What You Need to Survive Extreme Cold


It’s been dangerously cold in some parts of the United States. The Midwest and Northeast are currently experiencing blizzard-like conditions. In fact, the temperature in Waukon, Minnesota dropped to -37 degrees last week while a -50 degree wind chill was recorded in North Dakota. We’re pretty sure you’re glad you’ve been doing some prepping to survive extreme cold and other possible emergency situations.

If you didn’t prepare, well, let’s just hope you get through this in one piece, learn your lesson, and be ready next time. Winter won’t end until after a month from now so if you haven’t been serious about doing what is necessary to survive dangerous cold weather, you better do so now.

If you know your history, you know how perilous blizzards can be. The Great Blizzard of 1888 pummeled Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York with up to 50 inches of snow. Trains and houses were buried under snow while the fierce winds sank around 200 ships. But that’s not the worst part. Over 400 people perished from the dangerously cold weather marking the highest number of blizzard casualties in US history.

Two of the deadliest blizzards in the history of the United States occurred in the 90s. In 1993, the “Storm of the Century” wreaked havoc in 13 states and left 270 people dead. Three years later, another blizzard hit the east coast and killed 150 people.

It was way worse in Afghanistan back in 2008. Over 900 people perished after a number of blizzards bombarded the Asian country. Back then, they recorded temperatures of -22 degrees Fahrenheit while many areas were covered in about six feet of snow.

Many of those who were there when these disasters struck will probably admit they weren’t ready. Even those who were aware of the possibility of blizzards likely didn’t expect the extreme weather to be that deadly. Still, you can survive extremely cold weather and winter storms as long as you are thoroughly prepared.


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Survive Extreme Cold At Home

It’s vital to know what the potential risks of extremely cold temperatures are. This piece of information will help you be better prepared to survive extreme cold, wind chills, winter storms, and blizzards.

Dangerously low temperatures can cause frostbite and hypothermia. The thick snow and ice also increase the risk of vehicular accidents and carbon monoxide poisoning. People also exert more effort during these times, which can be hazardous for those with existing medical issues, especially heart conditions.

One of the most important aspects of prepping is to be ready for anything. You should know what to do and have what you need to survive earthquakes, typhoons, floods, terrorist attacks, poisonous gas attacks, and extremely low temperatures. There’s no reason why you should end up like the dinosaurs during the ice age. As long as you’re prepared, your chances of surviving extreme cold weather are higher.

Top Winter Preparedness Tips


Stay Updated

Stay tuned to the TV and emergency radio. Watch out for winter storm warnings. Be aware of announcements from local authorities. If they say you need to evacuate, you HAVE to evacuate.

A NOAA weather radio will provide you with important information courtesy of public broadcasts from government-owned radio stations. The Kaito KA500 Voyager Emergency Weather Alert Radio is one such device.

The KA500 Voyager provides AM, FM, 2-band shortwave, and 7 NOAA weather channels that have been pre-programmed. These include a 24/7 real-time weather forecast channel, the Public Emergency Alert System (PEAS), and channels focused on global news, sports, entertainment, and some talk shows.

The Voyager is made of ABS plastic which makes it water-resistant and impact-proof. The antenna extends to 14.5 inches for better reception. The weather radio comes with an emergency mobile battery charger you can use on small devices such as phones, digital cameras, and GPS trackers. Its other features include a built-in LED flashlight, 5-LED reading lamp, and red emergency light.

The Kaito KA500 Voyager can be charged in a number of ways. You can plug it into a wall socket using a power adapter, which is purchased separately. It also comes with a built-in NiMH battery pack, which can be replaced and recharged. When the power goes out, you can still use the radio by using three AA batteries, charging it under the sun with the solar panel, or by using the hand crank generator.


Store Supplies

If you haven’t been storing food, water, and other essentials, now is the right time. Get everything you need before the storm comes so you won’t go hungry or dehydrated while weathering the blizzard in the safety of your home.

You may find more people than usual at grocery stores buying supplies. Don’t be surprised since many of you are probably thinking the same thing and doing some last-minute shopping to keep you alive as you weather the storm. A little patience will be necessary during these times.

One way to avoid the long lines is, of course, to stock up beforehand. A true prepper knows it’s important to fill up their pantry for emergencies such as this.

