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Nicholas Rettig




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jul, 2010 1:10 pm    Post subject: Hot Hot Harness         Reply with quote

Heres a simple question: how did knights in full kit get past the heat. It was about 105 yesterday and I almost passed out at my job. Now, undoubtedly a knight would be in better shape than me and would be more used to strenuous work in full gear but when you have 60 pounds of metal plus everything under the armor, that sounds like a recipe for heatstroke. So how did they avoid dying from the heat before they got a chance to die from an arrow.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jul, 2010 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know there's a thread on this subject around here somewhere. The Search function should find what you're looking for. Happy
Happy

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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jul, 2010 1:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well some did die from heatstroke or heat induced organ fauilures such as heart attacks. But large parts of the middle ages were cold periods with tempratures well below average for decades. (The Wolf & Spörer minimums aka the Little Ice Age) The diffrence in temprature is one of the reasons that todays reenactors have trouble with overheating during the summertime as the clothes we wear were designed to keep the body warm in rather cold weather.
Which is why even a linen doublet & wool hose is a pain as the temprature gets above 25 centigrade

"There is nothing more hazardous than to venture a battle. One can lose it
by a thousand unforseen circumstances, even when one has thorougly taken all
precautions that the most perfect military skill allows for."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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Peter Lyon
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jul, 2010 6:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is a good question; I have suffered heat stroke myself at a tournament while jousting - the temperature got above 30 celcius (about 86 farenheit), and that was quite enough. byu the end I was losing it but just got through. Add another 20 degrees and I don't know how anyone gets through it. If you are riding, and moreso on foot, the weight of the armour is far less important than the heat buildup inside as you exert yourself. I think part of the secret to surviving is to be as relaxed as possible, don't burn excess energy as it just turns your armour into a sauna (especially fully enclosed armour). Drink iced water to lower your core temperature at least temporarily. I have alsoheard of people pouring cold water inside their arming doublets while armoured to get a bit more cooling. Both of these are short term solutions but can be repeated.
Still hammering away
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Thomas R.




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 2:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I admit, you are scaring me a little bit... Eek!

My group and I are doing some reenactment on sunday at a childrens medieval fair at Frankenstein Castle (yeah, Mary Shelleys real one!) and the weatherforecast predicts about 38° Celsius (100.4° Fahrenheit). I'll wear a gambeson, padded legs, coif and kettle hat but no platearmor. I'll try Peters advice and will pour some water in the gambeson, if it's going to be too hot... So, I'll let you know if I got thru it. Wink Normally we wouldn't dress up in complete armor in such a summer heat, but we want to give the kids a show. So it's indeed a novelty experience for me. Maybe it's a good idea to wet the surcot/waffenrock aswell...

Hopefully until sunday then,
Thomas

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 2:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas R. wrote:
Well, I admit, you are scaring me a little bit... Eek!

My group and I are doing some reenactment on sunday at a childrens medieval fair at Frankenstein Castle (yeah, Mary Shelleys real one!) and the weatherforecast predicts about 38° Celsius (100.4° Fahrenheit). I'll wear a gambeson, padded legs, coif and kettle hat but no platearmor. I'll try Peters advice and will pour some water in the gambeson, if it's going to be too hot... So, I'll let you know if I got thru it. Wink Normally we wouldn't dress up in complete armor in such a summer heat, but we want to give the kids a show. So it's indeed a novelty experience for me. Maybe it's a good idea to wet the surcot/waffenrock aswell...

Hopefully until sunday then,
Thomas


Even gambison and maille seems hot at times but I guess better than the plate that holds moisture in.

Heat is a problem but if it's not too humid your sweat will saturate the gambison and it's evaporation should help keep you cool enough not to die ! Wink Razz Big Grin Cool If the humidity is high you just die ( Well maybe not but it becomes much more miserable )

Drink lots of water and uncover your head often and wipe with a cool wetted towel, you can get rid of a lot of heat if your head is uncovered or while uncovered. Stay out of the Sun and in the shade as much as possible, stay calm and avoid nervous movement that will just build up heat: Use as little energy as possible when you are not obliged to be active like in sparring.

