5 Essentials For Winter Survival
One of the most trying seasons of the year is Winter. The bitterness and unpredictability are some of the most dangerous aspects of the cold winter months. However, you’ll find that many who love the outdoors, tend to find themselves back outside during the winter. While there are some risks with venturing out and camping or hiking during this time of the year, there are many rewards as well.
Fewer crowds are a big reason why so many opt to venture out during the winter months. While there are many avid hikers and campers who love to explore the outdoors during the winter, there are many people, who aren’t large fans out the cold weather, and would rather stay home during this time of the year. This makes for quieter areas, and less crowds on the trails. Another reward is witnessing Mother Nature covered in a blanket of snow. It’s magical to see, and more than worth your frozen fingers and toes.
While venturing out in the winter can be exciting, it’s also important to remember that you need to be fully prepared. Mother Nature during the Winter can be brutal, so taking extra precautions to make sure you’re prepared to the fullest needs to be on the top of your list. But if you aren’t quite sure where to begin, below is some information on what 5 essentials you need for winter survival.
- Layering up correctly and making sure you have the right clothes for the colder climate is important and essential to surviving the winter outdoors. The cold weather can be brutal if you aren’t dressed accordingly. Learning how to layer will keep you comfortable outdoors and keep you on the trail longer. Many who venture out during the winter tend to stick to 3 or 4 layers of clothing. These layers consist of a base layer, normally made of synthetic wool with wicking capabilities, one or two middle/insulating layers, and an outer, top shell that is normally wind and water resistant. It’s important to layer up every part of your body when venturing out into colder temperatures, and that includes your feet. Synthetic wool socks are recommended since they stay dry and won’t retain moisture. These will keep your feet from shivering in your hiking boots. And speaking of hiking boots, making sure you have reliable, water-resistant hiking boots to wear in the winter are an essential you’ll learn you can’t go without.
- Knowledge of the area during the winter months is essential when it comes to survival in the bitter cold. Anytime you venture out into a new area, it’s important to grow familiar and knowledgeable of the area you’re exploring. Buy a map and study it beforehand. The more knowledge you have about the area, the more you can see how it reacts under different weather conditions. Terrain is different in the summer than it is during the winter. Especially if snow gets involved. Being knowledgeable of how to handle the area while covered in snow is something that will benefit anyone exploring the area and will give them a better chance of survival.
- Food and water are crucial when venturing outdoors, no matter the climate. But with the bitterness that a colder climate can bring, being knowledgeable about the importance of your food and water intake is essential for survival. Try and bring items that can be made and eaten quickly, and without a lot of preparation. That way you don’t waste time preparing the food, or lose your momentum from moving and get cold. Energy bars, trail mixes and beef jerky make for good treats on the trail. Also, make sure you pack enough food and water to sustain you for the entire length of your trip, or at least to your next refill station. And if need be, you can always melt the snow in a pot if you run out of drinking water.
- Shelter is incredibly important when it comes to winter survival. Having shelter will be essential when looking to escape the cold winter temperatures, especially when they plummet at night. So, making sure you have the right tent to sustain the bitterness of winter will have you extremely grateful you didn’t just wing it. In order to get the most protection though, it’s suggested that you head for the trees. Forested areas serve a great purpose by blocking out a majority of the wind, as well as providing some extra shelter. Not to mention, with the trees overhead, you know that firewood is close by!
- A first aid kit is an item that should always be in your backpack when heading out on a hike. Whether the hike is a couple hours, or a couple days’ worth of backpacking, a small first aid kit that fits comfortably in your backpack is essential. Having a well-stocked first aid kit will help if the worst happens, and you must administer aid to yourself, or a friend while out on the trail. During the winter, it can take longer to reach someone out in the wilderness if an accident occurs. So, make sure to stay observant and cautious of your surroundings while out exploring the world.
So before heading out, it’s a good idea to make a checklist for yourself. In fact, that’s really not a bad idea for any season. It might seem like over planning to some, but is there really such a thing? Don’t let the cold weather slow you down, and have fun out there!