Environmental Stress

♦ Hot and dry or hot and humid environments will increase the heat strain of individuals during load-bearing. Thermal heat load will be increased due to body heat production from load-bearing activities, and from the heat load from the sun and other heat sources in the environment. ALICE packs and double packs can restrict the body's ability to dissipate heat. Load-hearing vests with a nylon mesh body will trap less heat than backpack designs.

♦ Cold environments increase the energy cost of walking because the clothing worn is usually heavy and cumbersome. This can result in overheating and sweating, especially on the back where the load is carried. Hypothermia (drop in body temperature below 95"C) can also occur rapidly in cold environments if the inner layers of clothing are wet when you stop exercising.

♦ Moderate to high altitudes decrease exercise capacity since the available oxygen in blood decreases as altitude increases due to lower barometric pressure.

♦ Sandy terrain significantly increases energy expenditure up to 80% or greater as compared to walking on a firm surface. The energy demand increases with the difficulty of the terrain.

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