Winter Survival: How to Navigate in the Snow

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By Jeremiah Johnson – Ready Nutrition

[Editor’s Note: As winter rages on, it brings to mind the importance of knowing how to navigate in snow and extreme winter weather. The worst-case scenario in this winter emergency is not knowing the terrain and getting so lost you succumb succumbing to exposure and possibly starvation because you don’t have the equipment necessary for survival. Author, Jeremiah Johnson has outlined the essentials on how to navigate in the snow and what equipment you will need to protect yourself from exposure.]

ReadyNutrition Readers, I have written several articles in the past on land navigation fundamentals and the importance of those basics.  Most of those basics still hold true in the “Winter Wonderland” of the snow and ice: those basics merely need to be modified for the changes of the season.  Once again, as with all things I recommend to you to practice these techniques and familiarize yourself with them prior to something coming up…a significant event where you must do it.  Practice does make perfect, and repetition promotes a good follow-through.

That being said, how hard is it to navigate during the winter?  Well, it is tougher in several perspectives.  First, with snow blanketing the landscape, the appearance of the terrain is changed.  Secondly, the landscape is also physically altered: it is a different thing to walk across six inches to several feet of snow.  Right now, where I live, I have almost three feet of snow on the ground.  The winter weather conditions are another item: it’s a far cry from a summer stroll when you walk into a cold wind that is throwing sleet right into your face in the middle of February.

Know Your Terrain

First, let’s address the appearance of the terrain.  This holds true, especially in wilderness or rural areas.  You can’t always discern natural landmarks, such as a creek or stream that may very well be on your map.  It may be frozen and covered over with snow.  The same for a lake or pond.  One of your keys to success in this area is to thoroughly know the area you will be in prior to these winter conditions existing.  Another is to pick out landmarks that do not change with the weather and that are clearly visible.  A mountain or high hilltop would be a good example, or a river that does not freeze over, or one with a bridge marked on the map that traverses it.

Know Your Pace-Count

You can find your position by relating it to a known and recognizable point.  Next, let’s address the physical alteration of the terrain.  I have recommended that you purchase snowshoes for yourself in the past.  Remember some of the land nav. articles I wrote before?  I told you to measure a 100-meter pace-count by marking your starting point and your finish point with a couple of “flags” or pieces of colored, coated, copper wire.  If you did that (and elevated it above the ground) on a couple of trees…you can use it in the wintertime.

Now you’ll need to find out two things: your pace count with snowshoes on, and the same while wearing a backpack or rucksack.  There’s also a “backup” to help you, and that is to estimate that distance by sight and correlate both your estimated distance and your pace count.  As you’re traversing the wilderness, it would be wise to have a good walking stickwith you…something about as long as your height.  This will help you to test the ground for “soft” spots and help to steady you as you make your way across the snow and ice.

Winter conditions are also a lot of fun – Not! The sun isn’t shining, the wind isn’t calm, and a cup of hot chocolate is not in your free hand when your car breaks down in the middle of the winter.  Usually, it is horrible, to add to the physical and situational stress.  Once again, I exhort you to pick up a good pair of goggles that do not fog up, and appropriate shielding for the face…because the sun won’t be shining, the wind will be in your face, and that mirage of the “Swiss Miss” holding out a hot chocolate for you thirty meters to your front, sitting on the boulder?  That’s a mountain lion.

Make sure you’re dressed in all-weather to combat the weather.  I recommend Gore-Tex from head to toe.  A GPS compass will help, but here it is important to rely on the basics, because batteries do die, electronics can be fouled up by extremes in weather and temperature, and it’s always best to rely on the “primitive” and skills, rather than just try to “game” it with your Android compass app, or some other “toy” that can play a dirge for you if you depend on it and it fails.

Practice stepping out with those snowshoes and learning your pace count with them to traverse the drifts.  It is also a physical challenge regarding water and other supplies, such as food and first aid equipment.  Remember: your other challenges and obstacles do not cease just because you are in the process of finding your way across a valley in the wintertime.  Practicing good techniques with your map, your compass, a proper pace count, and terrain association (matching what you see on the ground with your maps and charts) are the keys to winning in the wintertime, along with perseverance.  A good cup of coffee also helps!  Happy trails!  JJ out!

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition: Winter Survival: How to Navigate in the Snow
About the author:

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.


The post Winter Survival: How to Navigate in the Snow appeared first on The Survival Place Blog.

PrepperMed 101: What To Do When The Frostbites

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PrepperMed 101: What To Do When The Frost Bites Getting lost in the woods can be a terrifying situation. Even when it happens briefly you can get a serious adrenaline dump from going off trail and realizing you have lost your way back. For most people they wander a bit and find their way back …

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Don’t Just “Fall Back” This Month! Get Prepped for the Winter!

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Every fall, Americans across the country gain an extra hour each day when they “fall back” and reset their clocks one hour later with the end of Daylight Savings Time.

Don't Just Fall Back This Month Get Prepped for the Winter via The Survival Mom

Our family enjoyed that extra hour of sleep, especially since the temperatures outside have turned chilly and those warm, cozy blankets had us wrapped in Dreamland, not wanting to wake or get out of bed!

Whenever Daylight Savings Time rears its ugly head (I am no fan of this insane plan to “gain” an hour), I assign the kids to go around the house and change all clocks, watches, and then the clocks in our vehicles. That Daylight Savings Time day is the perfect time to review all our preps and get ready for cold weather.

Something else we do is prepare for winter power outages. Since the days are so much shorter, the chances of sitting around in a cold and very dark house are a lot greater. Sources of light is very important, both for practical reasons and for comfort. The light source I recommend for each room is a Luci solar lantern.

This handy lantern charges quickly by whatever light happens to be in a room. Sometimes I set it near a window to charge and other times, it charges just from the ambient light around it. The lantern is inflatable and, therefore, collapses to a very small size. This is handy because I want the lantern to be in bedside tables and in handy spots in our living room, family room, and kitchen. During Hurricane Harvey, this is the lantern that provided a great source of light for reading and taking care of household chores. Read more about the Luci Solar Lantern here.

Besides changing the clocks and making sure each room has an emergency light source, DST is also a reminder to double check preps for cooler weather.

Prepping for the winter

  1. Unpack all emergency kits/Bug Out Bags. Check for stale food, leaks in containers, clothing, and shoes that no longer fit. If you’ve discovered a new “must have” for your kit, now is the time to add it.
  2. Repack all emergency kits and bags for the winter. Include hand and foot warmers, gloves, wool caps, extra wool socks, long johns (my silk long johns have lasted at least 2 decades and still keep me warm), a small emergency stove/heater.
  3. Educate yourself about staying warm. Learn how to triple your warmth!
  4. While you’re at it, take a look at the emergency kit/supplies you keep in your car. For the winter you may need to add an ice scraper and brush, a sturdy snow shovel, a box of kitty litter. Throw a pair of waterproof boots in the trunk. Roll up a couple of wool blankets and store them under the back seats.
  5. Add an immersion heater to every vehicle emergency kit. This one item alone, powered by your car battery, will allow you to melt snow to have a water source, heat up water to add to things like hot chocolate mix or soup mix, and have warm water for sanitation.
  6. This article includes many details for prepping your car for breakdowns and being stranded in winter weather.
  7. Test your generator and make sure you have enough fuel to last at least 2-3 weeks. If you are looking to add one to your preparedness gear, learn how to buy your first generator. Also watch this free webinar from Preppers University, with all kinds of important points for buying a home generator, or maybe, deciding it isn’t for you.
  8. Hit a few thrift stores or yard sales and buy extra blankets. They have so many uses during the winter, aside from the obvious. Here are all the different ways I put blankets to work, especially in the winter!
  9. Very cold weather will likely freeze any emergency water containers in your vehicles. This article gives a few tips for working around that.
  10. In a power outage, how would you cook a meal? This week, track down any and all off-grid stoves, whether a solar oven, a gas grill, a hibachi, or DIY rocket stove and make sure you have the fuel necessary to cook a few meals in an emergency.
  11. Equip your kids’ coat pockets with hand and foot warmers and, for signaling, LED flashlights and whistles. Get hand warmers here!
  12. Review your kids and grandkids winter-readiness, overall. Do they know what to do if they get lost in the snow or caught in a chilly rainstorm? Do they know how to signal for help? Answers to these questions and more are in this article, “Everything You Need to Know About Winter Survival for Kids“.
  13. Think about a cold weather scenario that might strand you or a family member at the workplace, and put together a workplace emergency kit.

What do you do to prepare for winter weather?

Don't Just Fall Back This Month Get Prepped for the Winter via The Survival Mom

This article was updated.

Everything You Need To Know About Winter Survival For Kids

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My kids usually have their sleds lined up by the garage door by Thanksgiving.  They’ve been trying on their snow clothes, eyeing new ski jackets in the L.L. Bean catalog and are ready to get out in the snow!  I love to watch them play in the snow and ski down a (slightly elevated) hill, but the Survival Mom in me wants to make sure they also have some winter survival skills.  Combining the fun of winter sports and outdoor activities with a few survival lessons are my sneaky way of making sure they know what to do if ever they find themselves in trouble.

Some specific skills and knowledge I want them to have are:

  • how to prepare for going out into winter weather
  • what to do first if you ever feel you’re in danger
  • the four basics of survival: warmth, shelter, food, and water

Above all, I want my kids to know how to make it easy for rescuers to find them.  When there’s a chance they’ll be out of my sight, say, when they’re skiing or tramping through the woods, I want them to have a small survival kit with them.  Just in case.

Once kids are on their December break, putting together individual Winter Survival Kits is a sure-fire activity to keep them occupied.  These are small enough to be carried in backpacks or fanny packs, and kids love having something important that is all their own. It’s important to keep in mind that an essential piece of survival equipment is knowledge.  Make sure your kids know what to do with each item if they’re ever in an emergency situation.  Here is what you’ll need to make up these kits.

  • a bright colored bandana or similar size cloth
  • a whistle
  • a small, powerful flashlight
  • 2 hand-warmers and 2 toe-warmers
  • 2 high-calorie energy bars
  • a small bottle of water (Once it’s empty, it can be filled with snow for more drinking water.)
  • a large black trash bag (use as an emergency blanket or shelter)
  • a pocketknife
  • a small packet of tissues (emergency toilet paper, runny noses, etc.)

Put all these items in a large zip-loc bag or small nylon sack, and it’s finished.  In no way is this meant to be provisions for long-term survival!  It’s filled with just enough essential items to help a child signal for help and stay occupied until rescue arrives.  For older kids, you might add a firestarter, a few tablets of over-the-counter pain medication (in case there’s been an injury), and additional food and water.

Older kids will enjoy this video of how to make a small survival stove using a couple of cans, toilet paper, and alcohol, and this video from Shiloh Productions has multiple survival tips designed to help kids survive the wilderness.

Sometimes parents have to be sneaky in order to teach our kids what they must know.  Now that winter is in full swing, take advantage of the colder weather to teach important survival skills your kids will never forget.

TIP-Be prepared to keep warm this winter. Learn more here- INSTANT WINTER SURVIVAL TIP: How to triple your warmth options


Don’t Freeze to Death in Your Own Home? Learn How to Live in Just One Room

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If the heat goes out in your house, how will you stay warm? By trying to heat the whole place? Try picking one room and following these tips instead. - The Survival MomMost of us live in new or new-ish homes with large, spacious rooms. Even if your kitchen is small by today’s standards, your great-grandmother would have loved it! If you’ve ever been in a home built in the early 1900’s or earlier, you know how tiny every room was in comparison with today’s homes.

