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Winter Survival in the Woods & Tips on How To Make Winter Survival a Breeze!

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Surviving the freezing temperature of winter is not as easy as it sounds. And keeping ourselves warm is not just enough. We all know that Winter Survival is much more challenging than surviving in the summertime. Not only is there cold and snow to content with, but food is not as plentiful as it is in summertime. Making matters worse, the body needs more food in the wintertime, in order to produce heat. In ancient times, many people starved in the winter, simply because they didn’t have enough food to get them through till spring.

However, food really isn’t the major issue, at least not in a short-term survival situation. While having a supply of high-carb food would provide your body with extra energy to burn for keeping warm, most of us have enough fat reserves in our bodies to provide the necessary energy. Of course, if you’re extremely thin, you may want to make sure that you keep some energy bars in your coat pocket.

6 Tips on How To Survive in the Woods During Winter.

1. Keeping Warm

When you head into the winter wilderness, it is best to be properly layered. Hypothermia is the biggest killer in the wild, so keeping warm is the most important issue when trying to survive in the winter. That consists of three things, all of which can help keep your body warm. On the flip side of that coin, not having any of these three can make it harder to keep your body warm:

  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • Fire

Hopefully, you’ve gone into the woods with warm clothing on, as well as taking at least a minimal survival kit with you. If not, your efforts to survive will become much harder. You’ll have to depend on the other elements to keep you warm, as your clothing may not be enough. Here are some examples of clothing that can greatly help you in any winter wilderness adventures.

  • Long underwear of polyester
  • Merino wool as a base layer
  • Water proof and windproof shell
  • Wool socks
  • Neck gaiter
  • Hat
  • pack a balaclava so you can protect your face against frostbite

You can add insulation to your clothing, if your clothing isn’t warm enough. There are two things commonly found in the woods, which make excellent insulation, when placed inside your clothing. These are dead leaves and pine branches. The trick is to make sure you use dry ones, or they will draw the heat out of your body.

2. Starting a Fire

Having a fire when you’re in the great outdoors during winter will exponentially improve your chances of surviving. Even if you have with you your own survival stove to warm or boil water, building a fire will keep you warm for a much longer period of time as well as dry your wet clothes in case of a torrid downpour. The smoke from your fire can also be used in alerting rescuers to your location as well as ward off dangerous animals in the woods.

Your winter survival fire doesn’t need to be big. A small fire just enough to keep you warm is ideal most especially if your supply of firewood is limited. It is very important to stretch your firewood for as long as possible most especially during survival situations.

When building your fire on snow, dig a 2 feet deep pit into the snow. Cut thick logs into the same lengths and line them at the bottom of your pit to make a solid surface to build your fire. Use any materials you can find to build your fire and focus on keeping your fire going for as long as you can.

Here are some tips on how you can build a successful winter camp fire.

  • Choose Your Location

Choosing the right location for you to set-up your fire is the first step to a successful winter outdoor campfire. After you have chosen your location, shovel the snow beneath you until you reach a solid platform for you to put a base of your logs in which you will be starting your fire on. If the snow is too thick, pack the snow down and build a solid platform in which you can set-up your materials for starting a fire.

When building your fire on snow, dig a 2 feet deep pit into the snow. Cut thick logs into the same lengths and line them at the bottom of your pit to make a solid surface to build your fire. Use any materials you can find to build your fire and focus on keeping your fire going for as long as you can.

  • Gather Your Firewood

If you do not have enough firewood to last through the night, then I suggest you gather some firewood. Search your area for fallen timber, tree branches or anything that can help sustain your fire.  If the snow is heavy and packable, try searching for dry wood under thick vegetation.

  • Starting Your Fire

If you plan to have a winter outdoor campfire, just remember that starting a fire during this time of the year can be a difficult task to accomplish without the proper fire starting tools. That is why using fire starter from your local outdoor store, such as tubes of fire ribbon and tablets made of petroleum can be a great help.  For your source of kindling, fallen pine needles, pine cones, and bark will do the job.

  • Maintaining Your Fire

After you have successfully started your fire, maintaining it will be your next challenge. To keep your fire going, surround it with any logs that you have not used yet so that the heat of your fire will dry them out. Doing this will make it easier for the logs to burn once you need them. Also, all of the other things that you have collected like those small tree branches and fallen timbers will help provide extra stash to add to your campfire as the night moves on.