If you do fight in armour you may not even feel the heat as you fight but as soon as you stop it can catch up with you: Have someone keep and eye on you and ready to remove your kettle hat and coif and wipe your face with cool water and give you plenty of water to drink. ( That is what pages where for in part running around to fetch water and hold your helm while you cool down ) Oh, and don't die. Wink Razz Big Grin Cool

( Oh, and have someone else help you get into your kit since struggling to try to reach hard to reach ties or buckles heat you up real fast: I found that putting on armour was exhausting and produced a lot of heat because of the struggling to reach almost unreachable fasteners and the frustration seems to heat one up more than just moving or trying to survive in the armour. If you don't have a helper try to team up with others and help each other out with the more difficult to reach buckles etc ... )

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 3:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean,
That is some very good advice. If possible I like to keep a couple of linnen or cotton towels in iced water in bucket or a cooler. That way I can quickly cool down by removing the helmet and wraping the towel about the neck while i take drink of water.

You are quite right about the way that heat builds up when you struggle to put on the armour, squires and pages are a real help if you have a complete harness. Even when wearign lesser armour my friends & i try to team up in groups of 2 or 3 to help each other with straps and buckles. Not only does it save time but it also reduces the time spent struggling about trying to use a buckle or tie a point behind your back.

Another thing is to leave the body gaps in the armour through with it can breath, a friend uses mail to protect his upper arms rather than e pauldrons and the upper arm plates in hot weather. For fighting and marching in hot weather I wear slightly old fashioned split hose which can be rolled down and tied in place below the knees. It prevents soem of the heat buildup when I can't remove the helmet.

"There is nothing more hazardous than to venture a battle. One can lose it
by a thousand unforseen circumstances, even when one has thorougly taken all
precautions that the most perfect military skill allows for."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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Martin Wallgren




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 4:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have no references historicly for this but have found out myself that if I pour water or dip the gambesons inner layers with water so it´s quite wet before I put it on the vapouration draws heat from my body and I feel rather cool even in very hot wether. It´s a bit as the old campingtrick to wrap a wet towel around your beer an put it in the sun after half an hour you have a cold one!!
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Kel Rekuta




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 7:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The only solution is massive hydration to keep your organs working efficiently. The trick is to drink a lot of water over the couple hours before you put your armour on - to the point of willing yourself to drink it. It takes time for that water to reach your major muscle groups and extremities. Your stomach cannot diffuse the water you drink as fast as it sweats out once you start exerting energy. Avoid the sports drinks or cut them with water. Don't drink ice water.

At the 2003 Dragon's Lair event, the temperature was in the low 30'sC. I spent over eight hours in full kit, in the sun. I had four full contact fights through the afternoon. All the other players dropped out due to heat issues. None of them had hydrated sufficiently in my opinion. I was still doing the meet and greet with crowds well after they left to find shade.

If my middle aged, overweight butt can survive those conditions with proper hydration, I suspect a fit medieval man could have easily done it. Wink
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 8:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas, over 100 degrees F in Germany? How often does that happen? Eek! I used to do a lot of SCA combat in Phoenix, Arizona, and hydrated like my life depended on it, which it did. I lived in Flagstaff, though, which is a ski town, unlike the flaming iron hell of Phoenix (actually not bad at all in the winter, though it will often reach 120 F, or about 48 C, if memory serves). I was not as used to heat as the natives, who would go out in heavy kit when it was over 90F. I had to sit out those fights.
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Thomas R.




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 9:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James Arlen Gillaspie wrote:
Thomas, over 100 degrees F in Germany? How often does that happen? Eek! I used to do a lot of SCA combat in Phoenix, Arizona, and hydrated like my life depended on it, which it did. I lived in Flagstaff, though, which is a ski town, unlike the flaming iron hell of Phoenix (actually not bad at all in the winter, though it will often reach 120 F, or about 48 C, if memory serves). I was not as used to heat as the natives, who would go out in heavy kit when it was over 90F. I had to sit out those fights.



