• hunter using binoculars for observation

    What Binocular Magnification Is Best for Hunting?

    Aug 16 • Optics, Hunting, Binoculars • 709

    Each season, people want to know what binocular magnification is best for hunting. It’s a fair question, but unfortunately, the answer isn’t a universal number. Your hunting location, prey of choice, and personal preferences all play key roles in determining what magnification your hunting binoculars should be.

    Before we get into that, it’s important that you understand how binocular magnification works.

    Binocular Numbers and Magnification Explained

    While shopping for binoculars, you’ll notice that they are labeled with two numbers with an “x” in between them. 

    • The first number displays the binocular’s magnification.
    • The second number is the binocular’s objective lens (front lens) size in millimeters.
    • For example, a 10×42 binocular has a magnification power of 10x and a 42mm objective lens.

    The magnification level represents how many times closer objects will appear. A magnification of 10x will make the image appear ten times closer, 4x will appear four times closer, and so on. 

    Choosing the Best Hunting Binocular Magnification

    Now that you know how binocular magnification works, you can start narrowing down your options to find the perfect match. High-quality binoculars can be pretty expensive, and it’s worth the investment if you find a pair that meets all of your criteria. It’s easier to pick a pair of binos if you only hunt one type of game because you’re most likely hunting that animal from the same distance.

    If you hunt multiple types of game, then you want to invest in a pair with a wider magnification range so that you can adapt to any scenario on a hunting trip.

    Best Binocular Magnification for Hunting Deer

    deer hunting binocular magnification

    Most deer are taken down from 100 yards or less. Seasoned shooters can usually land accurate shots up to 200 yards out, but the difficulty of the shot increases exponentially as the distance increases from there. That means a 10x binocular will make a mule deer that’s 200 yards away appear as if it were only 20. That’s plenty of magnification power to effectively scout your surroundings on a deer hunting trip. 

    If you can’t find a pair of 10x hunting binoculars in your price range, 6-8x magnification will also work well as long as you have decent vision. Don’t forget that trees, foliage, and other natural elements can obstruct your view, so clarity is essential with any hunting binocular. If you opt for a pair with a lower magnification power, make sure it has lens coatings that improve brightness and clarity to ensure you can properly see with reduced magnification.

    Best Binocular Magnification for Hunting Elk

    elk hunting binocular magnification

    While whitetails are commonly in wooded areas, most elk roam in open plains with less natural coverage. While elk don’t have superior vision, they will still easily spot you if you get too close without wearing the proper camouflage. That means you might have to hunt from a further distance than with deer, so your ideal binocular magnification level should reflect that.

    However, elk are found out in the open and are often easier to spot than deer. We recommend no less than 8x magnification with elk hunting binoculars. Invest in a good pair of 10x binos if you want the best sighting experience out west. 

    Other Hunting Binocular Magnification Tips

    Magnification directly impacts your field of view (FOV) when using binoculars. 

    • As magnification power decreases, your FOV increases
    • As magnification power increases, your FOV decreases

    If you decide to buy a pair of powerful hunting binoculars, keep that in mind while scouting for your next shot. Each time you increase the magnification, you’re shrinking your overall view, and you may miss a great opportunity just out of your sight because you’re focusing on a much smaller area.

    Our final tip is to use a tripod with binoculars that have 10x or higher magnification. At full magnification, a pair of 10x binoculars will have a tiny field of view, and every movement you make is incredibly noticeable. Plus, binos with high magnification are usually heavier than compact binoculars, which can make your hands shake during long observation sessions. Buy a tripod to maintain steady views during high-power observation

    Taking a Closer Look at Magnification

    Finding the best magnification for hunting binoculars is actually one of the easiest parts of choosing the right pair. If you know where and what you’re hunting, you know how close different magnification levels will bring you to your target.

    The best hunting binoculars will be anywhere from 6-12x magnification, and you don’t need an incredibly powerful pair if you plan on hunting from shorter distances. Just remember to also buy a tripod if you snag a pair of binoculars with 10x or higher magnification.

