Have you ever been in a survival situation in the Winter time? This winter survival guide will help you prepare for such an event for when the Winter season rolls around.

The cold weather winds can take a burden on the human body. Mother nature stretches her legs during this season and reminds us that she is king. Or, Queen…

The Preppers Ultimate Winter Survival Guide

I’ve talked to preppers that didn’t think learning and developing cold weather survival skills wasn’t important. They might be right.

But they might not be right.

In my experience, every single disaster or emergency that happens to us wasn’t “important” until it happened. Then it became very important. It became a matter of life and death in some cases.

So prepping and developing survival skills is the act of prepping BEFORE something happens. Which makes it important. Prepping for cold weather is no different.

How To Survive Cold Weather In The Wilderness

The low temperatures have an effect on our physiology that we should be aware of. And we should know how to treat frostbite and other medical emergencies that could develop in this weather if left untreated or we neglect to take care of ourselves.

Cold Weather Survival Skills and Techniques

When it comes to what your priorities are for Winter Survival and the cold weather in general, everything is definitely not equal. We all require the same things in order to survive which are laid out in the survival rule of threes. But in the Winter, we now need different things more than if the weather wasn’t at arctic temperatures.

If we don’t know what to focus on, by the time we need to, it will likely be too late. And I heard treating frostbite isn’t what you would call a relaxing Friday night.

The skills and techniques we want to learn to conquer the cold are too robust to include in this post. But the link is below to read that, become a Winter Warrior.

RELATED: Winter Survival Skills To Conquer The Cold

It covers 17 cold weather skills and techniques you need to know.

Winter Bug-Out Bag List

Tools, Weapons, and Gadgets

There are a few items that we want to have if we’re going to be spending extended periods of time out in the cold.

God forbid, something happens and you find yourself having to spend much more time outside than you expected.

You’ll be prepared for it and you’ll have the gear to help you survive and stay warmer.

Stocking Your Cold Weather Survival Kit

Like any other environment, we’re going to need a Winter survival kit to bring with us out in the cold.

There are numerous variations of Winter survival kits with different items, gear, and Winter gadgets.

But let’s focus on the core essentials, assuming you don’t want to splurge on 34 items to get through the Winter.

What Should Be In A Winter Survival Kit

Like most survival kits, it depends.

It depends on what activities you’re going to be doing and where you’ll be doing them.

But to help you with some gear recommendations in this post for your kit.

Here are 3 items that are more important than the others in terms of staying warm. Your primary concern out in the cold is keeping your core temperature up.

Essential Winter Survival Kit List

  • Hand Warmers
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Firestarter

Hand Warmers

These hand warmers are great at helping you keep warm.

  • Safe, Natural Heat
  • Air-Activated
  • Odorless
  • Ready To Use
  • Long Lasting Heat
  • Single Use Item

hand warmers winter survival

Emergency Blanket

This thermal blanket is effective at retaining body heat.

  • Superior Materials
  • Higher Tensile Strength
  • Increased Durability
  • Improved Tear Resistance
  • Built for Survival Purposes

emergency thermal blanketFirestarter

Since staying warm is your main priority in this climate. Being able to start a fire quickly could be your best survival item.

These Lighters are perfect for a Winter bug-out bag or kit.

  • Waterproof
  • Compact & Lightweight
  • USB Rechargeable
  • Windproof
  • Security Protection

prepper survival lighter amazon

Cold Weather Survival Clothing

All clothing is not equal.

We want to have clothing and gear that’s specifically made to help withstand arctic winds and keep us as dry as possible.

Watch this video from Ultimate Survival Tips on what to look for in Winter clothing.

Build a Fire In The Snow

build fire in snow

Making fire is a must-have skill. More than ever in these temperatures. Being able to make a fire for yourself is one of the best ways for staying warm.

This video from Far North Bushcraft and Survival shows you how to make a fire on snow.

Winter Survival Shelter

Staying warm is one of our top priorities. Having shelter is one of the best ways for us to do this. Let alone all the other benefits shelter gives you, warmth alone would be more than worth it for us. We want to avoid developing hypothermia and frostbite at all costs.

RELATED: See this article on Winter Survival Shelter Basics.

Types of Shelters

There are different kinds of Winter survival shelters that we can make. They all have pros and cons. And they all require different skills and tools to make. So depending on what you have for supplies will determine which one makes sense for you to make.

EDITORS NOTE: Also, you will need tools to make your shelter. Go to this post to see the essential tools.

You could bring a Winter survival tent, but tents tend to get bulky and be too heavy to haul around with you.

There are many different kinds of shelters:

  1. Igloo
  2. Snow Trench
  3. Snow Cave
  4. Quinzee

Any of them that you know how to make or have the supplies to make it would do the job. The idea is to get shelter as quickly as possible in this climate. Every minute counts.

