you lose 75-85% of your body heat through your head--myth!

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Bushcrafter through and through
Oct 1, 2008
W. Yorkshire
One way to see it accurately is just to do the maths.

If your body loses one degree of heat sat round the fire with no hat over the course of an evening, then what the stats say is that .75 of the one degree is lost through the head. With a hat on, the total loss for the evening would be .25 degrees.

If you have cold hands, put a hat on. Thats one saying i like that holds true.( unless your already wearing one :p)


May 19, 2011
It is indeed a good article and probably something that should be used as a training manual for anyone going into cold weather conditions. Some very good information especially about the goretex in freezing temps.

I'm not sure about the head/heat thing, I'm still not convinced. For example if a northerner wants to commit suicide one of the ways is to get drunk then go outside and open their jacket so their bare abdomen is exposed. Apparently the blood heads to that area to keep the core temp elevated and unconsiousness follows quite quickly. Unpleasant argument yes but straight from the lips of the coroner doing autopsies. The point is they don't go outside and take their hat off.

I agree most with zingmo's post, it's a good saying and one I'm gonna steal!

Andy BB

Full Member
Apr 19, 2010
I can sorta see this from both sides. Sure, if you're naked you have large areas of skin exposed to the elements and there will be major heat loss from all of this. But most times we aren't naked - in general we're pretty-well covered up apart from the face/neck/head (and those of us with little hair on top are even more exposed there)! Add to that the fact that - unlike most of our "core" organs that the body protects by reducing bloodflow to other organs - the head is not well-protected by layers of muscle/fat. Or - normally - clothing. The body keeps the blood-lanes open to the head and brain; even though geographically it is an "extremity", the body doesn't regard it as such.

So - yes - in naked form, we'd lose heat - at least initially - based primarily on skin surface area, so the head wouldn't be such a major factor (and is why immersion in cold water can kill so quickly, as all of the body loses heat on soaking). However, in most "normal" situations we aren't naked, apart from the head/hands, and the hands aren't given priority by the body in terms of blood supply. Hence the significantly increased priority afforded the head as - even in extremis - the body will continue to try to pump warm blood to the brain.


May 14, 2012
It's not a myth given the right situation. Is it true in all situations? Of course not. As Andy says the proportion of heat lost from different areas of the body depends hugely on the clothing. If it acts as a reminder for people to wear hats, especially the folically challenged like me, then I don't see the problem with it!

And Zingmo, the full quote (can't remember who made it, but it was someone well known) is "90% of statistics are made up on the spur of the moment, I know because I just made that one up"
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