Those who can’t go out regularly to buy their everyday necessities and to stock up on supplies can purchase the things they need online. Survival Frog offers a variety of emergency food and is produced specifically for people who want to make sure they have something to eat when SHTF.

The Legacy Food Storage 120 Serving Entree Bucket Emergency Food is a good place to start if you’re new to prepping. The food bucket contains 15 different lunch and dinner entree options with a total of 44,560 calories. Having a variety of foods during a SHTF scenario is a great way to keep your spirits up. They also have a 25-year shelf life.

The easy-to-cook meals are freeze-dried and packed in nitrogen-flushed Mylar pouches sealed airtight with oxygen absorbers. You only need boiling water to cook and enjoy the food. The emergency food bucket includes different pasta dishes, soups, and chili. A third of the servings are gluten-free.

Water is more important than food. You can survive longer without food than without water. Make sure you have plenty of clean drinking water stored in your home.

The SOS Food Lab Emergency Drinking Water Pouches are specifically designed for long-lasting storage and survival purposes. The water undergoes Ultra High Temperature Pasteurization (UHT) process before being packed in sterilized and hermetically sealed pouches. These pouches do not contain toxic chemicals that can be absorbed by the water and have a shelf life of more than 5 years.

The US Coast Guard-approved emergency water pouches are bug out bag must-haves. They’re portable and easy to use. The water is also useful in cleaning wounds in case you get hurt while evacuating.

Water is also necessary for cooking, hygiene, and other purposes so you should store clean water in large containers. The more water you have, the better your chances of surviving any apocalyptic scenario.

A WaterBOB will come in handy if you have a bathtub. One WaterBOB Bathtub Emergency Water Storage Container can hold up to 100 gallons of water. On average, each person uses around 100 gallons of water a day. That figure includes 18 to 24 gallons for flushing the toilet, 15 gallons for every washing machine load, 1 gallon per minute in the shower, 2.5 gallons for hygiene like brushing your teeth, and 1 gallon for drinking.

In a survival situation, you wouldn’t want to use up all 100 gallons in a single day. You should reserve the water for drinking. Store water in rain barrels or drums and use it for purposes other than drinking and cooking. If you run out of drinking water, you can filter and sterilize rainwater to make it safe to consume.


Prepare Your Home for Extreme Cold

It’s not enough to stock up your prepper pantry. You need to prepare your home so no one will be freezing to death inside anytime soon.


Maintain Your Furnace

Invest in a furnace and have it checked regularly. Proper maintenance assures that it will work when you need it most. Make sure to have it cleaned before the winter season. When there’s a blizzard warning, inspect your furnace. See if you can give it another round of cleaning before the storm hits.


Clean Vents and Pipes

Once it snows, your vents and pipes are in danger of getting clogged. When this happens, you and your family are in danger of suffocating from carbon monoxide build-up. You can keep snow from clogging the access pipes and vents by making placing an A-frame out of plywood over them.


Clean Roof and Gutters

Get up on your roof and do a quick cleaning job. Remove any debris on the roof and in the gutters to prevent ice build-up when extreme cold temperatures come. Heavy ice and snow may cause the roof to give in and hurt the people inside.


Insulate Your Home

Another way to keep your home warm and cozy is to prevent heat from escaping. According to Build With Rise, 35% of heat is lost through the walls while windows and doors are responsible for 25% of heat loss. Another 25% is lost through the attic while the remaining 15% of heat loss points to the floors and basement. BuzzFeed has come up with a good list of ways to insulate your home.

Little can be done to existing walls without insulation. But if you’re planning on building a new house or remodeling your current one, make sure to add natural insulation inside the walls. This will prevent heat loss via conduction. Look for cracks on the walls, too. You will need to repair them especially if the cracks are wide enough to let the heat out.

For the doors, you can use a draft stopper, weatherstrip, or tape. Even with the doors closed, the heat can still escape through the gap between the door and the floor. A draft stopper will prevent that. Check the door frames and windows for gaps, leaks, or cracks. Apply caulk to cover them up.

Ideally, your windows should have double panes to prevent energy loss. Most old homes have single-pane windows, though. If you’re not planning to replace them soon, one thing you can do is attach storm windows. Sticking bubble wrap or a sheet of plastic will also do the trick.

Another way to keep heat inside your home is to cover the floor with a rug. Check this article out to learn how to insulate your basement using spray foam.

