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Winter Survival Do's And Don'ts

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January 02, 2014
Winter Survival Do's And Don'ts - 2

Bad winter weather is one of the roughest backdrops you can have for a survival scenario. Every necessary task of subsistence becomes more difficult in the cold. Very often, little mistakes become amplified by these conditions. A winter survival situation is no time to cut corners or take unnecessary risks. This is about as challenging as it gets. To keep things simple, should you end up fighting the freeze, consider this list of do’s and don’ts for winter emergencies in the outdoors.

SHELTER
DO take shelter for your most critical survival priority. Use insulation and supplemental heat sources as much as possible. This might mean ripping up the upholstery in your vehicle to use as insulation, or placing hot stones in the floorboards of the car to warm it. Whatever you deem necessary to live, do it.

DON’T lose your shelter. Snow, fog, darkness, and other factors can make it hard to find your shelter again after you’ve left it to signal or scavenge. Mark the shelter with an improvised flag, something reflective or any other type of signal you have available. Not only will you be able to relocate your shelter more easily, your rescuers will have a better chance of finding it, too.

DON’T sleep directly on the snow or frozen ground. Even in a snow cave, you still need something under you. Grab some evergreen boughs, tree bark, leaves, or anything else that can block the icy grip of cold surfaces.

WATER
DO stay hydrated. Check your urine color and output as the most effective measure of hydration. If you haven’t urinated in many hours, and the color is dark yellow or amber, you are becoming dangerously dehydrated.

DON’T eat ice or snow. While it is a viable source of liquid, it should never be consumed as a frozen solid. This will chill your body core and bring on hypothermia quickly. Instead, try placing the snow or ice in a bottle, and placing it under your coat – but not next to your skin. Body heat under your coat will liquefy the frozen stuff into water for safer consumption.

FIRE
DO carry fire-starting materials and several ignition sources during cold-weather travel. Lighters, matches, and spark rods are great choices—in that order. Carry Vaseline-soaked cotton balls, or fire starter packets to get cold, damp wood burning.

DON’T try to burn a fire in an open windy area, or directly on the snow. These are two recipes for disaster. If you must build fire in the open, build wind blocks. If building a fire over snow, cut some green wood to build a fire platform.  

DANGERS

DO check your hands, feet, face, and ears often for frostbite. Carry a staff or walking stick to check the depth of the snow. Build snow shoes to travel more efficiently, especially in deep snow.  

DON’T leave the vehicle, if you have one in your scenario. Keep the roof and hood clear of snow, and the vehicle will act as a signal panel (less so with a white car).

DON’T fail to signal for help, often and vigorously. Fire, smoke, and mirrors are good signals. Having a charged cell phone is a better one. Time is precious in a survival ordeal, so use it wisely to provide for your basic needs and be sure to signal at every opportunity.
Got a winter survival tip to share? Let’s hear it in the comments.

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from Noeasyday 1/10/2014 at 09:49am

Two indespensible items to add to any vehicle: A quality knife (folding or not) and a quality flashlight with backup batteries.

These two items can literally make the difference between survival or not.

Quality knives from Buck, Emerson, Strider or SOG come to mind, something you can use for anything from cutting to chopping wood. Idealy a Fixed blade of some size.

Flashlights of the Surefire variety for signaling, backup batteries are a must, and a LED light for general lighting.

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from Tioughnioga 1/2/2014 at 03:28pm

In cold conditions, I try to remember that windbreak shelter is more important than overhead shelter. That wind will drain more body heat than anything.

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from Tioughnioga 1/2/2014 at 03:28pm

In cold conditions, I try to remember that windbreak shelter is more important than overhead shelter. That wind will drain more body heat than anything.

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from Noeasyday 1/10/2014 at 09:49am

Two indespensible items to add to any vehicle: A quality knife (folding or not) and a quality flashlight with backup batteries.

These two items can literally make the difference between survival or not.

Quality knives from Buck, Emerson, Strider or SOG come to mind, something you can use for anything from cutting to chopping wood. Idealy a Fixed blade of some size.

Flashlights of the Surefire variety for signaling, backup batteries are a must, and a LED light for general lighting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Write a Comment Your comment (200 characters or less):