3. All-Important Shelter

For the sake of surviving in the winter, your shelter needs to be able to do three things. Those are to keep you dry, keep you out of the wind and entrap the heat from your fire. Many types of shelter will do the first two, but don’t do a good job of the third one. But if you can’t entrap the heat from your fire, you’ll need a bigger fire or to sit closer to the fire, in order to keep warm.

The best shelter you can find for winter survival is a cave. Unfortunately, they are rather hard to come by. Even if you do find one, you need to proceed with caution, because caves in the wild are seldom unoccupied. That cave might very well have a hibernating bear or a pack of wolves in it.

Tents, lean-tos and other structures are limited as shelters, in that is is extremely difficult to bring the fire inside, where it can help heat the inside of the shelter. Most tents would burn down, if you tried to bring a fire inside. However, there is one simple natural shelter you may find in the wild, which will allow a fire and protect you from the elements; that’s a pine tree.

Besides being green year round, pine trees are unique in that their branches don’t grow up. The branches may start to grow up, but the weight of the branches themselves causes them to bend downwards, to the point where branches that start three or four feet off the ground may very well touch the ground.

This creates a space under the tree, which you can access and use as a shelter. You’ll have to clean out the dead branches from under that bottom row of living branches, but that is fairly easy to do. Additional branches, cut from other pine trees, can be stacked around the base of the pine, to improve the insulation and wind break that the tree you are using provides.

While the space inside your shelter won’t be very high, you should be able to sit up in it. You can also start a fire, if you keep it small. A large fire would likely light the tree itself on fire, but a small one won’t. However, even that small fire will do a lot to warm up the area inside your shelter.

4. Give Me Water

In winter survival situations, it is very important to stay hydrated. Being hydrated will greatly help your body cope up with hypothermia and frostbite.

With shelter to keep you warm, your mind will naturally turn to food and water. As I’ve already said, you can go for quite a while without food, but you can’t go very long without water. Fortunately, you’ll probably be surrounded by water.

If there are no creeks in the area or you cannot find any available source of water, do not panic. Snow can always be used for water, but you shouldn’t eat it. Instead, you should melt the snow and drink the warm water. This isn’t for the reason of making sure that the water you drink is pure of microscopic pathogens, but rather to help you hold in your body’s heat. You don’t need to be wasting heat trying to melt the snow and heat up the cold water in your body. Better to have warm or even hot water, to help your body keep warm.

When melting snow, it’s important to stir it. As crazy as it sounds, snow will scald over a fire if it is not stirred. That will make for some pretty bad tasting water, that you probably won’t want to drink.

5. Administering First Aid

If a member of your group is injured, your priority should be to stabilize their condition until help arrives. After you have stabilized the victim, get him immediately onto an insulating sleeping pad to prevent hypothermia. If possible, do not move the victim if there is no imminent danger in your location. Just make sure to keep the injured warm since rescues take much longer in the winter than the rest of the year.

6. Getting Rescued

Assuming there hasn’t been a collapse of society, you will hopefully be rescued from living your life under a pine tree in the woods. Before leaving to go into the woods, you should tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. That way, they can contact the appropriate authorities if you don’t make it back. Also, be aware that most rescue teams won’t show up immediately if you are in trouble. Even if the rescue teams have a fix on your location, the search and rescue operations will only start when the sun rises or any bad weather condition has passed. So, basically you will be on your own until rescue shows up.

In case you’re stranded in your vehicle before you reach your destination, the most important thing to remember is: STAY WITH YOUR CAR! You will have a higher chance of surviving when you stay with your car than going out there in the wilderness without any protection. Staying with your car will also give you better chance of being rescued. Your car will also serve as a ready-made shelter during the night.

Remember to always carry a good whistle with you, to signal any rescuers that are looking for you. A whistle can be heard from quite a distance away. If your cell phone isn’t working, that whistle will probably be the most effective means you have of attracting attention.

Here are also 4 Simple Winter Survival Tips That we can Follow.


1. Winter Preparedness During a storm:

  • If it’s not important, avoid going out for a drive. But make sure to keep the gas tank of your car full to avoid fuel line freezing.
  • Always keep yourself dry. Change wet clothing to avoid body heat loss, frostbite, and hypothermia.
  • Always cover your mouth to protect your lungs from the extreme cold air.
  • Always listen to the latest weather report for important information.
  • Keep yourself warm. Wearing several layers of clothes as well as mittens and hats will do the trick.
  • Keep yourself hydrated and also eat regularly. Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine.

