Podcast Episode December 14, 2019

Episode 22 | Hypothermia and Frostbite Treatment and Prevention




It may not technically be winter – but snow and temperatures are falling all across the country. To help you stay safe this season, this Backpacking Light SKILLS SHORT centers on frostbite and hypothermia.

Ryan and Andrew kick things off with frostbite: how it occurs medically, how it presents symptomatically, the best ways to prevent it, and how to treat it when it happens.

Next, they run hypothermia through the same treatment.

The guys wrap things up with a brief gear chat and a list of resources to improve your backcountry emergency readiness.


  • Intro
  • Frostbite
    • What is frostbite (medically and scientifically?)
    • What are the symptoms?
      • frostnip
      • superficial frostbite
      • deep frostbite
    • When someone should be frostbite aware – and some scenarios that may not be obvious
    • How can someone prevent frostbite from occurring?
    • Frostbite treatment – superficial and deep
      • When to evac?
  • Hypothermia
    • What is hypothermia (medically and scientifically?)
      • drop in body’s core temp
    • What are the symptoms?
      • The Umbles
      • intense shivering -> stop shivering, drowsiness
    • When should someone be “hypothermia aware” – in other words, what is the combination of scenarios where hypothermia is most likely to occur?
    • What is a hypothermia situation that may not be obvious?
    • How can someone prevent hypothermia from occurring?
    • Treating minor and severe hypothermia
      • And when to evac
      • No rapid rewarming!
  • What’s Ryan’s favorite few pieces of cold-weather gear he likes right now?
  • What are some good resources to learn more about cold-related illnesses and how to treat them?

Feedback, Questions, Tips?


  • Backpacking Light – Executive Producer
  • Ryan Jordan – Director and Host
  • Andrew Marshall – Producer, Host, and Editor
  • Look for Me in the Mountains – Music

Today’s Sponsor: Douglas Fir

  • This episode of the Backpacking Light podcast is also brought to you by Douglas Fir trees. Douglas Firs: they make it smell like Christmas!
  • Actually, this episode of the Backpacking Light Podcast is supported and kept advertising-free by Backpacking Light membership fees. Please consider becoming a member which helps support projects like this podcast, in addition to a whole slew of other benefits!
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Updated November 7, 2019

  • Product(s) discussed in this article may have been purchased by the author(s) from a retailer or direct from a manufacturer, or by Backpacking Light for the author. The purchase price may have been discounted as a result of our industry professional status with the seller. However, these discounts came with no obligation to provide media coverage or a product review. Backpacking Light does not accept compensation or donated/discounted products in exchange for guaranteed media placement or product review coverage.
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