Whether if it is camping, hiking, or just traveling on a daily basis in winter it is important to have some gear and supplies for survival. A routine daily situation can quickly turn into a survival situation when facing the bite of Jack Frost. In this post, we are going to discuss the essential winter survival gear that will help you survive.
Winter survival gear is something that we should keep close to use in the case of emergencies. Even if you live in the south it is still important to be prepared for the surprises that winter brings. The rule of 3’s still apply when it comes to winter survival. There are just different methods that you will need to use as compared to warm weather survival.
Winter survival gear is typically encompassed in kits. The survival kits can be as small as Altoid cans all the way up to big survival bags. However, gear and supplies will not save you but knowledge and skills will. The gear and supply assist in making survival easier and sometimes quicker.
We are going to begin talking about those kits and then discuss additional tools that will be helpful. For these kits, I would recommend that you have waterproof cases. Snow can quickly melt and destroy your supplies.
Winter Survival Gear Kits
Survival kits are a great option to have when you need something quick. The 29 in 1 Survival Kit can be carried in your pocket or small outer compartment in your survival bag. That way you don’t have to dig around in your bag trying to find the important items. I talk about this in how to pack a bug out bag but can be applied to all survival bags.
This survival kit contains tools like aluminum foil. In a previous post, I talked about the many survival uses of aluminum foil. It also has other tools like a wire saw so that you can cut through branches for firewood. There is also fishing lines so that you can procure food in a survival situation.
Fire starting kits
Building a fire in the winter can be especially challenging if it has been snowing. You will have to find dry wood which may be impossible. So this kit should contain other ways to get a fire going.
For example, you can carry dryer lint from home. Every time that I wash clothes I am sure to take out the dryer lint and place it in a small Ziploc bag. It is a great source of tinder that you don’t have to scavenge the woods for. There are fuel tablets and waterproof matches that you can use to spark a fire.
The more challenging part is finding dry kindle and longer firewood if it has been raining or snowing. What you can do is place the wood that you find in a teepee over your fire. This will help dry the wood while your other wood is burning.
Having a foldable or hand chainsaw is a great option to have in your winter survival gear. They are small and don’t take up much space in your pack. These tools are typically used to cut wood branches about the size of your wrist or arm.
For bigger chunks of wood, you will want an ax or hatchet. There are some options that can fit inside of your bag. But to get the job done size matters. Don’t let no one tell you otherwise.
If you are desperate for firewood then standing trees may be your best option. You should be looking for dead trees that are standing or tipped over. Dead trees are easier to burn. Furthermore, in many places, it is against the law to cut down trees that are not dead.
Water Procurement Kit
For gathering water I would recommend having three containers. One container should be used for gathering the water. One great option is a collapsible water bag. This can fit easily with your other winter survival gear. It has a handle so that you can easily transport it while gathering water.
You will also want another container to pour the water into and boil it. You can use a cup or pot from a camping cookware set to do this. Boiling the water will help to purify the water. The last thing that you want during a survival situation is beaver fever.
Once you have boiled the water then you can pour it into another container. I typically carry a flask for this. You don’t want to be drinking water from the same container that you gathered the water from. That container may be covered in bacteria that was in your water source.
Now there is an easier route to purifying water. You could add water purification tablets to your winter survival gear. This will purify your water. My preference is to purify the water myself as I don’t like the bleach-like taste that it produces.
Keeping Your Water Warm
You should keep your water bottle in your bag while in the cold weather. On the outside, it is easier to freeze over. Then you will be forced to boil the container instead of having quick access to water.
I also recommend boiling water before going to sleep at night if you are out in the cold. If you place your flask of hot water inside of your sleeping bag while you sleep it will help keep you warm. I typically place this at the feet of my sleeping bag. It also helps to keep your water from freezing through the night. Then when you wake up you will have easy access to drinking water.
Fook Cooking Kits
As I mentioned earlier, it may be challenging to find dry wood in the cold rain or snow. So you will also want to have an alternative method to cook food. So I recommend carrying a portable stove.
There are a lot of great options for portable stoves. Your decision will be dependent upon how much winter survival gear you want to be carrying. You can go small with a folding pocket stove. It will only need to be attached to a butane tank.
Instead of building a fire, you can quickly screw the folding pocket stove onto your butane tank. It doesn’t take up much room in your bag. It is small enough to fit into your pocket. This is perfect for ultralight campers.