Well, it turns out that when an emergency hits and there is no power or you need a new furnace, those tiny rooms can be your friend and help you stay warm. It’s far easier to keep a 12×10 room either toasty warm in the winter or cool enough in the summer than a luxuriously huge room found in modern homes.

So, there’s your survival strategy for when the power goes out and you’re either freezing or sweltering: pick one of the smallest rooms in the house (probably not the bathroom, though!), and plan on making that your living quarters until life returns to normal.

Quick Tips to Stay Warm or Keep Cool

If this happens to you, try these tactics to stay warm or keep cool:

  • Select a room with a very small window. The largest percentage of summer heat and winter cold comes directly through windows, so your Survival Room should be one with a limited amount of window area, or at least some good thermal curtains.
  • Stock up on extra blankets and quilts. You’ll use these to cover windows and doorways, again, limiting the amount of outside air that enters. You can even tape up inexpensive mylar emergency blankets instead.
  • If you’ve experienced power failures in the past due to weather conditions, be sure to have proper clothing ready and accessible. You’ll likely stay bundled up from head to toe on cold, wintry days or wear nothing but shorts and tee, or even just a bathing suit, if the power goes out during the summer.
  • Be sure that your heat source is safe to use indoors and have a carbon monoxide detector installed in the room you plan to use for these types of emergencies.
  • Even if you loathe camping, watch for sales of sleeping bags and even small indoor tents. On the coldest of nights, you could always pitch a tent indoors and have everyone sleep inside it. Again, a much smaller space for temperature control.
  • For an inexpensive heater, watch this video.
  • Make sure this room has a phone jack and you have a corded phone. Cordless phones go out in a power outage, and you might need a way to get in touch with emergency personnel or worried loved ones.

More Tips

Remember: When the power goes out, the much easier strategy is to plan on staying in a single room, with access to a bathroom, not to keep the entire house cool or warm. The kids will probably just feel like they are having a camping adventure inside!


7 Instant And Natural Winter Survival Shelters

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7 Instant And Natural Winter Survival Shelters

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I’ve been in survival situations numerous times — usually because of bad luck or sheer stupidity. The two worst ones occurred in winter, and, thankfully, I survived.

Winter is unforgiving in a survival situation. The only advantage is that the snow and ice are delivering you a regular water source that’s typically safe to drink when melted.  After that, everything else is worse.

The critical first step is staying warm, building a fire and sustaining it. But there’s a second priority that’s equally important: shelter.

But before you exhaust yourself scrambling to find the branches, boughs and other materials to build a shelter, take the time to look for a natural shelter.

1. Low-growing pines

You may have seen a pine tree with its boughs overloaded with snow. It’s not an inviting sight, but if you spread the boughs and look at the base of the tree you may be surprised to see dry ground around the trunk. This is one of the ways that nature can provide you with an instant shelter that will protect you from the wind and snow.

7 Instant And Natural Winter Survival Shelters

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If you cut away a few low-hanging branches you can build a fire that will provide some heat. You also could build the Swedish “upside-down fire” even if you can’t clear all of the snow off the ground. We’ll cover that at the end of this article.

2. Large deadfalls

A large tree, whether it be a pine or deciduous, will often create a natural canopy over an area of ground if it has been toppled. Here again, you’re looking for that precious bare ground that says it may stay that way over a period of time. You could carefully clear some branches for a fire to provide some heat, but you’ll need to guard against snow melt.

3. Root cavity of large uprooted trees

We have a cabin in Michigan. One summer, a violent windstorm uprooted a monster oak not far from the cabin. It was a green tree, so I was going to wait until the next summer to cut it up. During the winter, I was walking and noticed the snow-covered and sand-encased roots forming a natural canopy over the hole left by the roots. It was dry and no snow had entered. I climbed down and was surprised that the sand was still soft and unfrozen. It was cozy but a bit claustrophobic. In an emergency, I would have gotten over that fairly quickly.  It was my first experience in a literal root cellar.

Learn The Secrets and Tricks Of The Word’s Top Survivalists!

Large uprooted trees are fairly common in heritage forests, so keep a look out and you might find your own natural root cellar as a winter shelter.

4. Caves

If you’re fortunate enough to find a cave, you’ve found nature’s natural penthouse.  However, advance cautiously. You’re not the only animal in the woods trying to survive the winter, and some of the other animals have bigger teeth.

Caves are also ideal for capturing the heat of a fire. Build the fire as large as you want.

5. Rock canyons

7 Instant And Natural Winter Survival Shelters

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In some parts of North America there are natural rock canyons. They’re often narrow in parts and both the snow and wind have a hard time getting into them. That’s a good thing.  Here again, you can haul in your firewood and build a significant fire to stay warm. If you’re worried about animals using your canyon as a pathway at night, build fires on either side of you in the canyon. Just make sure they’re small enough so that you can jump over them.

6. Rock overhangs

There are occasions along a cliff face that a natural depression will occur, resulting in an overhang. It’s not as cozy as a cave, but it could protect you from precipitation and the wind, depending on the wind direction. It’s also a good environment to enjoy the heat of a fire; the rock at your back and around you should reflect the heat nicely. You just have to hope the wind doesn’t shift and fill your little enclosure with snow drifts.

7. Large boulders

It’s a bit odd to be walking through the woods and encounter a large boulder in the middle of nowhere. It’s so odd that geologists call them “erratics.” They’re erratic because they don’t geologically belong there. They were delivered by the glaciers as they advanced south during the Ice Age.

An erratic has some benefits. For one, the leeward side (the side opposite the wind) will often have less snow on the ground and will protect you from the prevailing wind. It also can serve as an excellent heat reflector. You can sit with your back against the wall of the boulder, and the fire will heat you and the rock face. Or you can build the fire at the base of the boulder to allow the rock to act as a huge reflector. This assumes you have a clear night without precipitation.

Do you know of other instant and natural winter survival shelters? Share your tips in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Survive The Cold With This Mental Trick

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If you only clicked this link out of curiosity, you might be expecting the trick to be total BS. It’s not. Now I’m not saying there is some magic trick that will make the cold feel warm, or that you’ll gain a supernatural ability to withstand freezing temperatures without ever getting hypothermia. However, there is […]

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4 Winter Skills Every Homesteader Should Know

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4 Winter Skills Every Homesteader Should Know

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Chances are that if you’re reading this, then you’re probably acutely aware of just how tough it can be to handle the year’s coldest months on the homestead.

It’s not long after the winter solstice that the temps begin to plummet, creating a perfect storm for situations on the homestead to deteriorate. After all, February’s full moon is known as the “Trapper’s Moon” — named for the fact that, like the snow, beaver pelts are at their thickest. Beavers have had to adapt this capability, perhaps with the knowledge that this is essential for maximizing their survival in extremely low temps.

Of course, if there ever were a perfect animal to model our own homesteading practices after, then it would have to be nature’s greatest homesteader: the beaver. And here are four great ways to do just that.

1. Please, remember: timing is everything

When it comes to surviving a winter on the homestead, one of the most important challenges to overcome is to see beyond the obvious ones — especially since the cold is something we’re all quite familiar with. If anything, this skill is one that keeps us one step ahead of the challenges.

Learn How To Make Powerful Herbal Medicines, Right in Your Kitchen!

Timing is everything, especially due to how the daylight drains away quickly. Not only that, but because colder temps often give way to rapid-moving high-pressure zones, the weather can change even faster. For this reason, it’s critical to keep tabs on the following:

  • Make sure you are able to read the clouds to detect potential changes in weather, so you’re not caught completely off-guard if you must prepare for a fast-approaching blizzard. For more information, check out our recent article, Survival 101: How to Forecast Tomorrow’s Weather Without the Weather Channel
  • Since winter brings low-light conditions early in the day, it’s important to provide lighting in as many places around the homestead as possible. Predators aren’t fond of them, and they simply keep us safer from injury and disorientation.
  • Additionally, I recommend an EDC (everyday carry) kit that rides along with you. This will buy you additional time if you find yourself in a winter survival scenario and possibly require rescue.

3. Dress (and sew) for success

You’re probably not surprised about just how critical warm clothing can be this time of year. However, it’s important to know how to fix that clothing in a pinch. Knowing how to sew, along with having a kit that can meet the task at hand, could be invaluable.

4 Winter Skills Every Homesteader Should Know

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It’s not uncommon for homesteaders to find themselves snowed in, largely cut off from access to populated areas, meaning that your best work coat is only as warm as the quality of its patches. With that being said, it’s important to invest in clothing and winter apparel that maintains insulating properties even while moderately moist or damp, such as wool and certain synthetics. Cotton, however, will lose all insulating properties when wet, so it’s best to stick with the tried-and-true materials (and not end up with frostbite).

2. Stay healthy

The cold is downright brutal on the body, especially for immune systems, since our metabolism must work harder to maintain body temps. So, it’s smart to keep your medicine cabinet well-stocked with the usual sick-fixes and your mind well-stocked with at least basic medicinal skills. Not to mention, the cold also can make for far-more-difficult muscle movements, impairing motor skills in the process.

So be sure to keep your walkways — along with those of your livestock — clear of ice and snow. Broken bones and torn tendons tend to make life A LOT more difficult for everybody.

1. Be efficient with your heat

Heat is, perhaps, the most coveted commodity on the winter homestead — meaning that you need to be able to generate it cheaply and hold on to as much of it as possible. Becoming knowledgeable about heat efficiency would greatly reduce your burden to chop wood and shovel pellets. For this, I’d recommend purchasing an IR camera to identify problem spots where heat may be leaking out your cabin. At least then you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly where to apply a can of insulating/expanding foam in the most scientifically efficient way.

In a previous post we discussed how to build your own water heater, running on nothing but the heat generated by your homestead’s compost pile. Not only can this system achieve higher temps than most residential water heaters, but you’re also using zero electricity in order to keep it working. Get good at thinking up designs and innovating your infrastructure on heat conservation, and you’ll spend far less time and energy trying to keep everybody (including your water supply) toasty warm.

What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

hydrogen peroxide report

5 Prepping Tips For Your Winter Trip

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We are the middle of Winter, and for many of you, that means taking a trip of some kind. Now is the perfect time to do all of your favorite Winter-related activities, but in order to make the most of your trip, you need to prepare for it properly. By taking certain steps before you leave your home, you can ensure that your winter trip goes as smoothly as possible, and that you make the most out of these Winter months. Here are 5 such steps to take this Winter in order to prepare for your trip.

Check The Weather

First, you should know what you are in for when it comes to the weather. Depending on where you live or where you are going, the weather can change dramatically. There is a large difference between packing for a location with a light snowfall, and one with an all-out blizzard on the horizon. Flights can become canceled, roads dangerous to travel, and lodgings inaccessible if the weather is too severe. Knowing what lies in store for you is one of the best things you can to in order to properly prepare.

Pack The Right Clothing

Nothing can ruin a trip quicker than having the wrong clothing. Pack too light, and you may find that you are shivering throughout your trip, spending all of your time indoors because you do not have the right attire to venture outside. When in doubt, it is better to over-pack for a Winter trip, and ensure that you have sufficient clothing to keep you warm. The biggest concern here is space, as a large amount of Winter clothing will take up more room. If you have the space to spare though, you should bring as much warm clothing as you can. Here is a handy list of some of the best clothing items to bring on a Winter trip.

