Influence of Wet Clothing on Thermal Protection

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    United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine
Updated on 19 June 2022
Accepts healthy volunteers


The aim of this investigation is to provide guidance for assessing the influence of wet clothing, and its drying time, on body temperature responses during cold air exposure. Twelve healthy and fit adults (men and women aged 18-49) will complete this study. Four cold air exposures (41°F, 180 min) will be randomly conducted, each while wearing a different clothing ensemble that has been saturated by water. During each cold air exposure, you will be asked to rest for 60 min and perform weighted (38.5lbs) treadmill walking for up to 120 min.


Participants, in their first visit, will undergo baseline weighted treadmill walking consisting of ~20 min of treadmill walking with a load of 77lbs followed by ~25 min of treadmill walking with a load of 38.5lbs. They will also have their body composition evaluated (DEXA) and be fit for each uniform ensemble. This first laboratory visit will require ~3 hrs.

On separate days, participants will complete 4 experimental trials. After being submerged up to the neck in warm water for two minutes, three of the trials will ask that the participant move to a 41°F air environment, stand with minimal movement for 60 min, complete 60 min of weighted (38.5lb) treadmill walking at 2 mph, and up to 4% grade, and then complete 60 min of weighted (38.5lb) treadmill walking at 2.5 mph and up to 4% grade. Each of these three experimental trial visits will require ~5 hrs.

A single trial will ask that after being saturated in warm water, participants enter a 41°F air environment, immediately begin weighted treadmill walking (38.5lbs) at 2.0mph and up to 4% grade for a duration of 60 min before standing with minimal movement for 60 min. This trial will require ~4 hrs.

During all experimental trials, the primary outcomes include core temperature, measured continuously using a small pill inserted as a rectal suppository, and skin temperature, measured continuously using 11 small skin attached sensors. Secondary outcomes include metabolic rate, heart rate, thermal perceptions, and changes in body mass.

Condition Low Body Temperatures
Treatment Water-saturated Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform, Water-saturated Army Combat Uniform, Water-saturated Army Combat Uniform + Silk Weights
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05409937
SponsorUnited States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine
Last Modified on19 June 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Military or civilian, male or female, between the ages of 18 (17 if active duty military) and 49 years
Able to carry a rucksack weighing 35 kg (77lbs) for at least 20 minutes and able to carry a rucksack weighing 17.5kg (38.5lbs) for up to 120 minutes
In good health as determined by our OMSO (Office of Medical Support and Oversight) General Medical Clearance
Vaccinated against COVID 19
Willing to refrain from heavy exercise and alcoholic beverages for 24 hours before each testing session
Willing to refrain from smoking or tobacco use for 8 hours before each testing session
Willing to refrain from caffeine ingestion for 12 hours before each testing session
Body fat percentage <18% for males, < 24% for females, once 6 individuals of higher body fat (18% or greater for males, 24% or greater for females) have completed the study

Exclusion Criteria

History of cold injuries
Raynaud's syndrome
Cold-induced asthma/bronchospasm
Medications or dietary supplements that could alter cardiovascular, thermoregulatory, or vascular control
Heart, lung, kidney, muscle, or nerve disorder(s)
Planned MRI during or within two days after completing the study
Known allergy to adhesives
Female and pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
Clear my responses

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