There are bigger options if you can afford the space and weight. One such option is the Portable Camping Stove. I typically carry this in my Jeep. I like this because it can fit a larger can of propane. So I am able to cook more food. It also comes with a wind guard so the flame doesn’t burn out. It burns stronger and longer.
Hunting Survival Kit
Typically when I go camping I bring some freeze dried Mountain House food. However, if you are forced into a survival situation you might not have any with you. This is why I typically carry Mountain House or MREs in my survival bag. If you aren’t prepared for it then you may be forced to hunt your own food.
Now you can typically survive 3 weeks without food. However, if you are like me then you typically become weak and tired after a few days without food. So you will need food to keep you energized. Food is also important to have to produce body heat. Peanuts are great for doing this.
In the extreme circumstance that you don’t have food then you should have means of hunting food. One great option is to have a compact folding bow. This is a great option because you typically have a good supply of ammunition. Arrows can be reused after shooting them.
For small game, you can use a slingshot. There are some really powerful slingshots that can kill a small animal quickly. Again the ammunition is reusable. However, the slingshot ammo may be harder to find than an arrow.
Finally, you can pack snare or traps for small game as well. You can place them in certain locations of where you think your prey will be. A downside of this is the waiting game that you will have to play. Furthermore, it is more of a game of luck as compared to the skill with a bow and arrow or slingshot.
Finally, you could add a survival rifle to your pack. However, it may be challenging to pack this with your gear. The great thing about the other options is that they are small enough to fit inside of your survival bag.
Winter Survival Clothing
Winter survival clothing is an important piece of your winter survival gear. In the winter you will have to find or build your own source of heat. That is why it is important to stay warm in the meantime.
The winter season is a deadly season takes a little over 1,000 American lives every year. If that is in America then you can imagine how deadly it is in less advanced countries. The main killer is frostbite and hypothermia.
One way to fight off this threat is by dressing in the appropriate survival clothing layers. I talked about this in a previous post titled the 3 Winter Survival Clothing Layers that You Must Wear. Now you can add more layers if you want but there are 3 essential layers.
The first layer is the base layer which typically wicks away moisture from your body. The second layer is the insulation layer that traps your body heat. The final third layer is the shell that protects your body from the infiltrating cold weather.
Winter Survival Shelter
A shelter is another essential item for your winter survival gear. You only survive 3 hours in rough weather conditions. So you will want a shelter to protect and keep you warm from the winter blast.
There are different ways to set up a shelter. You can bushcraft an A-frame shelter with fallen wood. The other option is to use an all-purpose tarp to pitch as a shelter. There are many ways to build a shelter with a tarp.
Now you can use a tent. But you will want to make sure the tent is cold weather rating. The downside of having a tent is that it can take up a lot of space and add weight to your bag.
With an A-frame shelter, you can maximize the heat from your fire by building a super shelter. This is done by lining the inside of your A-frame with an emergency blanket. Then place a see-through tarp over the front of your shelter. The emergency blanket is going to reflect heat from your fire down into your shelter. The clear tarp will keep the heat inside of your shelter. This can keep you pretty toasty.
You will also need insulation from the ground. Surprisingly the ground gets really cold during the winter season. This is especially true when it is snowing of course.
So you should pack a shovel to shovel away the snow and cold, wet leaves from your shelter location. I typically carry a small folding shovel that I can place inside of my bag. However, you could always use a branch to do this but will take longer.
Next, you will want something that keeps your body off of the ground. There are a few options here. You can gather twigs and dry leaves from around your campsite. However, if it has been snowing then it will be hard to find. You can also use Pine needles from a standing tree. Sometimes these will be dryer than the fallen leaves.
The other option is to pack a sleeping mat. I like to carry one that self-inflates. If you blow inside of an inflatable mattress then there is a chance that your breath will freeze inside of it. That is not going to do much to keep you warm.
There are few options when it comes to your sleeping arrangements as well. You can choose to pack a sleeping bag. You will want to have a bag that is cold weather rated for whatever temperature you may be possibly facing. Another good option is to carry is a wool blanket. Wool will dry a lot quicker than cotton. Cotton is your enemy during cold weather survival.
When I go to sleep I typically like to place hand warmers inside of my socks and armpits. By the way, this should be a fresh pair of socks. You don’t want to be sleeping in the same pair of socks that you have been hiking in. Most likely they may be moist from perspiration or from the melting snow.
Altogether, this is the ultimate survival gear that you will need to survive Jack Frost. This is not an exhaustive list but rather something to get you started. If you have any questions or suggestions then please leave a comment below. Your feedback helps the community prepare the smart way now so that we can thrive later.