In our most recent podcast, we talked about winter weather prepping. It was super fitting as the very first snowfall happened the day we produced the podcast. And with the coming of winter, also comes challenges for preppers, survivalists and, hell, everybody. I'm going to hit the high points of this podcast and give you an overview of some of the basics we spoke of.
ADVANTAGES TO WINTER WEATHER SURVIVAL -
Melting snow for potable water should be a focus during the winter months as it can go a long way.
Winter allows for a less disturbed shelter if you happen to have one as conveniently placed such as Hitler's Eagle Nest. You are far less likely to have to deal with looters. Also, in the wilderness you have the ability to create a nice, snug, and insulated shelter quite easily if you have the know how.
Tracking animals or humans can be facilitated in the winter snow. Just make sure to bundle up and keep those feets dry.
COLD WEATHER RISKS AND PREVENTION -
Cold and Flu
Apocalypse or not, you can't escape these two unfortunately. Both are more likely during cold weather months due to reduced blood flow to your upper respiratory system and the ability for the flu to linger in cold dry air. Prevention is best done with warm clothing, headwear, and facewear. Also with a simple cold it is still best to isolate the sick from others. Easier to prevent than manage.
Seasonal affective disorder affects an estimated 5% of Americans. Inactivity, struggling to stay warm, isolated area, all lead to depression. Recommendations to avoid is group therapy/support, exercise, and a downloaded copy of our podcast for play over and over.
Nonfreezing cold induced injury -
Much more common to occur in cold environments than frostbite. It typically occurs on the feet and possibly hands when there is prolonged exposure to just above freezing temperatures. Long periods of wet feet can lead to the injury. Prevention is done by changing socks 2-3 times a day to keep the feet warm. Avoid constrictive footwear. Treatment is discussed in detail in our medical tip article found here.
Freezing injury to areas of reduced body fat and reduced blood flow. This includes fingers, toes, ears, nose, and feet. In cold and freezing temperature our body direct blood flow to core organs by vasoconstricting blood from the extremities. This leads to a greater risk of tissue damage when exposed to cold weather for long periods. Tissue then freezes and dies and can lead to serious complications. Prevention again is with warm non constrictive clothing, and avoidance of prolonged exposure to freezing temperature if possible. Both frostbite and nonfreezing injuries should never be rubbed to keep warm, this can lead to more tissue damage.
Signs and symptoms usually start with shivering, cold, then withdrawn, and later confusion, sleepiness, and slurred speech. Prevention is done by keeping warm with proper clothing, removing any damp or wet clothing, and using blankets. It is advised to avoid rapid reheating like hot shower etc. as it can lead to shock.
Your base layer should be made of synthetic fiber or wool. This should help pull moisture away from your skin. Wool is itchy. I'm going with synthetic.
The middle layer should be insulating, wool maybe.
The outer shell should shield you from water and wind.
Choose boots that have an outer shell and an inner insulating bootie. Ha ha, bootie.
Merino Wool & Nylon Mix seems to be the best in my research. Cloudline makes some good socks. Check out our review here.
Mittens will usually keep your hands warmer, but limit what you can do. Imagine trying to shoot your damn gun with mittens on. Good luck Tex.
Again, layering, Synthetic tighter under layer and a wool outer layer and shell.
Beanies. Scarves. Facemasks. Go wild brother.
Sunglasses to shield from UV rays and the sun reflecting off of the snow. Plus you will look like a super cool bad ass.
This is basically the same thing we always talk about. Make sure that you have your food storage. If there is a blizzard, and you can't get out, or the roads are shut down, you need to have food on hand.
Make sure you have some bug out rations in your bag like Tac-Bar or Datrex. If its winter, its not going to be easy to forage or hunt. Maybe a nearby survival cache with food is a good idea. Or just make your bug out location your local Arby's. Feels like an Arby's night.
Snow can be melted, just be careful about hypothermia. Make sure if you are in place that your water supply doesn't freeze.
Heating Your Home Without Power
Seriously. What are you going to do when it is like 5 degrees outside and there is no power? This scares the bejeezers out of me. Here are just a few tips to get you by when the apocalypse decides to materialize in the dead ass of winter.
Cuddle In a small room
Pick the smallest room with the least amount of windows. The small space should help trap your body heat. Just hope that you stocked up on toothpaste and deodorant.
Use Plastic & Duct Tape Over Windows
Garbage sacks or plastic and duct tape can really help keep the cold drafts out.
Burn Some Candles
Burning a few candles can heat up a small space enough to make your shivers subside.
Get a Wood Stove
Seriously such a good idea. Feel like a dumb ass that I don't have one.
Get a Generator
A small generator KEPT OUTSIDE can run a space heater. That's some sweet action when you've got snot-cicles.
Put Up a Tent Indoors
Put up your tent. Get everyone in. Nice, cozy and warm.
Bugging out and Shelter
When the world comes to an end, by whatever means it chooses, it will most definitely occur in one of the winter months. Why not add the extra challenge right? We never said it would be easy, we only said it would suck balls. So you may want to freshen up on how to build one or all of these shelters we discussed in our podcast. If you don't, well you may lose your scrotum to frostbite. No one wants that. No one.
These shelters are those easily setup in a cave, alcove or overhang. The area is likely to be more dry and well protected from wind. You can easily build wind protection in front of the exposed entrance and boom you have shelter.
These shelters are typically built with surrounding bush, tree branches, and logs etc. Basically whatever you can find to build a lean-to to help shield you from the cold and incoming winter snow or wind.
A variety of shelters can be built with snow. The most easily built shelter is the snow trench. It can be the quickest to build and the least likely to get the digger wet. Typically dug in a flat area, a 4x6 foot trench can be dug is 20 minutes or so, then using logs, branches or similar, the top can be covered and then snow can be laid over the top of this to provide insulation and protection.
Snow domes are another form of shelter. A large amount of snow is gathered into a large dome 6-7 feet high if there is not enough snow on the ground. It is then left to harden and then an entrance is dug low and the dome hollowed out.
Snow caves are typically dug into a drift on a hillside. The entrance is dug lower and once inside you begin to dig on a slight upward slope. This helps trap warm air inside. Inside a small slightly elevated bench is dug just above the floor to help keep the person dry.
Other forms of shelters include Igloos and tents. We encourage you to look into these forms of shelter as they may be needed some day.
Here is the full podcast episode for your audible enjoyment.