Monday, January 5, 2009

Two People and One Bag

The temp dropped to zero again in Lander, and that might help explain the return of an annual winter question: are two people in one sleeping bag effective when one person is hypothermic? Despite the popularity of this proposal, snuggling is not a great warming method. The warm person adds very little heat, certainly not enough to reverse significant hypothermia quickly--and there are possible negative results. Two people seldom fit into one bag, and if you can't close the bag, heat retention is lost. If the heat donor wants out, much of the heat that has been retained is lost when the bag is opened. The warm person might be more useful making hot water bottles for the cold person, building a fire, or carrying out a message asking for help. It is not necessarily "wrong" to put two people in one bag, but neither is it the "standard of care," and there are usually better things to do.

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