    Choosing the magnification power is just one aspect of buying hunting binos. Clarity, durability, and comfort all play key roles in determining how good a binocular is. If you need help determining what other features and specs you’ll need, check out our guide on How to Choose the Best Binoculars. When you’re ready to make a decision, stop by OpticsPlanet to shop for binoculars and accessories from Leupold, Vortex, and more of your favorite brands.

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  • 9mm Cartridge Headstamp

    Do all 9mm bullets fit 9mm guns? 3 Popular 9mm Calibers

    Aug 13 • Handgun Ammo • 1454

    Do all 9mm bullets fit 9mm guns?” This is a question that pretty much every gun owner from first-timer to aficionado has probably asked themselves at some point in their lives. The truth is, it’s a more complicated question than it seems to be.

    You see, “9mm” is a common blanket term that’s usually referring to one caliber of 9mm cartridge, not necessarily the 9mm bullet size. Once someone is looking at the caliber stamping on a gun vs. the print on a box of 9 mm ammo, self-doubt sets in.

    “Can I use Luger 9mm if I own a new Glock and not some old WWII gun?”

    “What is 9mm Luger?”

    “I don’t know what parabellum means!”

    Take a few calming breaths; we’re going to provide you with the many different 9mm ammo types explained in a way that’s as easy to understand as possible.

    Do All 9mm Bullets Fit 9mm Guns? Yes and No.

    Different Types of 9mm Ammo

    9mm Cartridge Headstamp

    A 9mm Cartridge Headstamp (Usually) Means One Thing

    There are at least 18 different cartridges that use a 9 mm bullet. Many of those go by anywhere from two to four different official names, not counting the nicknames you’ll hear bandied about. There’s a lot of history to ammunition naming conventions that we’re not going to get into here, but for a more in-depth look, read “Bullet Sizes vs. Bullet Caliber, How Do They Name These Things?” To top it all off, most of the different 9mm caliber rounds aren’t even exactly 9 millimeters in diameter, since rounding up or down is pretty common. The most comprehensive and frequently updated guide to all calibers past and present is SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute), considered a standard reference for all things ammunition.

    Getting the wrong rounds for your gun is a real headache. First off, due to safety reasons, nobody will accept ammo returns as there’s no way to prove they haven’t been tampered with and rendered unsafe. Second, and of more concern, you may find that you can chamber the incorrect rounds without a problem. However, when you actually fire them, you’ll experience everything from jams to a catastrophic failure. Catastrophic failures are as bad as they sound: it not only damages the gun but can cause serious injury or death to the shooter and/or bystanders. You may even come across internet “experts” who say that you can shoot ammo through your gun that it’s not designed for, but “can” doesn’t mean “should” and this will inevitably lead to disaster. Stick with the markings on your gun and do a little research to ensure that whatever shells you end up buying are specifically for that gun. SAAMI also provides and updates a list of Unsafe Firearm & Ammunition Combinations if you’re ever in doubt.

    These are the most common boxes of 9mm ammo you’re going to see when you’re shopping, in alphabetical order:

    • 9mm +P
    • 9mm Kurz
    • 9mm Luger
    • 9mm NATO
    • 9mm Parabellum
    • 9mm Short
    • 9x17mm
    • 9x18mm Makarov
    • 9x19mm

    5 of these are essentially the same thing, 3 of them are exactly the same thing, and one of them is distinctly different. You may run across any of them at some point, especially when purchasing ammo whose country of origin is outside the U.S.

    9mm Ammo Types Explained

    9mm Luger Cartridges

    9mm Luger Cartridges … But They Go By Other Names

    When people talk about 9mm’s, they’re overwhelmingly referring to 9mm Luger ammo, not necessarily the famous WWII German semi-automatic 9mm Luger pistol. The name comes from Georg Luger, the Austrian who designed both. When it comes to 9mm Parabellum vs 9mm Luger, it’s exactly the same thing. If you’re wondering what parabellum means, it comes from the Latin Si vis pacem, para bellum (“If you seek peace, prepare for war.”), a pretty apt name for the most popular caliber of pistols and submachine guns used by militaries and police all over the world. 9×19 mm is also the same thing, just going under a far more specific name. The 9 indicates the diameter of the bullet, and the 19 is the length of the case, both in millimeters. Hence, 9×19 vs 9mm Luger is also exactly the same thing.

