# Thread: Why even Ray Mears dies alone in the subarctic -- part 1

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## Why even Ray Mears dies alone in the subarctic -- part 1

Leaving aside my strong feelings about the deceptions in Ed Wardle's dieting show, "Alone in the Wild: One Man's Adventure At Avoiding Food and People at the Lodge" I thought some of you might be interested in some of the calorie math issues that pop up surviving in the arctic.

This will be two long posts, but if you want to examine the kinds of things those of us who actually do go out into the arctic/subarctic worry about, read on.

For all intents and purposes, anyone who is placed alone in the arctic or subarctic without resupply over a reasonable duration will die. Even Ray Mears.

Sure there are some examples of people surviving, but they're the statistical flukes and generally had extraordinary luck.

I'm talking about the other 99% of the time here -- a lone person will die. There is a reason even the natives don't go out alone for a long time.

You need a party to survive up there. If you're alone, you inevitably wind up in a meaningful calorie deficit that will kill you over time.

This post explains the hard facts of calories in the subarctic.

First off, we know the basal metabolism of an individual in a temperate clime.

I'm going to use men for this calculation and women burn fewer calories in basal metabolism. I'm not being sexist here, I just don't want to do the calculations twice... but hang on gals, your enormous virtues in the wild will appear toward the end. Also, sorry, but I'm not doing the metric conversions here...

The basal metabolism calculation in a temperate zone is:

66 + (6.3 x body weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)

A 5' 10'' male, who is 35 years old and weighs 165 pounds has a basal metabolism of 1,770 calories per day. If he consume less than that, he starts losing weight.

Of course the basal number in the arctic is close to 2,500 for this hypothetical man, but again, we'll use the lower number to give poor old Ray Mears the best chance possible.

The reality of life in the wild is that the camp chores that exist for one person are more or less the same as those for a group of people. You use the same amount of firewood, etc.

Maybe the shelter is a little larger, but not appreciably. Yes, you have to gather a bit more water, but not enough to radically change the calorie burn.

So here is the calorie burn for different activities in a northern clime (established by thermographic studies --- I've collected these over the years because this stuff matters to me when planning trips...)

Activity and hourly calorie burn:

Chopping/gathering wood: 500
tending camp (odd jobs, mending shelter, etc.): 240
Hunting: 400
Foraging: 340

If you don't bring food in, these are daily tasks. So here is a reasonable expectation for the average number of hours a day that you will need to perform each task, along with the daily total calorie burn:

Chopping/gathering wood: 2 hours, 1000 calories
Tending camp (odd jobs, etc.) 2 hours, 480 calories
Hunting: 4.5 hours, 1800 calories
Foraging: 3 hours, 1020 calories

Total daily calorie needs for camp related activities: 4300 calories per day.
Total camp activities + basal metabolism for 1 person: 6,070 calories per day.

(Notice that about half of your calories are expended on acquiring food – that percentage matters later...)

Now I want to stress that's the best case with decent weather, etc for a fit individual. It's not uncommon to see backpackers who burn 8,000-10,000 calories a day in this environment.

Which brings us to the question of what happens on the move. The above calculations are for a stationary person. What happens if you break camp and go?

Assume a total weight of camping gear (excluding clothes and food) of 30 pounds. That would be light for some folks, heavy for others. But we're also assuming that you're carrying a rifle for hunting, so at ~ 7.5 pounds for the gun without ammo, that leaves you with 22.5 pounds for all the rest of your gear.

If you carry that and nothing else, you'll burn 1596 calories on a 4 hour hike.

By the time you add clothes and ammo and food, you're carry more. But again, let's offer the best case: 1596 calories for a 4 hour hike over reasonable terrain. (What you'll face in much of Alaska would have you burning about twice that much in the real world...)

Here's where things get interesting: a single person who is stationary needs about 6070 calories a day in camp and about 7,666 if hiking (remember, you've still got all the camp chores even if you're on the move.)

So how much food will that person require.

I'll focus entirely on meat because protein and fats are crucial in this equation. Here is the calorie value for one pound of meat of various northern game:

Salmon: 960
Trout: 864
Venison (Sitka deer): 480
Moose: 608
Bear (late season): 1173
Rabbit: 784

You can see why bears prize fish -- it's a huge benefit for protein and fat. You can also see why bear makes good survival meat late in the season.