If you have an attic, you need to do the necessary repairs if you wish to survive extreme cold. Since hot air rises, most of the heat in your home escapes through holes and cracks in the attic.


Prevent Water Lines from Freezing

Let your faucets drip when the temperature falls to dangerous levels. Doping so will keep the pipes from freezing. This tip is not directly related to helping you survive extreme cold but it will definitely help prevent further issues.


Use Alternative Heat Sources

Most homes have electrical heaters. Use it by all means but make sure it gets proper maintenance so it won’t bog down in the middle of winter.

The Lasko 5775 Ceramic Tower Heater is a stylish way to stay warm and survive extreme cold. The 22.75-inch tall heater features 1500 watts maximum output with three different settings. It also comes with an electronic thermostat, auto-off timer, cool-touch housing, and overheat protection.


The problem with electric heaters is that they don’t work when power is out. A blizzard can knock off electrical services. Make sure you have a backup energy source such as a generator so you can continue using your heater and other electrical devices.

With the heater rendered useless during blackouts, you can still stay warm with the help of alternative heat sources. Wood heat is a popular choice, especially on the homestead. Stock up on tinder and firewood that you can use to light up the fireplace or a wood stove.

Any kind of heat will help when the weather takes a dangerous and colder turn. The family can gather and stay close to each other to take advantage of their body heat. Hand warmers and similar portable heating devices can also help.

Heat Options to Prepare Your Home for Winter
Photo by: yarruta/Bigstock

(Related: Heat Options to Prepare Your Home for Winter)


Last-Minute Preparations

Once you get wind of an approaching blizzard, you need to do some last-minute preparations. Remember, it will be dangerous to go out once a blizzard hits.

Take a look at your food and water supply and see if you need to replenish them. Inspect your medicine stash, baby supplies, pet food, and other specific needs. Check your first aid kit if you have enough of what you may need.

Make sure you also have enough fuel for your generator or firewood for your wood stove. Inspect your furnace again. Change the furnace filter if necessary.

Double-check your bug out bags and car emergency kits. Make sure you have everything in case you have to bug out. Fill up your fuel tank, as well.

(Related: Bug Out Bag Packing List: 10 Must-Haves You Should Never Forget to Pack)

Right before the blizzard hits, close all the doors and windows. Don’t forget to shut the garage door, too. Close the window drapes and blinds, as well.

Charge all your devices including smartphones, rechargeable lamps, power banks, and portable heaters. Have everyone wear layers of the appropriate clothes. Prepare your wool blankets and use them when it gets too cold for comfort.

Turn up the heater by 2 to 4 degrees more than what you usually set. This should keep you warm if it gets colder than normal.

Fix yourself and everyone else a hot drink or soup. TasteMade listed down some foods and drinks that are supposedly backed by science as effective ways to warm the body up.

Coffee heads the list. Caffeine apparently stimulates metabolism leading to increased burning of fuel in the body. Fresh ginger, cayenne pepper, peanuts, brown rice, coconut oil, and, surprisingly, ice water complete the shortlist.

If you used your oven to make some of these foods and other dishes, leave the oven door open for a while after turning off the heat. Make use of the residual heat to warm up your home.


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Survive Extreme Cold When Stranded In A Vehicle

The safest place to be when a blizzard strike is inside your home. In case you’re outside, say in your car, you have to find shelter immediately. If this is not possible, stop, turn off the engine, and stay put. Don’t leave your car unless it’s really necessary or if you know of a shelter nearby that you can reach on foot. The worst thing to do when you’re stranded in a snowstorm is to abandon your car and be out in the open.

Photo by Wordley Calvo Stock/Bigstock

(Related: Top Car Emergency Tools)


Call for Help

Call the authorities immediately to let them know of your situation and location. You can also call your family but you have to keep it short and precise to conserve the battery. Give them useful information that may further help the authorities locate you.

If your phone has GPS, use it so you know where you are exactly. If that is not an option, take photos of your surroundings, particularly landmarks, and send them to someone who will then relay the photos to the rescuers.

After notifying the authorities and your family, leave your phone alone. Don’t use it to play games or to scroll down your photo album and get all dramatic looking at photos of your cat or something. Always have a power bank with you so you don’t have to worry about your phone running out of juice.