Hi James,
it happens quite a lot in summer time, that we've got temperatures around 35° Celsius (95 degree Fahrenheit) here in germany. Mostly it lasts for about a week, then some thunderstorms happen and it gets a bit cooler for a couple of days. But soon enaught the temperature will rise again. Right now it's about 40° Celsius (104 degree Fahrenheit) on my balcony (measured in shadow). It seems to be the hottest day we had this year so far... But almost no germans have got any air conditioning at their homes (only at work, and even that's not a general rule...) Sad

So we sweat, go to the lake or eat lots of italian icecream Laughing Out Loud

I am now really worried about tomorrows fair Happy

Thomas

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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It makes you wonder how Frankish knights managed to function in Outremer. i imagine that the heat was a contributing factor in their defeat at Hattin.
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Kel Rekuta




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 12:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger Hooper wrote:
It makes you wonder how Frankish knights managed to function in Outremer. i imagine that the heat was a contributing factor in their defeat at Hattin.


No water for a couple days. The Arabs just sat back and relaxed while the Franks baked and slowly went insane from thirst.
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Peter Lyon
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 1:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kel Rekuta wrote:
The only solution is massive hydration to keep your organs working efficiently.


Good point. By the time you are feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated and it will take time for fresh water intakes to get through your body. Be careful about drinking too much too early, or your bladder won't hold out! But once you are working and sweating, it should not be a problem; at one hot tournament I drank at least three litres of water during the day but it all sweated out.

Another little thing I learned: If the arming doublet gets soaked through with sweat, especially in the armpit area, the sweat evaporating off the outside cools you. You will get hotter and sweatier until this happens, then your temperature should stabilise.

Still hammering away
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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 2:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some advice from the modern battlefield:

Coming from the experience of wearing 80+ lbs of gear and body armor in a 125+ degree climate, one thing that I found of use was to get a few of those Blue Ice packets and put them in your general kidney area. Change them out when they get warm. Since the blood flows through your kidneys to filter, this has a general cooling effect over the whole body. You would be quite suprised how well this works.

Also, pay attention to the color of your urine. Clear is good. Yellow you need to drink more. A couple liters per hour is about right for excessively hot temperatures - else you are going to feel like crap.

Additionally, eat something with salt in it; such as a handful of peanuts, chips, jerky, pretzels, etc. Drinking alot depletes the electrolytes in your body and you will end up feeling tapped and have a non-stop headache if you drink alot but do not eat something salty.

To tell if you are dehydrated, check your capillary refil time. Press on your fingernail until the quick goes white. Release and watch. It should return to a natural color immediately. If it does not, then you need to drink more. Pinching your skin to check works as well. Well-hydrated skin will return to it's natural state quickly because it is elastic. Non-hydrated skin is slower to return to it's natural state and telling you to drink more.

The guidelines worked well for me in Iraq. Using these methods and keeping really well-hydrated prevented me from ever becoming a heat casuality. Happy

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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 3:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some very good info here. Sarge good of you to post some ways to check.

I cannot add much more than has been said here. WATER, WATER and more WATER. This really is the key. and it is very good advice.

The only other thing that comes to mind is conditioning. If you are used to wearing your armour often, in the heat and while hydrated you will be more prepared. Very similar to any major use of your body. If you are accustomed to the heat in your armour it will make your events much easier. It gets fairly hot around here but not insane like Arizona and I have been to events and been in my armour for a weekend more or less the whole time. I think it just takes lots of water and conditioning.

Surprised how hot it is in Germany right now. That seems uncommonly warm for any duration of time, even during the summer. My European Atlas indicates (pub. 2005) 74 f. is the average weather temperature in the hottest month, so 104 must be a brutal change.

RPM
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Thomas R.




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 4:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:

Surprised how hot it is in Germany right now. That seems uncommonly warm for any duration of time, even during the summer. My European Atlas indicates (pub. 2005) 74 f. is the average weather temperature in the hottest month, so 104 must be a brutal change.