Get Your Vehicle Ready

If you are driving to your destination, then it is important to make sure that your vehicle can handle the trip. This means checking that your brakes are working well, your headlights are strong, the heat in your car functions well, and that your tires will be able to handle the slippery roads.

If you need to, take your vehicle to a mechanic and have them inspect it for you, and do simple maintenance like getting an oil change. Also consider switching to snow tires, or adding chains to your tires if possible. Roads can quickly become dangerous during the Winter, so you need to be prepared for them so that you don’t end up stranded on the side of the road.

Bring Some Survival Gear

If you do end up stuck on the side of the road – or trapped inside your lodgings – you’ll want some gear that helps you get through it. By packing some essential survival gear, you’ll be prepared for whatever Winter decides to throw at you. Some basics that you’ll want to have along are a first-aid kit, some road flares, space blankets, a lighter, snack foods, and water. For more on how to prep for Winter survival, you can read our other guide.

Get Your Equipment Ready

Lastly, if you are bringing any equipment along with you for the trip, it is a good idea to get it ready before you leave. For example, make sure that your snow mobile can start up, and that you have the gas needed to run it. Or, if you plan on using your dirt bike, make sure you’ve installed your snow bike kit to make the transformation to the new terrain. The more you can get done before you leave, the more time you’ll have on your trip to enjoy the toys you’ve brought alone with you, and it will be less likely that there are any issues to derail your fun.

Don’t Fail To Plan Ahead

If you want to have the best possible time on your trip, then you need to plan ahead. Planning ahead will not only make sure that all of your gear is working right, and that you remain warm through the trip, but will also help you to stay safe if there are any emergencies. Winter can be both fun and treacherous, so it is important that you plan ahead. Use the tips above, and you are well on your way to having an amazing trip this Winter. 

The post 5 Prepping Tips For Your Winter Trip appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Winter Survival & Preparedness!

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Winter Survival & Preparedness Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Audio in player below! On this episode of The Prepping Academy we cover something essential for this time of year. Winter survival. Every year we hear about American’s going off the roads and getting stranded. Even worse, we hear about people freezing to death in their … Continue reading Winter Survival & Preparedness!

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6 Things To Do Before a Winter Storm Strikes

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Winter is here. Nights are longer, days are shorter and the temperature is dropping. It’s only a matter of time before a big storm hits. Sure, you can cross your fingers and hope for the best. Good luck with that. If you’re not ready for a blizzard, you’ll have lots in common with Frosty the […]

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Staying Outside Longer During The Winter Months

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Staying Outside Longer During The Winter Months Few people find the courage to adventure into the wilderness during the winter months and they prefer to enjoy the warmth of their beds. Many lack proper planning and resources to explore the white scenery and even worse, they lack the knowledge to prepare for the environment they …

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Dave Canterbury’s Winter Survival Hacks

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The Amazing History Behind Your Favorite Christmas Songs

Survival in the wilderness is never easy, but survival in the wilderness when it’s frigid cold and snowing? That’s even harder. But if you’re prepared and know what you’re doing, you can live to tell about it.

On this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio we discuss winter survival with Dave Canterbury, a survival expert and the author of several books, including The New York Times bestseller “Bushcraft 101.” Dave also teaches classes on survival and has a prominent YouTube survival channel.

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Dave begins by giving us tips on everyday carry (EDC) during winter, and he then tells us:

  • How to start a fire during winter, even if it’s damp.
  • Why Vaseline-soaked cotton balls, popular in the survival community, may not be the best option.
  • Where you can find objects in the woods to burn – even if it’s been raining.
  • How a simple road flare can provide multiple survival uses.
  • Why he urges many people not to eat during survival situations.
  • How to “drink snow” without catching hypothermia.
  • Which lightweight items he carries that can provide immediate shelter.

Dave also tells us the items he believes everyone should carry in their automobile during winter. Finally, he shares with us stories from his past when he – get this – captured reptiles for a living.

If you live in frigid temps and want to be better prepared, then this week’s show is for you!

Learn a winter survival skill – book review: ‘Snow Caves For Fun and Survival’

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I have helped build snow caves as emergency shelters in the past, and didn’t think they were particularly effective. But that was before I read “Snow Caves For Fun and Survival” and tried out the book’s techniques.

by Leon Pantenburg

A group of Boy Scouts and volunteers were on our annual winter survival skills training day in the foothills of the Cascades in Central Oregon. When it comes to snow caves, the conventional wisdom from most survival manuals, is that the builder tunnels sideways and up into a snow bank, shoveling the snow out through the entrance hole.

Igloos require some skill to build, but they’re warm and comfortable.

Naturally skeptical (because of my newspaper training) I asked my 17-year-old son, Dan, to construct one such shelter by himself, using  a small shovel and trowel. More than two hours later, his cave was finished, but Dan was wet, tired and cold. Despite working hard, his cave was not a particularly effective survival shelter. Dan would have had a rough night ahead of him if he had to stay in that cave.

Based on that and other experiences, my opinion of snow caves as emergency shelters was lukewarm at best. Then a friend recommended “Snow Caves For Fun and Survival” by Ernest Wilkinson, and I’ve changed my mind. (Read my story on building a snow cave using Wilkinson’s techniques.)

Most people with some basic tools, and using the techniques Wilkinson writes about, could successfully make a snow cave survival shelter.

Author Wilkinson is a former Search and Rescue member, and an  experienced Colorado mountain guide, specializing in snowshoe treks and winter camping, according to the book liner notes. This backcountry experience lead Wilkinson to develop his own shelter-making techniques that save time and energy and increase comfort and safety.

Taking a break from making a snow cave. I had to try out Wilkinson's techniques!

Taking a break from making a snow cave. I had to try out Wilkinson’s techniques!

Wilkinson’s snow cave technique is simple: cut out blocks from the front of the drift to the width of the cave. Excavate.  Dig a cold well, and carve out benches on the sides for sleeping. When all this work is done, use the removed snow blocks to create a front wall.

There is plenty of room for two people to work simultaneously, and you don’t need to get wet during construction. Best of all, the cave is quick to make, which places it in the effective survival shelter category.

This simple technique is just one of the practical winter camping/survival tips you’ll get from reading “Snow Caves.” Igloo and lean-to construction are also discussed, as well as avalanche danger and how to avoid it.

While the book’s main focus is shelters, there is a wealth of information on all aspects of  winter camping in deep snow. Other sections deal with the proper clothing to wear, what kind of insulation a winter sleeping bag should have; firestarting tips; and equipment to take along for added comfort.

If you recreate in areas that have deep snow, or are looking for a winter camping reference book,  “Snow Caves” would be a top choice. If you don’t know anything about deep snow survival techniques, reading this book would be a great place to start. Then, check out your local community college, or parks and recreation district, and see if someone offers classes in winter survival.

Ready, study, and then, practice what you’ve learned.

Check out “Snow Caves For Fun and Survival” here.

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Winter Survival Lessons From Alaska’s Denali

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The Amazing History Behind Your Favorite Christmas Songs

In the summer of 1967, 12 young men climbed Alaska’s Denali — the 20,000-foot mountain that outsiders call Mt. McKinley. There, they encountered a deadly storm that killed seven of them in what remains one of the most heartbreaking mountain climbs in U.S. history.

On this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio we discuss that well-known tragedy with Andy Hall, who wrote a book (Denali’s Howl) about the event and who was the son of the park superintendent at the time. Andy spent years tracking down rescuers, survivors, lost documents and recordings of radio communications for his book — and he says the winter survival lessons learned from ‘67 can apply to anyone who lives in areas where it gets cold and snows.

Andy tells us:

  • What the five fortunate men who did make it down the mountain did to survive.
  • How a simple, free modern-day invention could have saved the seven men who died.
  • Why Denali, “physically,” is even bigger than Mt. Everest.
  • What homesteaders and those in the preparedness community can learn from the disaster.

Andy also shares with us the incredible story of the 13th man who was scheduled to make the climb but couldn’t do so because of a car accident. Finally, Andy tells us what he learned about life itself while writing the book.

Don’t miss this amazing, unforgettable interview that will change how you view winter survival!

How I Stay Warm In My RV When It’s FREEZING Outside

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Since we’re in the middle of winter now, I figure I should be making more posts about staying warm in cold weather. I spent a few hours watching some great videos about this, but my favorite is this one by Carolyn’s RV Life. Most people don’t use their RV’s in the winter, but Carolyn lives […]

The post How I Stay Warm In My RV When It’s FREEZING Outside appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

DIY Boot Dryer – Perfect for Winter!

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DIY Boot Dryer – Perfect for Winter! Winter months bring winter storms; snow, freezing rain and ice.   As ugly as this sounds, preppers cannot afford to huddle inside all winter long… we have chores to do outside.  A nasty result of trudging through slushy mud is getting your boots soaked through.  Good boots are made with …

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The post DIY Boot Dryer – Perfect for Winter! appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

Free Manuals to Download on Survival and Edible Plants

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Free Manuals to Download on Survival and Edible Plants via Preparedness Advice

Everybody likes to get something for free and here’s a huge collection of free manuals for you to download. I have not had a chance to review all of them so I can’t say that everything they suggest is accurate. Many of them are hundreds of pages long, so take your time reviewing them and making note of the books or pages in books that you may want to print out.

Urban Preparation Kit, Part 1, On Body Kit

Traps and Snares

Wilderness Survival Skills

Surviving Terrorism

Wilderness Survival

Survival Water Purification

Preserving Game Meats

Nuclear War Survival Skills

How to Build a Debris Hut

HHS Pandemic Influenza Plan

Combat Survival Evasion

Cold Weather Survival: A Way of Life

Cold Weather Survival

Camp Life in the Woods and the Tricks of Trapping and Trap Making

Alpine Living for SAR

Aids to Survival



Survival In Cold Weather Areas

Survival, Evasion and Recovery

NEWER US Army Survival Manual

Marines Individual Terrorism Survival

USMC Winter Survival Course

Wilderness Evasion: A Guide to Hiding Out and Eluding Pursuit in Remote Areas

USMC Summer Survival Course

Free Manuals on Edible & Medicinal Plants

WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants

WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants Volume 2

WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants Volume 3

WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants Volume 4

Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada

Survival Medicine

Survival: How to Make Herbal Preparations

Edible Medicinal Plants

Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition

PDR for Herbal Medicines

Healing Pets With Alternative Medicine

Ethnobotany of the Forest Indians

Edible Wild Plants

Edible and Medicinal Plants

Plant Powers, Poisons, and Herb Craft

A Taste of Heritage: Crow Indian Recipes & Herbal Medicine

Common Edible Mushrooms — Be careful here. It’s recommended that you never eat a wild mushroom without personal instruction with an expert forager/herbalist.

A Complete Handbook of Nature Cure


The post Free Manuals to Download on Survival and Edible Plants appeared first on Preparedness Advice.

17 Cold Weather Survival Hacks

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In some parts of the country, staying warm in the winter can be a matter of life and death. Fortunately, well-heated homes protect people from the elements and modern conveniences such as supermarkets bring fresh food during the coldest part of the year. But in a catastrophic scenario where people can no longer depend on […]

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Winter Weather Survival – Survival Vehicle Prep

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I hope everyone is enjoying the Winter Survival series! If you need to catch up, here are the links for Part 1,  Part 2, and Part 3. In this article, I want to talk about survival vehicle prep – or why you should prepare your vehicle for the winter weather ahead. You don’t have to be extreme […]

The post Winter Weather Survival – Survival Vehicle Prep appeared first on Survival Hacks – Survival Resources.