    9mm Luger Pistol

    9mm Luger Pistol … Just Classic Awesome

    In the same family, we have 9mm NATO and 9mm +P ammo. What is a NATO round? It’s still the same 9mm Parabellum bullet in the same case length, but like 9mm +P it’s a hotter load, meaning it has higher pressures and therefore has greater velocity and energy than standard 9mm Luger rounds. For this reason, it shouldn’t be fired through a weapon that’s not rated for +P or NATO rounds. A quick check of the owner’s manual from the manufacturer will clear this right up. If you’ve inherited or purchased an old 9mm Luger pistol, you’re very lucky to have one. However, you shouldn’t fire any NATO or +P through it, as these older guns were never rated for the higher pressure.

    9mm vs 9mm Luger: What Are Those Other Ones?

    As we mentioned above, there are other 9mm pistol rounds that are not 9mm Luger/Parabellum/NATO/+P or 9x19mm. One of the most common is the .380 ACP. Wait, how did we jump from 9mm to .380? Interestingly, the .380 is actually another 9mm caliber, aka 9mm Kurz, aka 9mm Short, and most accurately the 9×17 mm. You can add that to the other 17 or so 9mm calibers out there. Check out 380 ACP vs 380 Auto: What’s the difference? to learn more about them.

    9x18mm Makarov with magazine and cartridges.

    9x18mm Makarov

    Another one to note is the 9x18mm Makarov. 9×18 vs 9×19 might seem like a tiny difference, but it’s enough to confuse people and will cause serious issues if they’re mixed up and loaded into the wrong gun. It’s the Soviet version of the 9x19mm Luger/Parabellum, essentially, and used commonly by militaries in the Eastern Bloc. Besides the difference in case lengths, the Makarov bullets are quite a bit larger. As previously mentioned, rounding off is a pretty common ammo naming convention. A Luger round has a 9.017mm bullet, where the Makarov is a 9.27mm. It also only has about 60 percent of the pressure (psi) of the Parabellum, making it pretty weak in comparison.

    Now You Know the “No” of 9mm’s

    Hopefully, we’ve explained the key differences in the most common 9mm ammunition you’re likely to encounter. As we said, you may well run across several different varieties, but as long as you’re using the appropriate ammo and being careful to make sure that you know how to read what’s specific to your gun, you should be fine. OpticsPlanet.com carries a wide variety of Ammunition, including Handgun Ammo, and if you’re looking for what’s available to ship today you can skip right to the In-Stock Ammunition page and buy today!

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  • training knife used in disarm drill

    What Is a Training Knife?

    Jul 23 • How-To, Knives • 1289

    A training knife is an essential tool if you want to master the blade or learn how to defend against it. Law enforcement officers, military operators, and martial artists frequently train with dummy knives to learn critical self-defense techniques. In this guide, we’ll discuss what a training knife is and how butterfly knife trainers and other rubber knives can help you safely practice knife drills so that you can learn how to properly use a knife and defend against one in a fight.

    What Is a Training Knife?

    Boker rubber training knives

    A training knife is a knife with a dull or rubber blade that is used for practicing knife drills or  during self-defense exercises. They provide a safe way to hone your knife skills and build important muscle memory for when you need to use or defend against a real knife. Not every practice knife is the same, and the type of training weapon you should buy depends on what you need it for. 

    Are Training Knives Safe?

    Using training knives is the safest way to practice knife techniques, if used properly. Their biggest benefit is the lack of a sharp blade that can cut you, but you still need to be careful when practicing with fake knives. Even if the blade isn’t sharp, the handle can be durable and heavy, which can definitely hurt if you get whacked in the head with it. 

