Summertime Safety Prep

Here in Texas, it’s officially summer.

It’s hot.

It’s sunny.

If you’re going to do some training or practice in self-defense, there’s a couple things of utmost importance for preserving your life and well-being:

  1. Sunscreen
  2. Hydration

Sunscreen

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, if it’s taking a day-long class at an outdoor gun range or just spending the day outside enjoying the sun.

Wear sunscreen. This can be a spray/lotion/cream product, or just wearing covering (but cool) clothing, brimmed hats, etc. Protect your skin.

I’d like to think most people understand the need for sunscreen (if you don’t, Google is your friend). But I see it time and time again in classes, where people don’t somehow protect themselves from the sun and by mid-day are turning red, and are nice and burned by the end of the day. If you’ve got a 2-day class, day 2 is going to be miserable.

At KR Training we’ve got sunscreen in the bathroom. Use it, please!

I used to wear my short-sleeve shirt and shorts, which is my normal summertime choice. But all day out on the range, with no shade? It just got to be too much for me, even with sunscreen.

Now I keep myself fairly covered. I wear long pants (and recently picked up a pair of Vertx Phantom Ops AirFlow upon recommendation from Caleb Causey; we’ll see how they go). I used to wear an Under Armour long-sleeve shirt underneath my KR Training shirt, but that got too hot. Now I just wear the KRT shirt with a set of Under Armour “sleeves”; I used to think these looked silly, and I still do, but they are a godsend. They keep me covered, and actually help with cooling. The only exposed skin I have are my hands, face, and neck, and I do put a high-SPF, waterproof (sweat) sunscreen on them. My days on the range are much happier this way. Yes I’m covered, but it’s with cool(ing) cover.

Hydration

As Caleb Causey is famous for saying: Drink water!

But really, it’s more than that.

Eat well. Make sure your body is well-nourished. This nourishment should be every day, but sometimes life gets to us. If you know you’re going to be having a day or two of heavy physical activity out in the heat, make the effort to get your body well-nourished starting a couple days before. Like if it’s a weekend class? Start at least come Thursday morning, all day Thursday, all day Friday – and then all day through the classes. Keep your body well-fed.

If you don’t have a specific medical condition that prevents you, you should also not be afraid of taking in some extra salt, both before and during the activity. You will lose a lot of electrolytes through sweat. One thing I like to do? That “Lite Salt”? It’s actually a mix of sodium and potassium. I put about 1/4 tsp. into drinks; not enough that I truly notice a salty flavor, but enough that I get a little extra electrolyte in me — and it’s cheaper than sports drinks.

Drink more than you need. If you’re used to just taking a few gulps? Take a few more. Drink 8 oz? Drink 16. Just drink more, because you are generally fighting a losing battle.

Pay attention to your pee. It should be pretty close to clear (tho truly clear can actually be over-hydration and be diluting electrolytes). A faint yellow or straw color is good. If it’s darker yellow, if it’s brown, drink (more) water. If you’re seeing other colors, you may need medical attention (seriously).

Take care of yourself

You’re coming to the gun range to learn how to protect and preserve your life.

Preserving your life starts with your health.

Protect yourself from the sun. Protect yourself from dehydration. Protect yourself from heat exhaustion and other heat-related injuries. They are common and pretty easily preventable.

You’ll have a much more enjoyable and productive day on the range if you do.

 

4 thoughts on “Summertime Safety Prep

  1. Additional thought from someone who spends a large portion of my day outside in the sun…..though upstate NY certainly isn’t TX when it comes to sun and heat, in some ways that almost makes it worse, because no one’s ever ready for the heat once it hits.

    Peeing: If its that hot out, and you’re drinking an appropriate amount of fluids, you’re going to be having to hit the bathroom on a regular basis. If you haven’t had to hit the bathroom at least once in a 2hr period you’re probably not drinking enough fluids, regardless of the color of your pee. Personally I find I have a choice between hourly bathroom breaks or coming close to collapsing from the heat, my body doesn’t have an in-between setting.

    Sunscreen: I see this every summer, especially with our summer temp employees. I’ll ask if they have sunscreen on, and they shrug and say they don’t really need it cause they don’t burn and want a tan anyway……and the next day the come into work looking like a lobster.

    I’ll have to look up those sleeves. I end up wearing sweat/moisture wicking shorts and short sleeved shirts all summer, because anything more just makes me sweat more, but I’d love less sun exposure!

    • Very good point about peeing. Frequency is a simple gauge (color winds up only being important if you actually are going, so yeah… kinda secondary).

      Back when my sons were in Cub Scouts, I did a summer camp leadership thing. To encourage the boys to drink (and pee), we carried 2 markers: a blue one and a yellow one. Of course, those are the Cub Scout colors, but of course they are also water and pee. Every time the boys drank water, we gave them a blue mark on their arm; every pee, a yellow one. It was a fun little contest to see who had the most marks by the end of the day. Worked well to keep the boys going.

      On sunscren yeah, people vastly underestimate the beat-down the sun will give them, and how quickly it happens. Believe me, you’ll get a tan with sunscreen; you just will stave off sunburn.

      I do wear the moisture-wicking stuff as much as I can (I love Under Armour products), and the sleeves were great because I could avoid layering (great in the winter, not so great in the summer). Now if I’m just doing my own thing, I have long-sleeve HeatGear Under Armour products that I can wear. But when I’m teaching, I have to wear the KR Training shirt (basically a short-sleeve polo, tho it’s synthetic fabric and heat/moisture savvy). Thus, the sleeve things have been a boon. I like it much more than sunscreen on the arms — keeps the sun off the skin, not just sunburn, but the simple heat beating down on them. I’m more comfortable.

  2. On the Vertex pants can the flap on the cargo pocket be tucked in so as to make a nice quickly accessible pouch for stowing partially used mags during competition? And maybe allow putting a mag sideways at the bottom to keep the pocket somewhat open?

    • Nope. The left/right edges of the top flap are sewn to the pant leg. They don’t have any fasteners to keep the flap down/closed (buttons, velcro, etc.), so they sew the sides. It helps also keep the pants with a slimmer profile — buttons, velcro, etc. would add bulk. Sewing keeps things streamlined.

      That said, the front hip pockets have rather large mouths. You may be able to use them for quick stowage during a competition.

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