How To Beat The Heat Off-Road

Summer is here and temps are over 100 degrees on the East Coast. If you are like me your vehicle is sitting there looking at you and wanting its necessary maintenance done no matter the high temps. Not too mention around here there are deadlines to meet.

Keeping cool.

Your skin is the largest organ a human being has. It is also the organ that is subjected the most to the outside world. Your skin is the primary way your body regulates temperature. When you get too hot the capillaries near the surface of the skin enlarge to cool the blood. Get too cold and they shrink to keep the blood centralized to your core.

The other piece of the puzzle is sweat. Sweat is a natural action to regulate temperature. The evaporation of the water from the skin creates a cooling effect. Too much evaporation can cause dehydration. When you stop sweating in extreme heat your skin is overwhelmed and can no longer regulate temperature. Your skin, when exposed to these conditions long enough, will also burn. We’ve all been a lobster at some point in our lives, haven’t we?

Just get naked! On second thought, don’t.

We have all seen movies where people take their shirt off because it is super hot. I know when I was younger this was common for me when it was super hot. The problem is this is counterproductive. Those clothes hold moisture and prevent complete evaporation. It keeps us from dehydrating too quickly and with a little breeze will cool you more than having no shirt. This cooling effect is due to the evaporation of the moisture from sweat and the air flowing over your skins surface, making your skin more efficient at regulating temperature

Yes, someone reading this right now is saying, “Well, not wearing a shirt lets the air do the same thing!”. True, the air will move over the skin creating a cooling effect. The difference is the water from the skin is evaporating much more quickly when it’s exposed directly to the sun. The skins surface temperature is higher as well.¬†Think future sun burn. Combined, this causes you to dehydrate quicker as your skin dries out at a higher rate.

As the sweat gets wicked away by different materials in clothing, it remains close to the skin versus complete evaporation. Resulting in that wonderful cooling sensation when your shirt is soaked and a nice breeze picks up.

Great. Now what.

There are a few things you can do to still beat the heat. Wear lighter more reflective colors. White is the ideal color but anything that’s a more reflective color. Avoid any dark colors as they absorb the heat and make the situation worse.

Wear a hat. The top of your head both releases and absorbs a ton of heat. Keeping your head cooler will help your entire body. Find one that offers some coverage to your neck as well as your face for maximum protection.

Wear loose fitting clothing. The more room for the clothes to move the better. Loose clothing will create its own breeze. Just look to the desert peoples of Africa. Long flowing robes of a light color. They know what they are doing when it comes to surviving in a hot environment.

Tell us how you beat the heat!

William Connor

As the Editor, William is responsible for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent that happens at 4WAAM. William brings a wide range of experience to this role having been a cook, a painter, a machinist, part time mechanic, computer programmer, and writer. He also wields a freely shared opinion on just about everything., just ask him.

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