    Also, training knives vary in materials and construction depending on their purpose, which means some knives can still inflict pain, even without a pointy blade. Manufacturers like Blueguns make their training knives with steel-reinforced polyurethane (plastic) construction throughout. These are safer to use since the entire knife is made of plastic, but you still need to be careful to not strike someone hard with the handle. These types of training knives are often used during police training and martial arts exercises.

    On the other hand, there are training knives used to practice drills and tricks like butterfly knife trainers. Butterflyreal butterfly knife training knives, like these ones from Bear & Son, have steel blades that aren’t sharpened. A butterfly knife, also known as a balisong or Batangas knife, has two slim handles that rotate in opposite directions around the tang, and the blade can be concealed within these handles while rotating. These knives are mostly used for performing tricks, but real butterfly knives with sharp blades are just as lethal as any folding knife. Butterfly knife trainers use steel blades to mimic the weight of the real weapon so that you can properly learn and perform various tricks. You can definitely hurt yourself flinging that hard piece of steel around without proper caution. Training knives are only as safe as you are, which is why they are trusted and used heavily in police academies, dojos, and other environments where safety is a priority and regularly practiced.

    What Is A Training Knife Used For?

    A training knife can be used in any situation where you want to use a knife without causing harm. Let’s break down some reasons you may want to consider getting a dummy knife.

    Learning How to Use a Knife for Self-Defense

    While simple in design, knives are more complex than most people realize. There are several different ways you can use a knife to defend yourself, from stabbing with the blade to striking with the butt. Folding knives are amazing self-defense tools that can fit right in with your everyday carry (EDC) essentials. Knowing how to use one properly will greatly increase your chance of warding off threats and prevent you from accidentally cutting yourself.

    With a training knife, you can practice using the knife while pinned by an attacker or while facing them head on. You can safely train with others and study their defending moves to learn predictable patterns and where to strike next. You’d be amazed at how many different ways you can defend yourself with a pocket knife.

    Becoming Familiar with a Specific Knife Style

    There are numerous types of knives out there, from fixed blade to throwing knives, and different knives can be used in unique ways. If you’re interested in buying a specific knife for self-defense, you can look for a training knife in that particular style. Like their real counterparts, dummy knives come in countless styles, and you can choose a fake version of a knife to practice with before buying the real thing.

    Learning How to Defend Against a Knife

    training knife disarm exercise

    Most commonly seen in law enforcement training and martial arts exercises, self-defense exercises with training knives create realistic practice scenarios without the danger real knives pose. One of the best ways to improve your self-defense skills against a knife is to practice using one offensively, and vice versa. Like we mentioned above, training knife drills help you learn how a threat will react to your knife movements. Those skills translate to defending against one yourself, as you will learn predictable movements to avoid and when to perform certain maneuvers. Timing is critical when a knife is present, and with a rubber training knife, you can practice, practice, practice – sharpening your muscle memory and ensuring you’re prepared for worst case scenarios.

    Butterfly Training Knives

    Butterfly knives look cool, and seeing a professional perform butterfly knife tricks will make you want to run out and try them yourself. But a butterfly knife is still a knife, and it is incredibly dangerous for an amateur to practice spinning around a real one. Butterfly practice knives usually have steel blades that aren’t sharpened. They can’t cut or stab you, but the blunt blade can definitely cause pain, especially when it’s moving quickly. 

    Still, butterfly training knives are the safest method of practicing knife tricks as long as you treat it like it’s a real blade. After all, you’re trying to learn how to use it, and the most important part of learning how to use a butterfly knife is ensuring you’ll leave with the same number of fingers if it was real.