Stay Visible

There’s a high chance you’ll be covered in snow if you’re stranded in a sedan during a blizzard. Make it easier to spot you by tying a colorful piece of cloth somewhere on your car or tree near you. It would be great if you have something like the Orange Help Flag from Guardian. It may be just a simple bright-colored fabric but it will spell the difference between life and death.

Another way to get the attention of rescuers is to honk your horn. Do this only when you’re sure that someone is nearby or when the engine is running. You should turn the car on every now and then to heat it up. You want to prevent the battery from dying and the fuel line from freezing because of the extreme cold. This is the time you can honk your horns.

Remember to clean your exhaust pipe before turning the engine on. A snow-clogged pipe will push the fumes into the car, which may lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.


Stay Warm

Obviously, you have to stay warm if you wish to survive extreme cold while stuck in your car. This will be a lot easier if you have everything you need in your emergency kit.


Wool Blanket

Always have a wool blanket inside your car. It’s a valuable survival tool if you know what you can use it for. Wool traps air so the heat released by your body stays longer thus keeping you warm.


Body Warmers

Frog & Co., formerly Survival Frog, is currently offering the LifeShield ® Warmth & Outdoor Shelter Kit for a discounted price. This kit includes a 2-person tube tent, Coghlan’s Emergency Poncho, a Tact Bivvy emergency sleeping bag, and a couple of 20-hour body warmers. All these can help you survive extreme cold.

The waterproof polyethylene poncho will help trap heat and keep you dry. The Tact Bivvy is made of HeatEcho material, which bounces your body’s heat back to you. If you managed to find a shelter, you can still pitch your tent as additional protection from the cold. Use it even if you’re in the car since every layer counts.

The Heat Pax Air activated Body Warmer produces 155 degrees of heat for up to 20 hours. With two in your emergency kit, you definitely have a higher chance of getting out alive. The LifeShield ® Warmth & Outdoor Shelter Kit is portable and affordable so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have one in your vehicle or in your get home bag.


Hand Warmer

The extremities, particularly your fingers and toes, are the first parts of your body to get cold aside from your ears and nose. Your head also releases a lot of heat. Do everything you can to keep them warm.

A hand warmer, as the name suggests, keeps your hands warm. You can also place it elsewhere on your body except in your eyes, inside your mouth, and other sensitive parts but you knew that already. Right?

The QuickHeat Rechargeable Hand Warmer can produce 104 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit of heat. One full charge of its 5,000 mAh Lithium-ion battery can provide heat for two to four hours depending on the heat setting.


Fire Starter

When the worst of the snowstorm has passed but your vehicle is stuck in the snow in the middle of nowhere, your best move is to STILL stay put. Survey your surroundings and look for clues on your location. Call for help once again and provide more details to help rescuers find you.

You may need to start a fire to keep yourself warm. Plus, it’s an effective signaling device. Fire is visible at night while smoke can be seen from afar during the day. Make sure you always have a tool to make fire such as the Elements Magnesium Fire Starter Fire Rod.

Photo by zlikovec/Bigstock

(Related: Top Fire Starters for Every Survival Situation)

Firestarters are more reliable than matches and lighter, though you should have all three in your emergency kit. Firestarters should be windproof and weather-resistant so you can still start a fire even when it’s windy and raining.

The 4.75-inch long Elements fire starter has a lifespan of 15,000 strikes. It’s also a 3-in-1 survival tool. Aside from being a magnesium fire rod, it’s also a compass and a 150-decibel emergency whistle. It’s definitely a great survival tool to have during such dire times.


Winter Camping Tips to Keep You Safe and Warm
Winter Camping Tips to Keep You Safe and Warm

It may be fun to play in the snow but when the weather gets dangerously cold, you’ll be wishing you were playing in the sand along the beach on a sunny day instead. Wherever you are and whatever the weather is, Gentleman Pirate Club aims to help you be safe and ready for any disaster or emergency. Check us out to know more tips on how to survive extreme cold.

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Gentleman Pirate Club aims to share valuable knowledge and tips on how you can prepare and survive emergencies and other dire situations. We think of different scenarios and show you the many ways you can survive them. We also believe in self-sufficiency as a way to prepare for whatever lies ahead. As our ship sails in these waters, we look for valuable treasures. When we spot one, we tell you where it is.

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