Winter survival skills

By applying some winter survival basics you will be safer when traveling in the wilderness during the winter season. Winter and cold weather can be wonderful.... but also harsh and dangerous. Many unexpected things can happen during a winter trip. Even experienced winter wilderness adventurers can get caught by weather or an equipment failure.

Good preparation is essential for all wilderness travel, especially in winter. Take special care of your clothing. Cold weather requires you to really think through what you're going to wear to stay warm.

If you are caught out overnight the most important thing is to keep yourself dry and warm. So one of your highest priorities is to find or construct a shelter. Evaluate your situation.

Winter survival shelters

If you are caught out overnight, it is extremely important to keep yourself dry and warm. Therefore, one of your highest priorities should be to find or construct a shelter. You need a shelter that keeps the wind, snow and rain out.

winter survival
Select a site that is dry and has as little snow as possible. Look for higher ground, a flat location, with lots of trees, such an area will provide relief from direct wind and snow, as well as an ample supply of material for shelter building. If there’s no chance to reach higher ground, build a floor using dead branches or stones. Don't stay in shelters that get damp or waterlogged.

Use available materials to get a roof over your head. Be creative! Maybe you can make use of natural cover? A medium-sized tree may have pockets in the snow beneath a branch. Try digging under any tree with spreading branches in the lee side.

After you've built your shelter, get a fire going. Make something hot to drink to get warmth but also avoid getting dehydrated. Melt ice and snow to get survival water.

Keeping your body warm

Don't over-exert yourself while building your snow shelter. Pace your activity to avoid perspiration. If it’s raining or snowing, put on an emergency poncho to protect your clothes and keep you dry. Try to keep your boots, socks and feet dry as well. If not, you risk making yourself even colder as your sweat starts to freeze. Beware of hypothermia and frostbite.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Food For Thought....or Not 
Remember when hiking/working or camping in cold weather, sometimes its not always best to fill up on a lot of food. Far too often ppl seek the comfort …

Cold winter survival 
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 …

Coffee can heater 
While on active duty I discovered the value of carrying a small Coffee can Heater in my alert bag. Consists of: (1) 1 Lb coffee can(with lid), a roll …

Cold Shelter Comfort 
Hello my Survival Comrades, this past weekend my wife spoke words to me that I can only describe as heaven on a record: "Why don't you boys go out to the …

Sleeping outdoors in cold weather 
Winter season brings forth winter storms. Often, you can find huge trees knocked over due to the winds. The large root base provides a good shelter once …

Winter Travelers 
Black eyeliner: weighs an ounce, saves one from snow blindness. Also for those living with serious winters, learn to ice-fish and add an ice-breaking tool …

Keeping your extremeties warm 
When sitting or laying motionless for long time the blood pressure seems to drop. When it is cold out and your core body temperature begins to drop your …

Cold weather survival 
..... or sleeping outdoors in cold weather. I think one of the best ways to stay warm in cold weather is to build a hot coal bed. Why sleep on the cold …

Avoiding hypothermia because of sweating 
I am a true outdoors nut but have a tendency to sweat BIG TIME with the slightest exertion and find that even the best of wicking materials just cannot …

Cold weather with little wind and no snow or frost 
If you're in an area even where it is VERY cold, but there is minimal wind and no snow and you have your fire going, you can strip down to just that clothing …

Lost in the woods 
Get as high in a tree or on a rock as you feel safe. Stop, Look, Listen, Looking is easy and so is Listening. Look for areas that may have a house or a …

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cold weather survival

survival training
A wilderness survival course will provide you with the practical experience necessary to handle many kinds of problems that could arise in the wilderness.

first aid
It's essential that you have some basic principles of wilderness first aid and know how to apply them, even under stress.

survival shelter
Building a survival shelter is an absolute priority if you face a survival situation in harsh or unpredictable weather.

Selecting appropriate gear is important to have a safe wilderness trip.

A "pocket survival kit" should be small enough to easily fit into a shirt or a coat pocket.

The Wilderness Survival Blog keeps you up-to-date with all additions and changes to this web site.

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