In the depths of winter, when temperatures plummet and snow blankets the land, staying warm regardless of where you are becomes a priority. Cold weather can sap your energy, increase chances of hypothermia and make surviving the elements extremely difficult, especially without the right tools. Fortunately, you don’t need to stock up on expensive survival gear to combat the cold weather; using some common sense and a few proven techniques, you can stay toasty warm no matter how cold it gets outdoors.
Five Survival Tips to Stay Warm in Extremely Cold Weather
Tip #1: Choose Multiple Layers of Clothing
Layering your clothes is one of the most effective ways to stay warm outdoors in frigid temperatures. Wearing a single thick coat gets uncomfortable if you’re too active, and it can keep your body heat from circulating. Instead, opt for thinner layers that trap air and help regulate your body’s temperature. Make sure you have a base layer, such as long underwear and a merino wool shirt, and then put an insulating layer on top, such as wool pants and a down jacket. Top it off with a waterproof outer layer to prevent rain and snow from seeping through the layers.
Tip #2: Add a Hat
Your head retains a lot of heat, so a good hat is essential for staying warm once temperatures drop below freezing. A wool cap for your ears and forehead is great for trapping heat and keeping your head insulated, but if you’re looking for absolute protection from the elements, a balaclava with extra layers of fabric can provide maximum warmth without sacrificing much mobility. A good winter hat might not look stylish, but it’s an easy way to add much-needed warmth if it gets very cold outside.
Tip #3: Wear Insulated or Waterproof Footwear
Keeping your feet warm is almost as important as keeping your head warm; your boots need to protect you from the elements while still allowing your feet to breathe a bit. Thick insulated winter boots with wool socks can hold your body heat in and spurn any snow or rain that gets kick up off the ground. If you have to cross streams or other bodies of water, opt for waterproof boots designed to handle the elements—you don’t want to risk your socks getting wet. For added protection, you can wear neoprene shoe coverings overtop your boots for an extra layer of waterproof protection.
Tip #4: Manage Your Heat and Energy Output
Keeping your body warm in the winter often comes down to managing how much heat you’re producing with your movements, how much energy you expend, and how they both affect your overall heat regulation. If it’s snowing or sleeting, don’t stay in one spot for too long, since it can take energy away you need to stay warm. To conserve energy, take breaks when you’re doing tasks outdoors, and make sure to avoid moving too quickly in order to keep your body temperature regulated.
Tip #5: Light a Fire
If you’re truly stranded in cold temperatures, the best way to stay warm is to build a fire. Whether you’re in the forest or just in your backyard, having a campfire can significantly improve your body temperature and mood. To build a fire, make sure to collect dry tinder such as leaves, twigs, and bark that are easy to light and can act as the base for your firewood. Don’t forget to bring a lighter or matches in case you need to get the fire going quickly; it’s also important to have a safe signage device, like a container of water, to quickly extinguish the fire once you’re done.
Staying warm outdoor in extremely cold weather doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive; in fact, it’s often the small touches that give you the most cold-weather protection. Multiple layers of clothing, a good hat, insulated footwear, a campfire, and smart energy management are all great ways to battle frigid temperatures and make sure you’re nice and toasty come wintertime. Remembering these tips can keep you healthy and content during the coldest days of winter.