If there’s one place you do not want to get caught, it’s getting caught in the cold. Just like any survival tips, surviving the cold isn’t easy if you aren’t always prepared. Now is the time to start getting prepared. Anytime you decide to go travel during the winter months you are in fact putting yourself at risk for getting caught in the cold.
So, don’t get caught in the cold or you will catch the cold—or worse.
Tips for Surviving the Cold
For starters, fuel up your car. There have been many occasions of people running out of gas in the middle of the cold wasteland and they have no knowledge of surviving the cold. In the event that you find yourself out in the cold, stranded or lost, make sure you’re prepared with some traveling fuel.
When you are exposed to the cold, your body will start burning away those reserves as quickly as possible to keep you alive. You know how you shiver when it’s cold? That’s what that is: your body shakes to burn energy. If too much of it gets burned, it can lead to hypoglycemia, which can lead to cardiac and neural damage.
Keep lots of food with you at all times. Better yet, sugary foods. Yes, you read that right—sugary foods. This will greatly decrease your chances of hypoglycemia and actually give off a lot of energy for your body to use.
Somewhat along the lines of “fueling up,” keeping hydrated is obviously your priority. Regardless of the weather outside, if you’re stranded out in the middle of nowhere, you must stay hydrated. The tricky thing about being trapped in the cold, however, is that your body doesn’t make it entirely obvious that it is thirsty. Lucky for you, if you’re cold, there’s likely snow all around you—an endless supply of water.
Now, this is where people get confused and make a deadly mistake. Eating snow does not hydrate you effectively. When you eat something cold, your body has no choice but to try and warm it from the inside. This uses up energy. Instead, use your body’s natural external body heat to melt the snow before consuming it.
Be careful with this, as well. Don’t keep too closely to you, as in, don’t hold it against your skin, as this will speed up hypothermia. Melt it, then drink it. Never eat it.
Any opening or exposed layer of skin is detrimental. The more layers you wear, the better. But it also has to be the right clothing items. Thick sweaters, jackets, and multiple layers of socks are just a few examples of what it appropriate.
To understand further what clothing items are appropriate, use the easy to remember acronym C.O.L.D.
- Clean, which helps regulate and maintain core temperature through insulation.
- Overheating, which is a huge no no. You’d think the more layers the better, but getting too hot makes you sweat, and sweating in the cold is deadly.
- Loose and layered, which makes it so your body can circulate properly, warming you up more effectively.
- Dry, which is how your clothes should be at all times (as much as you manage, at least).
On top of having all those layers of clothing, it might also be beneficial to have a blanket with you to cover up any exposed skin you might have. The more you cover that up, the better.
This is possibly the most difficult task if you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. A shelter is something that keeps you away from the cold as much as possible, a necessity for surviving the cold.
If by chance you have a cold weather tent with you, you’re way ahead of things. From here on out, always remember to pack on wherever you go.
If you find yourself stranded in the cold without one, though, look for a cabin. If a cabin is nowhere in sight, your next best bet would be to find a cave. We’re guessing that it’s going to be next to impossible to find a cave too, so you might have to create a makeshift shelter out of sticks, branches, and basically whatever you can find around you.