Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Winter is officially upon us. Much of the United States has been plagued with severe cold weather and snowstorms over the last week or so. We’ve actually had a couple of snowstorms ourselves which has had me thinking about what it might be like if our family had to bug out during the winter.
A lot of preppers have bug-out bags ready and waiting for the day when they might have to leave their home in an emergency. Unfortunately, many of these same people don’t give much thought to what they might be faced with if they have to actually bug out during subfreezing temperatures. It’s one thing if you have to retreat to your bug-out location in May or June but imagine having to evacuate in a hurry during a December or January snowstorm!
You are going to need some special things in your bug-out bag to survive the cold weather. Unfortunately, most of the winter clothing that people tend to wear is quite bulky. This means that faithful and loyal preppers might have a little bit of a problem stuffing all of their winter clothing into their bug-out bags. Let’s not forget about keeping those tootsies warm while we’re talking about this either. If you find yourself having to hit the road during a severe snowstorm, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re equipped with the appropriate footwear.
So, considering the fact that you may have to bug out during the coldest time of year and under severe winter weather conditions, what is a prepper to do? Everyone is going to have their own strategy but here’s what I suggest. I recommend that you treat your bug-out bag just like you might treat your vehicle. When winter is approaching, those of us who live in areas that get snow take some special precautions to make sure that our vehicles are ready to handle the winter weather that is coming our way. We put snow tires on, we make sure that we carry snow chains in our trunks, we make sure that the coolant in our radiator has the right ratio of water to antifreeze, we make sure that our windshield wipers are in good repair, and we switch to winter time windshield washer fluid.
As the seasons change, I suggest that you repack your bug-out bags to include the items that you will need for the conditions that you are most likely to face during the current season where you happen to live. After all, you’re really going to be hating yourself if you have to bug out and find that the only clothes you have in your 72-hour kit are Bermuda shorts and tank tops.
Keeping in mind that space is at a premium when it comes to packing clothing, I suggest that you spend a little bit of extra money and buy winter clothing that is designed to keep you warm and that isn’t overly bulky. For example, it’s probably a better idea to have several thin layers of clothing to choose from instead of one big fluffy down feather-filled Winter parka.
As far as footwear goes, I recommend that you have waterproof boots and several pairs of thin warm socks. The reason it’s important to have several pairs of socks is that if your feet get wet, the rest of your body is going to get cold really quickly regardless of how warm your coat is. Being able to change out of wet socks and into dry socks goes a long way towards helping to maintain your core body temperature at a comfortable level.
For those of you who may not be as familiar with winter survival, you may not realize that a very large percentage of your body heat escapes through your head. Something as simple as having a warm hat will also help to keep your core body temperature up. Many people might make the mistake of thinking that they can get by with something as simple as a stocking hat or beanie. This would be fine if you were sure that it wouldn’t snow but you can never be sure of that.
What we prefer is a specially designed waterproof hat that has a brim to keep the snow off our faces and necks. The hats that we purchased also have fleece ear coverings and a drawstring to keep the fleece ear warmers tight against our ears and prevent the hats from blowing off in the wind.
The bottom line and most important thing to remember is that you never know what the conditions are going to be like when you have to bug out. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that preparing a bug-out bag is something that you do once and never give it another thought. This is really the type of item that needs to be monitored, maintained, and modified so that when you do need to use it to survive whatever might come your way, it will be fully equipped with exactly what you need to survive comfortably for the particular season.