OK, let's assume than an individual requires the 4300 calories a day for CAMP CHORES ONLY. To accomplish that you would have to acquire:

4.8 pounds of Salmon per day or..
4.9 pounds of Trout per day or....
8.9 pounds of venison per day or...
7 pounds of moose per day or...
3.6 pounds of bear per day or...
5.4 pounds of rabbit per day

That's a LOT of food to get every day, because you have to do this regardless of the season... And that's the amount you need in a fixed camp -- on the move you need a lot more...

And even if you got these amounts, your basal metabolism will put you in a deficit and you'll lose from 1/2 to 3/4 of a pound a day.

Over 30 days of this, you could lose up to 22 pounds. And that's the best case. Real world, you're looking at losing closer to 35 pounds EVEN IF you get the amount of game listed above!

If you're lucky and you bag a bear or a moose early on, you might be OK for a little while. But, well, that requires a lot of luck. And if you're on the move, you've got to transport all that meat, preserve it, etc....

And what if you're not lucky?

A pound of human fat contains about 3,500 calories. So if you don't acquire any food, you're looking at losing about 2 pounds a DAY of weight.

(This is a little tricky because of fitness issues, but it's a fairly accurate general rule.)

If you're backpacking and covering miles, the typical rule of thumb is you need to carry 30 pounds of food a week. Few backpackers actually carry that much because, well, as you can see traveling lighter is better from a calorie burn perspective. In general though, you figure to lose 1/2 to 1 pound per day backpacking on trips longer than a week.

Good diet plan.

So here's the problem: an individual has to have enormous luck hunting to acquire the food necessary to get through a single day's activities and maintain weight.

If you have bad luck for ONE DAY, you lose almost 2 pounds. If you have bad luck for 2 days a week and good luck the rest of the time, you're still losing 4 pounds a week.

Of course, that kind of loss will make other chores harder. You're feeling real energy drain, lethargy, if you don't have enough protein you won't think straight, etc.

And over time, that kills you. Guaranteed. Even if you're Ray Mears alone in the arctic, you die over time. Because even good old sainted Ray won't be lucky hunting every day....

But what happens if you have a party along? The situation changes substantially... That will be the subject of the next post in this thread. I'll have it up in a couple of minutes
Last edited by dogwood; 20-09-2009 at 21:37. Reason: fixed a couple of typos

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## Why even Ray Mears dies in the subarctic along -- part 2

Part of the secret of why having a party matters so much in the northern woods stems from the fact that adding members to the party doesn't add appreciably to the “camp chore” calorie burn. You don't chop more wood for five than you do for one person, for example.

Sure, each new member of the party adds food they must eat. But in a stationary envorinment, they're only adding their basal metabolism needs (1,770 per day) while each new member reduces the impact of the camp chore calories for all other members.

So what does that look like? Let's look at total calorie consumption (camp calories + basal) by the party assuming a stable amount of camp calories up to five people:

1 person – 6070 calories total in camp, 6,070 calories needed per day per person.
2 people -- 7,841 calories total in camp, 3,920 calories needed per day per person.
3 people – 9,611 calories total in camp, 3,204 calories needed per day per person.
5 people – 13,152 calories total in camp, 2,630 calories needed per day per person.

Now, how much food do we have to get to supply the TOTAL calories needs (camp+basal) for these parties.

Let's just use salmon:

1 person needs 4.4 lbs of salmon per day
2 people need 9 lbs of salmon per day
3 people need 11 lbs of salmon per day
5 people need 13 lbs of salmon per day.

Going from one to two people doesn't massively change the survival scenario. But as you add more (up to a point) you get a multiplier effect. Notice that when you go from three to five people all you need to do is acquire 2 lbs more salmon per day to keep everyone happy and healthy. When you go from 8 to 10 people in a party, it's almost free from a caloric perspective.

Now when you're on the move the larger parties can hurt you because everyone's calorie individual burn is so high and the multiplier effect gets knocked out.

The benefit of the “free” additional members begin to cost a lot when on the move. This is why primitive people move the whole group as seldom as possible – moving a camp of 40 people 60 miles can (and has) set off strings of events that wipe out entire villages.

More importantly, there's this – the camp calories above assume only a total of 4.5 hours of hunting per day and 3 hours of foraging for the whole group. When you're alone or in a small group, that's all you can risk because it represents almost 50% of your daily total.

