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Winter Survival Guide…..

Winter Survival Guide

 

 Winter Survival Guide

Winter Survival Guide- With old man winter bearing down on us, it is probably a good time to review your winter survival skills. During winter, survival takes on a new meaning since it is so easy to slip into hypothermia and die.

 Here is a quick rundown of things to keep in mind while out and about in the cold weather.

 Fire

In one word… cheat.

 Many of us, who practice survival skills, fall into a preferred method of starting a fire. Maybe we are purists in that we only make fire, through flint and steel or even friction. I don’t know about others, but I make it hard for myself to start fires, so I get practice in poor conditions.

 What I am saying is, leave all that in practice and use the easiest, quickest method you have available when the chips are down. If you have gasoline, use it. If you have a road flare (one of my backups) use it.

 The point being, if you need a fire get one going as quickly and efficiently as possible.

 Shelter

Winter weather can actually expand your options for shelter building. When there is snow, you have a completely new building material.

 You can build snow caves, snow trenches, snow pits and igloos. Snow can also be packed on the outside of conventional lean-to’s or debris shelters, as a windproof sealer and added insulation.

 The main point of shelter is to keep the wind off and allow you to maintain your body heat. Choose your shelter accordingly.

 Clothes

You may have heard the adage “cotton is a killer”, and in certain situations it is certainly true. The problem is, it is very popular clothing, and is worn for many outdoor winter activities.

 If you find yourself stranded in the wild with only cotton to keep you warm, you will have to take special care to remain dry, since cotton loses almost all of its insulating value when wet.

 A much better option is to start out wearing good wool clothing for all your outdoor winter activities. Wool will retain most of its insulating value even when wet, it will also breath better than other fabrics, allowing for activity without becoming saturated with sweat.

 Synthetics also work well for keeping you warm. If you layer them correctly, they will keep out water and allow sweat to escape. Some are windproof and others provide loft for insulating value. The biggest drawback of synthetics is that they are not fireproof, and a small ember will burn right through your expensive coat.

 Get the best hat, boots and gloves you can afford. It is worth the expense for the added comfort. If you have no gloves, strips of a shirttail or t-shirt can be wrapped around you fingers for makeshift gloves.

 Hydration

As in all survival situations, it is important to remain hydrated. The rule of threes tells you that you can go for three days without water.

 You have probably heard that you should not eat snow, but if you are not battling hypothermia eating snow is no problem. If you are battling the cold you should melt the snow over a fire before drinking the resulting water.

 Snow is generally clean enough to drink without treatment, but ice should be treated like any found water in your area.

 Stay Cool

Moisture is your enemy in a winter survival situation. If you work up a sweat, it will soak your clothing and cut the insulation value.

 Some people tend to panic in survival situations, and will rush to and fro working up a sweat and getting themselves all heated up. Then when they settle down for the evening to try and spend the night, they are battling the added moisture from all their sweat.

 Slow and steady wins the race in cold weather.

 A Full Stomach

Keeping food in your stomach will give you energy to keep you warm. The rule of threes gives you three weeks without food, but in cold weather that will cut the time somewhat. If you have food with you ration it out so you have a little every couple hours.

 There will not be much plant life for you to forage in the winter. You may be able to dig some cattail roots, find a squirrel’s nut cache or even strip some inner bark.

 Most of your survival food will have to come from animal sources of some kind. There are several skills you can learn to take animals for food.

Winter is a dangerous time to be in a survival situation. If you take the time to learn extra skill sets for cold weather and adapt this winter survival guide, you will have a much better chance of coming through unscathed.

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