RPM


Hi Randall,
no, it's no brutal change at all, it's summertime Wink. The average temperature doesn't mean it's all the time like 23° Celsius (74° F), at night it's much cooler, and on some days the thermometer shows 35° Celsius and more. But, I agree: 38 - 40° Celsius is really, really seldom here. There are only a couple of days each summer, which are that hot. Yesterday was such a day. I just saw at www.blids.de that there is a huge (!) stormfront rushing in from the west (it's 1.13 a.m here and still a very warm night). So I guess it will be cooling down until morning quite a lot! (I hope so).

Thomas

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 7:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas R. wrote:
Randall Moffett wrote:

Surprised how hot it is in Germany right now. That seems uncommonly warm for any duration of time, even during the summer. My European Atlas indicates (pub. 2005) 74 f. is the average weather temperature in the hottest month, so 104 must be a brutal change.

RPM


Hi Randall,
no, it's no brutal change at all, it's summertime Wink. The average temperature doesn't mean it's all the time like 23° Celsius (74° F), at night it's much cooler, and on some days the thermometer shows 35° Celsius and more. But, I agree: 38 - 40° Celsius is really, really seldom here. There are only a couple of days each summer, which are that hot. Yesterday was such a day. I just saw at www.blids.de that there is a huge (!) stormfront rushing in from the west (it's 1.13 a.m here and still a very warm night). So I guess it will be cooling down until morning quite a lot! (I hope so).

Thomas


Same thing here in the " Great White North " cold COLD winters but short intense Summer with high humidity.

One thing to be careful about hydration is the dangers of water poisoning which can occur if one drinks vast amounts of water without replenishing lost mineral salts i.e. one can go into a coma and die ! So maybe a sports drinks are not such a bad idea but maybe diluted by half with water.

The first hour or so feels the worse but if the air is dry the sweat evaporating from your now wet gambision should cool you down a bit or enough to be bearable if not pleasant. Now like I said in an earlier post if the heat is also accompanied by very high humidity the sweat won't evaporated and won't do much to cool you down.

Oh, let us know how it went and your " post/toasty " impressions: We will all be relieved to know you made it alive and you will probably have some interesting things to say about it all. Wink Big Grin Cool

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Scott Hrouda




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Jul, 2010 10:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some similar helpful information can be found on this thread.

I recently fought for a week straight, several hours a day in the sun. By the end of the week, my gambeson had white salt stains from all the minerals that leached out of my body! Stay in the shade, drink water, eat salty snacks and be smart.

...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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Thomas R.




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PostPosted: Sun 11 Jul, 2010 11:02 am    Post subject: I survived ;o)         Reply with quote

Hi friends,

I survived the Frankenstein Castle Fair today, thanks to your good advice! Happy We stayed there for five hours, of which I wore my full kit for about 1,5 hours. Every then and now I removed the helmet, ventail and maille-mittens for some cooling. The temperature has dropped some degrees to 35° Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) since yesterday and we sparred under a big, shadowy tree in the castle yard.

So, what did I do to not overheat? First of all I did heed Sarge's advice to be good hydrated, I drank a lot of not too cold water yesterday afternoon and in the morning and only ate a light breakfast. Then I surely drank 1,5 Litres during wearing the gambeson etc. And that was a necessity! After only ten to fifteen minutes the maillecoif's rings were really, really hot underneath the kettle hat. I then applied a linen scarf soaked in fresh water around my neck, which had an enormous cooling effect. My face was already red and sweaty from our first show-fight. After half an hour, the gambeson was soaked in my own sweat - I hadn't soaked it at first in water at all. While having removed the helmet and coif I was then feeling quite okay in my sweaty garments (remember: I also wore padded knee-armor (Diechlinge).

My sparring-partner only wore a light aketon with his hauberk (without coif or headpadding!) and was completly done after one hour. I think Sarge's hint to good hydration long _before_ the "battle" made all the difference. I then did some other sparring and walked around, talked to tourists and kids, until it got too hot in the afternoon. As I undid all my armor, everything was dripping wet... Big Grin But I didn't get any heatstroke, headache or such.

Thanks for all your good advice yesterday!
Best regard,
Thomas



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I just landed a hit on my comrades rear - hahaha :o)

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