4 Need To Know Tips For Winter Survival

4 Need To Know Tips For Winter Survival

Survival is the last thing on most people’s minds. Disaster is a word thrown around so much that most aren’t ready for when it happens. With the advent of technology reaching futuristic proportions, the average person’s most stressful day to day decision tends to be what restaurant they want to order takeout from.

Most people who live in harsher climates know that disaster and accidents happen all the time, and the difference between survival and being a statistic is preparedness. Winter survival kits both bought and self-made save lives.

Surviving on a mountain

Buying one is sort of like having a gun in a dangerous neighborhood, you don't think you'll use it, but if the situation arises, you are going to wish you had one. While they will only do so much if you are climbing Mount Everest and break your leg, for the ordinary person stranded after a car accident, it is a critical tool to have.

Pay attention, as we walk you through the need to know info for how survival in winter works.

What Are The Dangers Of Surviving In Nature During Winter

Winter is a beautiful time of the year. From Christmas to the aesthetically pleasing sight of a fresh blanket of snow it is one of a kind time as the year winds down or starts up.

The relaxing, holiday evenings spent by fire are a lot less appealing if it's done outside. Out in the elements, there are some dangers that make snow survival one of the toughest tasks.

  • Animals
  • Starvation
  • ​Climate
  • Dehydration
  • Avalanches & Natural Incidents

The worst part, more often than not, at least four of the five will be problems you have to deal with within the first hour of surviving if you want to live beyond that.


In cold climates, there are wolves, bears, raccoons, wolverines and more. They are ever present and if you have food on you can be attracted to you. Not to mention, chances are, during your survival attempts, you may stumble upon their attempts to survive as well.

Animals in a Forest


While starvation in any survival situation is difficult, in winter, it is even more terrible. The reason is twofold.

  • On one level, there is a greater difficulty in sourcing food while your body is burning more energy than normal to maintain your core temperature.
  • On the second level, desperation has lead to survivalists eating what they think is edible but actually, makes matters worse.

Eventually, if you are too weak to salvage or hunt, have the wrong tools, or just are unlucky starvation is possible.


The last thing that most people consider when it comes to surviving the cold is the possibility of dehydration. The real issue is finding drinkable water that isn’t too cold. You essentially have to find a way to thaw out ice/snow and collect it in one place that is clean.

The added challenge is that if you are exerting yourself and were smart enough to be properly clothed, you will most likely be sweating a lot under your clothes. All of that sweat is lost body heat and the increase in moisture in your clothing which in turn can potentially make you colder.

Eating Snow can be catastrophic

If you become too dehydrated, you’ll most likely become weak before anyone can find you or potentially pass out and become hidden in the snow and die anyway. Staying hydrated is as important as staying warm. Hydration and filtration sourcing methods should be included in your winter survival kit.

Avalanches & Other Natural Incidents

Avalanches don't directly kill a lot of Americans each year. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't be aware of the dangers it presents. Blizzards and other snow storms are slow killers, as they whittle away at your ability to safely navigate your environment before its effects set in.

avalanches in mountain

How To Spot an Avalanche:

  • Pay attention to substantial changes in weather in your area. If the snow layers vary because of the terrain or weather, it means that it is often unsettled.
  • See what crevices, pockets, and slopes are elevated above you.
  • ​Listen out for quiet or loud rumbling noises that sound like thunder.
  • Try to stick to open areas.

What Your Winter Survival Kit Should Contain

The main things you should have in your winter survival kit are:

  • A water bottle for hydration. You can fill it with snow in emergencies and hold it close to your body
  • A Tarp for shelter and keeping you warm.
  • ​A Lighter for starting a fire.
  • ​Matches
  • A Flare Gun for signaling your distress/getting the attention of passersby.
  • ​A Mirror as a backup signaling mechanism
  • Flint & Steel as a backup fire starter for absolute emergencies.
  • ​A weight supportive chord. These can be used for building shelter, protecting yourself, or catching wild animals.
  • Non-perishable food such as granola bars, cans of beans, etc., etc.
  • ​A first aid kit and a hemming kit.
  • A multi-use knife.

Everything on this list is essential for either keeping you warm, keeping you sustained, protecting yourself, or getting the attention of those that can help you. Whether you choose to buy your cold weather survival kit or make it yourself, you need to get one.

4 Quick Tips For Staying Alive In Harsh Winter Environments

The main points you need to keep in mind if you are in an area that could potentially put you in harm's way:

  • Buy A Winter Emergency Kit & Make Additions
  • Don’t Eat The Snow, But Stay Hydrated
  • ​Your Hands, Feet, & Head Are Everything
  • Build Shelter, Stay Warm, Don’t Panic

Every point above is essential. If by this stage you don't understand why you need a winter emergency kit, for nothing else, get it as a precaution. Most winter emergency kits can be used for any other type of emergency situation. In any case, if you buy one, be sure to make additions gradually so that you have a complete kit possible.

Assess what your unique challenges are and update your kit for that. If you are diabetic or allergic to something, be sure to include medication for emergencies so that if you are stranded, the battle won't be over before it starts.

Winter Survival Box

Next, don’t eat snow even if you get desperate. The cold of the snow itself will cause your body temperature to lower.

If you need water and don’t have a pan to thaw out snow, use your water bottle to collect snow and then keep it pressed against your body to let it thaw out. This is only recommended after you build a fire and have a constant source of heat.

Keep track of how your hands and feet are doing. Frostbite sets in quickly and between frostbite and hypothermia you are likely not to last. Your hands and feet are your most important tools for survival possible.

Without your feet, your mobility will be limited, and that limits your ability to be found just as much as not having a hand to shoot a flare gun. Keep your head warm as well as most of your body heat escapes from the top of your head.

Your first orders of business as soon as you realize you are stuck should be to either use your car as shelter or if you are stuck out in the open, build a shelter. You can stay in hollowed out tree trunks, fallen trees, and more.

Winter Shelter Self Made

The smaller the area, the better. The reason is that your body heat will be more contained in a smaller space than it would be in a larger one. Keeping warm is the most important thing. Build a fire by taking out the inner pieces of dried/less damp wood from fallen trees that you can dig into using a small saw, a knife, or if really desperate a rock.

The number one thing is to keep calm and stay alert. If you stay active and are mindful of your body, you will make it through.


Every decision you make when out in the wilderness matters more than you can imagine. Having the right tools and keeping your wits about you will ensure that you can have the best possible chance of surviving.

In any case, picking up the right kit is as important as knowing how to use, so be sure to familiarize yourself with whatever kind of survival kit you pick up and be ready for anything

Leave a Comment: