Ahh yes… winter. We can finally do some skiing and snowboarding. The young ones can make snowmen and women and hurl snowballs at each other. Of course, wintertime also means it’s the holiday season so everyone will be busy buying gifts and preparing for Christmas parties. But one thing that people shouldn’t forget to prepare for is the possibility of extreme cold and winter storms. Make sure you have your winter bug out bag essentials ready and raring to go just in case.
Let’s start off with where you’ll be putting all your winter bug out bag essentials. You’ll require a backpack that’s made to withstand the great outdoors. Backpacks for winter should be waterproof and weatherproof. There’s always the possibility that you won’t have a safe place to stay in and ride out the winter storm so you need a bag that’ll keep your gear and supplies dry.
If you’re on foot, you need to find shelter really fast. You don’t have the luxury of stopping just to get something from your backpack. Choose a winter backpack with plenty of storage options that’ll make it easier to access what you need.
One thing you need to prepare for when winter comes is the cold temperature. You should be fine at home with your heater, hot water system, and warm clothes. However, when you’re forced to evacuate, you can’t take all these with you.
Make sure you have a set of winter clothing in your bug out bag. Start with your base layer. The main purpose of the base layer is to wick moisture particularly sweat, off your skin. Thermal underwear is your best option. T-shirts, underpants, and long johns made of merino wool, polyester, nylon, or other moisture-wicking materials will also do. Just avoid cotton clothes at all costs as it traps moisture resulting in your body losing heat faster.
For the ladies, you’ll need a bra that’s made of non-absorbent material. A moisture-wicking sports bra should work. Unlike cotton undergarments, these ones dry quickly so you stay dry and warm even if it gets really cold. Get two sets so you can wear one while airing out the other.
The middle layer is mainly for insulation. It helps trap body heat so you’d stay warm longer. Wool and synthetic fleece are the best materials for your middle layer. Pack sweaters or vests made from these fabrics.
For the outer or shell layer, you need durable clothes that will protect you from wind, rain, and snow. Choose waterproof or water-resistant yet breathable jackets. Also, you need to have a big enough room for the two other lakers underneath.
Don’t forget to pack a beanie, balaclava, trapper hat, or any other type of headwear that’ll protect your face and head from the cold. A significant amount of heat is lost through the head so it’s best to cover it, especially when you’re outdoors.
Other pieces of clothing and accessories that should be included in your bug out bag essentials are wool socks, earmuffs, and a pair of mittens or snow gloves. Tactical work gloves will make it easier to do various tasks so you might want to get one of these. And if it snows really bad while you’re out, you’ll also need a ski mask.
As for footwear, a nice and sturdy pair of snow boots should do the trick. It’d be hard to pack these heavy shoes inside your bug out bag so you probably should wear them before you evacuate your home. Otherwise, you can keep a pair inside your car so you can change when you have to go out.
Shelter and Bedding
Without proper shelter, you can succumb to extremely bad weather in as short as three hours. Let that sink in for a while. This should convince you to invest in a sturdy, reliable, and backpacking tent so you can be protected from the elements when you’re outdoors.
If you’re on your own a one-person tent should suffice, A two-person tent is a good option since you could use some extra space to keep your gear safe and dry. If you’re bugging out with your family, you can all share a bigger tent. Other members of the group can also bring their own emergency shelters.
Aside from the waterproof tent, you should also pack a waterproof sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, and a travel pillow. Your collection of winter bug out bag essentials wouldn’t be complete without a wool blanket, thermal blanket, poncho, and a waterproof camping tarp. It’s also a good idea to have a waterproof bivy sack as your backup emergency shelter and a hammock so you can stay off the cold ground.
Emergency Food and Water
As with any kind of emergency kit, your winter bug out bag should contain food and water. Pack ready-to-eat meals such as energy bars, dried fruits, nuts, and MREs. You can also pack some hard candies and gum for the times you need a boost of energy. Sweets may also help children settle down during stressful situations. Don’t let them eat too many sweets at one time, though.
Every person needs around 1 gallon of water per day. Consider this when packing drinking water in your winter bug out bag. Bring water bottles, hydration packs, and emergency water pouches. You should also have a portable water filter, water purification tablets, and iodine. A collapsible water container would also be a great help.
Fire-Starting Tools and Tinder
Fire provides warmth, which is vital to surviving cold temperatures. You also need fire to cook meals and boil water to warm up your tummy. Pack lighters, waterproof matches, ferro rods or flint-and-steel strikers, and tinder in your winter bug out bag. And just to have as many options as possible, you can even use a bow drill fire starter.
Portable Stove, Cook Set, and Utensils
As mentioned, a hot meal or drink will help keep your body warm and fight off hypothermia. Aside from a fire or heat source, you need a portable stove, cook set, and utensils to prepare your food.
A cooking pot or kettle is necessary for boiling water for coffee. If you run out of drinking water, you’ll also need to boil water that you collect from the rain or other sources.
Hand Warmers and Body Warmers
When it comes to winter bug out bag essentials, practically anything that will help keep your body warm should be included. But you can’t pack your electric heater or fireplace in your backpack, right? The best alternative is to use hand warmers and body warmers. You can also use a hot compress bag.
Tactical Flashlight, Headlamp, and Portable Lantern
Any emergency kit should include a number of lighting tools. Pack a tactical flashlight, headlamp, and camping lantern in your winter emergency kit. Flares, light sticks, and candles also provide light when you need it.
