Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange
Join us in building a kind, collaborative learning community via our updated Code of Conduct.

Welcome to The Great Outdoors Stack Exchange

The Great Outdoors Stack Exchange For people who love being outdoors enjoying nature and wilderness, and learning about the required skills and equipment. It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about outdoor activities.

We're a little bit different from other sites. Here's how:


Ask questions, get answers, no distractions

This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat.

Just questions...

...and answers.

up vote

Good answers are voted up and rise to the top.

The best answers show up first so that they are always easy to find.

accept

The person who asked can mark one answer as "accepted".

Accepting doesn't mean it's the best answer, it just means that it worked for the person who asked.

Does eating snow help dehydration?

up vote 14 down vote favorite

I have heard many people say that eating snow actually can increase dehydration since the energy required for the body to heat up and melt the snow is greater than the benefits received from the moisture in the snow.

Truth or fiction? And please back it with solid physiological evidence.

2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accept

There are reported deaths from eating snow during WWII (Eastern Front). I presume due to hypothermia and/or the general poor health of the soldiers concerned.

Another site points out that snow is excellent at catching polution. Their reasoning is a bit fuzzy, but as a scientist I agree with their conclusion.

up vote 3 down vote

Yes, but it will really make you cold. It takes about 30 times more heat to heat water (melt ice) from 31 to 33 degrees (F) than it does to heat it from 33 to 35 degrees. That heat comes from your body if you eat snow.


Get answers to practical, detailed questions

Focus on questions about an actual problem you have faced. Include details about what you have tried and exactly what you are trying to do.

Ask about...

  • Specific issues with outdoor activities
  • Real problems or questions that you’ve encountered

Not all questions work well in our format. Avoid questions that are primarily opinion-based, or that are likely to generate discussion rather than answers.

Questions that need improvement may be closed until someone fixes them.

Don't ask about...

  • Anything not directly related to outdoor activities
  • Questions that are primarily opinion-based
  • Questions with too many possible answers or that would require an extremely long answer

Tags make it easy to find interesting questions

All questions are tagged with their subject areas. Each can have up to 5 tags, since a question might be related to several subjects.

Click any tag to see a list of questions with that tag, or go to the tag list to browse for topics that interest you.

Does eating snow help dehydration?

up vote 14 down vote

I have heard many people say that eating snow actually can increase dehydration since the energy required for the body to heat up and melt the snow is greater than the benefits received from the moisture in the snow.

Truth or fiction? And please back it with solid physiological evidence.


You earn reputation when people vote on your posts

Your reputation score goes up when others vote up your questions, answers and edits.

+5 question voted up
+10 answer voted up
+15 answer is accepted
+2 edit approved

As you earn reputation, you'll unlock new privileges like the ability to vote, comment, and even edit other people's posts.

Reputation Privilege
15 Vote up
50 Leave comments
125 Vote down (costs 1 rep on answers)

At the highest levels, you'll have access to special moderation tools. You'll be able to work alongside our community moderators to keep the site focused and helpful.

500 Vote to close, reopen, or migrate questions
1000 Edit other people's posts
2000 Access to moderation tools
see all privileges

Improve posts by editing or commenting

Our goal is to have the best answers to every question, so if you see questions or answers that can be improved, you can edit them.

Use edits to fix mistakes, improve formatting, or clarify the meaning of a post.

Use comments to ask for more information or clarify a question or answer.

You can always comment on your own questions and answers. Once you earn 50 reputation, you can comment on anybody's post.

Remember: we're all here to learn, so be friendly and helpful!

up vote 9 down vote

There are reported deaths from eating snow during WWII (Eastern Front). I presume due to hypothermia and/or the general poor health of the soldiers concerned.

Another site points out that snow is excellent at catching polution. Their reasoning is a bit fuzzy, but as a scientist I agree with their conclusion.

edit

Yeah, without being able to look at the original report, I am skeptical that they actually died of eating snow. What other factors were envolved? How do we know that eating snow was a contibuting factor, let alone the main cause? What was the actual cause of death? Was there a control in the same conditions where some ate snow and some didn't? Were these people already hypothermic? Would they likely have died anyway from other causes, like freezing to death? - Olin Lathrop Nov 14 '12 at 0:30

add a comment


Unlock badges for special achievements

Badges are special achievements you earn for participating on the site. They come in three levels: bronze, silver, and gold.

In fact, you can earn a badge just for reading this page:

 Informed Read the entire tour page
 Student First question with score of 1 or more
 Editor First edit
 Good Answer Answer score of 25 or more
 Civic Duty Vote 300 or more times
 Famous Question Question with 10,000 views

see all badges


Sign up to get started

Signing up allows you to:

  • Earn reputation when you help others with questions, answers and edits.
  • Select favorite tags to customize your home page.
  • Claim your first badge:  Informed
Looking for more in-depth information on the site? Visit the Help Center

The Great Outdoors Stack Exchange is part of the Stack Exchange network

Like this site? Stack Exchange is a network of 173 Q&A sites just like it. Check out the full list of sites.

Stack Exchange