What you need to survive winter

survival winter

As anyone who is trained to survive in a harsh winter environment will tell you, the cold can be a killer if  you are not prepared.

While the days of having to trek through snow dunes on foot are long gone (unless you are going on a trekking expedition), having a vehicle doesn’t mean you will be immune to the dangers of extreme weather conditions.

Winter storms are considered deceptive killers … as most of the deaths caused by them are indirect. everyone is potentially at risk during winter storms, yet the actual threat to you depends on your specific situation.

In recent years, winter deaths or injuries were found to be related to ice and snow, with about 75 percent occurring in automobiles, while the other 25 percent were those of people actually being caught outside during the storm.

With such a high percentage occurring in automobiles, everyone should carry a winter survival kit in his/her car.

Also read: How to Prepare and Hunker Down for Winter Storms

Although some of the gear you need may be common sense, being as prepared as you can for any eventuality or emergency could mean the difference between life and death.

Know Your Environment

Before you put your survival kit together, it is important to do some preliminary research regarding the climate and major dangers of the area you are located in or traveling to.

If traveling, make sure you are aware of possible weather fronts that could hit and how these conditions will affect the conditions of the road, as well as how you will navigate through it. Generally, avoid driving through snow or ice unless absolutely necessary, as your chances of breakdown and getting stranded  increase when you do.

Making sure you are as aware as possible about weather conditions, general areas of danger when traveling, and who to call in an emergency, are all very crucial no matter where you are going.

Vehicle sense

Stay in your car or truck.

Disorientation occurs quickly in wind-driven snow and cold. Run the motor about ten minutes each hour for heat. Open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked.

Are you caught in a winter storm?

Try to find shelter and stay dry. Cover all exposed parts of the body. If you cannot find shelter:

  • Prepare a lean-to, windbreak, or snow cave for protection from the wind.
  • Build a fire for heat and to attract attention.
  • Place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat.
  • Do not eat snow: It will lower your body temperature. Melt it first. (Why You Should Be Able to Identify Trees in Winter)


  • Topography map of the area
  • Shovel (Recommend Crovel Extreme or Shovel Multi-tool)
  • Windshield scraper and small broom
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Water
  • Snack food, including energy bars
  • Matches and small candles, magnesium fire rods and lighter
  • Extra hats, socks, and mittens (recommend wool)
  • First aid kit
  • Pocket knife (Multi-tool or Mora knife recommended)
  • Necessary medications
  • Blankets or sleeping bag (wool blanket, Mylar survival sleepingbag recommended)
  • Tow chain or rope
  • Road salt, sand, or cat litter for traction
  • Booster cables
  • Emergency flares and reflectors
  • Fluorescent distress flag and whistle to attract attention
  • Cell phone adapter to plug into lighter
  • Tin cup/metal pot (vessel you can heat to melt snow)
  • Goggles
  • Small notebook and pen
  • Snow boots
  • Neon fluorescent marker tape
  • 1 small pup tent (Adventure Pod recommended)
  • Jump cables, snow/tire chains (these may or may not need to be attached prior to departing)
  • Additional medication if anyone in the group requires it.



Don’t forget to enjoy the winter!

Once you have these basics in your kit, you can add more supplies as needed should you be planning longer or more extended trips. Having such a kit on hand, whether you are skiing at a resort or trekking in the woods, is always a good idea.

Accidents can happen anytime, from avalanches, snowstorms and other forms of extreme weather that can quickly leave you stranded.

Without a winter survival kit, you could be in real trouble. That said, while winter can be dangerous, by respecting it, having a little knowledge of your environment and being prepared, you can really enjoy the winter season.

Post by John Miler

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Self-sufficiency and Preparedness solutions recommended for you:

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Liberty Generator (How to gain complete energy independence)

Alive After the Fall (Build yourself the only unlimited water source you’ll ever need)

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