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Surviving in the Heat

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
After reading the Hot, Get a Hat thread I decided to post a bit of information on how to survive a heat wave or just heat one is unaccustomed to. I have lived in the desert for 55+yrs, where summer temps reach 115F on a normal summer day. Last year we had a person die almost every weekend from hiking in the heat.

Take extra water, at least twice the amount you think you need.
If you are walking in the sun:
wear a hat, use some of the water to keep the hat wet. Use anything to wear around your neck, keep this wet also. Cut the sleeves off of a shirt, one sleeve around your neck, one cut in half to use as hand coverings.
wear long sleeve shirt to keep the sun off, long pants as well.
cut seams in the under arm area of the shirt you are wearing to increase heat venting. Walk with elbows pointed out to get more evaporation from under arm areas.
stop more often and cool completely down, cooling down completely is key. The wait about 10 minutes more.
eat small amounts of food, anything with salt, and or sugar is best.

If you become ill, stop sweating or can not continue:
use your sleeping bag and hiking poles to make a shade. If no poles, use your head as the center pole. Face a breeze if any and you can remain in the shade.
drink half your water, pour a quarter over you, wait 20 minutes and drink the rest of the water if needed.
take off shoes and socks
put a wet cloth on your neck, inside your elbow area, behind knees.
keep small packets of sugar and salt with you. Eat just a touch of the salt and half the sugar.
eat a small bit of food
do not urinate, even if you think you need to. Your body will reabsorb the fluids.

Please be careful. Too many here die in the heat as they are not used to it or do not understand how dangerous it can be. If you stop sweating, become dizzy or are unable to think clearly - these are very bad signs.
 

Glenn Rowe

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
@jo webber,

Excellent post!

Let me add a few things to it. First, begin your day as early as possible, hopefully before the sun is fully over the horizon. Second, as the heat increases, your pace should decrease so as to slow the accumulation of internally-generated heat. Third, the hottest part of the day generally occurs from 2 pm-4 pm (approximately) and wildlife is the least active during that time. Follow their example; find a cool shady spot and wait it out. You see, the Siesta wasn't just a clever social experiment!:D
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
On the Camino Frances there are only a couple of sections where fountains or other water sources are scarce. The same goes for long stretches between towns where you can take a break, hydrate or eat. Even if you forget to bring a good sun hat, or lose the one you brought, it's easy to replace it. Same goes with clothing. If the shirts you brought suck as far as wearing in the heat and sun, you can get some more suitable in one of the towns/cities with shops.
You have to work hard to be a heat casualty, yet it happens. Never underestimate the need to hydrate.
 

AlanB

Active Member
I agree with the above.I walked the VDLP in July and had a few scary moments. Never speed up near the end. Sometimes the anticipation makes you speed up at 2.30pm-ish. Don't .Just about did me in. Make yourself drink water. Force yourself if need be. And really, if it is too hot, then set off in the dark. Not very pleasant but sometimes you don't want to be walking past 1pm.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Perhaps this thread should be moved to another sub-forun than the Frances as h2O is not much of an issue there but a great one on other routes, like Via de la Plata. A lot of good tips I would not want to see lost on a Frances sub-Forum.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
Thanks @jo webber that's really great info. I was walking in 40 degrees last July for 2 days on the Primitivo during the heat wave (declared a civil emergency across Spain). That level of heat is deceptive: I did not realise at first how hot it was, because the body can't really sense the crucial difference between about 36 and 39 degrees. You are unaware if you are sweating much or not because it evaporates so quickly. I just thought 'why do I suddenly need to lie on the ground?'. So I did. I felt like an idiot, but I had to do it, I lay under a tree, right by the path. I carried on and had to lie down several times more, thinking I was losing the plot. Only later I got to Lugo, spoke to people and realised how hot it had been.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Thanks @jo webber that's really great info. I was walking in 40 degrees last July for 2 days on the Primitivo during the heat wave (declared a civil emergency across Spain). That level of heat is deceptive: I did not realise at first how hot it was, because the body can't really sense the crucial difference between about 36 and 39 degrees. You are unaware if you are sweating much or not because it evaporates so quickly. I just thought 'why do I suddenly need to lie on the ground?'. So I did. I felt like an idiot, but I had to do it, I lay under a tree, right by the path. I carried on and had to lie down several times more, thinking I was losing the plot. Only later I got to Lugo, spoke to people and realised how hot it had been.
That was a bad heat wave. When I walked between Roncevalles and Zubiri last July it was way hotter than I expected. Even though I must have drank 3-liters of water, by the time I got to Zubiri I was very dehydrated. The worst I had ever been on the Camino. I underestimated the heat and I'm always preaching not to. After I checked in at the albergue, I went in the kitchen there and stood by the sink drinking glass after glass of water until I finally felt better. I probably drank another two liters.
 

Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
As the old adage goes...."Drink before you are thirsty and eat before you are hungry"....
 

HilaryF

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy route Aug/Sep ( 2016)
Camino Frances Sept (2017)
Just a small point, I am absolutely sure it is physiologically impossible to reabsorb fluid from your bladder. And it is very uncomfortable to walk with a full bladder. The rest of the information is excellent.
 

Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
Just a small point, I am absolutely sure it is physiologically impossible to reabsorb fluid from your bladder. And it is very uncomfortable to walk with a full bladder. The rest of the information is excellent.
Thank goodness for large bushes along the way...
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
I know most would scoff at having to wear long sleeves and long pants, I knew that covering up and minimally exposing skin prevents the sun from sucking the life out of you, I could tell those who wore tank tops and shorts were more exhausted at the end of the day.
 

willydp

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Inglés June 2019
To do: C Primitivo June 202x :(
Here comes a hydration bladder in your backpack very handy.
I skip to drink sometimes when I use water bottles (pushing forward) and even when you know you have to drink when not thirsty, so one time during a hot walking I got dizzy.
Took me half an hour to recover. Drank a lot (Sugared and normal water) and ate a bit in the shade of a big tree.
It is a terrible feeling.
I'm much older now and know to control the walk.
No hurry, resting times to eat and drink...
 

Mikel Olivares

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18. Camino Francés.
2016, Camino Portugués from Oporto
2017, San Salvador.
Hi. The best way to walk on hot days is to walk in the shade.
A large umbrella allows us to walk with most of the body in the shade.

PD. in Spanish we have two ways of saying umbrella.
Paraguas (Stop water), for rain.
Sombrilla (Smal shade) for the sun.
 

Mick McQueen

https://www.facebook.com/groups/
Camino(s) past & future
I am escorting the Roll of Honour (Afghanistan) on Camino France on 20 May from SJPDP
The Roll of Honour details the 41 young Australians who died on Active Service in Afghanistan. In the centenary of the ANZAC’s, the Roll of Honour will be escorted to 41 prominent places and events around the World, laying 41 Poppies at each location.
I have treated a few heat stroke victims and have not lost one, great post JW and the reason he mentions wetting the back of the neck is because the body thermostat is located there, keep it cool and similar the same reason for wearing a beanie or hat when its cold it prevents the body heat from leaving the body as quickly. Rule 1 drink lots of fluid and rule 2 drink lots of fluid(make sure you always have a couple of satchels of electrolyte powder in your pack.
 

willydp

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Inglés June 2019
To do: C Primitivo June 202x :(
Electrolytes O.R.S (Oral Rehydration Solution) are not only used when sweating, for all kinds of loosing liquid quickly, e.g. diarrhea, vomiting, hangover,...
They are better then those Sportdrinks.
You can drink a lot of water before you go.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Perhaps this thread should be moved to another sub-forun than the Frances as h2O is not much of an issue there but a great one on other routes, like Via de la Plata. A lot of good tips I would not want to see lost on a Frances sub-Forum.

I agree that the Frances has the Meseta as a very hot and dry stretch (also, my favorite bit of the CF). However, I have had greater hydration problems on the Portuguese Route from Porto. The problem there was not the hot and dry conditions. It was the very pleasant 25 - 27 degree sunny days, with no clouds or only a very slight breeze. In short, perfect drying conditions for anything organic...like ME.

Combine that with beautiful scenery and lots of interesting things to see and you quickly lose track of hydration as an issue. THAT is when heat stroke or sun stroke sneak up on you. You do NOT feel thirsty, then you faint.

I learned my lesson here in 2015. This year, I start from Lisbon on 27 April. However, THIS TIME, I am better prepared and forewarned.

I hope this helps.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Just a small point, I am absolutely sure it is physiologically impossible to reabsorb fluid from your bladder. And it is very uncomfortable to walk with a full bladder. The rest of the information is excellent.
I suspect there are some pilgrims who abstain from drinking enough water because they don't want to pee in the great outdoors. They would would rather risk dehydration.
 