2. Winter Preparedness During a blizzard:

  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary and do not go out alone. Also, travel only during the day.
  • Avoid taking road shortcuts. Instead, stay on main roads and highways.
  • If you are trapped in your car because of the blizzard, do not panic. These are the things you need to do.
    • Pull of the highway and turn on your hazard lights.
    • Remain inside your car.
    • Only set out on foot if there is a building close to your location.
    • Every hour, run your engine for at least 10 minutes or so to keep you warm. Open one of your car’s windows slightly for ventilation.
    • Use anything in your car to insulate yourself against the cold.
    • Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
    • Do not waste your battery. Turn on your inside light at night only when you hear rescuers nearby.
    • Leave your car and look for help once the blizzard passes.
    • Always keep an emergency car kit in your car for your survival needs.

3. Winter Preparedness Checklist for your Car

Have these items even if you’re just going around town:

  • Blankets
  • First aid kit
  • Energy bars
  • Bottled water
  • Road maps and compass
  • Windshield scraper
  • Booster cables
  • Cell phone & car charger
  • Tool kit
  • Flashlight w/ extra batteries
  • Tire chains
  • Tow rope
  • Battery operated radio
  • Collapsible shovel
  • De-icing compound (for windshields and door locks)
  • 2 bags of sand (for traction)
  • Canned compressed air (for tires)
  • Change of clothes
  • Consider children’s needs (snacks, water, toys, blankets, etc)

If going on a trip out of town:

  • Food (3-day supply in cooler)
  • Water (3-day supply)
  • Extra water/Antifreeze for car
  • Brightly colored cloth
  • Extra blankets
  • Extra clothing
  • Extra batteries
  • Extra oil for car
  • Extra canned compressed air for tires
  • For children (toys, books, games, snacks, portable potty)

Before you leave town, check the following:

  • Oil
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Tire pressure
  • Water/Antifreeze
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Spare tire pressure
  • Car jack
  • Emergency road-side kit

4. Winter Preparedness Checklist For Your Home


  • Food (good for 2 weeks; non-perishable; requires no refrigeration; warming; energizing)
  • Can opener
  • Paper plates, plastic cups and utensils
  • Water (1 gallon per person per day – store enough for 4 days or more)
  • Flashlights
  • Candles & matches/lighters
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Battery-powered clock
  • Extra batteries
  • Cellular phone
  • First-aid kit
  • Prescription medicines (A week’s supply or more)
  • Blankets
  • Cold-weather clothing
  • Pet supplies (food and water)


  • Snow shovel
  • De-icing compound

These are just some tips on how we can survive the winter. If you have other tips or suggestions that you want to share, just do so in the comment section below.

The post Winter Survival in the Woods & Tips on How To Make Winter Survival a Breeze! appeared first on Emergency Preparedness Tips.


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    • Busta Myth

      That’s a lot of stuff that I don’t have but I rarely travel that far from home anymore

      If I go walking in the Woods on my own I usually keep a cheapy emergency foil tent in my bag just in case, they only cost about $10 and take up next to no room and are really light, I also have some of those small space blankets that can be stuffed in coat pockets

      They are really flimsy but if you had to you could make a small Tipi from branches and leaves etc and then put the foil inside to keep most the heat in, it also means you could have a small fire inside the tent if you make a hole for the smoke

      I’ve lined small tents before with tin foil and just with a candle burning it warms it up pretty good

      A news paper is a handy thing too, you can read it, start a fire with it or scrunch all the pages up and stuff them inside your clothing at night time if its really cold, my dad used to do that about 60 years ago if he was driving hundred sof miles in the winter on his old BSA motorbike …old school…or old bum :lol:

      My car boot is full off stuff like a 4 huge tarps, fire lighters, lighter fuel, charcoal, a couple of new wood saws with a spare blade, lots of duct tape and ropes, 2 sleeping bags, warm coats, water proofs, gloves, hats tins of food like beans, potatoes, soups, tea-bags, drinking water etc….and that is all year round lol :roll:

      So if I had to leave in a couple of minutes for whatever reason like a coming tsunami, flood, earth quake, fire etc I could at least make a pretty comfortable and dry place to live in the Woods for a few weeks …..IF I could get away in time that is

      I’ve always got loads of tinned food in the house anyway, so if I had the time to throw it all in the car I’d probably be able to feed myself pretty boringly for 6 months…or share it

      Hey, there does seem to be lots of strange and unusual things happening all over the World recently so ya never know eh?

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