Winter Weather Survival – Food Storage and Water Treatment

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Ok everyone, I hope you’ve enjoyed the series so far.  In part 3 we’re going to discuss food and water storage.  As I mention in the article, I’m writing a food storage article right now that’s going to be huge.  But for now, this is some basic stuff for anyone to consider…nothing over the top. […]

The post Winter Weather Survival – Food Storage and Water Treatment appeared first on Survival Hacks – Survival Resources.

Winter Weather Survival – Emergency Shelter

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Hey guys, I hope you enjoyed the first part of the winter survival series.  Again, I’d like to thank you for coming by and if you have any comments just leave them below and make a conversation happen.  We just ask that you keep things relative and healthy!  I look forward to hearing from you. […]

The post Winter Weather Survival – Emergency Shelter appeared first on Survival Hacks – Survival Resources.

Winter Weather Survival – The Basics

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Preparing for the Winter Season Depending on your geographical location…preparing for possible winter weather emergencies should be standard practice.  Early predictions from weather experts call for above average snowfall for nearly half of the country for the 2015-16 winter season.   Click on the image below for a link to the Farmer’s Almanac discussing particular […]

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How To Layer Up Like A Pro With Wool Infographic

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How To Layer Up Like A Pro
How To Layer Up Like A Pro

How To Layer Up Like A Pro With Wool Infographic

Want to Learn how to layer up like a pro this winter? I found this infographic created by  Column Five Media in tandem with Icebreaker

Since the infographic was created by a wool company it is biased. I am a big fan of wool, though, especially when you can get wool on the cheap. 

Base Layer

When layering clothes you begin with the base layer. This is the layer that comes in contact with your skin. 

You want to treat this like a second layer of skin. The goal is to retain body heat without getting sweaty. You want a material that will move perspiration away from the skin. 

As an example cotton as a base layer would be terrible in the winter. Cotton will absorb the moisture and keep it on the skin. This will suck the heat from your body. 

A light merino wool shirt or leggings will do much better than cotton as a base layer. 

I prefer a synthetic base layer myself. It is usually cheaper and easier to find an under armor type base layer than merino wool. 

You can find other types of wool easily at thrift stores. Merino wool can be found on occasion too. If you try to use another type of wool as a base layer you will regret it. You will not be able to stop itching. 

Mid Layer

The mid layer is where I like to use heavy wool. I want the mid layer to provide most of my warmth. 

This layer is meant to retain heat. It does this by  trapping  body heat close to the body. Think of it as your insulation layer. 

Natural fibers, such as merino wool and goose down work great as a mid layer. 

Outer Layer

The outer layer is there to protect you from the elements. This layer will offer rain and wind protection. 

Not all outer layers will be rain proof. You will usually get a balance of rain resistance, wind resistance, and breathability. 

In addition to the infographic below check out this introduction to Layered Clothing Systems


How To Layer Up Like A Pro Infographic
How To Layer Up Like A Pro Infographic



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Prepping for a Winter Crisis! – Blizzard of ’77

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from PrepMomCanada. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.

When you live in an area of North America that is prone to blizzards, you must take it seriously and prepare accordingly. The Blizzard of ’77 is a prime example of why you should be prepared. We live in Southern Ontario, and it crippled this area and Western New York state. Although I did not live through it first hand – my entire family did! Their stories have shaped my desire to be prepared in case this was to ever happen again. These stories were passed down to me through parents, coworkers and grandparents, as I was not born yet.

The Blizzard began the last week of January, 1977. My dad said they closed his high school as soon as the blizzard was in full swing. He recalls walking home on top of the snow and passing by peoples’ chimneys. That’s how high off the ground he was from the accumulated snow. He told me he was actually one of the lucky ones. He heard later that in neighboring towns they didn’t close the schools early enough and children were stuck there for days! Everyone’s power was out for days, and the stores were wiped clean within hours of the first day.

A coworker told me she was stuck in her house with her baby that was less than a year old, and she ran out of milk. There was absolutely nothing she could do about it. Other people tell me they were stuck in their vehicles in the freezing cold, no one could get to them. There were no cell phones at this time. You were stuck there until someone found you. If you left your car, you risked freezing to death in the elements. All of Southern Ontario and Western New York was declared as a ‘state of emergency’ by the government. Police, Fire and Armed forces were called in to help from neighboring communities to supply food, water and medical aid. My Grandmother’s friend tells the story of her whole family huddling in the kitchen with the gas stove lit for warmth. They shut all the doors and hung blankets in open doorways just to keep the heat in the room they were in.


When a crisis like this hits, emergency services are limited. There is only so much they can do when there is 5-8 feet of snow on the ground. If they can’t get to you, they can’t help you! This is why it is so important to have emergency supplies at home and in your vehicle. It could save your life. You have to take the safety of your family into your own hands, and be prepared for winter. At the bare minimum you should have a candle and lighter, a blanket, a few food items, a flare, basic first aid kit and a supply of water in your vehicle at all times. Some people also like to have sidewalk salt/sand on hand, as well as a collapsible shovel… you may just be able to dig yourself out if you have the right tools. I have personally had to use the salt/shovel combo many times!


My parents told me that the people who had generators and snowmobiles were the best off, and they were actually helping with the rescue mission of getting others out of their buried cars. It was the only suitable mode of transportation during the storm. The cars were completely buried in the snow, you could not even see the tops of them. My family witnessed people driving right over top of buried vehicles.

If you live in an area prone to any type of storm you should have a generator and gasoline stored away, at the very least. Living without power, when you are not accustomed to it, is not fun!


People nicknamed the Blizzard of ’77, The White Death. Many people died from freezing to death in their cars, having heart attacks from shoveling snow etc. People had frostbite on their hands and feet from being out shoveling for hours so that they could actually get out of their houses. Most people don’t think of snow storms as being deadly like hurricanes and tornadoes, but they can be if they are severe enough! It is imperative to have stored food, water & medical supplies in your house in case you are snowed in and cannot leave! You may not only lose power, your water may be turned off, or you may have to deal with pipes bursting. So be sure to have an adequate amount of water to see you and your family through several days. There are actually articles on this site that help you figure out how much water and food to store for the size of your family. It is not that expensive to stock up on a few survival necessities, and you will be so thankful that you did if you ever faced a natural disaster.

Some of the bare necessities may include, but are not limited to:

If you happen to be stranded outside when the snow storm hits try to find the closest building for warmth. If you do not have that option there are many videos on YouTube that instruct you how to stay alive in a blizzard. They are informative and practical.

One of the most important parts of prepping for a natural disaster of any kind is having the knowledge and skills to carry you through hard times. It is also important to never have the attitude that ‘oh that will never happen to me.’ A natural disaster can strike anywhere, any time. Mother Nature does not discriminate.

Hope this helps someone prep a bit for the coming winter! It will be here before we know it!

If you liked this article, please rate it.

The post Prepping for a Winter Crisis! – Blizzard of ’77 appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

The Winter of Our Discontent: Survival

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A new year coming up, a new administration being sworn in, and new threats emerging, so will this be a winter like no other? Ice storms, power outages, mass shootings, financial crisis’s, possible attacks by other countries and civil unrest all loom large in the new year.

The nation’s power grids, yes plural because there are three of them are in disrepair, and much of the grid system relies entirely on computer systems, which it seems, are hacked on a daily basis. Russia is stirring and making war noises, North Korea has failed to launch but they keep trying and they will get it right soon enough, and then there is Iran running their fingernails down the chalkboard trying to get our attention. Iran wants a war because it takes the focus off of just how badly treated their people are and it always ends up being about money and power, so why not start a war is their thinking.

All in the name of something are wars started, wars are profitable, and they cover up a lot of atrocities committed by all parties, the fog of war, and all that. This winter we may or may not be in a war much may depend on just how the new administration handles things, however.

You cast your vote and pray for the best, of course, there is much more you must do. You as an individual and as a family or even as a community must prepare, because you may have to go it alone for days, weeks, or even months if the grid is hacked and shut down, or if we are attacked or if a natural disaster strikes. The world is in turmoil and much of what happens is simply out of your control, what you can control, however, is how you prepare and react.

You have to be prepared to live without your local, state or federal governments help. No garbage pickup, no clean water piped in, no natural gas for heat or cooking, and no snowplows patrolling the streets. Police will prioritize so that recent break-in with no injuries goes to the bottom of the list. Firefighters may be responding to fires set by violent protesters and ambulance services may have to respond to a mass shooting or injuries caused by rioting. You, the average citizen may very well be on your own, on your own in the dark in some cases for a very long time, in the winter of our discontent.

The weather will have an influence on you, and it must be dealt with along with the other threats looming. It may be time that you grocery shop for two weeks instead of stopping every night or every other night to grab something quick. This way you stand a good chance of having a week to a 10-day supply of food on hand for emergencies.

We generally recommend several months, and in some cases, several years’ worth of food, but the prepping landscape is changing, and finances are the biggest factor. For most Americans, it is not realistic to have a 6-month supply of food on hand, and with that being the case, you will have to adjust your shopping habits and meal preparation habits, so you do have some food reserves on hand at all times. It may not be much but it may be enough to get past many local disasters. If you can afford to have a 6-month supply on hand do so, but for many this is financially out of reach.

The problem with stockpiling food, however, is that it will need to be prepared and many today simply do not have the time or skills to properly prepare a meal, but during a crisis is not the time to try and learn to cook.

There is more to being prepared than having a spare bedroom filled with dehydrated foods, lanterns, batteries, tents, and sleeping bags. You also need skills, such as cooking, fire starting, how to stay warm outside when the wind chill factor is well below zero and how to prepare fresh foods like wild game or fish, for example, without making the family sick.

We have written dozens of articles about the skills needed, and it is well worth your time to review a few. This article is more about reminding you that regardless of what may be going on in the world, the biggest threat to you is usually local. Snow storms, local power outages, broken water mains, which means no clean water unless you boil it, or you lose a few days of work because of a snowstorm, or you experience icy road conditions and end up in the ditch or down a ravine. Local threats and national and world threats all have to be dealt with, but you start with the most likely at the time.

The Simplest Of Things Matter The Most

Keep your vehicle fueled up can save your life. If you run off into the ditch almost on empty, you can’t stay warm. You need a winter survival kit as well. Warm clothing and shoes for walking in snow and wet conditions, blankets and food and water protected from freezing. You don’t have to run out and buy emergency blankets, use one or two from the house and toss a spare jacket in the back and those old snow boots you never wear around the house. The simple things matter.

Buy a box of protein bars, and a case of water. For less than 12 bucks, you have water and food for a few days. Toss in some matches, a flashlight, gloves, a small shovel and hat and you are almost there without breaking the bank. You know what you need, it is just a matter of taking the time to do it, and if you look around the house you will find you may not have to run out and buy anything because you already have what you need.

You, of course, have to focus on the big picture as well, the threats from abroad, nuclear war, armed invasions and a major grid collapse but it is likely you will meet a snowstorm or icy roads before the other threats manifest themselves. Of course, we never know for sure, but life is always about the most likely and what is the most realist way of living your life day-to-day.

