cold weather

All posts tagged cold weather

 By Jeremiah Johnson – Ready Nutrition

We’re deep into the winter, Readers out there in ReadyNutrition Land, as you well know.  Now, here’s a challenge for you: while the season is here, it’s time to put your skills to the test. Why?  Well, because you can practice doing a few things in a (semi) controlled environment.  This will enable you to gauge your weaknesses and strengths and iron out your problems, either for another “go” at it or for lessons learned to hone in the off season.

Essential Winter Gear

  1. Proper and effective dress: We have covered the importance of layering in previous articles. Everyone has their preferences; however, a good set of polypro thermals that wick off moisture and a good set of Gore-Tex upper and lower garments are a start.
  2. Backpack: I prefer the large Alice pack of the Army; however, what you need is to be comfortable with your gear, and for your gear to work. You need food, a source of heat, fire making equipment, a blanket/sleeping bag, a water supply that will not readily be frozen, extra clothing as needed, and the likes.  For a sleeping bag, I prefer the insulated issue bag with a Gore-Tex cover.  Don’t forget a ground pad of some type.
  3. Tools: A hatchet (preferably one with a hammer-head and a hatchet blade with one continuous piece incorporated into the handle; a good hunting knife, and a good utility knife (Swiss Army knife, or a multipurpose tool will fit the bill).
  4. Sheltering equipment: I prefer the Army issue poncho (that has grommets) and five (5) bungee cords for the four corners and the top (hood portion tied off) for an expedient shelter.  You can take a pup or dome tent, but be sure of how to put it up before you go out in the woods.
  5. Must-haves: these are things on your person when you venture forth – lighter, compass, thermometer (or device to compute temperature, such as wrist thermometer, etc.), flashlight, map of area for exercise. Use your judgement as to what other things you need.

Critical Tasks for Training in Winter

Let’s identify some critical tasks that you need to be able to perform in the wintertime.  These tasks pertain also to requirements you need to fulfill to be able to operate in the outdoors.

  1. For the first one, plan on just doing an “overnighter” or such, if you’ve never been outside overnight in a winter environment.  As with physical exercise: train, don’t strain.  Same principle here.  You want to see how well your skills work and what you need to improve upon.  It’s also a good way to test your equipment and yourself.  You are trying to learn by experience and not hurt yourself, so don’t push it beyond your limits this first time.
  2. For your water-carrying containers: use whatever you have that is insulated to a high degree, and if it is going to freeze?  You should leave about ¼ unfilled to keep your container from splitting.  Then, what do you do with it?  For wintertime, I have “special” one quart canteens, the older issue ones made from metal, with a screw on cap lined with cork.  The canteen carrier helps to insulate the canteens, but if they freeze…plop one on top of a small folding stove or at the edge of a fire and it’ll thaw that water out in no time.  In addition, the canteen nests in the canteen cup and you can thaw snow or ice to make water for yourself.
  3. Bivouac in an area that is close to home.  In an emergency, you can get home readily.  Now you can practice with that “safety net” if you need it.  Practice everything: making fires in the snow, making lean-to’s and igloos, and tree-pit shelters.  Practice your navigation with a compass.  This is where the military issue compass comes in handy, as it’s not liquid filled and not subject to freezing.  You should write down your experiences in some kind of a logbook or journal to use for improving later.
  4. Practice tracking your non-hibernating animals.  Learn the difference between a dog’s track in the morning, and in the afternoon when the sun melts the edges of the impression and expands the track, making it look bigger.  You’ve brought the ground covering mat and the poncho with you.  Alright.  Now, knowing you have that in reserve, practice clearing snow away from a patch of ground and using fallen pine boughs as ground cover.  Fashion a lean-to for yourself from the surrounding fallen timber.
  5. At night, practice building your fire and building a fire-reflecting wall.  Take constant notes on the things you observe: what you see, hear, feel, and smell.  Practice land navigation and orienteering in the daytime, and (until you’re comfortable) for short distances at night.  Learn to use the stars if they’re visible, as mentioned in previous articles.  If the S ever HTF, you’ll be way ahead of the power curve regarding living in the field and the boonies in a winter environment.

Mind you, these are all basics for you to try.  These basics will help you to inspire confidence in yourself and your skills.  Winter weather and a cold environment with snow and ice on the ground presents challenges, but they can be overcome and mastered with practice.  Stay warm, be safe, and keep up the good work!  JJ out!

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition: Winter Survival: Critical Training Techniques to Overcome the Elements

About the author:

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

 

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14 Winter Survival Items Everyone Should Store In Their Vehicle

By Rich M – Off The Grid News

I live in a warm part of the country now, so winter isn’t a big deal. Actually, it’s my favorite time of year, because it’s not hot. But it wasn’t always that way. I grew up and learned to drive in Colorado, where the mountains make it so that a winter blizzard can sneak up on you and leave you stranded before you know it. I can’t remember how many people I rescued; they simply were good drivers who were trapped by winter weather.

