Cold Weather Survival Tips

Preparation is critical when you’re traveling in a cold weather environment. In case you get stranded in a blizzard and there’s practically no help available nearby, cold weather survival will give you a bigger chance of getting through the ordeal. These tips are dedicated to “Mr. James Kim” who died of exposure and hypothermia while trying to go for help for his family after being stranded in their vehicle in the Oregon wilderness back in December 2006. Originally I sent this article and tips to a well known online survival magazine called “Modern Survival.” But the website editor basically “blew me off” because he didn’t think my survival tips were that good. And so I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you think he was right or wrong.

Cold Weather Survival For Different Scenarios

Not having the necessary awareness in dealing with survival situations can put yourself in great danger. It may not look like it but cold is a real great threat as it hinders your mind and your ability to think. It’s really important to have the appropriate knowledge so when the situation calls for it, you’ll be able to lay out what needs to be done as quickly as you can to boost your chances of staying alive. I have gathered some of the most important things to look upon when you’re in different cold weather scenarios. If you have a bit of knowledge of your first step for survival in any of these situations, you might just be able to make it through the dangers of extreme cold.

Burn a Rubber Tire

Burn a Rubber Tire | Cold Weather Survival Tips
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Start burning one rubber tire per day starting at day break so that the “black smoke” can be seen during daylight hours. But should your car tire burn out before night fall, don’t burn another tire wait until the next day. And in the mean time build three separate wood fires about 100 feet apart from each other either in a straight line or a triangle as this means help is needed and will increase your chances of being spotted from the air.

Blast Your Car Horn

Blast Your Car Horn | Cold Weather Survival Tips
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Like with a whistle and gunshots, three blasts of a car horn and then a pause between the 3 x beeps also means help is needed. But don’t keep blasting the car horn until your battery goes weak, just every so often. And if your car engine still works, start it every so often to recharge the battery so it won’t go completely dead and kaput.

Use Rear/Side View Mirror to Signal for Help

Use Rear/Side View Mirror to Signal for Help | Cold Weather Survival Tips
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If it’s a sunny day, remove the rear view mirror or one of vehicle’s side view mirrors and go to the nearest and highest terrain feature and use it to signal for help. Either in the direction where you see civilization or where you think civilization is located. If there is no nearby high ground or hill, then climb the nearest and tallest tree.

Improvise a Blinking Light

Improvise a Blinking Light | Cold Weather Survival Tips
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Just before sun down while it’s still light out, remove the car battery, one headlight and some wires that don’t have anything to do with the car’s ignition system. Like the wires located in the truck section of the car. And then carry these items to the highest and nearest mountain or hill, build yourself a nice warm fire and then hook up the car headlight to the battery with the set of wires. Then start blinking the headlight in the direction of wherever you see lights and civilization, three blinks and a then pause which means help is needed. If you don’t see any lights or civilization anywhere, then blink the light in all the directions.

Start a Small Forest Fire

Start a Small Forest Fire | Cold Weather Survival Tips
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Another option is to start a small forest fire. Though this could backfire and become more hazarous and dangerous, not only to yourself but to others if you’re not careful. But if it’s winter and there’s snow on the gound and the trees around you don’t have any leaves, then you might want to start a small forest fire as it might be the only way to get help. As a last resort, of course.

I’m sure you’ve heard or read stories about lost skiers, hikers, hunters and stranded motorists freezing to death due to prolong exposure to severe cold weather conditions. Or if they did survive their ordeal, they either had to have their fingers, hands, feet or toes amputated due to severe frostbite. When it comes to cold weather survival, though there are many things you need to know, learn and practice. These are the most common overlooked rules when you have no means of starting a fire.

Open Up Your Jacket

Open Up Your Jacket | Cold Weather Survival Tips
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When on the move to reduce sweat, take your time and open up your jacket otherwise your clothes will become soaked and be hard to dry out and you won’t be able to generate enough body heat to keep yourself warm when you do stop moving.

Use a Barrier Between You and the Snow

Use a Barrier Between You and the Snow | Cold Weather Survival Tips
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When you stop and rest, always place something between you and the cold ground or snow otherwise it will zap all the body warmth out of you.

Keep Moving To Generate Heat

Keep Moving To Generate Heat | Cold Weather Survival Tips
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If you’re cold it’s mostly due to not wearing the proper clothing and generating enough body heat, most likely due to sweat and or not having enough [food] calories to burn. No food, no fire, then you’ll have to keep on moving or you could succumb to hypothermia and die.

Avoid Eating Snow

Avoid Eating Snow | Cold Weather Survival Tips
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Avoid eating snow and sucking on ice quench your thirst. If you’re thirsty, first keep the snow or ice in your mouth until it melts entirely and it’s lukewarm or you’ll risk cooling the inner core part of your body that generates heat to keep the rest of the body warm. It’s better to be a bit cold on the outside than to lose the inner core body heat or it will cause the entire body to freeze up and shut down entirely.

Wear a Headgear

Wear a Headgear | Cold Weather Survival Tips
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Always wear a hat or something on your head as that’s where most of the body heat is lost and escapes. Think of your body like it’s a bottle of water, if there’s no cap on top to keep the water inside of it when you walk and move what will happen to the water? It will spill out of it, right? Well that’s what will happen to your body heat when you walk and move without a hat on too. Makes sense, don’t it? Sure does.

Watch this video of a man trapped in a blizzard.

Not everything is readily available in an emergency situation, but one of these useful tips might come in handy when needed. What’s also important is to calm yourself and avoid panicking. When you panic you lose control and won’t be able to think straight, thus, your chances of survival will get slimmer.

Click here for the prepper’s guide to winter survival.

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