The post The Winter of Our Discontent: Survival appeared first on Preparing for shtf.

Winter Survival

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Winter Survival Josh “7 P’s of survival” Listen in player below! In this episode of the 7 P’s of Survival Radio Show we will be talking all things winter survival and preparedness. While we are all most likely a few weeks away from out first major winter storm now is the time to stock up. Get … Continue reading Winter Survival

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Cold Hands Effects on Shooting

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Hello folks, we have been to the high desert in Northern Utah to do a bit of shooting today. So like all stories there is a good side and a bad side to this, first the good – we were shooting; now the bad – slow moving fingers and shaky hands.

While my fingers were thawing, this article came to mind. I am going to focus strictly on the local effects of cold on the hands in relation to shooting performance. I won’t get into hypothermia or frostbite; I have an idea swimming in my head for another article regarding hidden dangers (over dressing, cold weather dehydration, etc.) of cold weather where I will discuss those issues.

To “set the stage” of this subject we will quickly discuss the term “normal” in regards to hand/finger temperatures. We will call “normal” what people experience in everyday life under comfortable, often indoor conditions. With normal established, let’s look at “cold”, and just to keep it simple, the only terminology we will use is cold.

Cold Stress and Work in the Cold

Cold stress may be present in many different forms, affecting the whole-body heat balance as well as the local heat balance of extremities. Cooling of the whole body or in this case, parts of the body, results in discomfort, impaired sensory and neuro-muscular function and, ultimately, cold injury.

The most obvious and direct effect of cold stress for this subject is the immediate cooling of the skin. The type and magnitude of reaction are determined primarily by the type and severity of cooling. Local cold exposure may cause systemic arousal, what that means is that the increased stress level increases sympathetic nervous activity and, thereby, preparedness for action. When our bodies prepare for action and respond to the cold stimulus, our fight or flight nervous system function kicks in, and the adrenalin begins to dump. This function will work to fight the cold stimulus by giving the muscles stimulation to shiver AND cause the blood vessels in the extremities to begin to squeeze, which results in a reduction of blood flow to muscles and skin. This reduces fine motor skills and makes the “feel” for the trigger much less. That is not a welcome effect when trying to hit the target; great when trying to out run a bear or survive a blizzard, but we are not in those situations.

How do we fix this, the simple answer is to keep our hands warm or wear gloves. Prevention of cooling by means of donning cold-protective clothing, footwear, gloves and headgear interferes with the mobility and dexterity of the shooter. There is a “cost of protection” in the sense that movements and motions can become restricted and more exhausting.

Manual (hands) dexterity performance

Hand function is very susceptible to cold exposure. Due to their small mass and large surface area, hands and fingers lose heat while maintaining high tissue temperatures (86 to 95ºF).

Accordingly, such high temperatures can be maintained only with a high level of internal heat production, allowing for sustained high blood flow to the extremities. The most expedient way to tell if your hands are beginning to suffer from the cold exposure, and may result in decreased performance is to check for the “White Knuckle Grip.” If your hands look like you are holding the steering wheel of a truck on ice, headed down the hill, you will know the tissues are suffering from a lack of perfusion or blood bringing oxygen to the tissues, and hand grip, finger pull and support hand functions will be affected.

Hand and finger function is directly affected by the temperature of the skin (that is the only way to measure in the field). Fine, delicate and fast finger movements deteriorate when tissue temperature drops by only a few degrees. With more profound temperature drops in the tissues, gross hand functions will also be impaired, eventually, your hands will turn to “clubs” and the fine skill and gross skills will not be possible. You may get to a point where you cannot truly FEEL the gun in your hands.

Significant impairment in hand function is found at hand skin temperatures around 59ºF, and severe impairments occur at skin temperatures about 42 to 46ºF due to the blocking of the function of sensory and thermal skin receptors. The temperature of your fingertips may be more than ten degrees lower than on the back of your hand under certain exposure conditions.

In addition, the viscosity of tissues increases (meaning that instead of everything flowing like oil, it is now moving like sludge), resulting in higher internal friction during motion. With an increase of internal or muscular/tendon friction, smooth is not possible, and jerky motions will be the normal. Isometric (pulling) force output is reduced by 2% per ºF of lowered muscle temperature. Dynamic (general smooth movement) force output is reduced by 2 to 4% per ºF of lowered muscle temperature. In other words, cooling reduces the force output of muscles and has an even greater effect on dynamic contractions. This will have an effect of overall gun handling, and very dramatic effects on trigger pull, and proper grip functions.


There is evidence for different types of acclimatization to long-term cold exposure. Manual (hand dexterity) performance is better maintained after repeated cold exposures of the hand, as we discussed later with the cold water bath and dry fire drills.

Improved hand and finger circulation allows for the maintenance of a higher tissue temperature and produces a stronger cold-induced vasodilatation. What this over the top science geek talk means is – warm up – flex the fingers, shake the hands, get them ready to operate the gun in cold temperatures. Due to the many complex factors that influence human heat balance, and the considerable individual variations, it is difficult to define critical temperatures for sustained work.

There is a simple way to test the effects of cold on your hands and performance, and train yourself to adapt to this environmental issue and improve your performance as much as possible. This simple and free or nearly free acclimatization method will make you less susceptible to cold hand issues. By exposure to cold water from the sink then maybe move to ice water in a bowl, etc., and dry fire drills, make sure to include shooting (dry fire) and gun manipulations, failure drills, etc.

These drills need to be practiced for all shooters, not just for the hand gunners, but hunters with long guns as well. Just to state the obvious – check then recheck that the gun is unloaded, and no ammo is in the room – OK, now we can move forward. Get ahold of a simple and inexpensive surface thermometer from the drug store, the type that just reads the skin temperature, then put your hands in the cold water, use the thermometer and take the skin temperature, run your dry fire drills. You can check your performance differences between warm and cold hands dry fire, use a stopwatch to test speed or function. Eventually, you will see if your acclimatization efforts are giving any value to your shooting and watch for improvement as you proactively train to beat the cold.

If precautions are followed, and a simple warm up can be performed your shooting should not suffer dramatically, it will a little, that is the way it is in cold weather shooting. If you find that you do a lot of cold weather shooting, and exact precision is needed. Try these simple steps to train your body to acclimate to that style of shooting. This combined with simple warm-ups, and you will be less affected and maybe even reach the “golden ring” of the only guy in the group that can shoot as well cold as everyone else does in the warm.

Good luck, and stay safe

96.8 – 90*F Optimal hand and finger dexterity Good Shooting
90 – 81*F Effects on finger dexterity, precision, and speed OK Shooting
81-68*F Impacted work with small details, reduced endurance Weak Shooting
68 – 59*F Impaired gross hand and finger work Poor Shooting
59 – 50*F Reduced gross muscle strength and coordination Very Poor Shooting
46 – 43*F Blocking sensory and thermal receptors of superficial skin Dangerous Shooting
Numbness, manual performance reduced to simple gripping, pushing, etc. Impossible Shooting
Freezing of tissues

6 Tips To Help You Survive a Blizzard

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Editor’s Note: I know it’s a little late for an article about blizzards, but they’ve been known to hit up North in the middle of spring. And it will be snowing in Australia in a few months, so for my readers down under, here go you. With every […]

The post 6 Tips To Help You Survive a Blizzard appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

11 Winter Survival Skills Every Child Should Know

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11 Winter Survival Skills Every Child Should Snow

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Are you attached to your child at the hip every minute of every single day? Your children have a far greater chance of survival if they possess some basic self-reliance skills and have practiced the emergency disaster plan with the family.

Even if your work does not force you to leave the property and the children are homeschooled, they are still not protected from a crisis. Children, even the youngest ones in the family, must learn what to do if mommy and daddy are not home, are injured, or are killed, during a disaster. Teaching children about disaster should begin at a very early age and the information should be presented in a manner which does not scare the child, but still relays the seriousness of the issue.

For example, children are firmly taught that a stove is hot and not to touch it when they are a toddler, yet they do not fear walking by the stove when they scamper into the kitchen. Employ non-nonsense and loving tactics when educating children about emergency situations and their role during such situations.

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Children need to learn what to do in event that specific disasters strikes. A checklist or picture book can help relay this message and reinforce the lessons learned during drills. Winter weather threats can quickly prove deadly for panicked children who suddenly find themselves without an adult around to save the day. If little Billy ventures out in the cold to look for help because the power went out, then he could get frostbit in mere minutes if not dressed properly.

11 Winter Survival Skills Every Child Should Snow

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Skills to Teach Your Children

Some of the skills on this list may not be appropriate for young children, but here are 10 to consider:

  1. How to forage during winter and what can be eaten around the house.
  2. How to start a fire using multiple methods.
  3. How to cook over an open fire.
  4. How to use a “finger” saw to cut kindling.
  5. How to safely use a knife.
  6. How to find the way home, even in snow, from multiple directions.
  7. How to ward off frostbite.
  8. How to dry damp or wet gloves, socks, and hats over a fire safely.
  9. How to check frozen ponds and creeks to ensure they are safe to walk upon.
  10. How to find drinking water / melt snow to drink.
  11. How to find shelter when it’s cold.

Winter Survival Kit Items For Young Children

  • Picture book which details family emergency plan with family contact information typed inside the front cover. Pages specific to winter survival and other weather-related disaster tips should be included in the book.
  • Mylar blanket, gloves, hat, scarf, thermal socks, set of thermal underwear and handwarmers
  • Flashlight and glow sticks.
  • Basic first-aid kit with Band Aids, a quick clot bandage, triple antibiotic ointment, and antiseptic wipes.
  • Map created to guide the child to a designated meeting place if they must evacuate the home.
  • Several bottles of water and food which can be opened easily and eaten without heating.

Winter Survival Kit Items For Older Children

  • Copy of family emergency plan, family contact information
  • Flashlight and glow lights
  • Mylar blanket, gloves, hat, scarf, thermal socks, set of thermal underwear and handwarmers
  • Firestarter and reminder note about safety and details about starting a fire in the family fireplace or woodstove. Instructions on how to utilize the family solar generator if one is owned by the family.
  • Bottles of water and long-term storage food which can be heated in a pouch but also food items which do not require cooking.
  • Pocket knife, signaling mirror, binoculars and a compass

What would you add to this list? Share your ideas in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

6 Items Your Homestead Needs To Survive A Winter Blackout

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6 Items Your Homestead Needs To Survive A Winter Blackout

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Many people prepare for winter weather by putting together a winter survival kit in their car. But too few prepare an additional kit for their home, which can leave them unprepared when a winter ice or snowstorm hits and leaves them trapped there. Because preparing your house for a winter storm is a significantly larger and more complicated undertaking than doing the same for your car, here’s a few tips to help you out:

1. Alternative source of heat

A winter snowstorm that knocks the power out will leave you with a cold house unless you have a heat source that doesn’t require electricity. Don’t be surprised if the inside of your home quickly drops to 40 degrees Fahrenheit when the power goes out. In this case, having plenty of blankets and warm clothing is essential.

But you’ll also need an alternative source of heat – such as kerosene – to keep your house warm until the power returns. Always check up on your alternative heat source to make sure it is operational and clean.

2. Food

It’s essential to keep plenty of food in your house for emergencies, but we all know that canned food and bottled water will not last forever. That’s why you should rotate your food and water in the pantry so you’ll always have plenty of fresh food and water available.

The Quickest Way To Store A Month’s Worth Of Emergency Food!

