Staying Alive in Extreme Cold

You don’t know where you’ll be when things go bad, and even if you do, there’s no guarantee of what the weather might bring to your location. Depending on the event, you may continue to experience the same climate you’ve grown accustomed to, or you may experience something completely unpredictable. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to be ready for any eventuality, particularly when it comes to something as changeable as the weather. Here’s how to stay alive when the temperature drops.

Keeping Warm

When it gets too cold, there is no point trying to be tough. The first priority should be to find a way to keep warm, as this will protect your internal organs from failing due to hypothermia. Before concerning yourself with food and water, make sure you are well-insulated with several layers of clothing. Remember that it’s the small gaps of air between clothing layers that retain heat, not the clothing itself, which is why down jackets are so effective. Wool is also a great material as it is able to keep you well-insulated even if it’s wet. Cover as much skin as possible, including your face and extremities, since frostbite can quickly become serious. Beware sweating when it’s extremely cold as this is your body’s way of cooling down, so don’t overdo the layers until you are certain the temperature calls for it and pay attention to your body’s signals about how warm or cool you are. You don’t want to be frozen by layers of cold sweat.


As with any survival situation, hydration should be one of your very top priorities. If rivers or streams are now frozen, chip large chunks of ice into a container or collect snow to melt before boiling and treating with any purifying methods you might have. Drinking warm liquid will help to spread heat throughout the inside of your body much quicker, whereas eating snow or drinking cold water will waste the valuable body heat your organs need to conserve for survival.

Test Your Kit

If you anticipate being somewhere cold when things go bad, you have probably already prepared for most eventualities unique to the cold climate, including a shelter or at least some practice creating one from the resources available. This is when you should begin to test your kit and rehearse with it so you can guarantee functionality when needed. For example, if your location is snowy, then being able to practice with HWY 40 equipment can prepare you for that eventuality without the extreme cost of buying your own. Renting or borrowing gear is a great way to decide whether or not something is worth incorporating into your plans without risking your own valuable resources. Taking trips to test kit and practice essential skills such as lighting fires and trapping food can make all the difference in the future.

You never know what the future holds, especially when it comes to the weather. Extreme cold is deadly if not taken seriously and being prepared is the only way you’ll survive.

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