Personal Protection: Clothing and Equipment

Jessie Krebs

Lesson time 14:59 min

Protecting your body from the elements is essential to survival. Learn how to work with your clothing to stay thermally regulated.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Don’t Get RRECC’d • Clothing: The First Line of Defense • The COLDER Principle: Care for Your Clothing • Make Your Equipment Work for You


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So one of our five basic needs. Person protection, right. That's one of our big ones and it's about thermoregulation. Once we decide that personal protection and that thermoregulation is our top priority in the moment then we have those three lines of defense. And those are in order. So the first line of defense: clothing. And any equipment we might have. So these things are things that I'm trying to use to help create dead air space around me. That's what I'm looking for. The clothing itself is not what's actually keeping me warm. My body is providing the heat. What's actually keeping that heat next to me is that dead air space. Okay, so that's what we're looking for. [MUSIC PLAYING] Whenever we're doing anything we're producing heat all the time. So that's our primary heat source. Right there, us. Unless we make a fire or we're using the sun or some kind of external heat source, usually if it's dark and it's cold and we're miserable, our heat is going to have to come from ourselves. And so as our body is radiating off that heat, we need to catch it and keep it next to us. You'll hear sometimes people talk about, like this survival principle right that if you're really cold just keep moving. Just keep moving, man, keep going. But the problem with that is we're not trapping that heat as we're moving. As we're moving, we're loosening up and moving our clothing around, and it's not dead air space. The wind comes in. That air that was close to our body moves out and new air comes in, which means we're constantly replacing that warm air that we've kept close to our body with cold air again. And our body has to work harder to keep that warm. So there is a time, it's not necessarily a bad idea to exercise, but it doesn't have to be these big grand movements of walking or doing jumping jacks. I can literally stand and put my legs together. So they're keeping each other warm. That's a lot of surface area with those legs are touching. I bring those together now they're heating each other. As soon as I put my legs together, I feel a little warmer. As soon as I bring my arms in I can even pull them inside my sleeves and come in like this, right. I can curl up in that fetal position. Now I have less surface area, and I'm going to create this little bubble around me of dead air space that I heat up. This little warm bubble, basically. And now I'm in that position I can just flex these big muscles. I can pull my arms in hard into my sides. I can clench my legs together. Make fists, curl my toes. And that movement, we can generate up to 18 times the amount of heat by using those muscles. So it makes sense to keep moving but we're not moving. We're micro-moving, right, to generate that heat while we're in the safe space and warming up this warm bubble. So that's our intention when it comes to the clothing. That's what we're trying to do. And a key part of this as well, usually w...

About the Instructor

As a former Air Force SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, and escape) specialist, wilderness survival expert Jessie Krebs spent 30 years preparing people for the unexpected. Now she’s teaching you the mindset and skills to safely explore the outdoors. Learn essential survival techniques—from signaling for help to reading a map, finding water, making shelter, and more—and embark on your next adventure with confidence.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Jessie Krebs

Wilderness survival expert and former Air Force SERE specialist Jessie Krebs teaches you the skills to explore nature safely and confidently.

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