Winter is a time of year that’s not for the faint of heart. Cold weather can be a serious threat to your health, especially for the elderly and infirm.
The best way to avoid cold-weather illness is to stay warm and dry. But even if you take these precautions, you can still get sick.
Wear the Right Clothing
Choosing the right clothing is critical to your survival in cold weather. Whether you’re heading out for an afternoon of hiking or spending the night in the snow, the clothing you wear can make all the difference in your survival.
Start with a base layer that wicks away moisture, then add a thick middle layer of insulation and an outer layer of windproof or waterproof material to keep you warm. Avoid wearing cotton because it absorbs moisture and traps it next to your skin, making you feel colder.
Keep Yourself Warm
One of the best things you can do for yourself in cold weather is keep warm. The body loses heat through every millimetre of skin that’s exposed to the elements, so it’s important to cover up as much of your body as possible.
Layers are a good place to start, but don’t go too tight – you may find it difficult to breathe properly, and you could restrict blood flow, which can lead to hypothermia (the opposite of warm).
It’s also important to wear layers that wick moisture away from the body. This means fabrics like polyester or polypropylene, which are better at drawing perspiration away from your skin so that it evaporates.
Create a Shelter
Shelter is the most important thing you can have in any survival situation. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or complicated, but it needs to protect you from the elements and keep your body warm enough to survive a cold winter night.
When creating a winter shelter, it’s important to consider the direction of air flow. You want a draft, but not too much because cold air can whisk heat away from you faster than warm air.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Dehydration is a common problem in the winter, as the body loses fluid through perspiration, urination, and other bodily functions.
Drinking enough water is essential for health and well-being, but it can be challenging to remember when to do so in the colder weather.
Start by creating a hydration routine that includes drinking a certain amount of water each day. Use apps like Waterlogged, Hydrate Daily and Plant Nanny to track your intake and set goals for yourself.
Make a Fire
When you’re in the wilderness, a fire can be your lifeline. It warms you, melts snow and ice for water, and can also cook meals.
Whether you’re making a fire in a shelter or out on your own, make sure to pick a spot that is protected from the wind and snow. The wind can quickly blow out your fire, and the snow under the fire may start to melt and slush over it, which will cause it to sink.
You should also bring a lot of fuel to make your fire burn. This includes dry tinder, and wood that can withstand the weather.
One of the most challenging aspects of any survival situation is finding food and water. The cold can sap your energy and lead to a number of debilitating ailments including hypothermia, frostbite, and dehydration. Thankfully, there are a few simple tricks of the trade you can apply to your survival routine.
The best way to go about it is to do a bit of research and planning ahead of time. You’ll want to have the right clothing, tools and supplies on hand at all times. You’ll also need to think ahead and consider where you’ll be spending your time. Taking the time to prepare for the worst will save you precious resources and a life of pain when it most counts.