    Why You Should Practice with A Training Knife

    The FBI homicide database shows that knives were the second weapon most frequently used in recorded homicide cases over the last 4 years next to guns, so understanding how knives operate is more important than you think. If your state has concealed carry restrictions, owning a knife for personal defense is your next best option. Like your firearm, training is important if you want to be able to properly use it in emergency situations. martials arts training knife drills

    Real knives are some of the best EDC gear to have on you throughout the day. Hopefully, that knife is just a very handy cutting tool for opening packages. You never want to use that blade in defense, but you damn well want to know how to if the time comes. Many people own an EDC knife without knowing how to properly use it. Not only can they accidentally harm themselves, but they may freeze up in the moment or make the wrong move. Practicing with fake knives builds important muscle memory that can eventually become instinctual when you need to protect yourself.

    A training knife with a rubber blade can be pressed against you without cutting. You can physically feel the impact points of an edge weapon and gain incredible insight on knife techniques that you won’t learn from just watching drills and videos. 

    Sharpening Your Knife Skills

    A training knife is an important piece of training gear if you want to learn how to use and defend yourself from a real one. Practice knives are safe to train with in the right settings. You just need to be careful about any harder parts of the knife that can be used as a blunt object of force, especially steel training knives. 

    From butterfly knife trainers to rubber karambits, training knives come in many variations, and you can buy a training knife that resembles a real knife you’re interested in owning. To learn more about knives and blade styles, check out this guide on How to Choose a Pocket Knife. Hopefully this guide helped you learn why a training knife is incredibly useful. Please remember to practice safely and often to get the most out of your training knife.

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  • Vortex SPARC Solar Red Dot Sight

    Jul 19 • Optics, Reviews, Red Dot Sights • 1251

    If you buy a new rifle, shotgun, or even a pistol these days, then there’s a good chance it’s “optic ready”. A red dot sight is an excellent choice that’s within almost anyone’s budget, but if you bought a premium AR, then you want a high-quality AR red dot that can keep up. The Vortex SPARC Solar is a powerful red dot sight that leaves you with plenty of spare change for ammo.

    Overview

    From the first model, the Vortex SPARC AR red dot sights delivered premium performance at an affordable price. They have a common mount pattern, great battery life, and hold zero while taking a beating. Best of all, Vortex includes everything you need to go straight out of the box and onto almost any firearm. Over time, the SPARC line has only gotten better, and the latest, the SPARC Solar, is downright impressive.

    Vortex Optics SPARC Solar AR Red Dot Sight

    Specs

    First Impression

    Sleek but solid, the SPARC Solar has flush-mounted adjustment turrets and push-button controls. While I don’t usually leave the rubber covers attached to the optic, I liked how these were designed to attach to the battery cap. It has side-mounted brightness buttons that don’t cause any issues when using a magnifier. The crisp, daylight-bright 2 MOA dot combined with a red dot magnifier like the Vortex Micro 3x really allows this red dot sight to shine at close and mid-range distances. SPARC’s solar panel keeps you from burning batteries while training outside, and a responsive motion activation means the optic is always ready to perform when you need it and conserving power when you don’t.

    vortex sparc red dot sight mounted on AR

    Summary

    The Vortex SPARC Solar Red Dot Sight is an excellent option for an AR or shotgun. It is a rugged red dot optic that focuses on the essential features and performs above its weight class. Whether you are buying a red dot for your first rifle or your third, the Vortex SPARC Solar is a great investment. 

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  • Woman holding water bottle outside.

    Hot Weather Tips: 5 Easy Hacks

    Jul 19 • How-To, Apparel, Camping, Survival • 905

    With rising temperatures and more frequent heat waves, we’ve compiled all the hot weather tips we could find to help you beat the heat! Avoiding heat exhaustion is the most important thing you can do. This guide for surviving hot weather will help you know how to prevent heat illnesses, give you many ways to keep cool, and explain basic first aid should someone succumb to a heat-related illness. The CDC reports over 600 people in the U.S. die every year from extreme heat, as heat stroke can lead to unconsciousness and death

    What Is Heat Exhaustion?

