Cold winter survival
by Dustin C
When forced to stay out of conventional shelters (houses, buildings, automobiles) one must work with what one has at hand. Below are a few tips that should seem like common sense. However, our lives are made easier and far safer by conventional means, and thus it seems as a whole, we have lost some of our collective survival skills.
This is by no means a complete list, nor will it allow you to build a winter cabin out of pine needles and dead branches. However, if you keep your senses up and your intolerance down these tips may help you survive if you are stranded or unable to reach conventional shelter during a cold winter survival situation.
1: Take and keep EVERYTHING man made: Even if it is only a spent soda can, it can provide you materials that are simply not made by mother nature. Face it: The fast food wrapper with mustard on it, having been made of wax paper, is a great fire starting material.`
2: EVERYTHING has value: Remember the soda can? The tab can be used to cut other materials, including the can it came on, it can be used for as stringing tab on a makeshift bow. The can may be used as a weapon itself by crushing it and bending the metal, this is also useful as a small digging tool for hard ground. The can top can be cut off or punched in and the whole used as a small fire can in limited size shelters or for starting a fire in windy conditions. Of course it can be used to transport and even boil water if you are careful.
3: EVERYONE can help: Children are great helpers if you motivate them. Cold is a great motivator, nobody likes to be cold and least of all children. Adults, we hope, will put aside any personal issues they might be having and help with the effort to shelter the group they are with. Wounded members, if able to function with their hands, can do any number of time consuming tasks that more able bodied survivors won't have time for if they are out gathering supplies or actually building the shelter. Even unconscious individuals can help warm a shelter with their body heat. NO individual is without worth or value.
4: Trees are our friends: Trees of any kind are one of the most helpful things you can make use of in a survival situation. Materials for building, fire building, possibly food, a source of small animals, and attention are all provided by almost all trees. Trees are what people look at FIRST in a landscape. If you are signaling someone they most likely will be looking for you in the trees as some point anyway because common sense says you'll be there to take advantage of the shelter and materials it will provide. Always build near or right at a tree if possible.
5: THINK!!! Yes, three exclamation points. The one single item you take with you everywhere is your brain, and it is truly the only thing that will save you. You must learn to ignore convention and issues with 'icky' things like food you are not used to eating and having to work just to get clean drinkable water. If you truly are in a survival situation these things really won't seem as bad as they might right now. Your life is worth more than the few minutes it takes to build a fire and boil that water you need to drink in order to stay alive and HEALTHY, isn't it?
Just remember, there are at least fifty ways to use almost every single thing you can pick up with your hands. Everything from a foam cup to a first aid kit can be used for more than their stated purpose, its up to you to find the ones you will need if every you are trapped in a cold weather survival situation.