Winter Survival Kit
It’s only January 16th and already we have had a lot of snow and cold temperatures here in Colorado. I have a ton of snow on the north yard of my house that will probably be there until March, and we still have our snowiest months ahead of us. But snow and cold don’t keep us inside; as outdoors people we want to be out year-round, and winter is an excellent time to get outdoors. But as we go out we have to be well prepared for even a short snowshoe hike in the mountains, or whatever activity you prefer in the winter.
I have written a few articles on winter survival, even one about building a snow cave, which you can read by clicking here. But really the most important thing to keep in mind for winter excursions is preparation because severe weather and cold will exacerbate a situation quickly, and if you aren’t prepared, you very well could die. In cold weather, something as simple as falling into a stream or getting wet from snow and rain could lead to hypothermia very quickly.
To begin with, make sure you have a winter survival kit in your vehicle. I wrote an article about that which you can read by clicking here. More importantly you should carry certain items with you when you venture out. I am a strong believer in back packs, and I have a ton of them. I like a small day pack to carry items on all of my trips into the woods, regardless of the time of year, but in the winter I like to bring more items than I would in a warmer season. Here is what I suggest you carry in a small day pack when you head out in the winter:
Survival Kit – click here to see more information on this
First Aid Kit
100 feet of Paracord
Two Emergency Thermal Blankets per person
Fire Starting Tools – butane lighter, weather proof matches, flint and steel, and fire starting materials (cotton balls covered with petroleum jelly work great)
Extra Socks, Mittens, and Hat
A Heat Source – a small stove or small sterno cans
Small Pot – click here to see what I use, it is very compact and light weight
Large Metal Cup – if it is not included with your pot
A few Freeze Dried Food Meals
A Survival Spork – a compact eating utensil
Nuts and Dried Fruit
Compass and Map
Flash Light and Spare Batteries
Sturdy Survival Knife – learn more by clicking here
Survival Saw – there are many light weight saws available for building emergency shelter
That is a basic list, and while it seems like a lot of stuff, it is all very compact and light weight. You will be surprised how little this will burden you, yet it is everything you need to survive a night or two out in the wilderness in the winter. As I always preach, be sure to let someone reliable know where you will be going and when you expect to return. This alone gives you peace of mind that if you are stranded, you know someone will be looking for you.
With a few months left of winter ahead of us, I hope you will all be getting out to enjoy the wilderness in the cold months of the year. For me, I really like getting out to the areas I will be elk and deer hunting in the early fall when there is still an abundance of live vegetation; going to those places in the winter months really gives me a better perspective of the terrain when there are no leaves on the trees or tall grass obscuring my view. So get out, explore, have fun, and be prepared!