We just finished teaching a class in Colorado where the shooting was done in mid- to upper-90 degree weather. Got through it fine thanks to some clouds, some breeze, and above all by staying on top of the heat exposure. Same for the class just before it, at similar temperatures but with more humidity, in Delaware.

LOTS of water on the range. Electrolyte beverages encouraged. Frequent breaks in the shade.

In the past, I’ve seen folks collapse from heatstroke from a day of shooting under the unrelenting sun. Don’t wait to drink until you’re thirsty; you don’t get thirsty until you’re already starting to dehydrate. Not having to urinate doesn’t mean your bladder suddenly got bigger, it means you’re dehydrating.

The people who make the Camelbak product aren’t just trying to sell you their wearable water bladders with their motto, “Hydrate or Die!” They’re simply telling you the truth.

And the death you’re risking isn’t just from dehydration itself. Dehydration brings on fatigue. Fatigue brings on carelessness. Add loaded guns in the mix, and, well, you’re heading toward a place where no one should want to go

Enjoy your guns and your summer. They’re both more enjoyable when used wisely.


  1. A hearty AMEN! Maybe ten years ago I was at a TPC match where a couple of range officers needed some assistance. I believe several competitors did also, but not in my squad. Thankfully, there was a large air conditioned admin building where we could all cool down afterward. Most of us had to change clothes before returning home, the match togs being saturated.

  2. A bad case of dry mouth, dizziness, and no need to pee are definite warning signs of dehydration–time to move into the shade, relax and chug water. Refrain from consuming soft drinks, alcohol, coffee, and salty junk food during hot weather.

  3. Yep, heat stroke is nothing to be casual about. Many years ago I witnessed five healthy and fit young men collapse after morning PT. They were immediately rushed to treatment, which consisted of putting them min body bags full of ice and running cold saline into their veins. They all survived but were sent home and asked to not return… while not an optimal outcome for them, it was certainly better than draining out the ice from the bags and zipping them closed!

    Yesterday the heat index here on the NC coast was 105+ – and this idiot decided it would be the best time to mow the backyard. But I worked 10-15 mins and rested 10 mins or so with shade, lots of cold water and a nice breeze. It took me about an hour to do something that would normally take about 30 mins. or less.

    Remember – the time to hydrate for tomorrow is today/tonight. So during the week in Manchester next month, I plan to drink lots of water every night, even if it means interrupting sleep for an extra trip to the head.

    • Tom in NC…. This idiot in Greensboro did almost the same thing Wednesday. Work on the hedge for 30, inside to rehydrate/cool for 15. I’ve had heat prostration twice, and don’t want to go through it again. Heatstroke is even worse. Look at a CamelBak or a small cooler for the range.

  4. Holy heat exhaustion! I remember well taking weekend desert hikes in arid areas of or near Fort Huachuca AZ (just north of the border with Mexico) in 1981 during one of my active duty Army service tours.

    The Camelbak Company was not yet in existence. My hiking buddy and I stuffed as many GI canteens full of water as we could fit in our respective, beyond uncomfortable ALICE ruck sacks and packed enough carefully selected gear to enable us to hike safely for extended distances or to shelter safely in place.

    Heat stress was a real malady to be respected. We hydrated often and took breaks in shaded areas, whenever we found them. The white hot desert floor was littered with the carcasses of both small and large mammals. Buzzards circling overhead reminded us that, were we to fall victim to heat stroke, we would constitute their next meal.

    My hiking buddy openly carried a blued Ruger Blackhawk 45 Colt Single Action Revolver fitted with 4 5/8” barrel. I openly carried a blued Ruger MK I 22LR Semiautomatic Pistol fitted with a 5.5” bull barrel. We carried plenty of extra ammunition for each handgun. Since we packed as if we were hiking from Sierra Vista AZ to Key West FL, we were able to deal effectively and efficiently with a few minor contingencies that confronted us.

    As we hiked, we agreed that the clean, fresh water sloshing around in our many canteens was truly the nectar of the gods. Had we lacked that water, heat exhaustion would have crept up on us silently and then heat stroke would have killed us stone dead.

    One of the best memories of those desert hikes that occurred so many decades ago is this cultural norm of the times that we saw embraced unequivocally by persons with whom we came into contact during our hikes: every local, county, state and federal LE official whom we encountered wanted to know the specifications of the handguns that we were carrying and, to a man, they praised us for our common sense in deciding to bear arms while crossing the desert. Once or twice, we were criticized politely for not carrying rifles or shotguns to complement our handguns! Similarly, local hikers whom we encountered expressed the very same sentiments. Those were indeed the best of times.

