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Planning For Winter In The Summer

Planning For Winter In The Summer



Winter Survival…the MOST important preparation may not be what you think!


Yep, it’s hot outside…117 today where I live in Southern Utah, in fact. So, why start preparing for colder weather that’s still months away? Because winter survival is extremely difficult, and the most important preparation of all has nothing to do with stocking caps, wool socks or Pepperoni Hot Pockets (…mmmm…Hot Pockets…).


Each year nearly 1000 Americans die from cold-weather exposure and related injuries. Generally these deaths occur while traveling or participating in outdoor activities, and rarely at home or in permanent shelters. Moreover, the number occurring during a long-term survival scenario (widespread natural disaster, war, financial collapse, EMP…zombie apocalypse…) is virtually zero. So, the normal prepper approach isn’t going to position us for optimal success in most likely winter survival situations.


Have you ever tried to walk though knee-deep snow while taking the garbage can to the curb? The physical effort required for mobility or recovery in a snow-survival scenario can be three times that of a normal “emergency”. The obvious dangers are hypothermia and frostbite, shelter and clothing issues for sure, but are greatly exasperated by dehydration and the loss of insulation due to excessive sweat. Compound that with the increased exertion levels, causing exhaustion and even heart attack, and your cold-weather survival prospects are drastically reduced.


So, with that being said, the first secret to winter survival is…drum roll please…




Okay, maybe not that big of a surprise, but something that has to be specifically planned for during winter because we don’t normally think of it as lacking or necessary when it’s cold outside. Eating a large amount of snow to produce a relatively small amount of water is generally a bad idea, body temperature quickly becoming a factor, and keeping water thawed can also be a real trick. Preparation should include a supply of drinkable water, as much as a third more than you might normally carry, and a reliable way to melt ice and snow. In a pinch a frozen bottle can be placed in a warm bodily nook or crevasse, but again this is generally a poor idea as it contributes to lowering core temperature. A better solution is a Jet-Boil or pocket rocket type stove. Have one in your car or in your pack at all-times during the winter months…don’t forget the fuel…perfect for melting water and frozen Twinkies.


The real secret to winter survival is what the military calls “situational awareness”…that’s ”knowing your surroundings” to you and me. Understanding your location, temperature, snow depth, snow slope, and proximity to shelter and aid can ultimately be more important than the type of coat, knife or freeze-dried food in your pack. This takes real preparation. You’ll need to consult maps, locals, weather and snow reports, and the mother-of-all survival guides (Google, of course!) before you head out. If you’re traveling by car in the winter you need to know the road conditions and have a significant survival kit in the trunk. This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how few winter travelers have made any appropriate preparedness effort. Planning your winter trips and activities ahead of time will almost always save you money, and can literally save your life or that of your family.


June is a great time to get set for the winter months ahead, and at we have the perfect preparedness kits for your car. Order one for each auto today…just remember to

add water.





Survival Debris Shelter

Survival Debris Shelter

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How to build a Debris Hut for shelter and survival using techniques I learned at Tom Brown Jr.’s Tracker School in New Jersey. This shelter was built in January 2012 in Foster, Rhode Island. I’d love to hear from others who have built shelters. I am always looking to learn new shelter building techniques.