You also would be wise to set aside specific food for emergencies and emergencies only, and rotate this food out at least once every six months.

3. Flashlights and batteries


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It’s very likely that your power will be out if you’re stuck in your house from an ice or snowstorm. Having plenty of flashlights of varying kinds is imperative. You’ll also need plenty of extra batteries as well.

4. Tools

You’ll want to have the necessary tools on hand to make any needed repairs that result from a winter storm. If the branch of a tree falls and breaks a window, it’s much more critical to fix it when it’s freezing outside than when it’s summertime. Examples of tools to have on standby include a hammer and nails, screwdrivers, heavy duty plastic sheeting, and duct tape. These kinds of tools and materials won’t allow you to build things from scratch or fix things permanently, but should help you make emergency repairs that will hold until the storm passes.

Get Free Electricity — That Works Even During Blackouts!

While we’re talking about tools, remember that you’re not prepared for a winter snowstorm if you don’t have at least a couple of snow shovels on hand to dig your way out. Make sure that your shovels are in your home and not outside or in a shed that’s separated from your house. Have several different ones in case one breaks or so that multiple people can shovel a pathway out at the same time.

5. Communication

Phone lines can be damaged by ice and wind, although it’s unlikely that an entire cellular network will be wiped out. Keep your cell or smartphone fully charged and make sure to have a backup batter source, as well as a car charger for your phone, in case the power goes out. Including walkie-talkies in your winter survival kit is a good idea as they can help you stay in contact with family and friends. Radios that run on batteries also are wise to have so you can learn about what’s going on in the outside world.

6. Evacuation vehicle 

If a medical emergency happens or your house is significantly damaged and not safe to stay in, you will need some type of transportation. This is why you would be very wise to invest in snowmobiles or at least some sort of vehicle that is made to run quickly through the snow. Snowmobiles are preferable to your car in this case, because your car may be snowed in or it may not be made for icy, winter environments. Make sure that your snowmobile is filled with gasoline, fully operational, and within easy access from your house. Ideally, each snowmobile should have a can of extra fuel, snowshoes, and a winter survival pack tied to the rear behind the seat.


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Easy-To-Build Winter Survival Shelters That Could Save Your Life

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Easy-To-Build Winter Survival Shelters That Could Save Your Life

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Any time you find yourself in a winter survival situation, the elements are undoubtedly your single greatest enemy, since hypothermia will kill you far faster than either lack of water or lack of food.

Therefore, if you ever find yourself stranded in a survival situation in winter, then a properly constructed and properly insulated survival shelter should be your top priority. Furthermore, it is absolutely imperative that any winter shelter you build must be both wind proof and rain proof; otherwise, the effort required to build it is greater than the benefit gained from doing so. Fortunately, with a little knowledge, a little ingenuity, and a little effort, a good winter survival shelter is not difficult to build from the available materials at hand, and doing so may very well save your life.

Building a Debris Shelter

My favorite type of winter survival shelter is one called a debris shelter, and it is a very appropriate type of shelter to build when you are stranded in the forest. As the name implies, this type of winter survival shelter involves forest “debris” and is constructed by first finding a fallen long, a tree stump, a forked tree, or even a large boulder upon which you can lean a pole. Then, you locate an appropriate log to serve as the ridge pole and “dress it” by removing any protruding limbs. Next, you place one end of the ridge pole on the stump, into the fork, or on top of the boulder and rest the other end on the ground.

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Then, gather any debris you find around you or in the immediate vicinity, ranging from small limbs to small logs which you then lean against the ridge pole in order to create a hollow cavity beneath it. But note that while a thin layer of debris will serve to block some wind and some rain, a really thick layer is need to make the shelter truly warm and dry. Furthermore, if you find yourself in a deciduous hardwood forest, then you can gather dry leaves from the ground around you and stuff them into your shelter to provide additional insulation.

Easy-To-Build Winter Survival Shelters That Could Save Your Life

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On the other hand, it seems to be a general rule of nature that whenever you find yourself in a sparsely wooded area, you also have a plethora of rocks at hand and thus, rather than lament the lack of wood, you should instead use the material at hand to build your winter survival shelter. The practice of stacking rocks into a wall without the use of mortar is called “free stacking” and, provided that there are plenty of rocks at hand, you can free stack them to construct a low wall that will help to protect you from the wind. If you can find enough wood to construct a ceiling, then you will have a cozy little shelter that will help to retain your body heat. In order to insulate your shelter, you can gather grass from the surrounding terrain, compress it into small balls, and then stuff the balls into the spaces between the rocks to block out the wind.

Building a Snow Cave

Last, if you happen to find yourself in a survival situation in an environment covered in snow, and if the snow is deep enough, then you can construct a snow cave. While it might seem like an oxymoron to ensconce yourself in what is essentially a refrigerator, the temperature inside of a snow cave can be amazingly warm compared to the temperatures outside, especially when the wind is blowing.

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There are two kinds of snow caves: 1) those that you dig and, 2) those that you construct. So, to construct a snow cave, you start by choosing an appropriate location and then you remove the snow from a given area in the shape of a circle and use it to construct vertical walls which you create by packing snow into place with your hands. Then, as the walls begin to rise, you cause them to begin sloping inward until they finally meet at the top, thus enclosing the shelter. Of course, to build the other type of snow cave, you first need to locate an appropriately deep, and solid, snow drift and then, starting from the leeward side, you begin to dig a small tunnel into the side of the drift and, after a few feet, you proceed to excavate a small cave inside of the drift, which serves as your shelter.

So, while none of these winter survival shelters can be said to be as cozy and warm as a well-built log cabin with roaring fire in the fireplace, they will serve to block the wind and the rain in a survival situation and thus, they can prevent you from suffering from hypothermia, frostbite, and/or death. Learning how to construct them may very well one day save your life.


4 ‘Lost-In-The-Woods’ Shelters Every Survivalist Should Know How To Build

What advice would you add on building a survival shelter in winter? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Staying Warm During a Winter Power Outage

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By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

Depending on where you live, a winter power outage can quickly become a life-threatening emergency.

Winter storms with heavy snowfalls, high winds, and a coating of ice are a threat to our vulnerable power grid. Making winter even more of a threat recently is the current economic upheaval. In economically depressed places like Detroit, many residents have had their utilities shut off due to an inability to pay their bills. With temperatures in the negatives, people could quite literally freeze to death in their homes.  You don’t have to be a prepper to realize that secondary heating systems, some specialized skills, and a frigid weather plan could be vital to your survival in the winter.

Are you prepared for a winter power outage?

No matter how you heat your home, it’s vital to have a back-up method. Even if you have a non-grid reliant method as your primary heat source, things can happen. Chimney fires occur, wood gets wet, furnaces of all types malfunction…while these scenarios could be unlikely, you have to remember, “Two is one, one is none.”

Here are some options for heat that doesn’t come from a thermostat on the wall..

  • Wood Heat: Everyone’s favorite off-grid heating method is a fireplace or woodstove. The fuel is renewable and you have the added bonus of an off-grid cooking method. Unfortunately, if your home doesn’t already have one, it can be a pretty expensive thing to install.  If you rent, it’s probably not going to be an option at all to add wood heat to someone else’s property. If you have wood heat, make sure you have a good supply of seasoned firewood that is well-protected from the elements.
  • Propane Heaters:  There are several propane heaters on the market that do not require electricity.  I own a Little Buddy heater.  These small portable heaters are considered safe for indoor use in 49 states.  They attach to a small propane canister and use 2 oz. of fuel per hour to make 100 square feet extremely warm and toasty.  A battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm provides an extra measure of safety when using these heaters indoors. If you have a bigger area to heat, this larger unit will warm up to 200 square feet. Be sure to stock up on propane if this is your back-up heat method.
  • Kerosene/Oil Heaters:  Kerosene heaters burn a wick for heat, fuelled by the addition of heating oil.  These heaters really throw out the warmth.  A brand new convection kerosene heater like this one can heat up to 1000 square feet efficiently.  When we lived in the city I was lucky enough to have an antique “Perfection” oil heater, which was a charming addition to our decor that was be called into service during grid-down situations.  Click here to read more information about the different types of kerosene heaters that are available.
  • Natural Gas Fireplaces:  Some gas-fueled fireplaces will work when the electrical power goes out – they just won’t blow out heat via the fan.
  • Pellet Stove:   Most pellet stoves require electricity to run, but there are a few of these high-efficiency beauties that will work without being plugged in.

What if you don’t have a secondary heating method?

Sometimes things happen before we get our preps in order. If you don’t have a secondary heating method, you can still stay relatively warm for at least a couple of days if you are strategic. Even if you do have a secondary heat source,  in many cases it’s important to conserve your fuel as much as possible.

If you have no additional heat at all, you can usually keep one room tolerable for 2-3 days.  If the cold is relentless and the outage lasts longer than that, you may need to seek other shelter.  Watch your temperatures. If the daytime temperature in the house dips below 40 degrees, the night time temperature will be even colder, and it won’t be safe to stay there, especially if you have children or family members who are more susceptible to illness.

These methods can help you stay cozier during a storm.

  • Heat only one room.  One year, our furnace went out the day before Christmas. We huddled into a small room with just one window.  We closed the door to the bedroom and used a folded quilt at the bottom to better insulate the room.  If you don’t have a door to the room you’ve opted to take shelter in, you can hang heavy quilts  or blankets in the doorways to block it off from the rest of the house.
  • Cover your windows.  You can use a plastic shower curtain and duct tape, topped by a heavy quilt to keep the wind from whistling through your windows.  Take down the quilt if it’s sunny outside for some solar gain, then cover it back up as dark falls. If you have reason to be concerned about OPSEC, use heavy black garbage bags to cover the windows to keep light from escaping.
  • Light candles.  Even the small flames from candles can add warmth to a small area.  Be sure to use them safely by keeping them out of the reach of children and housing them in holders that won’t tip over easily.
  • Use kerosene lamps.  Those charming old-fashioned lamps can also add warmth to the room.
  • Use sleeping bags.  Cocooning in a sleeping bag conserves body heat better than simply getting under the covers.
  • Have a camp-out.  This works especially well when you have children because it adds an element of fun to an otherwise stressful situation.  Pitch a tent in your closed off room, get inside with a flashlight, and tell stories.  When you combine your body heat in a tiny space like that, you’ll stay much warmer.
  • Get cooking. If you have a propane or gas stove in the kitchen, your cooking method may not require electricity.  So bake a cake, roast a turkey, or simmer a soup. You can use it to warm the room while making a hot, delicious feast.
  • Heat some rocks.  Do you have a place outdoors for a campfire?  If so, put some large rocks around the edges of it.  They retain heat for hours.  When it’s bedtime, carefully place the rocks into a cast iron Dutch oven and bring this into the room you’re going to be sleeping in.  Be sure to protect your floor or surface from the heat of the Dutch oven. The stones will passively emit heat for several hours without the potential of a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning during the night.

How to stay warm with less heat

Not only do we need to be concerned about a power outage due to the weather, but we also need to realize that utility bills could be extraordinarily high this year due to rising prices and an increased need for heat as temperatures plummet. When we lived in our drafty cabin up North, we had to take extra steps to keep warm. Here are some things we learned that will help out in either circumstance.