Survival Knife and Multi-Tools
You need a reliable knife and a multi-tool in your winter go bag. These two survival tools perform a variety of tasks that will help you deal with whatever emergency comes your way. The knife or blade in the multi-tool, for example, can be used to make tinder, which will make it easier to start a fire.
Hatchet, Machete, Shovel, and Saw
There are plenty of reasons why you need a hatchet, shovel, and saw. With a hatchet or machete, you can chop down branches for fire or for building an emergency shelter. They’ll also come in handy when you have to defend yourself. A saw does the same. A shovel, meanwhile, will be useful when your car is stuck in the snow.
First Aid and Medicines
There shouldn’t be any discussion on whether to include a first aid kit among the many winter bug out bag essentials. During an evacuation, people tend to get hurt. While medical professionals may be available at evacuation centers, they may have their hands full with all the people who need assistance.
For minor injuries, perform the initial treatment yourself. Learn basic first aid so you’ll know what to do in different cases. Make sure you have everything that you can possibly pack in your first aid kit. Also, make sure you have an ample supply of prescription medicines.
Don’t forget about antihistamines, anti-itch medicines, and bug sprays. There’s still a pandemic going on so pack your alcohol, hand sanitizers, gloves, cloth masks, and N95 respirators.
Toiletries, Feminine Products, and Personal Needs
Whatever the season, you should have toiletries in your bug out bag. In a stressful atmosphere, the simple act of washing your face or brushing your teeth can help relieve some of the tension. Feeling clean not only rejuvenates the spirit but also helps maintain your physical health.
Some items you need in your toiletry bag include bath soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, and deodorant. You’ll also need wipes, a small towel, Q-tips, and a razor. Pack some shaving cream, if you wish.
For the ladies, make sure you have feminine products in your bug out bag. Feminine pads do more than just keep things from getting too messy. They can also be used as an emergency bandage o control bleeding from wounds. Sanitary pads are also useful for stopping nosebleeds and cleaning spills. If you’re having a hard time starting a fire, you can also use these pads as tinder.
Some people depend on particular items to maintain their physical or mental health. Aside from medicines, other such items include medical devices like EpiPens, inhalers, and nebulizers. Those struggling with some form of mental health issue should bring the items like fidget spinners and essential oils that help provide them some relief.
Children will also need their security objects to help them keep calm during all the confusion. These usually come in the form of their favorite blankets, pillow, stuffed toys, or even books.
Phone, Charger, and Power Bank
Whenever you evacuate your home because of an incoming threat or catastrophe, you’ll have to deal with other kinds of potential dangers. If you have to bug out during winter, for example, you’ll have to face the treacherous cold temperatures, especially while you’re still outdoors.
If you encounter a problem while on your way to your bug out shelter, you may need to call the authorities for help. You can’t do that if you don’t have a phone or it doesn’t have any juice left. Avoid this problem by always taking your phone and charger or power bank with you wherever you go. If possible, have an extra charger or power bank in your winter bug out bag. Keep them in waterproof containers just to be safe.
Aside from smartphones, you can also communicate and get vital information through radios. A weather radio is a winter bug out bag essential since it warns you of incoming hurricanes and other natural disasters. Staying updated and listening for alerts on a weather radio should give you ample time to secure your home and be ready if you need to evacuate.
Two-way radios, meanwhile, are communication tools that are popular among preppers and off-gridders. These radios work even without electricity or the internet. In the event of a power outage, poor internet service, or EMP attack, you can still stay in contact with others through two-way radios.
Documents and Valuables in Waterproof Containers
When disaster strikes, the first thing you should think about is your safety and that of your loved ones. Given the choice between saving yourself and your collection of signed baseball cards, you should know what to prioritize. No, leave those baseball cards alone.
If choosing between your safety and your prized possessions is a tad difficult, you should prepare them for evacuation, too. Keep your important documents like birth records, passport, driver’s license, photo IDs, medical ID cards, insurance information, social security cards, bank statements, and copies of credit cards in a waterproof pouch. Secure medical records, a printed list of important phone numbers, and family photos in the pouch, too.
There’s no shortage of bad people out to make things more miserable. Aside from preparing for disasters, you should also be ready to defend yourself against different threats. Invest in a handgun and ammunition then learn how to fire, reload, and clean it. Get a gun case, too.
Pack self-defense weapons in your winter bug out bag. Aside from hatchets, machetes, and knives, you could also use some non-lethal options like a stun gun, baseball bat, baton, kubotan, and pepper spray.
Make sure you know how to use each of your self-defense weapons. Also, work with a professional to learn self-defense techniques using the said weapons. You also should learn how to fight with your bare hands.
Other Winter Bug Out Bag Essentials
Some winter survival kit must-haves you shouldn’t forget are a compass, GPS device, maps, and other tools for navigation. You also need other ways to signal for help aside from using your phone or two-way radio. Pack emergency whistles, signal mirrors, orange flag, survey tape, permanent marker, tactical pen, and notebook.
Other items you should pack in your winter emergency kit include duct tape, paracord, batteries, resealable bags, garbage bags, fishing kit, sewing kit, and even condoms. Condoms, specifically the unused ones, are great for carrying water, protecting valuables, and starting a fire.
Hypothermia is no joke. If it gets dangerously cold, you might end up saying your hellos to your ancestors. If you don’t want to end up like popsicles, you better have your winter bug out bag essentials all prepped amd ready to go. You don’t have to wait for the air to get cold to start prepping your winter survival kit. In fact, you should have a bug out bag already prepared no matter the season. You can just add more winter-specific survival gear before the season rolls along. Discover more go bag essentials and winter survival tips over at Gentleman Pirate Club.