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Carrying a Thermometer for Survival

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  • Carrying a Thermometer for Survival

    One item I always carry with me on survival challenges is a good quick read thermometer. However, I have never seen this recommended by another survivalist. Through my survival challenges, I have learned that you can become very disoriented and confused when your body temperature drops to low or spikes too high. This can make it tough to distinguish your symptoms and can make it harder to determine if you need to take action or not.

    When I completed my first winter challenge, my body temperature dropped to 96.6F. I knew that a body temperature of 95F meant hypothermia and likely the need for hospitalization. However, even at this higher temperature I was having a hard time. I was shivering uncontrollably. I had been walking back and forth in -1F temps with 20 mph winds to collect water and keep warm at the same time. Despite the path I had created in the snow with my footprints, I found myself getting turned around and forgetting what I was doing. Shortly after I tapped out and headed for warmth. It took me three days to get warm. I tried the challenge again the following weekend and completed it successfully.

    The same holds true for hyperthermia. You can see similar symptoms of confusion and disorientation when body temperatures get around 102F. When you are working hard building a shelter in the hot sun and are pushing to get done before dark, it can be hard to pull yourself into the shade to cool down and drink some water. You may think you are tough and you can keep going, but it your temperature gets too high you could be out of commission for good.

    I find having a thermometer puts my mind at ease that I can treat my body properly when I need to. If I get too cold I can build a fire or do some squats. If I get too hot I can cool off in the shade and put a cool cloth across my neck. There is sometimes a fine line in survival between being tough and being careless. I currently use a battery powered thermometer that reads in 8 seconds. However, I have a glass thermometer in my bob since it does not need any batteries. Also, I would not suggest a surface read thermometer for this purpose. The ones that go behind the ear or swipe your forehead will not read true in extreme conditions.