  • Keep your wrists and ankles covered.  Wear shirts with sleeves long enough to keep your wrists covered and long socks that keep your ankles covered.  You lose a great deal of heat from those two areas.
  • Get some long-johns.  Wearing long underwear beneath your jeans or PJ’s will work like insulation to keep your body heat in.  I like the silky kind like this for indoor use, rather than the chunkier chunkier waffle-knit outdoor type.
  • Wear slippers.  You want to select house shoes with a solid bottom rather than the slipper sock type.  This forms a barrier between your feet and the cold floor.  We keep a basket of inexpensive slippers in varying sizes by the door for visitors because it makes such a big difference.  Going around in your stocking feet on a cold floor is a certain way to be chilled right through.
  • Get up and get moving.  It goes without saying that physical activity will increase your body temperature.  If you’re cold, get up and clean something, dance with your kids, play tug-of-war with the dog, or do a chore.
  • Pile on the blankets. If you’re going to be sitting down, have some blankets available for layering.  Our reading area has some plush blankets which we top with fluffy comforters for a cozy place to relax.
  • Use a hot water bottle.  If you’re just sitting around try placing a hot water bottle (carefully wrapped to avoid burns) under the blankets with you.
  • Use rice bags.  If you don’t have the cute ready-made rice bags, you can simply place dry rice in a clean sock.  Heat this in the microwave, if you use one, for about a minute, or place in a 100 degree oven, watching carefully, for about 10 minutes.  I keep some rice bags in a large ceramic crock beside the wood stove so they are constantly warm.  You can put your feet on them or tuck them under the blankets on your lap. (The insert from a defunct crockpot will work for this as well.)
  • Insulate using items you have.  A friend recommended lining the interior walls with bookcases or hanging decorative quilts and blankets on the walls to add an extra layer of insulation. It definitely makes a difference because it keeps heat in and cold air out. If you look at pictures of old castles you will see lovely tapestry wall-hangings – this was to help insulate the stone walls, which absorbed the cold and released it into the space.
  • Layer your windows.  Our cabin had large lovely picture windows for enjoying the view.  However, they were single pane and it’s hard to enjoy the view if your teeth are chattering.  We took the rather drastic step of basically closing off all the windows but one in each room for the winter.  First, we used the shrink film insulator on every window. Then, we insulated further by placing draft blockers at the bottom in the window sill (I just used rolled up polar fleece – I’m not much of a sew-er.)  This was topped by a heavy blanket, taking care to overlap the wall and window edges with it.  Over that, we hung thermal curtains that remained closed.
  • Get a rug.  If you have hardwood, tile or laminate flooring, an area rug is a must.  Like the blankets on the walls, this is another layer of insulation between you and the great outdoors.  We have no basement so our floor is very chilly.  A rug in the living room protects our feet from the chill.
  • Wear a scarf.  No, not like a big heavy wool scarf that you’d wear outdoors – just a small, lightweight one that won’t get in your way and annoy you.  This serves two purposes.  First, it covers a bit more exposed skin. Secondly, it keeps body heat from escaping out the neck of your shirt.
  • Burn candles.  Especially in a smaller space, a burning candle can raise the temperature a couple of degrees.
  • Wear fingerless gloves. Gloves like these allow you to still function by keeping the tips of your fingers uncovered, while still keeping chilly hands bundled up.
  • Drink hot beverages. There’s a reason Grandma always gave you a mug of cocoa after you finished building that snowman. Warm up from the inside out with a cup of coffee, tea, cider, or hot chocolate. Bonus: Holding the mug makes your hands toasty warm.
  • Cuddle.  Share your body heat under the blankets when you’re watching movies or reading a book.

What if you’re stranded due to icy roads?

What if you’re not at home when a winter storm strikes?  In a previous article about preparing your vehicle for winter, I brought up a couple of situations that occurred last year.

During one scenario, a freak snowstorm struck the Atlanta, Georgia area.  Because weather like this is such a rarity, the area was completely unprepared, officials didn’t have the experience or equipment needed to deal with it, and traffic gridlocked almost immediately. Hundreds of people were stranded as the freeway turned into a scene reminiscent of The Walking Dead, with bumper-to-bumper vehicles at a standstill.  Those without food and water in their vehicles went hungry, and many people ran out of gas as they tried to keep warm. No matter how comfortable you are with winter driving, in a situation like this, you are at the mercy of others who may not be so experienced.

The next situation had a lot more potential for a tragic ending, had it not been for the survival skills of a father of 4 small children.  A family of six had taken off for a day of snowy adventure, when their Jeep flipped over in a remote part of the Seven Troughs mountain range in Northwestern Nevada. James Glanton, a miner and experienced hunter, kept his family alive and unscathed for two days in the frigid wilderness using only the items from his vehicle and the environment. Due to his survival skills and the things he had on hand, none of the family members so much as suffered frostbite while awaiting rescue. You can learn more about the hero dad’s resourcefulness HERE.

Regardless of why you’re stranded somewhere besides your cozy home, you should have supplies in your vehicle to fend off frostbite (or even death) due to frigid conditions.

Include things like:

Even if you aren’t a prepper, it only makes sense to get ready for a storm.

Unless you think the entire process of weather forecasting is some sort of insane voodoo, then it’s pretty undeniable that a big storm is coming. Winters in America have been setting records for bone-numbing, snot-freezing cold for the last couple of years, and it appears that this winter will be no different.

While some folks aren’t quite ready to plunge whole-heartedly into prepping, it’s hard to deny the common sense factor of preparing for a likely scenario.  You should have at the minimum, a two-week supply of food and other necessities.  Before the power goes out, develop a plan to keep your family warm, even while the mercury outside reaches near-Arctic depths.


The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

Surviving a blizzard or winter storm without power

The Winter Survival Handbook

This article first Appeared at The Organic Prepper: Staying Warm During a Winter Power Outage

About the author:

Daisy Luther lives on a small organic homestead in Northern California.  She is the author of The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy’s articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter,.

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How to Keep Warm in a Winter Power Outage

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This article has been contributed by Anne Marie Duhon. Anne Marie is a wife, mother of six and a full time off-gridder. She and her husband currently live in a totally off grid  200 sq foot “tiny home” and are in search of (again) that elusive  perfect spot to call home. Besides being a wife and mother she, and her family, have raised many different animals on their various homesteads and have lived and loved being off the grid and many miles from the nearest paved road. She would like to share her first hand experiences and help others to learn to live and love living off grid and being as self reliant as possible. 

winter-power-outage1Winter is upon us again and with it comes storms that can cause wide spread or localized power outages. Losing power in winter does cause many more deaths than a power outage in the summer.

So how do you protect yourself and your loved ones during those cold dark hours? Read on and I will share some of the ways we do it…

The Ideal: Preparing for a Winter Power Outage

winter-power-outage2My husband and I never notice power outages anymore because we have removed ourselves from the grid so we have keeping warm without electricity down pat!

First, you HAVE to think about winter power outages long before winter gets here. Take a look at your home. Is it big and roomy with lots of open areas or small and compact? If it is large, can living areas be closed off to make smaller areas to heat? Does it have lots of windows and which direction do those windows face? North facing windows will let in lots of cold while south facing windows can be used for passive solar heating. Is your home well insulated and does it have any fireplaces or wood heating already installed? How will you be able to cook during a power outage? What about your water pipes?

So now you’ve inventoried your house. You live in the typical three bedroom brick house on a slab with windows all around and a porch on the south side. How to make it winter ready?

Check all windows and doors for leaks of air. If air can come in warm air can escape. Caulk or seal the leaks. If the windows are old and drafty consider putting plastic sheeting over the windows or making insulated drapes to hang during the winter (the drapes would work to keep the house cooler in summer too!).

Close off unneeded or unused areas during the power outage. This is where you are going to see just how fast family members can get on your nerves! Make just one or two rooms be used.

Inspect already installed fireplaces/woodstoves or install a small woodstove in a main room. You would be amazed how much one small woodstove can do! And of course have on hand a cord or so of cut, seasoned firewood for that stove and MATCHES!

Look into enclosing your south-facing porch for the winter and buy in advance the necessary supplies to do so. Enclosing your porch will give you some heat from the sun during the day and an outside place to cook if you have to use a grill.

winter-power-outage3If for some reason you cannot have a woodstove in your home look into getting some other heating source like Little Buddy camp heaters and a supply of fuel for them or a kerosene heater and several gallons of kerosene.

In a pinch, lanterns and candles do put off a bit of heat and can warm and light a small area. These choices are dangerous and should only be used in an emergency with all necessary precautions. But they are better than freezing to death.

Wrap water pipes to keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of newspapers, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Look into storing several gallons of water incase pipes do freeze or your well isn’t working.

All the above can be and should be done and ready long before the first cold snap.

How to Survive a Winter Emergency Power Outage

But what if you get a surprise and are not ready? During an emergency power outage you need to:

  • Move all family members to one area and close off all the other rooms.
  • Select a space on the “warm” side of the house, away from prevailing cold winds. It’s best to avoid rooms with large windows or uninsulated walls. Interior rooms, such as inside bathrooms or closets, probably have the lowest heat loss. Your basement may be another great option in cold weather, because of the heat gain from the earth.
  • Isolate the room from the rest of the house by keeping doors closed, hanging bedding, heavy drapes, blankets or towels over entryways or erecting temporary partitions of cardboard or plywood. Hang drapes, bedding, shower curtains, and such other insulating items over doors and windows.
  • Drip your faucets to prevent them from freezing or shut off the water at the main and drain the pipes. Store that water for drinking and cooking.
  • Let the children make a fort to sleep in to help retain body heat.
  • Dress warmly and EXERCISE! It will help keep your core body temp up.
  • Eat and drink warm things like soups or coffee/hot chocolate. Heating up water on a small sterno can is easy, safe and does add some warmth to the room.
  • Don’t forget your pets! Many animals can and do make it through the cold months just fine as long as they are used to living outside but for those pets that are not make room in your warm spot and in your plans for them! A warm dog or cat is great to snuggle with on a cold night!
  • Turn off all electricity except for maybe one light to protect against a possible power surge when the power does finally come back on.
  • If all else fails and this power outage is going to last for a while contact your local Red Cross or church and they can probably direct you to a shelter in your area or you can contact out of area family or friends for an impromptu visit!
  • After the lights come back on take stock in how it went for you and take steps to improve on your ability to provide for yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you had to evacuate to a friends or a shelter consider this a wakeup call and make it a goal to do better the next time because there WILL BE a next time.

Additional Resources

Winter Survival beyond the Basics

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Winter Survival Beyond Basics

Leave the house prepared or you may perish. Ideally, you will travel with a friend. Having someone watch your back has a very practical and psychological value. You both can spot that patch of white, which may mean frostbite on the nose or cheeks of each other, inspect the bottoms of each other’s feet, and recognize the signs of hypothermia, so treatment can begin to reverse the potentially deadly condition. However, situations are never ideal, and so you have to be prepared to survive on your own for hours or possibly days in the cold.

A previous article discussed the basics of cold weather survival. In general terms, it outlined what hypothermia is and some prevention methods. We will try not to be redundant. Instead we will talk about shelters, the need for water, and the need for food in particular high protein food and how to keep the body from sweating when it’s cold out.

Shelter is your biggest priority before dark. Winter days are short, so once you realize you will be spending the night outside, you need to get started on your shelter. Shelter and a fire before the sun sets can save your life.

If you have a tent and the proper cold weather sleeping bag, then you are all set, but what happens if you don’t have a tent or a cold weather bag. If you are lost, then stay put, get to work on a shelter, and build a signal fire.