But in a group, people can all hunt and maximize territory coverage. More importantly because a group soon has excess hours and lower individual calorie demands, more proportional time of each day can be devoted to acquiring food and each pound of meat is worth more.

Yes you have to acquire a bit more meat, but that meat goes further because of reduced individual caloric load among tribe members. Again, all this benefit goes away when on the move, so you've got to be careful about preparing lots of food to carry with you on the move.

Anyhow, for those of you who waded through all this, I hope it has been worthwhile.

Basically, the short version of the story is this: virtually anyone will die alone in that environment 99% of the time provided a reasonable duration. The calorie math ensures this.

In a group, you can not only survive, you can thrive.

Now as promised, here's the cool thing about women. Because they're smaller their basal calorie demands are much less than men (the calculation is: 655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years) for non-pregnant adult women)

Because of this, adding women to the camp party has a huge benefit in terms of work capability vs. caloric requirements. Women are like gold in a primitive situation from this perspective.

Of course, they're like gold in general too, but assuming the same skill level in the arctic a group of women have a better chance of surviving than a group of men, guaranteed.
Last edited by dogwood; 20-09-2009 at 21:42. Reason: fixed a typo

3. Thats an interesting read Dogwood. The secret would be to get lost with a whole bunch of slightly overweight ladies, by the end of the month moral would be sky-high due to all the weight they'd lost and still have the energy to do all the chores as well as looking 'fit'

4. Awesome post bud!

Are you sure the equation is right though? It puts me at around 10,000 calories

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Originally Posted by Draven
Awesome post bud!

Are you sure the equation is right though? It puts me at around 10,000 calories
Pete, you're talking about the basal metabolism formula? Yeah, it's right. Maybe when you did it you got a parentheses misplaced and that resulted in the 10,000?

(Another possibility -- did you use centimeters for your height or inches? The calculation uses inches.)

Glad you liked the post -- amazed anyone read the whole thing!

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Originally Posted by bushwacker bob
Thats an interesting read Dogwood. The secret would be to get lost with a whole bunch of slightly overweight ladies, by the end of the month moral would be sky-high due to all the weight they'd lost and still have the energy to do all the chores as well as looking 'fit'
Now THAT'S a plan!

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Intended as discussion not criticism:-

Wouldn't trapping and fishing be a lower energy way to catch meat than hunting.

Also as I understand it the level of activity you presuppose is pretty (very) high. Ie approximately 12 hours per day of intense activity. Wouldn't that be unsustainable for most people simply through exhaustion. 12 hours a day intense labour every day and I'd think exhaustion would kill me before I starved :-)

Isn't the most pertinent figure going to be what the expected 'catch' from activities are going to be. Ie X hours hunting/fishing/trapping for Ycalories.

You may well get days of zero catch on other hand may get days of good results. Preservation in a static situation would flatten out to some extent the intake.

In a static scenario wouldn't you get a drop in activity over time as what for the better want of expression 'capital' was created. Ie you've got your fishing and traplines well set out, got your shelter as well built as you meaningfully can etc.

8. Originally Posted by dogwood
Now THAT'S a plan!
Its THE plan.

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Originally Posted by Firebringer
Intended as discussion not criticism:-

Wouldn't trapping and fishing be a lower energy way to catch meat than hunting.
Absolutely right!

However the hunting calories I present assume a mix of actually hunting and tending traps as well as the caloric cost of transporting game back to camp and whatnot.

Simply hiking to trap lines, etc. represents a meainingful calorie burn. It's covered in the hunting number. I should have made that clearer. Thanks!

To bear out your thesis even more, in the subarctic, actual angling for fish is a very bad idea from a calorie per hour perspective. What you want to do is make fish traps, just as you suggest.

(One caution on the fish traps -- if bears get wind of them, they'll destroy them getting to the fish you trapped. You'll have to move the trap location because the bears will be back every day.)

Also as I understand it the level of activity you presuppose is pretty (very) high. Ie approximately 12 hours per day of intense activity. Wouldn't that be unsustainable for most people simply through exhaustion. 12 hours a day intense labour every day and I'd think exhaustion would kill me before I starved :-)
That's part of the point of the exercise -- alone, the level activitiy needed to survive is NOT sustainable. However, once you start parceling out the activities among the group, that equation changes.

