War always creates hardships and new challenges for suppliers of tactical equipment. From the first battle ever fought until today, providing an adequate amount of water to soldiers has been an issue. In World War 1 combatants were sent to the fields with one small canteen and life sustaining protein. Today, thanks to new technology, we have far better options available.
Sometime in the 1970’s a new carrying system was developed for military personnel called Alice. It was a huge improvement in the amount of water you could carry, but it still had room for improvement. Eventually another system appeared called MOLLE.
This is a modular, lightweight load carrying equipment method which was presented to the army in 2001. It comes with a pouch attachment ladder system (pals) to easily attach a wide number of accessories, including some hydration systems.
Survival and Dehydration
Especially, it doesn’t take a huge loss of fluid to produce symptoms of dehydration. It’s been found in a study that soldiers routinely lose 2% to 5% of body water in a typical day, depending on climate and activity.
Studies also show that dehydration exceeding two percent or more of the body mass causes lethargy, significant loss of energy and aggression towards others. This is perhaps why access to the constant supply of potable water remains critical. When dehydration surpasses 5% of the body-mass, the symptoms are known to become more and more deleterious, and in worst cases, can even lead to death.
IDF (Zahal) Hydration Systems
The Israel Defense Forces were created to protect Israel land and people from aggressors of all kinds. IDF one of the few armies that are fighting modern wars in dry areas as deserts in its own borders. IDF was smart enough to realize they must take care of this problem. To that end, they have developed a number of tools that guarantee the safety of their troops in these areas.
Maintaining the health and proper hydration of their soldiers is an area IDF can be proud of. Having one liter of clean water tucked inside your vest goes a long way in ensuring proper hydration. For instance, it affords infantrymen to take a sip of water frequently without having to stop and unpack everything.
Water may be readily available to soldiers in training or perhaps even during combat, but having quick access has demonstrated a reduction in dehydration more than any other solution. Inconvenience has been determined to be one major reason for dehydration in soldiers.
Hydration Systems in Combat
Water is just as important as ammunition on the battle field. The average soldier’s water requirements range from 2 liters to 12 liters daily, depending on such factors as temperature and humidity. Add to that increased physical activity and heat related stress and the need for water increases substantially.
The 3 liter standard tactical water bag in addition to the one liter canteens provides a sufficient amount of water for several hours and helps keep the water deficit to 5% or less. A deficit of 5% to 7% can cause headache, dizziness, apathy and reduces heat tolerance. People with a fluid shortage at this level also exhibit a loss of appetite and a sudden increase in body temperature, which propels more fluid intake, resulting in a circle of deterioration to be formed.
Higher elevations have less oxygen, which stimulates mouth breathing and increases fluid loss. Fluid requirements differ in many ways from person to person and body mass needs to be considered in this regard, especially with an increase in physical activity. To prevent dehydration during exercise water is touted as mandatory: the amount will differ as per gender and body size.
Without easy access to water people don’t respond normally to the body’s first signals which are often subtle. The response would normally cause someone to drink before the deficit is created and prevent dehydration in the process.
Survival and Dehydration
The amount of baggage and how you carry it will determine how well your body can cool down. The heavier the load, the more energy you use. And the more energy you use, the more you sweat. And the more you sweat the more electrolytes and fluids you burn in the process, causing a huge demand for fluids and foods with salt.
Dehydration affects the overall performance-- both mentally and physically. Mild states of dryness elicit such symptoms as weariness, intolerance to heat, anorexia and aggressive behavior. As the condition worsens the effects tend to become dangerous.
Clinical studies show symptoms that include dizziness, shortness of breath, odd sensations and loss of sensations in the extremities. There is also a substantial decrease in performance and comprehension. They often times lose the ability to walk or speak legibly and the ability to make sound decisions. You can imagine how this would greatly increase the possibility of becoming a casualty.
Some groups have attempted to prevent or correct dehydration by gorging themselves with water. This is one of the most perilous decisions ever considered. Massive water consumption causes a dilution of sodium in your body’s ecosystem. On the other hand, low sodium quickly causes mental confusion, profound disorientation, muscle weakness and nausea and vomiting. The vomiting exacerbates the condition and the ability to walk or talk is impaired--- and often times are followed by seizures, coma and even death.
Prevention is the only key to survival. There are several ways you can control the loss of electrolytes and reduce fluid loss. You must keep your most demanding activities for the coolest part of the day. You should also focus on minimizing your weight load by carrying only what you really need. As for other things, you must consider the climate and dress appropriately.
You have to plan for the unexpected emergency by having extra clothing or medical supplies and some form of communication available. Do not miss meals, proper nutrition assists with energy production and a salty treat will replace some of that lost sodium.
Most of all you must carry an adequate amount of fluids to sustain you for at least 8 to 12 hours. For instance, you can think of taking small amounts of water frequently to reduce urine and sodium loss. You can also consider adding a small amount of salt to your water to help retain fluids.
The canteen plus the 3 liter tactical water bladder bag is the perfect source for water. They are lightweight, easy to fill and keep clean. They are also compatible for water filters if you need to refill them with an undesirable source. You can also rest assured in the knowledge that these won’t leak and the taste will be palatable even under the worst conditions.
Developing an adequate hydration system for Israeli soldiers will benefit all who participate in the high level outdoor exercise. Don’t wait until you experience the damaging effects of poor planning and dehydration.
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