With winter coming on soon, it’s important to be prepared. The cold winter months are always among the most challenging of the year to prepare for because of one very crucial element: depending on where you are in the world, it can be very hard just to stay warm.
There are two critical winter-time scenarios where you may find yourself thrust into the middle of a life-or-death survival situation while you are going about your everyday life: finding yourself stranded in your car during an icy snow storm, and becoming trapped in your home during a power outage brought on by a blizzard.
For both scenarios, it’s critical to have a variety of survival tools on hand that will more than prove their value to you.
With that in mind, here are the items you need to have if you want to consider yourself truly ready to survive a winter:
Have plenty of external battery packs that are always kept fully charged so you can keep your electronic items fully charged in the event of a power outage.
I’d recommend keeping at least one battery pack in your car, and at least three in your home.
Make it a habit to check up on them weekly to ensure that they are always fully charged and ready to go, and make sure that they are compatible with your phones, laptops, and tablets as well.
You can truly never have enough blankets.
Go with heavy duty wool blankets and quilts for extra warmth.
Make sure you keep at least two in your vehicle(s) at all times, as well as at least two per family member in your home.
Always keep candles on hand in your home because they present an alternative source of both light and warmth.
Keep in mind that they do present a serious safety hazard (for hopefully obvious reasons) so be sure that you use them responsibly.
Don’t keep your candles within reach of small children or where they could be easily knocked over.
Cat litter can be used to provide your feet with extra traction over icy terrain.
Keep a container or two on hand in your garage for walking on your driveway or around the property.
Consider keeping some in the back of your vehicle as well.
Flares can be used for signaling for help in the midst of a severe snowstorm. Plan on keeping at least three flares in both your vehicle and in your home.
Additionally, make sure you are trained in the use of them.
Fire Starting Materials
Have at least three kinds of fire starting materials on hand in both your vehicle and your home: lighters, matches, and magnesium flint strikers.
In addition, make sure that you have the ability to get a fire going quickly.
In addition to kindling and old newspapers, have cotton balls covered in Vaseline on hand as well because of how flammable they are. Hand sanitizer is also flammable when applied to surfaces as well.
A wood stove is one of the best sources of alternative heat you can have because it does not rely on power or electricity.
Not only can a wood stove provide your home with badly needed warmth and comfort during a winter snowstorm that knocks out the power, it can also provide a surface to cook food over.
Overall, a wood stove is one of the most important things to keep in your home if you live in a place where snowstorms are a very real threat.
Just like warm blankets, flashlights are another critical item that you can never have enough of.
Keep at least two flashlights in your car (one for you and for another passenger) along with an extra pack of batteries. Make sure you have at least one flashlight per family member in your home.
Red (or Orange) Flag or Towel
This is something you’ll want to keep in your vehicle. If you crash your car into a ditch, take out a brightly colored flag or towel and hoist it to the outside of your vehicle.
This way passersby’s or emergency rescue teams will notice you even if the rest of the car is covered in snow. Red or orange colors work best here.
Keep a full-sized snow shovel on hand in your garage and have a spare collapsible snow shovel in the back of your car. Look for a snow shovel with a sharp blade so it can cut or scrape through ice if necessary.
Related: Preparing Your Garden For The Winter
Don’t get just any sleeping bags, but rather sleeping bags that are designed for sub-zero arctic temperatures.
These are the warmest kinds of sleeping bag you can get and are essentially your only recourse for getting warm in the event of an extended power outage that knocks out your heat.
Have at least one sleeping bag per family member in your home, and keep one in your vehicle as well.
If you have a wood stove in your home, naturally you’ll need wood to go with it. Plan on having at least a two week’s supply of wood in your home at the bare minimum, similar to how you’ll want to have at least a two week’s supply of food, water, and prescription medications (if applicable).
If you haven’t already, test your wood stove thoroughly to find out how fast it will burn through wood logs. Chances are good it will burn through them a lot faster than you may have anticipated.
Make sure you have the above items and tools on hand during this upcoming winter if you haven’t already.
Additionally, don’t hold yourself only to the above. Do a little brainstorming and if you can think of any other items that you believe will help make your winter survival efforts easier, by all means include them.
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