. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big_Old_Dog View Post
    Can somebody with hiking wisdom help me make a good choice? I am very green so to speak. Am I stupid not to carry a stove at that time of year? Please be honest with me. I am not sure if my thought process is correct. Thank you.
    In a true emergency, I cannot think of a reason to not just build a fire to warm up. As far as hot food? Try it at home for 2 weeks, eat no stove meals 24/7 and see how you like it. I have done many 3 day weekends with no stove and had no problem.

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