    Heat exhaustion is a preventable condition caused by exposure to high temperatures, strenuous physical activity in hot weather, and dehydration. It’s the first sign that steps need to immediately be taken to avoid heat stroke, so knowing how to identify the signs of heat exhaustion is critical. Initially presenting as heat cramps or spasms in the legs and/or abdomen, symptoms of heat exhaustion in adults can include:

    • Skin that’s cool, moist, pale, or ashen
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea
    • Weakness
    • Exhaustion
    • Heavy sweating

    Heatstroke

    If steps aren’t taken immediately, heat exhaustion can quickly lead to heatstroke, a potentially lethal condition that can cause brain damage and organ failure. Heatstroke symptoms are:

    • Hot, red skin
    • Vomiting
    • High body temperature (over 100 degrees)
    • Possible loss of consciousness

    How hot is too hot?

    • Be careful around 80-85 degrees
    • Be extremely careful (dangerous heat) at 85-91 degrees
    • Extremely dangerous heat is 91 degrees and above

    Who is at risk for heat exhaustion and heatstroke?

    Anyone can be at risk, even young healthy people. Don’t assume that you can ignore the signs and prevention because you are in peak physical condition. Some groups are at risk of developing heat-related illnesses faster and need close attention as a result:

    • Short term (not chronic and are preventable) health factors that can lead to more rapid onset:
      • Exertion, like those who work, exercise, or recreate outdoors
      • Fever
      • Dehydration
      • Sunburn
      • Alcohol and drug use, including many prescriptions and over-the-counter medications
    • Long term (beyond immediate control) health factors include:
      • Under 2 years of age
      • Over 65 years of age, particularly as some may not even “feel hot”
      • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
      • Obesity
      • Being underweight
      • Chronic health conditions, including but not limited to:
        • Heart disease
        • Diabetes
        • Poor circulation
        • Certain mental illnesses and disabilities where the person cannot identify and/or communicate early symptoms like thirst
    Chart showing heat stroke symptoms and first aid

    Know the signs of heat illness and administer first aid immediately!

    First Aid for Heat Exhaustion

    As soon as you notice the signs of heat cramps or heat exhaustion in yourself or someone else, basic first aid is needed to prevent it from escalating into heatstroke. Take the following steps:

    1. Move to a cooler location.
    2. Rest, preferably laying in a cool place with feet elevated.
    3. Sip slowly on a cool beverage (preferably water).
    4. Use a hand-fan or electric fan.
    5. Applying cool, wet cloth or water to the head, groin, and armpits will reduce body temperature quickly. Other “hot zones” that will cool the body off fast are the neck, ankles, behind the knees, wrists, and inner elbows.
      1. DO NOT USE ICE! This can create too much of a shock to the system and even result in frostbite if applied for too long. If you have cold gel packs, like those used for back pain or sprains, they are acceptable for use but monitor closely and alternate on and off of each area every 10 minutes.

    If none of these steps cool you or the other person off fail to work, or you see signs of heatstroke, immediately seek medical attention by calling 911. While waiting for emergency services, DO NOT:

    • Force the victim to drink more liquids.
    • Allow victims to take any pain relievers, salt tablets, or other medications that may cause further dehydration.
    • Absolutely never allow them to drink any alcoholic beverages, even beer. This is not rehydration, alcohol accelerates dehydration in the body.
    • Don’t apply rubbing alcohol to the skin. This is an old folk remedy that doesn’t truly reduce body temperature. Even though it feels like it has a cooling effect as it quickly evaporates, it actually dries the skin out and contributes to more dehydration.

    Preventing Heat Exhaustion

    Luckily, there are several steps that you can take to prevent heat exhaustion. Treating the problem before it even becomes a problem is always the best way to go.

    Hydration

    The simplest way to begin preventing heat-related illnesses is to stay hydrated. Here are some tips on staying hydrated:

    • Hydrate even if you’re not thirsty. Thirst is the first sign that you may be headed for a problem, so cut it off at the pass.
    • Sports drinks are good for replacing salt and minerals lost to perspiration, but alternate them with an equal amount of water instead of relying exclusively on them.
    • Very sugary drinks contribute to dehydration, including soft drinks. Again, if you choose to drink them, alternate with an equal amount of water.
    • Man with empty bottles of beer holding his head.