If in a heavily forested area you can get under evergreen trees or other foliage. Spruce trees make ideal shelter locations. Knock the snow off the branches as best you can and create a snow cave under the branches near the trunk of the tree. Look for dead branches that could fall on you before settling in, because you may have to find another tree if there are a number of dead branches overhead.

Snow can be your friend. Dig down or simply move snow to create walls to break the wind and use a tarp or poncho for overhead cover by stretching and securing across the snow walls. You must have good insulation between you and the ground.

Build your fire on rocks, green branches, or aluminum foil. Place other rocks near the fire so they absorb the heat and can then help heat the enclosure. You can place the warmed rocks in your sleeping bag or in the thermal blanket or tarp you roll up in.

Melt snow for water even if you have an ample supply. Save your supply so if you have to hike about or hike out of your predicament you have water with you. Melt the snow near the fire before drinking. Cold water will lower your core body temperature.

You can become dehydrated in the winter and not be aware of it, so drink water by sipping throughout the day whether you feel thirsty or not.

Remove the outer layer of clothing as you work to put together your shelter so you do not sweat. If you feel yourself sweating then rest for a bit or remove another layer. However, be careful not to get chilled. You have to monitor your situation carefully and pay attention to details like sweating and leaving a layer off too long so you get chilled.

Eat just before sleeping because the digestive process will raise your core body temperature. Protein takes longer to digest, and so the digestive process will create more heat when its protein you are digesting.

Protein bars, jerked meats, and peanut butter is easily packed and can be eaten without preparations so make sure you have ample food when traveling in cold weather. Carry hardtack as well, and make it at home, so you always have some in your pack.

Build a separate fire for signaling during the day. Your signal fire will be in the open and you will have to create as much smoke as you can, by using pine boughs, leaves and so on, but only after you have a good base built up otherwise you could extinguish the fire. Use colored garbage bags, and make three designs in the snow to signal distress. Use a signaling mirror if you hear aircraft overhead.

Wandering around trying to find your way back will cause exhaustion, cause you to sweat more and will increase your chances of injury. Stay put, keep a fire going, and improve your shelter.

The post Winter Survival beyond the Basics appeared first on Preparing for shtf.

17 Ways You Can Stay Warm When The Power Goes Out

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A cold snap accompanied by strong winds and heavy snow or ice often results in the power going out. This can be very dangerous for people who rely on electricity to heat their homes in the winter. It’s important to have a plan in place to keep yourself […]

The post 17 Ways You Can Stay Warm When The Power Goes Out appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

21 Winter Survival Items That Every Prepper Should Own

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Last month I posted an article about 19 survival items to buy before winter arrives. That list was mainly about things you should keep in your vehicle during the winter, but this one is about winter survival items in general. Every prepper worth their salt should be prepared […]

The post 21 Winter Survival Items That Every Prepper Should Own appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

3 Winter Gardening Techniques and 6 Plants for Winter Gardening

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Growing a garden in the winter might seem like more trouble than its worth, but it’s not as hard as it sounds. You just have to be creative. Depending on the climate you live in, you might have to rely on indoor gardening. However, there are several outdoor […]

The post 3 Winter Gardening Techniques and 6 Plants for Winter Gardening appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Video: Prepare to survive in your car during a winter storm

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Travel can be very dangerous this time of year.  It doesn’t matter if you live in the Oregon high desert or the frigid

A survival kit for your car can be indispensable when the weather turns bad.

A survival kit for your car can be indispensable when the weather turns bad.

Midwest. If  your car slips off the road in an isolated area, during a blizzard, a routine drive to visit the family can turn into a nightmare.

by Leon Pantenburg

Nationwide attention was brought to winter survival in a stalled vehicle in 2006.

In December, Californian James Kim, 35, died in Oregon’s Rogue River Wilderness after leaving his wife and children to get help. The family car was stuck in snow on a remote road for several days.

Mr. Kim departed from the car, he  left the road and apparently got lost in the deep snow. He bushwhacked five miles down steep canyons, covering about eight miles through rough country, but ending up only about a mile as the crow flies from his car. Mr Kim’s body was found several days later, and he had apparently died of  hypothermia His family was found alive in their car a few days later. (To view the complete story, click on Kim Tragedy video)

Here are some things you can do for a car trip – before you leave –  to make that road trip safer.

  • Leave a note, telling someone your route, and when you intend to reach your destination.  If you don’t arrive on schedule, the designated person should contact the area highway patrol or state police. If you have changes in plan, call that person to update the schedule.
  • Warm clothing: Make sure everyone in the vehicle has, as a minimum, a warm coat, hat, gloves and boots along. Throw in a couple of blankets and a sleeping bag in the trunk for extra protection.
  • Lots of Gas: The vehicle should have a full tank of gas before you leave to go anywhere. Top off the gas tank when it gets to about half full.
  • Daytime travel: If possible, schedule your travel in the daytime.
  • Known routes:  Only travel routes you know to be safe – not rural service roads and cut-off roads that are unfamiliar to you.
  • Food and Water: Assemble a complete emergency kit to carry in your car. Periodically update the kit by checking the food and water and making sure you have spare batteries for emergency flashlights.  These days you can acquire car chargers and solar charging kits for cell phones.

Winter survival can start by assembling a selection of easily-obtained items. Here are some suggestions from survival expert Peter Kummerfeldt on items to  include in a  car kit.

Please click here to check out and subscribe to the YouTube channel – thanks!



19 Survival Items To Buy Before Winter Arrives

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Although technically winter doesn’t begin until December 21st, in many parts of the country it’s here already. Winter always seems to catch us off guard. It’s no big deal if you love things like making snowmen or using the fireplace, but it can be dangerous if you find yourself out […]

The post 19 Survival Items To Buy Before Winter Arrives appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

Kids and Winter Survival Skills!

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Kids and Winter Survival Skills!

Winter Survival winter kidsMy kids have had their sleds lined up by the garage door since Thanksgiving. They’ve been trying on their snow clothes and eyeing new ski jackets in the L.L. Bean catalog and are ready to get out in the snow and burn some serious calories! I love to watch them play in the snow and ski down a (slightly elevated) hill, but the SurvivalMom in me wants to make sure they also have some winter survival skills. Combining the fun of winter sports and outdoor activities with a few survival lessons is my sneaky way of making sure they know what to do if ever they find themselves in trouble.

Above all, I want my kids to know how to make it easy for rescuers to find them. When there’s a chance they’ll be out of my sight, say, when they’re skiing or tramping through the woods, I want them to have a small survival kit with them. Just in case.

Winter Survival kids -911-survival-kit-children-12-and-younger-3Once kids are on their December break, putting together individual Winter Survival Kits is a sure-fire activity to keep them occupied. These are small enough to be carried in backpacks or fanny packs, and kids love having something important that is all their own. It’s important to keep in mind that the most essential piece of survival equipment is knowledge. Make sure your kids know what to do with each item if they’re ever in an emergency situation. Here is what you’ll need to make up these kits.

  • a bright colored bandana or similar size cloth
  • a whistle
  • a small, powerful flashlight
  • 2 hand-warmers and 2 toe-warmers
  • 2 high calorie energy bars
  • a small bottle of water (Once it’s empty, it can be filled with snow for more drinking water.)
  • a large black trash bag (use as an emergency blanket or shelter)
  • a pocketknife
  • small packet of tissues (emergency toilet paper, runny noses, etc.)

Winter Survival Kids eagle bluff 2012 170Put all these items in a large zip-loc bag or small nylon sack, and it’s finished. In no way is this meant to be provisions for long-term survival! It’s filled with just enough essential items to help a youngster signal for help and stay occupied until rescue arrives. For older kids, you might add a firestarter, a few tablets of over-the-counter pain medication (in case there’s been an injury), and additional food and water.

Winter Survival 50db744ff1f3f.imageBesides having some tools for survival, specific skills and knowledge are just as important. In addition to what you can teach them from your own training and experience, there is a vast resource of survival tips online. Older kids will enjoy this video of how to make a small survival stove using a couple of cans, toilet paper, and alcohol, and this video from Shiloh Productions has multiple survival tips designed to help kids survive the wilderness.

Bob Mayne’s most recent Today’s Survival podcast features numerous practical tips for surviving in the wilderness. Much of what he says is just great survival advice for any age, anywhere. My son was most impressed with Bob’s comment on the need to avoid boredom in emergency situations. “See, Mom! I told you I need a DS! I can keep it in my emergency bag!”

Winter Survival winterkidsWildwood Survival, a fabulous site with over 500 pages of wilderness survival advice, has this page devoted to winter survival including directions for building a snow coffin! There’s even a section devoted to teaching survival skills to children.

Sometimes parents have to be sneaky in order to teach our kids what they must know. Now that winter is in full swing, take advantage of the colder weather to teach important survival skills your kids will never forget.

Originally posted on APN

The post Kids and Winter Survival Skills! appeared first on The Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Don’t just “Fall Back”, get prepped for the winter!

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Every fall, Americans across the country gain an extra hour each day when they “fall back” and reset their clocks one hour later with the end of Daylight Savings Time.

image by jpctalbot

image by jpctalbot

This year, don’t just fall back. Take a few steps ahead to make sure you’re also prepared for what the fall and winter bring. Here’s a list to get started.

  1. Set all clocks back by one hour, but don’t forget wristwatches and digital clocks in your vehicles.
  2. Unpack all emergency kits/Bug Out Bags. Check for stale food, leaks in containers, clothing and shoes that no longer fit. If you’ve discovered a new “must have” for your kit, now is the time to add it.
  3. Repack all emergency kits and bags for the winter. Include hand and foot warmers, gloves, wool caps, extra wool socks, long johns (my silk long johns have lasted at least 2 decades and still keep me warm), a small emergency stove/heater.
  4. While you’re at it, take a look at the emergency kit/supplies you keep in your car. For the winter you may need to add an ice scraper and brush, a sturdy show shovel, a box of kitty litter. Throw a pair of waterproof boots in the trunk and this homemade emergency heater. Roll up a couple of wool blankets and store them under the back seats.
  5. Round up all flashlights and battery-powered lanterns and check to make sure the batteries still have some juice. Replace old batteries and make sure you have at least 1 extra set of new batteries for each set that you replace.
  6. Test your generator and make sure you have enough fuel to last at least 2-3 weeks.
  7. Hit a few thrift stores or yard sales and buy extra blankets. They have so many uses during the winter, aside from the obvious.
  8. Equip your kids’ coat pockets with hand and foot warmers and, for signaling, LED flashlights and whistles.

For more winter-prep tips and advice, check out these articles:

Check out this Facebook thread for suggestions from my readers.

Get ready folks – huge winter storm in New England

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Stay safe out there folks and lets pray for everyone in New England effected by the storm heading in Monday night. The talk is big – possibly one of the largest storms ever on record.

Lets hope not.


Remember…..if you are in one of these areas:

  • Stay in place – do NOT go out and travel in this kind of weather. Getting stuck in the blizzard with an inability to get to safety or help to get to you would be more than just problematic.
  • Stay warm – if the power goes out dress in layers and use multiple blankets to create warmth.
  • Don’t bring a charcoal or gas grill indoors for cooking. Not calling anyone stupid but it happens every year and people die from this.
  • Bring pets inside.
  • People die every year from heart attacks while shovels and trying to clear snow. Be careful!


Good luck folks!





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