Isn't the most pertinent figure going to be what the expected 'catch' from activities are going to be. Ie X hours hunting/fishing/trapping for Ycalories.
The catch and the quality of the catch matter a lot, for sure. The issue in the northern woods is the game situation is intensely seasonal. But even assuming a regualar catch -- a big assumption that -- you're still going to be in deficit alone and you'll die over time. Just more slowly.

Hence the need for the tribe

You may well get days of zero catch on other hand may get days of good results. Preservation in a static situation would flatten out to some extent the intake.
Exactly right, again! And preservation itself is time consuming and burns calories. Let's say you get a few hundred pounds of moose meat -- how much can you preserve before it goes bad? It's tricky!

With a tribe, you can preserve it all. Individually, can't get everything done in time.

In a static scenario wouldn't you get a drop in activity over time as what for the better want of expression 'capital' was created. Ie you've got your fishing and traplines well set out, got your shelter as well built as you meaningfully can etc.
Not as much as you'd think. Using native people's as an example, there is seldom a meaningful surplus in food accumulated. The camp chores continue day in and day out. Wood must be gathered and cut, etc. Life for hunter-gatherers, which the life we're describing here, never gets appreciably easier and any gain is short lived.

So while the peaks and valleys of the experience flatten out a little, you're never really on easy street. Plus you're one illness or one bad storm away from crisis or game moves on season, etc. In other words, you don't build up as much capital as you hope. But with a tribe, you can still make it.

Of course, if you're alone, you're dead long before that capital builds up because you're in constant deficit.

10. Dogwood is absolutely right.

"Lone man against the wilderness" is romantised maculine myth generally unless you are in a resource-rich area and skillful and lucky.

Survival is all about the band and the calorie in = calorie out equation, conserving sweat conserving energy routine.

Mind you the greater your skill the less time and energy you expend.

But nothing beats a native woman. She'll take care of the camp chores while you go check the traplines and fish traps. Soon you'll be working just 5 hours a day and starting your own little band.

Just don't go in with the boss's secretary however good she looks

11. Originally Posted by dogwood
To bear out your thesis even more, in the subarctic, actual angling for fish is a very bad idea from a calorie per hour perspective. What you want to do is make fish traps, just as you suggest.
Angling has AFAIK always been more of a hobby activity than a good plan. Under most circumstances!

The catch and the quality of the catch matter a lot, for sure. The issue in the northern woods is the game situation is intensely seasonal. But even assuming a regualar catch -- a big assumption that -- you're still going to be in deficit alone and you'll die over time. Just more slowly.
Interestingly, it has been shown that bears in Alaska are very seasonal i their food search, because they are marginal inhabitants there (if a Kodiak bear got much bigger it would not be able to sustain itself). As to the salmon run; even the wolves switch over to them during the run.

Exactly right, again! And preservation itself is time consuming and burns calories. Let's say you get a few hundred pounds of moose meat -- how much can you preserve before it goes bad? It's tricky!
Drying and making it into pemican would take time (and you'd need to guard it 24/7 or you end up feeding bears or otgher scavengers. Thast is why you hunt moose in the fall; you can place it into a cashe and let mother nature preserve it (by freezing).

Not as much as you'd think. Using native people's as an example, there is seldom a meaningful surplus in food accumulated. The camp chores continue day in and day out. Wood must be gathered and cut, etc. Life for hunter-gatherers, which the life we're describing here, never gets appreciably easier and any gain is short lived.
If one reads the "early" accounts from the north (I strongly reccomend Helge Ingstad) you often see the notion that "they silly Indians never save for later". This makes more sense for the situation you describe, even if there was a large ammount of preserving taking place (e.g. smoking/drying salmon during the run, putting a moose or two into a cache, etc).

So while the peaks and valleys of the experience flatten out a little, you're never really on easy street. Plus you're one illness or one bad storm away from crisis or game moves on season, etc. In other words, you don't build up as much capital as you hope. But with a tribe, you can still make it.
While I think your caliorie numbers (btw, are you talking kcal rather than calories?) are a bit high your premise is sound. IIRC 10000 kcal is arctic expedition levels, in comprison Swedish Army rangers get on the order of 6-7000 kcal/day in winter, for lugging 40 kg packs. More realistically I would expect 4-6000 kcal, but that is not supported by any calculations or tests. There has been some studies done for survival conditions, but I have no time to look them up now (need to go out and hunt moose...), but will do so later.

