During the winter, survival gear is more important than it is the rest of the year. There is probably no need to explain why that is.
Whether you’re planning a cold weather adventure, or you expect to drive through snowy or icy conditions, it’s a good idea to keep a winter survival kit handy.
Here are some must-haves to put on your survival list:
Technically, clothing doesn’t count as a “kit” item, but this is important…
In extremely cold temperatures, you obviously don’t want to be cold. You also don’t want to sweat.
Typically, you want fewer layers when you’re physically active and more layers when you’re not.
Your innermost layer is, ideally, made of a material that absorbs sweat. The outermost layer should protect you from wind and moisture. Fleece and wool are popular choices for the in-between layers.
And don’t forget your head, neck, and ear coverings. They’re important for maintaining a good body temperature.
If you have room for a spare hat, spare gloves, and other extras, bring them along. If they don’t fit in a pack, they’ll probably fit inside your car.
Insulated Drinking Container
Water isn’t very appealing when you’re out in the cold. However, it helps keep you warm.
Insulation will keep your water from freezing. It will also keep warm water warm.
Metal Container for Boiling
The ability to boil water and melt snow or ice could save your life. If not, they can make you far more comfortable in a survival situation.
You don’t need to haul an entire sauce pan. A stainless steel cup with a handle will work just fine.
For those who want to go the extra mile:
If you pack a Nalgene bottle, or another container that stays warm on the surface while keeping water hot, you have yourself a sleeping bag warmer. This can double as a hand warmer, too.
Trash Bags & Space Blankets
Trash bags are versatile survival tools all year long. One thing they do well is trap body heat where it belongs. They also keep things from getting wet.
You might as well pack some. They weigh almost nothing and barely use up space. For extra bonus points, research all the ways you can use them in survival situations. You’ll be impressed.
Foil blankets are also lightweight and compact, and they have saved more than a few lives.
Waterproof Fire Starter Materials
It helps to have a good fire starter kit like the Wolf and Grizzly Fire Set. This particular ferro rod kit generates sparks that are 5,400 degrees Fahrenheit.
The trick in wintery conditions is to keep your kindling materials dry. Otherwise, you may have problems when using your ferro rod.
At the very least, you want a few lighters plus waterproof – and preferably windproof - matches. A Bic lighter may temporarily stop working when it’s wet, but it’s usually easy to remove the water and get it working again. You still may want the matches as a backup.
Extreme cold may also make your Bic ineffective, but don’t go into your match stash right away. You may just need to warm it up in your hands or throw it in your pants pocket for a few minutes.
You may also want to consider candles. Candles can make life a lot easier when you’re trying to spark up a campfire. They’re especially nice in wet conditions.
Always keep candles in your car. Combined with a metal can, your candle can become a heater if your car breaks down or gets stuck in the snow.
In a survival emergency, your hands will become very important. More important than hands are fine motor skills. Without those, your hands are useless.
Chemical warmers, like HotHands, are air-activated and can keep your hands warm and nimble for 10 hours. They fit inside your gloves, too.
HotHands warmers are included in the recommended product below.
- Reflective & waterproof Mylar Tent for 2 adults
- Mylar blanket
- Beanie for head warmth
- 2 pairs of water resistant gloves with textured nitrile palm for grip
- 4 Hothands Hand Warmers
Find more winter survival gear and prepared kits at Survival Gear Systems.