Prepping is hard enough in the warm weather. But how are we supposed to tackle it when it’s 0 degrees outside? Luckily, there’s a few different prepping for the cold survival tips we can go over, to give you an edge in the event of SHTF.
First, let’s talk medical.
Cold Weather Medical – Outdoor Survival Tips
There are two principal medical challenges with survival in the cold: frostbite, and hypothermia.
Frostbite occurs when the body tissue freezes and subsequently damages that tissue.
The most prone body parts are the fingers, toes, earlobes, and tip of the nose.
Symptoms are pretty obvious: loss of feeling in the extremity, or a white/pale appearance of the afflicted body part.
As always, prevention is best. Make sure you have the right gear stocked up if you’re going out in the cold.
However, if you succumb to it anyway, it’s helpful to know how to fix.
First off: rewarm SLOWLY. Not quickly.
If possible, use water that is around 98-105 degrees (normal body temp). Fill a container that you can fit the body part in, and leave it in there.
Clean out and replenish the water, as the water will cool pretty drastically.
It takes anywhere from 30 mins to one hour to thaw the body tissue through this method.
If you don’t have access to normal temp water (You should), you can use body heat.
For example, if your toes are nearing frostbite, you can place them between your thigh and calf. Or, if your fingers are developing mild conditions you can place them under your arm.
This is only a temporary solution until you can find water and heat, however.
Hypothermia is when your core body temperature falls below 95 degrees.
Symptoms include: uncontrollable shivering, disorientation, incoherence (severe), apparent exhaustion, and obviously, extreme cold.
Similar to frostbite, you want to warm the body SLOWLY. Not quickly.
A peculiar note: warm the body core first, not the extremities. If you warm extremities first, it can lead to heart failure (because the cold blood gets driven to the heart first, causing body temp to drop further).
To help alleviate without medical attention (Although you should absolutely get medical attention if possible):
- Find a warm shelter to protect against wind or the outside elements.
- Get the person into dry clothing and wrap a warm blanket (or likewise supply) covering the head and neck.
- Supply them with warm broth/food if possible. No HOT beverages, food, or coffee. Also, avoid alcohol.
- Begin rewarming the person with extra clothing and coverings.
- Use heating supplements (like the hot packs or hand warmers) on the torso/armpits/neck.
- Use your own body heat to help warm them if none of these are available.
For both frostbite and hypothermia, it’s important to seek medical attention if there is some kind available. If not, do the best you can to find warm shelter and make a fire.
The Two Most Important Aspects of Prepping For The Cold
For two principal reasons:
- Overexertion causes sweating, which can speed up chill/frostbite/hypothermia
- It causes tremendous stress on your body since your body is already working in maximum overdrive to combat the cold weather
To combat the risks of dehydration, and all the terrible things that can happen from it.
Skills Needed for Outdoor Survival in The Cold
Make sure you know how to make a fire. And that you have the tools available to do it efficiently.
Consider supplementing your survival kit with either a magnesium fire starter or dryer lint (packed incredibly tightly) stuffed into some small container. The lint is really easy to light up.
You need a general survival kit.
But it helps to add a few things to it when considering you’re fighting the cold.
Some ideas to get you started:
- Wool blanket
- Good, insulated winter gear
- Emergency radio that can survive low temps
- Map/directions throughout the outdoors path you’re taking (preferably with path markers)
- Winter-specific tent
- Winter-specific sleeping bag and liner
- Water warmers (for frostbite)
Some easy cold-prepping steps to the best type of outfit:
- Waterproof boots
- Winter hat (preferably two)
- Strong, durable, waterproof coat
- Snow-resistant pants
- Wool socks
- Polyester glove liners
- And plenty of thermal layers
Prepping for the Cold – Summary
Prepping for the cold can seem like a daunting task, but it’s really not that bad.
Just make sure you know:
- The basic procedures for frostbite and hypothermia
- To avoid overexertion and drink plenty of water
- How to make a fire, and have the correct tools to do so
- To get a winter-oriented survival kit, or supplement your general survival kit
- The right attire to ward off the cold