Reading on salmon run, bear size, etc:

Chris T. Darimont and Paul C. Paquet and Thomas E. Reimchen
Spawning salmon disrupt trophic coupling between wolves and ungulate prey in coastal British Columbia
BMC Ecology 8(1):14 (eprint), 2008

Gary P. Burness and Jared Diamond and Timothy Flannery
Dinosaurs, dragons, and dwarfs: The evolution of maximal body size
PNAS 98(25):14518-14523, 2001

Chris Carbone and Amber Teacher and J. Marcus Rowcliffe
The Costs of Carnivory
PLoS Biology 5(2):e22, 2007

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Originally Posted by forestwalker
While I think your caliorie numbers (btw, are you talking kcal rather than calories?)
My apologies, I should have made that clear.

I'm talking kilocalories in all cases (that's what we mean in common parlance here in the US.)

As to whether the numbers are high, bear in mind that the 10,000 figure I use on the high end is the maximum for heavily loaded backpackers covering lots of miles -- I offered it primarily as the maximum one might see.

The reason I used the 6,070 figure for the bulk of the calculations is that looks like a reasonable mid-range figure.

Incidentally, even in temperate climes, the work done can really affect consumption: on the Lewis and Clark expedition, when game was plentiful the men ate 14 pounds of meat a day each and STILL lost tons of weight!

13. i have a question, would overall fitness matter in these calorie calculations?
its widely seen in hunter/gatherer communities that the members of the community are fit for the role that they play in their group.
the hunters general aerobic fitness is high along with their stamina levels, and the gatherers upper body strength is conditioned to all the chores they do throughout the day.
there has been in recent times a setback to the overall health of the group with the advent of western civilisation creeping in and the people indulging in the odd mars bar now and again!
this has led to more people in those areas being diagnosed with diabetes etc.

anyway i digress, my question is do people who are fit and conditioned to working in an arctic environment use up more calories than the average numpty who goes out in the wildnerness and tries to survive on his own?

14. Many thanks to Dogwood for his well-considered and interesting post

15. Get in touch with Channel 5 in the UK about testing your hypothesis. They'll have a bunch of whineing, snivelling crybaby morbidly obese people out there faster than you can say "do you want fries with that?"

16. I like that idea. Each week viewers can phone in for who gets eaten in the next episode (bleagh)...

17. Well done, mate! This is an excellent thread. I am just starting a degree course with a high proportion of nutritional science involved and I look forward to going into scenarios like this in a bit more depth in future. In the mean time, very interesting stuff and a fascinating discussion.

Why can't it always be like this rather than the standard 'What's The Best ... ?'

18. Now this is what I call a sensible thread.

Thank you Dogwood.

Marginal existance used to be a reality to the Inuit, many families died when the hunting was poor.

19. Of course, a group of individuals can exploit each others' strengths and weaknesses. Good hunters can focus on meat, foragers on gathering, lame/sick/lazy have a role in camp. Injuries no longer become life-threatening problems because the injured/sick person has a chance to rest up and recover. Overall distribution of energy - both use and food - is optimised.

20. thats why i try and point out you cant be a Hunter Gatherer as an individual
its a group simbiotic thing and generally the men are the hunter part and the women are the Gatherer part

ive always assumed that the pregnancy and child rearing was a large part of this split but maybe also the Calorie burn differnce also helps ???.
anyone want to take evolution to court for being sexist

ATB

Duncan

21. Originally Posted by dogwood
Pete, you're talking about the basal metabolism formula? Yeah, it's right. Maybe when you did it you got a parentheses misplaced and that resulted in the 10,000?

(Another possibility -- did you use centimeters for your height or inches? The calculation uses inches.)

Glad you liked the post -- amazed anyone read the whole thing!
Ah yes, think I missed a decimal point there! Just did it again and got 2044 - much more like it!

Pete

22. ## not quite

Originally Posted by FGYT
thats why i try and point out you cant be a Hunter Gatherer as an individual
its a group simbiotic thing and generally the men are the hunter part and the women are the Gatherer part
Which dept of Social Anthropology did you go to? I think you cannot generalise as this, women fish and hunt in many 4th world communities and equally men gather. It has to be taken within a specific cultural context before a generalisation can be made. So I really have to disagree with you on this one it's just far to simplistic.