JulieLC

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (June/July 2017)
Le Puy (June 2018)
I hope this isn't a silly question, but when pilgrims says it's "hot," how hot are they talking in degrees? I'm guessing hot is relative, depending upon what you might be acclimated to already? What is typical for the Camino Frances in June/July? (Understanding that "typical" is never a guarantee!) I live in Florida, so I'm trying to get a feel for what it might be compared to what I'm used to. The heat doesn't usually bother me as much as it might for someone who is used to a cooler climate, as long as I make sure to hydrate.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
I hope this isn't a silly question, but when pilgrims says it's "hot," how hot are they talking in degrees? I'm guessing hot is relative, depending upon what you might be acclimated to already? What is typical for the Camino Frances in June/July? (Understanding that "typical" is never a guarantee!) I live in Florida, so I'm trying to get a feel for what it might be compared to what I'm used to. The heat doesn't usually bother me as much as it might for someone who is used to a cooler climate, as long as I make sure to hydrate.
I consider about 30 deg as hot. Above 35 deg is very hot :D It is all rather subjective.
I only encountered very hot temperatures on the Camino francés in July/August 2012. 2013 was much cooler and last Summer was just hot at times, cool at others.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
I suspect there are some pilgrims who abstain from drinking enough water because they don't want to pee in the great outdoors. They would would rather risk dehydration.
I walked with such a peregrina on my first camino! Nightmare. And she wore no hat until I found her one....
 

JulieLC

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (June/July 2017)
Le Puy (June 2018)
I consider about 30 deg as hot. Above 35 deg is very hot :D It is all rather subjective.
I only encountered very hot temperatures on the Camino francés in July/August 2012. 2013 was much cooler and last Summer was just hot at times, cool at others.

Thank you domigee, this is helpful.
 

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
but when pilgrims says it's "hot," how hot are they talking in degrees? I'm guessing hot is relative
This morning I walked with a starting temp of 58F (5:45am), ended my walk at 80F (8:45am). Took about a 30 minute stop for a small breakfast. It felt hot by the time I got home. I get much warmer carrying my 13lb pack. It's just more work to get yourself from point A to point B.

When I started I wore 2 shirts and warm socks. LOL

Humid heat feels hotter. Dry heat feels cooler, but will dehydrate you much faster as sweat dries before it drips and you don't notice the fluid loss.
 

JulieLC

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (June/July 2017)
Le Puy (June 2018)
This morning I walked with a starting temp of 58F (5:45am), ended my walk at 80F (8:45am). Took about a 30 minute stop for a small breakfast. It felt hot by the time I got home. I get much warmer carrying my 13lb pack. It's just more work to get yourself from point A to point B.

When I started I wore 2 shirts and warm socks. LOL

Humid heat feels hotter. Dry heat feels cooler, but will dehydrate you much faster as sweat dries before it drips and you don't notice the fluid loss.


We walk to breakfast often where we live, and yes, that walk back home always feels much hotter! Not only because the temperature has risen, but also because we're walking with a full belly.
 

Glenn Rowe

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
I live in Florida, so I'm trying to get a feel for what it might be compared to what I'm used to. The heat doesn't usually bother me as much as it might for someone who is used to a cooler climate, as long as I make sure to hydrate.

In Florida you are also contending with higher humidity, which makes it much easier to be aware of the heat. I grew up along the central Gulf Coast, so I know...! On one backpacking trip in southern Mississippi I went through my entire one-gallon supply of water in about 3 hours, and needed still more. Thank goodness for the abundance of small streams and my water-filtration unit.

I have also hiked in low-humidity heat such as is common in the American Southwest. It doesn't FEEL hot because your perspiration is almost instantly evaporating, but it IS, and you can become seriously dehydrated before you realize that anything is wrong.

I have not yet walked the Camino - any Camino - but the common descriptions of said heat, and its impact on their bodies, strongly suggest a lower humidity than that to which you may be accustomed.
 

JulieLC

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (June/July 2017)
Le Puy (June 2018)
In Florida you are also contending with higher humidity, which makes it much easier to be aware of the heat. I grew up along the central Gulf Coast, so I know...! On one backpacking trip in southern Mississippi I went through my entire one-gallon supply of water in about 3 hours, and needed still more. Thank goodness for the abundance of small streams and my water-filtration unit.

I have also hiked in low-humidity heat such as is common in the American Southwest. It doesn't FEEL hot because your perspiration is almost instantly evaporating, but it IS, and you can become seriously dehydrated before you realize that anything is wrong.

I have not yet walked the Camino - any Camino - but the common descriptions of said heat, and its impact on their bodies, strongly suggest a lower humidity than that to which you may be accustomed.

Yes, I've hiked out west, and it's a whole different kind of "hot" for sure! Thank you, a good reminder!
 

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