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Cold Weather Survival: Stories and Best Practices

Exploring the outdoors in cold weather can lead to breathtaking, snowy landscapes and striking winter wildlife. But cold weather excursions can be extremely dangerous and should be done with adequate preparations.

Don’t believe us? Read on to learn about some terrifying, true, cold weather survival stories and followed by some best practices on how to survive the outdoors in frigid temperatures.

Negative Nevada Temps

Our first story takes place in rural Nevada during December of 2013. James Glanton and his girlfriend Christina McIntee decided to take their young children, niece and nephew for a drive in the wilderness of Nevada.

This sounds like a fun adventure – until their car spun-off the road, flipped into a crevice and left them stranded in the middle of nowhere in negative 21-degree temperatures.

This group was stranded for two entire days until they were rescued by emergency responders. They managed to stay warm by making a fire, heating stones and situating the stones in the car’s tires to serve as insulation.

Despite the extreme temperatures, no one received frostbite, hypothermia or any type of serious injury.

Fortunately, they told people where they were going before their trip so emergency responders were able to locate them easily.

Cold Cars and Candy Bars

Our next story is about a 23-year-old Arizona State University student named Lauren Weinberg who was driving on a desolate, dirt road in Coconino County, Arizona during finals week.

While Lauren was driving, a snowstorm hit – causing her car to get stuck for a total of 10 days.

Luckily, she had a Snickers bar, some M&Ms, and a water bottle she used to stay alive. She used the water bottle to stay hydrated by filling it with melted snow, setting it in the sun on her dashboard and allowing it to melt into drinking water.

Responders had to plow through 10 inches of snow to free her from the dire situation.

Lauren stated “there were times I was afraid, but mostly I had faith I would be found.”

A Birthday Trip to Remember

Thomas and Tamitha Garner traveled to a remote area in southern Utah to celebrate Tamitha’s 38th birthday by taking pictures of the wild horses in the desert.

To reach this destination, they went off the main highway and ended up on roads that were piled with more than 18 inches of snow.

Their vehicle eventually became stuck – causing them to be trapped in an isolated, snowy area with limited resources.

The couple stayed in their car for nine days until they came to the conclusion that help may never come.

At that point they decided to walk towards the main highway in search of help. To do this, they ripped up the seats of their car to create make-shift snowshoes and walked for two days before eventually finding help.

Tips for Cold Weather Survival

After reading these stories of cold adventures gone wrong, we’re sure you’re ready to hear some cold weather survival tips. 

Stay Dry

Sweat is the body’s natural cooling system and in cold weather, staying cool is not the goal. This means you want to stay dry, prevent sweating and avoid any type of external moisture.

We recommend wearing clothing that features moisture-wicking technology to battle sweat and waterproof boots to protect against rain, snow, and all types of icy puddles.

Some great waterproof boots are the Garmont T8 Extreme GTX Boots. These lightweight boots are made to take you through all types of terrain while keeping your feet both warm and dry.

Shop Garmont T8 Extreme GTX Boots

Pack on Layers

Be sure to wear adequate layers that keep you warm and comfortable. This includes warm, high-quality jackets, pants, socks, headwear, and gloves.

We would recommend the ECWCS GEN III Level 3 Fleece Jacket. This jacket is made from warm fleece that is great by itself but can also be worn as part of a layered system.

Shop ECWCS GEN III Level 3 Fleece Jacket

Protect Your Ears

When it comes to headwear, you can’t go wrong with a Condor Fleece Watch Cap. Made from 100% polyester microfleece, this watch cap regulates your body temperature and wicks away moisture to keep you dry.

Shop Condor Fleece Watch Cap

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration in cold weather is known as the “stealthy killer.” It gets this nickname because it’s common to not feel thirsty in cold weather even though it’s just as necessary to the body as it is in extreme heat.

Let People Know Your Plans

Before you go out in freezing weather, tell a friend or a family member where you are going, when you are leaving and when you expect to return.

It may feel unnecessary, but it’s essential if things don’t go as planned.

Final Remarks

We hope you enjoyed this list of cold weather survival stories and tips. Have fun out there and be safe.

For all types of cold weather gear, check out the cold weather section on our website.

Shop All Cold Weather Gear

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