This tutorial from Norwegian Bushcraft shows you how to get a shelter up in 15 minutes.


Make A Two-Person Winter Shelter

This tutorial shows you how to build a DIY two person shelter in wild. If you’re with someone, it’s ideal to make this rather than trying to squeeze into another shelter that’s really only built for one.

Staying Hydrated

It’s more important than ever to do your best to stay as hydrated as possible out in cold weather.

Why? Our bodies have to work harder to keep our body temperature up.

The process of dehydration is accelerated during the Winter.

Winter Dehydration Facts

The cold weather basically tricks us. Mother Nature makes it easy for us to dehydrate ourselves.

Here’s why.

  • We tend to get less thirsty in cold weather. We’re not outside sweating in 100F weather. So we drink less water. However, being less thirsty doesn’t make us better hydrated.
  • We sweat less in the Winter time as well. Your body still loses moisture in cold weather, but there’s none or very little sweat. Sweat is an indicator to our bodies that triggers the process of sweating to cool ourselves down. So we are likely to never realize that we need to drink water to keep hydrated.

Bottom line. We just drink less water in the cold. If we go without it for slightly too long of a time, we could end up in a survival situation.

Tips and Tricks To Stay Hydrated

Here are some things you can do to help keep you hydrated. I understand we can’t do all of these things, definitely not in a survival situation where we barely have any resources. But do the ones you can.

  • Hot beverages – Try warming up with green tea or hot water with lemon.
  • Drink from a straw – Drinking water from a straw allows you to take bigger sips. Bigger sips = more fluids in
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables – Fruit and vegetables are an excellent source of water. Try these more hydrating fruits and vegetables: cucumbers, celery, watermelons, apples, and tomatoes.
  • No alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic, which further dehydrates you.
  • Drink room temperature water – Cold water absorbs into your body quicker but room temperature water keeps your internal body temperature optimal.
  • Hydrate when exercising – Be sure to drink water before, during, and after you exercise.

Just one more thing. Don’t eat the snow.

Why Does Eating Snow Dehydrate You

Eating snow makes sense. And it’s not like it’s tempting at all. When it’s all around you and you need water to survive.

You shouldn’t eat snow. Eating snow actually dehydrates you.

Let me explain.

Since snow is essentially ice. It’s cold. And the colder the liquid that we consume, the more our bodies have to work to heat that liquid up to burn it.

Our bodies have to heat it up to melt it as soon as we put it in our mouths. This results in further dehydration.

People have developed hypothermia strictly from eating snow. Proceed with caution.

The warmer the liquid you drink, the better.

Visit Mana.md for more information on dehydration, they have good information.

Signaling For Help

signaling for help winter survival

What if you’re stuck or stranded in Winter ice and snow?

Being able to call for help or signaling for help could save someone’s life.

Winter Foraging

There are deadly berries that can kill you and others that nourish you. Even though they make look identical, it’s important to be able to locate and identify what we can and cannot eat.

Although finding food is not as important as staying warm and hydrated in the Winter, being hungry isn’t fun.

Winter Trapping

Hunting, trapping, and snaring are essential for staying alive in the wilderness. And the Snowy cold weather wilderness is no different. There’s just one problem.

It’s harder.

It’s more difficult to hunt when you’re plowing through 2 feet of snow trying to chase a beaver.

This video shows you how to trap and snare beavers.

And this video shows you how to snare in the winter.

Winter Weather Driving Tips

Driving in the snow can be one of the most annoying, most dangerous activities you can do.

I used to live in New England and every Winter, multiple snow storms dropping over a foot of snow each time made it nearly impossible to drive. If you tried to drive, you were just asking for a death sentence.

Here are some useful tips from the AAA

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. …
  • Drive slowly. …
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. …
  • Know your brakes. …
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. …
  • Don’t power up hills. …
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. …
  • Stay home.

See the rest of the article from the AAA here.

Also, if you’re going to be driving a lot this season, make sure to have and go over a basic Winter driving emergency kit list. It would also help to prepare your car as well with a Winter travel kit for your car.

Cold Weather Survival Reminders

Let’s go over some reminders so you can thrive in cold weather environments.


Just like any other type of survival, prepare for it. Prepare beforehand.

Pack some extra gloves. Or better yet, extra gloves with hand warmers. Pack some waterproof matches. Try to stay dry. Be careful about eating the berry that looks a little too friendly. Don’t go out driving in a blizzard.

Stay safe.

Do you know any Winter weather tips or techniques that we should include in this guide? Let us know in the comments below.


The Preppers Ultimate Guide To Winter Survival
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