As for the individual thing you are correct, some communities did in periods of extreme hardship split up and going solo temporally was common place however permanent exclusion from the group was seen often as a death sentance and was viewed by the innuit for example as the ultimate form of social control other than a direct assault.

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Thanks to all that i have now found the ideal life style for calorific intake

24. Originally Posted by tobes01
Of course, a group of individuals can exploit each others' strengths and weaknesses. Good hunters can focus on meat, foragers on gathering, lame/sick/lazy have a role in camp. Injuries no longer become life-threatening problems because the injured/sick person has a chance to rest up and recover. Overall distribution of energy - both use and food - is optimised.
I saw a paper somewhere recently that claimed that specialization was one of H. sapiens avantages over H. neanderthalis; out hunters were better because they did it full time, out gatherers dito. Apparently the sexual dimorphism is the basis for this. Interestingly enought, it takes way longer to become a good hunter than it takes to become a good gatherer (vaguely recalled from a lecture; gathering girls are net providers in their early teens, while hunting boys are net providers in their early 20s, all in the example cultures studied).

25. Originally Posted by Mikey P
Why can't it always be like this rather than the standard 'What's The Best ... ?'
We could turn it into: What's The Best:
* group size
* foraging strategy

26. Originally Posted by dogwood
My apologies, I should have made that clear.

I'm talking kilocalories in all cases (that's what we mean in common parlance here in the US.)
While it is not your fault I really, really hate the US idea that 1000 calories = 1 Calorie. I have interesting notions for what to do with that person.

As to whether the numbers are high, bear in mind that the 10,000 figure I use on the high end is the maximum for heavily loaded backpackers covering lots of miles -- I offered it primarily as the maximum one might see.

The reason I used the 6,070 figure for the bulk of the calculations is that looks like a reasonable mid-range figure.
6000 kcal is more reasonable. Do you now if there are any studies on the actual food budget in subarctic hunter-gatherer communities?

[/quote]
Incidentally, even in temperate climes, the work done can really affect consumption: on the Lewis and Clark expedition, when game was plentiful the men ate 14 pounds of meat a day each and STILL lost tons of weight![/QUOTE]

I wonder which parts the L&C people ate? All the animal, or just the "meat"...

27. Originally Posted by forestwalker
I saw a paper somewhere recently that claimed that specialization was one of H. sapiens avantages over H. neanderthalis; out hunters were better because they did it full time, out gatherers dito. Apparently the sexual dimorphism is the basis for this. Interestingly enought, it takes way longer to become a good hunter than it takes to become a good gatherer (vaguely recalled from a lecture; gathering girls are net providers in their early teens, while hunting boys are net providers in their early 20s, all in the example cultures studied).
That is very interesting, in fact the whole thread is. I suppose the girls will learn the gathering from their mother as they get older whilst the men are out hunting. Bear in mind, the boys would be with their mothers too to a certain age so they must learn gathering to a more than proficient degree but as they age they will focus more on hunting so that the gathering side of life becomes more of a side line thing to their main role of hunting. I believe the male Aborigines of Australia consider gathering as womens' work though!

28. Very interesting info. Just one point though. There really should be no difference between your basal metabolism measured in a temperate zone or an arctic zone. Basal rates don't change in the acute time frame. A basal rate is defined as being measured at thermoneutrality. I'm not even sure acclimatization would have an effect but I do believe climatic adaptation would affect BMRs.

29. Fascinating and interesting post, thanks Dogwood.

There are reasons that the area Ed Wardle was trying to survive in is barely inhabited.

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Originally Posted by forestwalker
6000 kcal is more reasonable. Do you now if there are any studies on the actual food budget in subarctic hunter-gatherer communities?
Yes there have been studies that I've read, but I can't cite them off-hand. The documentation of the diets of Inuit after first contact, in other words the traditional diet, was exceedingly heavy in fats in order to push the calorie intake as high as possible.

I wonder which parts the L&C people ate? All the animal, or just the "meat"...
Well it varied a bit -- when they were in game heavy areas like the upper Great Plains, they ate meat and organs. Lewis' journal talks of a couple of areas so rich in game that they literally had to push elk and buffalo aside to walk. Bison then were almost 30 percent larger than the bison of today, too.

When they were in game poor areas they ate meat, organs, marrow, pretty much everything. One historical side note: the L&C expedition's favorite meat was dog for the second half of the trip once they tired of elk and bison. They actively traded with the Indians for dogs.

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