Winter Survival Tips

If you live anywhere north of the thirtieth parallel line, then you already know what winter is like. Most people, like myself just try to hibernate and only leave the warmth and comfort of their house when it is absolutely necessary. In a survival situation, you are probably going to be in the great outdoors for a very long time, if not permanently. Here are some great ideas and tips to cope with the problems that winter can create in a survival situation.

There are many techniques that people use to stay warm during the winter time and bundling up is thick layers of clothing is by far the easiest. I would suggest that you take care of your feet in a survival situation and make sure that they remain warm and dry for the entire time that you are outside. Remember, if you sweat, you are going to die. This is because that layer of sweat is held next to the body and as that layer of sweat cools down it draws the heat out of your body.

If you are in a situation in the frozen outdoors where fire is permitted, I suggest that you get one started. There are many ways to get a fire started but lets just say that you have a lighter and that is the easiest part of your day. What do you do then? Remember to collect all of the fire wood that you are going to need to make it through the night before darkness falls and you will not be able to keep your fire going. I good idea that you might want to think about is to gather up some river stones and heat them up beside the fire. The stone will hold the heat in them for a very long time. You can then use those warm stones to keep your body warm during the night, if the fire is not doing the trick. One thing that some people do with the stones is to put them in their clothing during the day to help keep them warm. I would not recommend doing this with large rocks, when you have work to do because weight equals more work, work equals sweat and sweat can only lead to hypothermia.

a river in a forest with mountains in the background

Another problem that old man winter brings into the picture is an inability to travel. I know this because even with a car and all of the other conveniences of modern technology, I spent 3 hours in traffic the other day because of six inches of snow that fell too fast for the plows to keep up with. This means that even though during a survival situation there could be massive amounts of traffic problems, you are still going to need to be able to get around. In heavy snow, walking with snowshoes is absolutely your best bet. Actually, a snowmobile is best, a dogsled is second and snowshoes is third. Since not everyone has access to those great pieces of equipment, i’m just going to assume that you are going to be legging it. Not everyone has snowshoes either. They are relatively easy to make though. Just take some tennis rackets and attach them to your boots. If you do not play tennis and have never had a racket in your house, you might want to get inventive. Disassembling a wicker chair or pretty much anything around your house that will increase your footprint can be used to make an improvised snowshoe. Just make sure that it is not too heavy.

Winter also brings about the problems of heating your shelter. Just think about how cold your house would be if you had no electricity, propane or natural gas to heat it. The only option left would be burning wood. WARNING: Having a fire pit indoors is extremely dangerous. If that is your only option, make sure that you are able to vent the smoke out of your house because you do not want to get sick from carbon monoxide poisoning. That would make your life a whole lot worse and you could even die. I know this goes without saying, so i’m going to say it anyways, do not burn down your shelter.

I hope that this knowledge keeps you alive and safe throughout the cold winter months. There are many other ways to stay warm during the winter and if you are in need of some very specific advice, I suggest that you go down to the local homeless shelter and ask them how they cope with the nasty winter months.


Justin Trovrt has been in plenty of situations that require a level of survival instincts that daily life can not provide. He knows that knowledge is power and wished to share some of his power with anyone who is willing to listen. Follow him at

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