Winter Survival Kit

Winter Survival Kit

April 10, 2018

Alberta has come close to setting some impressive records for snow fall this year, but we still want to get out right? Here is a list of things all adventurers should carry with them every time they step out into the outdoors.


  1. First things first, if you get stuck outside in the winter you are going to want to keep warm. That’s why it is important to carry some means to make a fire with you, preferably more than one! Lighters are an option but may not always work. All-weather matches are a little better but flint and steel is great because it can work when wet, reliably. Practise a few times with your flint so you know what you’re doing when you get out there to save time and energy.

survival fire bar country

  1. Now that you have a means to make a flame you need something that will catch quickly. Old dryer lint is great if you can get a lot of it. Otherwise try this trick: rip open a cotton ball and lay it flat then spread vaseline on it. Roll your cotton ball back up then dip the whole thing in melted wax to give it a waterproof outer coating. The vaseline itself is not flammable but actually acts as a retardant to ensure your cotton ball burns longer while you put additional small sticks/straw on top of it.
  2. Carry with you something that is light weight so you can erect a small shelter quickly and easily in case of emergency. Tarps work well but are sometimes heavy and cumbersome. A small 10x10 piece of plastic sheeting from your local hardware store should suffice. Remember, smaller shelters are better because it will take less of your body heat to warm the space you will be staying in.

winter camp bar country

  1. Water purification. You should always carry a means to purify water in the outdoors. Now since its winter and most water will be either snow or ice, a small metal cup is good to have to melt snow or ice by your fire. If you can find liquid water, small water purification tablets are the best option as they are light weight and portable so you can have lots with you. Often times plastic filters and pumps crack and break in the cold, not the best option.


  1. Make sure to always carry some high protein food with you. A simple plastic bag full of mixed nuts can be a great boost to your morale and physical state. Dried fruits are also a good option as their natural sugars will give you an energy boost. Otherwise, a few energy bars will suffice as well.


Now that covers the basics of survival, here are some items that will be very helpful as well.


  1. Flashlight/Headlamp. Its going to get dark early and sometimes you’ll need to venture away from the light of your fire so always carry a flashlight or headlamp with you even if you don’t plan on being out late. Extra batteries as well are a good idea in case your source of light loses power.


  1. Metal wire. Flexible wire is extremely useful in a lot of cases and is very versatile. Use it to help hold a shelter together or hang your cup above your fire. Wire can also be used to dangle a water bottle down to a river to collect water. If you know how to, snares can also be set up to catch wildlife in cases where you are outside longer.


  1. A shovel. In cases where snow is very deep, use a shovel to clear out your camp site for the night. It takes a lot of energy to trudge through thigh deep snow constantly as you move around your temporary camp. Take the time to clear away a space to make it easier to get around. Also, you can use your shovel to pile up snow to build and sleep inside a quincy.

  1. Sharp knife. A sharp knife is a must in the outdoors as it can be used in a lot of different ways. Cut down vegetation to use in your shelter or strike your flint against it. In rare cases your knife is also your means of self-defense and if you do end up catching something in your snare you’ll need a way to take it apart to cook it.
  2. First aid kit. Another item that should always make its way into your pack for adventures. Injuries are common enough in the outdoors, from small scratches to potentially debilitating injuries. Bandages, gauze, alcohol wipes, splints and slings are all very important.
  1. Carrying something to make a signal with is important. Carry a signal mirror to grab the attention of far away people and vehicles and a whistle to attract the attention of people nearer by. Signal fires are also very useful. Create one by building a tall fire that you can throw lots of pine boughs onto. The idea behind a signal fire is to create as much smoke as possible, green boughs will do this. If possible, build three fires and place them in a triangular pattern each 10 paces from the other.


Get outside, be safe and enjoy this plethora of snow we have this year! Cheers folks.


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