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Survival

Eating snow?

What does everyone think about eating snow in a cold-weather survival situation?

On the one hand, I've heard about people staying hydrated by eating snow. But I've also heard that eating snow can lower one's core body temperature and prompt hypothermia. So what's the verdict on this?

Snow: To eat or not to eat?

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from Colin MacKenzie wrote 2 years 17 weeks ago

Just spent three days stuck in the back country in Northern Arizona and ate LOTS of snow. Daytime temps were around 28 degrees. I was prepared for -40 temps so hypothermia was not an issue for me just fatigue after pushing my bike through the thick snow; overheating was a greater danger.

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from Taylor Pommier wrote 4 years 30 weeks ago

i would always try to melt the snow by either holdig it in my hand or over a fire. i wouldnt want to take the risk or getting hypothermia

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from Ohio Hunter wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

I have heard that if you are in or at the base of a mountain you should not eat the snow because of mountain run off, but at the end of a cold day a hot water always taste better.

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from Paul Moody wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Bo is correct. I think every military teaches its members this. I carry a few (4-5) small freezer lock size zip lock bags while winter hunting and if the need arises for a drink simply fill one with snow and stick it in an inside pocket. It wont take long to melt and at the same time is reusable.

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from Yoda wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

Don't eat snow it lowers your body temperature. In survival situations it's always best to stay warm and dry. Warm liquids are the way to go.

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from Bo wrote 5 years 10 weeks ago

As a guy with 30 plus years in ER and did Search And Rescue back in the Army days as a medic. Don't eat snow. Melt it some way. It will lower your core temp very quickly, faster than your body can compensate, faster than a roaring fire can warm you up. Because it gets you cold from the inside out. You need to get calories in you to offset the energy your body uses to try to compensate. We have a word for people who eat snow in survival situations-"Popsicles"
I have taken care of many popsicles, you have to put a tube down into their stomach and flush them with warm saline and run warm IV fluids into them. I don't know what national statistics are, but in my experience the chance of survival for snow eaters is thin at best, most will die, because when hypothermia creeps up on them, if they realize they have a problem they are too impaired to take appropriate action

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from wandering owl wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

I would do all I could to warm the snow back into water. You'll just get colder and colder if you eat it straight up. Warm it slowly. I've heard that you could scorch snow. I guess if you have a roaring fire and are absolutely positive that staying warm will not be a problem, a little snow now and then would be alright if left to melt in your mouth and warmed a little.

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from Charles Bonsall wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

I remember being told years ago that your body required more water to provide the energy to melt snow than the melted snow provided. I assume that it depends upon the temperature and water content of the snow. I have melted snow over a fire for drinking water. I also have placed snow in a transparent container and left it in the sunlight to melt.

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from The Bowman wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

So long as it ain't yellow, my brother

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from Bo wrote 5 years 10 weeks ago

As a guy with 30 plus years in ER and did Search And Rescue back in the Army days as a medic. Don't eat snow. Melt it some way. It will lower your core temp very quickly, faster than your body can compensate, faster than a roaring fire can warm you up. Because it gets you cold from the inside out. You need to get calories in you to offset the energy your body uses to try to compensate. We have a word for people who eat snow in survival situations-"Popsicles"
I have taken care of many popsicles, you have to put a tube down into their stomach and flush them with warm saline and run warm IV fluids into them. I don't know what national statistics are, but in my experience the chance of survival for snow eaters is thin at best, most will die, because when hypothermia creeps up on them, if they realize they have a problem they are too impaired to take appropriate action

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from Charles Bonsall wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

I remember being told years ago that your body required more water to provide the energy to melt snow than the melted snow provided. I assume that it depends upon the temperature and water content of the snow. I have melted snow over a fire for drinking water. I also have placed snow in a transparent container and left it in the sunlight to melt.

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from The Bowman wrote 5 years 13 weeks ago

So long as it ain't yellow, my brother

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from wandering owl wrote 5 years 11 weeks ago

I would do all I could to warm the snow back into water. You'll just get colder and colder if you eat it straight up. Warm it slowly. I've heard that you could scorch snow. I guess if you have a roaring fire and are absolutely positive that staying warm will not be a problem, a little snow now and then would be alright if left to melt in your mouth and warmed a little.

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from Yoda wrote 5 years 6 weeks ago

Don't eat snow it lowers your body temperature. In survival situations it's always best to stay warm and dry. Warm liquids are the way to go.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Paul Moody wrote 4 years 47 weeks ago

Bo is correct. I think every military teaches its members this. I carry a few (4-5) small freezer lock size zip lock bags while winter hunting and if the need arises for a drink simply fill one with snow and stick it in an inside pocket. It wont take long to melt and at the same time is reusable.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ohio Hunter wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

I have heard that if you are in or at the base of a mountain you should not eat the snow because of mountain run off, but at the end of a cold day a hot water always taste better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Taylor Pommier wrote 4 years 30 weeks ago

i would always try to melt the snow by either holdig it in my hand or over a fire. i wouldnt want to take the risk or getting hypothermia

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Colin MacKenzie wrote 2 years 17 weeks ago

Just spent three days stuck in the back country in Northern Arizona and ate LOTS of snow. Daytime temps were around 28 degrees. I was prepared for -40 temps so hypothermia was not an issue for me just fatigue after pushing my bike through the thick snow; overheating was a greater danger.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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