    Fast forward to 2019. The leftist progressives’ cultural norms of fomenting fear of firearms and maximizing marginalization of firearm owners, as advanced thus far by all Democrat candidates for President, are being hammered into the heads of my impressionable young grandsons in their respective public schools located in New England and the Southeast USA.

    Reflecting back to the marvelous content of the previous blog about a special issue of “Gun Digest”, what would the late Charles Askins, Bill Jordan, Elmer Keith, Jack O’Connor, Skeeter Skelton and their contemporaries think of today’s public and private educational institutions in which guns, gun owners, gun ownership and the important role of guns in creating and protecting liberty are viewed as evils to be demonized and vilified at every opportunity?

    • Friend of mine refuses to allow the gummit to so throughly indoctrinate his children, all five of them. They elected to see to their education themselves.
      A few years back, when the eldest (a girl) was about 13, he asked each of them to name their ten favourite things about homeschooling. Things liie “I can fix my own breakfast and eat it still in my jammies at ten AM” were common… but all of them actually “in school” placed high on their lists things like “I can keep my rifle next to my desk” and “if I want to take a break, grab my rifle, and head out into the backyard and fire a few rounds” The Dad shared a pic of the eldest, then fifteen, the morning of opening day in deer season, rifle muzzle up, next to the fine four point buck she had just bagged.

      WHY would anyone surrender the best treaures they have to government to ruin with their indoctrination?

      • Tionico,

        Amen. The cost for government education is two-thirds, or 66% of all homeowners’ property taxes. In my dream world, all children would be homeschooled until college, while their parents saved money. Most parents could educate their children better than most schools. Can’t teach a subject? Hire a tutor. Have their been any homeschool shootings?

    • Love those summer morning desert day hikes in rugged Arizona terrain. Always have carried 3 quarts of drinks. Should be plenty, right? Underestimated return time once, ran out of drinks, really wasn’t sure of surviving. Air temp was about 115 degrees F, ground temp maybe 140. Increasing stress created growing doubt. Luckily reached my cool camper by late afternoon. Then gradually drank about 3 gallons of cool water, sports drinks, and soda pop before finally cooling down. That is 25 pounds of fluids, 12 & 1/2 percent of my 200-pound body weight! The officially recommended 5 gallons of water (almost 42 pounds) per full day per person in the desert is not an exaggeration. Some trekking old-timers supposedly refrained from drinking water during the heat of the day in order to to prevent dangerous systemic leaching. I would not even try going without water. Carry and know firearms that shoot snake shot, flares (start no wildfires!), and adequate bullets. Ruger’s super-strong Blackhawks, Old Vaqueros, and Bisleys can be great options. .45 Colt with a 5 & 1/2 inch bbl is generally a good choice. Research ammo. Consider a GPS, light weight headlamp, batteries, water filter, first aid kit, hiking stick, transparent emergency poncho(s), mil-spec poncho, space blanket, sunglasses, sunscreen/bug dope (see Badger), long-blade knife or machete, multi-tool, scoop or e-tool, fire starter, snacks, mirror, compass, map, hunting license, gloves, and don’t assume cell coverage. I like my helicopter insurance, though, in case cell works.

  5. My beginner classes are down here in Texas, where “mid 90s” is just warm. It’s also dry here, which I suspect was the case in Colorado. Low humidity means your sweat evaporates faster, which is a good thing (more cooling) but it can also fool you into thinking you aren’t sweating much, which isn’t.

    I teach, “Hydrate until you urinate, then check and see if it’s pale yellow.”

    Frequent breaks in the shade provide some relief, but if the air is hot and there’s no breeze you’ll still dry out.

  6. Copy that on the Camelbak! Very timely indeed. I have been encouraging fellow shooters to drink before thirsty as well. In fact, I just scored a WHOLE PALLET of brand new ,with tags, US Military Camelbaks. Am happy to offer them at a greatly reduced price to the Blog followers and shooting clubs if you wish to share my info. Fund raising for the WDW Training Center in Nevada.

    Feeling faint? Hydrate!

  7. I use Camelback when hunting. Need to do so on long bike rides.

    My boys & their wives have worked at wilderness treatment program mostly in high desert area of UT. High temps in the 115 range and lows in the negative 20s. Water sources spread out. About the only time they go hands on the clients other that defensively would be a safety situation. The most common is dehydration or heat stroke.
    They love their Camelbacks.

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