Cold-Weather Survival Tips

Well, it’s finally that time of year when it is cold in many parts of the country. And will get a lot colder.

Just today I saw a news item about a possible polar vortex that could hit the East Coast hard in the next week or two.

All of which makes me wonder… are we prepared to deal with a cold-weather survival situation? If you’re forced to bug out, surviving a winter disaster will be a big challenge in many parts of the country.

As with everything else we talk about at 4Patriots, preparedness is the key. By understanding what you need to do and then learning how to do it in advance, you put yourself in a much better position to survive when an emergency situation develops.

Cold-weather survival advice

When you’re out in the elements and the temperatures are low, you only have a limited amount of time to protect yourself. Frostbite and hypothermia could be your two most immediate enemies.

Here’s how you can survive:

  • Dress in layers. Your bug-out bag and the trunk of your vehicle should contain clothing items that you can easily access. They would include long underwear, snow pants, shirts, sweaters, jackets, coats, hats and gloves. Layers will trap heat that your body can use to stay warm. Keep your head covered to avoid heat loss. Your outer layer of clothing should be waterproof.
  • Start a fire. This is something everyone needs to practice doing. The faster you can gather kindling and get a fire going, the sooner you’ll be able to warm up in cold temperatures.
  • Build a shelter. Again, practice will make perfect here. With tree branches, you can make an effective lean-to that will block the wind, keep dampness out and keep heat in. Branches on the lower part of trees will be dryer than those lying on the ground. Snow on top of a sturdy structure will help insulate it. A snow cave is another option.
  • Find water. You should have bottled water and sports drinks in your backpack and vehicle, but due to how heavy fluids are, there’s only so much you can transport. A portable water purifier is a lifesaver in these situations. You just need to find a nearby body of water from which to draw. If the sun is out, melted snow could do the trick.
  • Find food. Again, having non-perishable food in your bag and vehicle will be a big help. This is not the time to worry about your weight. You will need calories and fat to stay healthy and warm during this trying time. But your supply probably won’t last forever, so learn how to determine which plants and berries are safe to eat and which will make you sick.
  • Signal for help. There are many ways to signal rescuers, including with a whistle (three blasts at a time) and a mirror. You can also create three piles of rocks or leaves on the ground that could be spotted from the air.
  • Provide first-aid. When suddenly out in the wild and its uneven terrain, injuries are all too common. Learning basic first-aid techniques in advance could help you cope with physical problems you or family members might experience.

Surviving in cold weather is a big challenge. Preparing for it will increase your survival odds.

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