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Light Your Internal Fire- The Rewarming Drill!

Learn the same skills as special forces operators and keep yourself alive in the face of hypothermia without a fire. Join Eastmans’ Todd Helms as he subjects himself to the Rewarming Drill under the guidance of Sitka Gear’s John Barklow.


The Legalese

While this experience was incredibly rewarding and informative along with a good deal of fun, we must stress that this was an extreme test. We took very guarded steps to ensure the safety of all involved and had as much control as possible of the situation. Please DO NOT under any circumstances attempt to recreate this drill in any way shape or form. John Barklow is a professional with extensive training and years of experience. The Eastmans’ staff also made sure that every precaution was taken. We had a trained first responder on scene, emergency personnel a phone call away, heated trailer to retreat to, personal flotation devices on hand and plenty of people on hand to bail John and I out if need be. This is a dangerous drill and should not be recreated in any manner.

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  1. So once you are in your sleeping bags with wet clothes, your bag is now wet, so I assume you cannot stay overnight since you now don’t have a sleeping bag? What if you are too far back and it’s late? Seems like you’d want to keep your sleeping bag dry to enable you to stay overnight??

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      Scott Reekers

      The drill illustrates how efficiently use synthetic layers to survive and dry out. An advantage synthetics have over down insulators is they still insulate even when wet. Once transpiration has taken place from base layers to outer layers/sleeping bag, you can continue to “cook” your system dry. The drying doesn’t stop once the base layers are dry. Your body heat will continue to dry each layer moving outward, including the sleeping bag. You don’t have to get out of the bag. Continue to use warm liquids/meals to keep your body’s furnace working to dry your system. Thanks!

  2. So not trying to be critical, but serious question as I’m processing what I saw and trying to weigh advantages to this method. If I had a shelter, a dry puff coat, a dry set of rain or overpants, a dry sleeping bag, dry socks and over booties, what is the perceived advantage of drying slowly from inside out vs. an immediate strip down into dry clothing (albeit not base layers) and then into sleeping bag? Like I’m sure other guys are thinking, I ‘m struggling with compromising my dry sleeping bag with nightfall approaching and temps dipping (and potentially freezing) my outer layers as quick as the inner dries. Does that make sense? I realize the inside out might be a better shot if you had to attempt self rescue, but getting and keeping dry in the short term (even if it limits my mobility) seems outwardly more logical to me?? Can the testors clarify or explain the logic or advantages one way vs. the other?

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      Scott Reekers

      Great question. This drill is especially important when not having the luxury of a base camp or lodge to go back to. It illustrates how to efficiently survive and dry out when in the backcountry with little to no replacement gear. This is especially critical on ounce-counting missions and river trips like those in Alaska. The advantage of drying your wet layers by “cooking them dry” is that in very short order your gear is dry enough to enable you to either continue the hunt or hike out of the backcountry. In the video we showed how fast you can safely hike out after a dangerous event, but if you aren’t in a hurry, you could spend several hours in the shelter ensuring everything is completely dry so you are all set for the next day. Again, this is an extreme example of how to overcome catastrophe in the backcountry. Thanks!

  3. David Sanchez

    Good old wool is better than any synthetic when wet. A person should have some type of a combination between syn/wool on especially a wool layer of some type on the upper body.

  4. Watched video but you put on a dry puffy jacket along with pants.What happens you end up in the drink with all ur clothes on including puffy ? Add to that no tent ,sleeting ,dark thirty.Can you list all clothing from head to toe .Does sitka make synthetic underwear.I use under armour underwear instead of cotton.On dynamic rewarming do u take boots off ring out socks and start hiking? Thanks .Your info saves lives ….Anthony

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