      Alcoholic beverages, even beer, can lead to further dehydration.

      Alcohol speeds up dehydration, as mentioned earlier. The higher the alcohol content, the more rapidly dehydration will set in. Even beer dehydrates you, and alternating with water may not be enough to keep you well-hydrated.
    • Avoid very cold drinks, as they can cause painful stomach cramps that may be mistaken for symptoms of heat exhaustion.
    • If your doctor limits your fluids, check with them to see how much you can have in hot weather.
    • Some people worry about overhydration, or “water intoxication” that leads to hyponatremia, where electrolytes like sodium levels drop too low. This typically results from being overly hypervigilant about dehydration, illicit drug use, certain health conditions, or mental illness.
      This can be a real concern, especially since the symptoms like confusion and disorientation can be mistaken for heat-related illness, but most people can determine if they’ve had too much water as opposed to too little. If you’re unsure, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

    How do I know if I’m dehydrated?

    Thirst is the very first sign that dehydration is beginning to set in. From there, a dry, sticky mouth and/or thick white saliva will form. If ignored, this will lead to the heat-illness symptoms above. A very good indicator is the color of your urine, as shown in the chart.

    • Chart showing levels of urine color during dehydration.

      Your urine is a sure sign whether you’re hydrated or not.

      Good, healthy colors:
        • No color, clear and transparent = drinking a lot of water
        • Pale yellow “straw” color = normal and well-hydrated
        • Transparent yellow = normal but now would be a good time to hydrate again
    • Colors that indicate a problem:
      • Dark yellow = dehydration is beginning, start rehydrating soon
      • Amber or honey yellow = you are dehydrated and need to rehydrate immediately
      • Dark brown “ale” or syrup color = you are very dehydrated and need to rehydrate until your urine turns back to at least transparent yellow, if this color persists seek medical attention!

    Dress for the Weather

    Indoors or out, keep the following clothing tips in mind:

    • Wear loose-fitting clothing to allow evaporation and air circulation.
    • Wear lightweight clothing, and avoid heavy fabrics like denim.
    • Dress in light colors, this will reflect some of the solar heat.
    • Wear clothing that has a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) listed, these are specialized fabrics that are far better than sunscreen and are typically lightweight wicking garments.
    • Clothing that has wicking properties, similar to base layer underwear worn in the winter, is excellent in the summer.

