The last year has seen many surprising weather patterns moving through the United States. From unexpected blizzards to incredible snow falls and record low temps, the lower 48 has been provided with a wealth of cold weather. This comes with both delights and risks as many are unprepared for these storms and their affects.
For those warm blooded individuals who experience cold only in movies, there are some very simple ways to not only survive but thrive in the cold. The first is to be prepared. Having a cold weather kit is just as important as having an earthquake or a tornado kit. These are a realities of the world we live in, so taking the time to prepare is the difference between an unwelcome surprise and a potential disaster.
The kit should include at a minimum the following:
- Base layer, top and bottom (preferably wool, but synthetic works too)
- Mid layer
- Outer layer jacket
- Wool socks
- Glove liners and gloves
- Wool hat
- Neck gaiter or scarf
- Wood for fireplace or fuel for small stove
- Stove (whisper lite style works)
- Pot for boiling water
- Sleeping bag
Remember, the purpose is not to survive, but to stay warm and thrive.
The base layer is designed to go directly against your skin and provide warmth. It should be thin and lightweight. The mid layer can be a sweater and thicker wool pants. Wool maintains 80% of its heating properties even when wet and will help to pull sweat away from your body to keep you dry. Synthetics do a good job of this too, but are nowhere near as effective as wool is. The outer layer should be something that blocks the wind and protects against rain. This will protect you from the environment while the wool will keep you warm and insulated.
None of these items should be tight or constricting against the skin. The space helps to trap air between the layers resulting in additional heat.
Glove liners provide the capability to manipulate items with your hands while still retaining warmth. As temperatures get into the negatives, contact frostbite with metal becomes a risk and glove liners help to mitigate this.
The pot and stove are helpful when the power goes out. Many people with electric stove tops are unable to perform basic functions without electricity. So while a generator would be ideal, the simpler and more practical answer is a basic camping stove.
A sleeping bag is one of the most overlooked components to cold weather survival. Vehicles which become stranded on the roads due to unexpected storms may run out of fuel before help arrives. If this happens, then the vehicle cannot run the heater and the temperature will drop quickly. The sleeping bag is an excellent solution to this problem and provides the ability to stay warm when all else fails.
And as always, a supply of fresh water cannot be overlooked. Even if there is snow all around you, it takes effort and exposure to gather it, and time for it to warm to a suitable drinking temperature. Since this isn’t a long term survival kit, a few bottles should suffice.
A winter storm should not be a reason for undue stress. With the proper planning and equipment on hand, it can even be something to enjoy.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.