I don’t care how good of a driver you are — there are situations where you can’t keep on trucking. I remember an icy parking lot that put me in a snow bank, simply because I couldn’t get enough traction to overcome gravity (the parking lot was sloped, and the exit was uphill). I’ve seen the same happen to truckers, who literally had to bail out of their rigs when gravity overcame friction and their trucks started sliding backwards, down the mountain. Then there were the times when blizzards cut visibility to the point where I or someone else drove off the road, thinking we were driving on it.

That’s why I always kept my car prepared to deal with emergencies, especially the emergency of being stuck in the snow. I never could afford a fancy four-wheel drive, so I was stuck trying to make do with a sedan — and that was in the day when sedans were rear-wheel drive, not front-wheel drive. So they were even worse in the snow.

Continue reading at Off The Grid News: 14 Winter Survival Items Everyone Should Store In Their Vehicle

survivopedia-winter-survival-how-to-start-a-fire-in-the-snow

By Chris Black – SurvivoPedia

With winter here and global warming a thing of the past (now it’s climate change or something), knowing how to start a fire in the snow may save your life someday. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but in my neck of the woods it’s been snowing for days.

If you’re asking yourself why you should learn how to start a fire in the snow, well, the simple answer is: you never know, so be prepared for any situation.

Winter time is arguably the hardest in terms of outdoor survival and if you can’t build a fire, you’re dead meat regardless of the gear you have at your disposal.

And if you’re out there, stranded in the snow in the middle of nowhere and waiting impatiently for help from above, knowing how to make a fire will make the difference between life and certain death.

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: Winter Survival: How To Start A Fire In The Snow

winter-water

By Jeremiah Johnson – Ready Nutrition

“Water, water, everywhere,” wrote Coleridge, in application to the ancient mariner of his prose.  The big difference, though, is his water was not potable, as it was the ocean.  The water I’m referring to in this piece is the water that is all around you in the winter, and the importance of consuming the proper amount of water to prevent dehydration.  Be advised: your needs for water do not decrease; rather, they increase due to stressors that are different on the human body.

The tendency is to not drink as much when the weather is cold.  This is a natural thing, as people usually (even when thirsty during the winter) do not wish to drink cold beverages.  Conversely, they prefer warm beverages that are (usually) caffeinated, such as coffee or tea.  As a die-hard coffee drinker, I know from experience that you must offset the caffeine consumption (to a degree) with an increased intake of water.  At the end of this article, I’ll mention more on this.

How the Body Loses Water During Winter Months

With increased activity, there are many ways that a person loses water.  Diaphoresis (sweating/perspiration) is one way, and insensible water loss is also increased, examples being water lost from the eyeballs and from respiration.  People breathe out 1-2 glasses of water per day.  Urination is another way that water is lost, the composition of urine being about 95% water and 5% miscellaneous solids.  The needs (on average) of water consumption in humans is about a gallon per day, with kids needing a little less except when they’re extremely active.

Water is Fuel

During the winter, you’ll need about a quarter to a half extra water than your body normally requires, and this increases further if you are working hard physically or exerting yourself.  Remember what is happening in the cold weather.  Your body is burning up calories and extra sugar and carbohydrates to heat your muscle tissue.  This requires a tremendous amount of metabolic energy, down to the cellular level.  Water is fuel: never forget that.  With the increased cold temperatures, your metabolism works harder to stay warm.  Food intake is critical, and so is water.

As mentioned earlier, you may (due to the cold and a desire to not drink that accompanies it) take in more food than water.  This, too, is not good for you.  I don’t want to get into proponents of eating your food and drinking sparingly to allow hydrochloric acid in your stomach to digest more efficiently.  That may be, but more importantly, you need liquid to consume your food.  Remember, if you do not drink, your body will rob what water is in and between the cells (that is, inter, and intracellular fluid, respectively) to digest the food.  We learned it thoroughly in SERE school: Thou shalt not eat until thou canst drink.  You must be able to drink in for your body not to take from itself to digest the food.  If you do not drink, then you’re dehydrating yourself when you eat.

The appearance of your urine is a good indicator of your level of hydration.  Dark yellow urine means you need water.  Your body excretes the waste it must excrete on a regular basis; nevertheless, the body will reabsorb as much water as possible to conserve it.  The urine will be thicker with more solutes (dissolved substances, such as sodium) in it.  This brings us to the secondary problem: your body needs to excrete wastes but you’ll be losing electrolytes.  Your food replaces the electrolytes, but if you have no food readily available, you want to supplement and not just drink excessive quantities of water.  Too much water can flush out your electrolytes.

Remember: thirst is a late sign of dehydration.  In a survival situation, do not eat snow.  The eating of snow robs your body of calories (as explained earlier) to enable itself to melt the snow into water, and in addition, lowers your body temperature.  You can melt it over a fire, in which case it is worth it.  I highly recommend a small folding stove with hexamine tablets.  Each tablet burns for about 9 minutes…plenty of time to melt some snow, ice, or icicles for your water.  As mentioned in times past, the U.S. Army issue canteen cup is a great thing to have, made of steel.  It can take a beating and be set on a campfire or on a little portable stove with good results.

It is very difficult to keep water on hand when you’re dealing with subzero temperatures.  Most urban and suburban residents are always able to duck into a store and purchase whatever they want…for now.  People in more remote or less dense areas may have a bit of a problem.  Living where I do, I have a real problem. What I do is pack two thermoses (Aladdin’s) with hot water, and then wrap the outside with towels to further insulate them.  This ensures that I have a supply of drinkable water when I leave the house for up to 24 hours without freezing.

I also tote electrolyte packets and bouillon cubes with me, as well as my ever-present jar of instant coffee.  Returning to my earlier note, whatever you drink as far as coffee and tea are concerned?  Don’t deviate from that, and your body will compensate for the caffeine consumption so that it will not affect you in the same manner as if you were drinking that amount for the first time.  I usually have five cups a day, and my coffee is very strong.  Most people would shake akin to a leaf and be hitting the restroom all day long.

But perhaps you get the gist of the article: you need to maintain your consumption of water, even during the wintertime.  You should also have access to fire-starting materials and things such as hand warmers/chemical heat producers.  You don’t know when the need will arise for you to melt some water.  If you can keep a Camelback handy and keep the water pouch near your body heat to keep it from freezing, all the better.  Just have a source of water, and a means to replenish that source when it runs out.  During the winter, you don’t want to be dehydrated.  And if the SHTF, or if there’s a winter emergency?  These measures can mean the difference between life and death.  Stay hydrated, stay safe, and bundle up…the winter’s just starting!  JJ out!

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition: Why Drinking More Water During Winter Is Crucial to Your Survival

 About the author:

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

 

survivopedia-polar-vortex

By Theresa Crouse SurvivoPedia

The term “polar vortex” isn’t one that most people became familiar with until just recently. We had to face it last winter, and we have to face it again these days.

Now, however, it’s a serious concern and needs to be figured into your potential disaster events if you live in areas that may be affected.

Read the following article to find out what a polar vortex is, what it isn’t (if you haven’t been affected by one), and what you need to do to prepare!

What is a Polar Vortex?

We have two polar vortexes – one around each pole. It’s an area of low pressure that circulates counterclockwise in the stratosphere around the pole all the time, but weakens in the winter time.

Continue reading at SurvivoPedia: 11 Tips On How To Survive A Polar Vortex

By  – The Prepper Journal

Currently enjoying the first real Winter storm of the season up here in Canada and I must say I really like it. Got me thinking about those things relating to Winter survival that are either not really talked about or, worse yet, ignored. I am assuming you do not have a massive solar array and geothermal power. I am also assuming you live in the snow belt meaning two to five months of Winter and arctic temperatures.

It is Snowing. A lot!

Here at work I just opened our Storm accommodation plan so staff can sleep overnight rather than risk life, limb, and fenders trying to get home as 20cm of snow falls (8 inches). They have the option to sleep in warm, dry, secure location and get a free meal voucher. Awesome deal but in SHTF when it snows hard it gets complex. Stay or go? I’d stay put until the obvious storm front has passed me by as I really will have no idea if the snow is stopping in an hour or going to keep dropping the next three days.

This means in the Winter season you always need to have a Winter bug in kit on you at all times you know you cannot easily get back to home base. You should always have a compass on you in SHTF as fog, rain, and snow can easily get you lost real fast even close to home base. This is my minimum gear I’d have on me if venturing any distance in the Winter season in Southern Ontario away from the home base.

Continue reading at The Prepper Journal: Winter SHTF Planning and Preparation

3 Winter Survival Gadgets Everyone Should Have In Their Car

By Kevin Danielsen – Off The Grid News

Indeed, the temperature has dropped. We’ve noticed.

This means now would be a good time to reevaluate your winter preparedness – specifically, what’s currently stashed in your vehicle to break out in case of a blizzard?

Have you stocked and loaded your favorite emergency duffle? Well, if you haven’t, then here are a few interesting ideas that might turn some gear to keep you warm. Now I won’t be discussing general winter survival or gear in this post, simply because those are some rather inexhaustible topics in themselves, but we will cover a few items that really make sense to carry during the coldest months of the year.

Continue reading at off The Grid News: 3 Winter Survival Gadgets Everyone Should Have In Their Vehicle