    Stay Indoors As Much As Possible

    • Stay indoors and avoid the sun as much as you can, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. or any time the temperature is 90 degrees or higher.
    • Use A/C if it’s available, making sure it’s in good working order and that the filters are clean at all times. 
      • If it’s not available, visit public air-conditioned places like libraries, shopping malls, or public cooling stations that have been set up for this purpose.
    • Fans are not cooling devices, they just move air and can give a false sense of security.
      • Don’t rely on fans alone to cool your house. However, if you place a bowl of ice or frozen water bottles in front of a fan, it can provide some short-term cooling effects.
    • Keep windows, curtains, blinds, and shutters closed when the sun is up.
      • Consider having outside awnings or external blinds.
      • Place foil-covered cardboard in windows to reflect solar heat and light.
      • Blocking incoming light can reduce indoor temperatures up to 80 percent.
    • Once the outside temperature drops below your inside temperature or when the sun is down, open all of your windows to release the heat and catch the breeze.
    • Stay on the lowest floor to avoid sunlight and remember that cold air sinks while hot air rises.
    • Cool showers or baths are perfect for hot weather.
      • You can also fill the tub with cold water and wade around in it from time to time. 
      • Cold water takes a long time to warm up, and this will provide a little extra cooling in the bathroom, too.
    • You can place clothing and similar items in the refrigerator or freezer for about 30 minutes, then take them out and put them on to cool off. Try it with your sheets before bedtime, it’s helpful for drifting off to sleep when it’s hot. Weird trick, but it really works!
    • Stock up on necessities when you go out so that you don’t have to go out into the heat frequently on repeated trips.
      • If you can’t afford to stock up in one large trip, try to stock up gradually as you can.
    • Plan for power outages.
      • Place water bottles in the freezer, if the power goes out move them to the refrigerator and keep both doors shut as much as possible.
    • Remember that energy is heat! 
      • Turn off and/or unplug any unused appliances, including electronics. 
      • Turn off or unplug any electric air fresheners and extinguish any candles or incense burners.
    • Change out any incandescent light bulbs for energy-saving fluorescent or LEDs
      • A regular 60-watt bulb can get up to 200 degrees, but a fluorescent bulb is only 50-60 degrees, and LEDs are 35-65 percent cooler than incandescent bulbs.
    • Cooking increases heat and food can help you! 
      • Try to minimize cooking and eat foods like fruit, veggies, and salad.
      • If you can tolerate it, spicy foods temporarily bring up the body temperature enough to create sweating, particularly on the face.
      • Heavy meals increase body temperature, so eat light and eat often instead of large meals.
      • If you have the opportunity, cook as many meals outside as you can.
      • If you must cook inside, use the microwave, minimize the use of stovetop burners, and avoid using the oven.
      • Dishwashers put out a lot of heat, only run them when they’re full and hold off until nighttime.

    Man with backpack wiping sweat from his head.

    Staying hydrated during outdoor activities is essential.

    Outdoor Activity in Hot Weather

    • Acclimate gradually, spending a little more time out in the heat each day before you go on a trip or begin an outdoor job or project. Preferably do this over a 10 to 14 day period.
    • Avoid the midday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., or any time the temperature is over 90 degrees.
    • Pace yourself and take frequent rest breaks.
    • Wear sunglasses to shade and protect your eyes from sunlight.
    • Wear an appropriate hat whenever you’re outdoors for any amount of time.
    • Wear sunscreen of SPF 30+ and reapply frequently.
      • Preventing sunburn before it starts is important to avoid pain and risking slipping closer to  heat-related illnesses.
    • Optimize shady spaces and try to stay in them when working or recreating.
    • If you’re in a dry climate that’s not very humid, soaking your clothes or towels (particularly cotton) in water and then wearing them is a great way to simulate the cooling effects of sweating without losing your body’s hydration.
    • When camping in tents, open all of the windows and ventilation ports to allow any breeze to pass through.
      • Adjust the rainfly to shade the windows so that light doesn’t come into the tent (you’ll find you need to adjust this as the day goes on and the sunlight shifts).
    • Swimming is a great hot weather activity! Try to stick to places with lifeguards posted, especially if you are taking kids.
      • If you choose to visit an AYOW (At Your Own Risk) swimming spot like a lake, marina, river, etc., make sure you wear a PFD (Personal Flotation Device, ex: lifevest) and go in a group. While swimming at such a place, make sure at least one person stays out of the water when others are swimming as a safety precaution.

    Community & Family

    • Never leave children or pets in the car! In two minutes or less, this can become a life-threatening situation. Even if you’re just “running in for a minute,” bring children inside with you and leave the pets at home if you’re going to places where they are not allowed.
    • Keep track of local news & weather.
    • Watch others around you and check in on neighbors, especially the elderly and others who may be vulnerable.
    • Call around to friends and family to check in and make sure everyone’s okay.
    • Pets:
      • Keep plenty of fresh water available.
      • If at all possible, keep them indoors.
      • If kept outdoors, make sure they are in the shade and check on them often.
      • Just like humans, even 15 minutes of being dehydrated in extreme heat can cause permanent brain damage and/or death.

    No Sweat, Right?

    Now that you know the best ways to stay cool, avoid heat illnesses, and provide first aid if needed, you can be comfortable and safe in the hot weather. Add your top tips and tricks in the comments below, and share this if you liked it!

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