Winter is coming. For preppers that means a unique set of challenges related to your bug out plan. Bugging out will be a challenge whenever you might have to do it. However, winter provides special challenges that can quickly turn a stressful nightmare into a fatal trip to nowhere. So as the weather gets colder, it’s time to start thinking about your bugout prep plans in this context.
Here are some things you need in your bugout bag and bugout vehicle for getting yourself and your family to safety during the cold chill of winter.
It sounds obvious, but… too many people keep an extra set of clothes in their bugout vehicle that’s just not going to make it to safety if they have to bugout during the winter months.
The key to dressing right for a winter bugout is layers. It’s cold, but you’re going to get hot when you start your 10, 20 or even 100 mile march to safety. Layers are also good at keeping warmth in and cold out while helping you to keep dry.
You’re going to need a base layer (something like compression gear is great for this), a middle layer (a warm shirt) and a shell layer (this is where your outdoor gear jacket will go), as well as gloves and, in our opinion, a ski mask or something similar that’s going to protect your entire head and neck from the elements. Waterproof and water-sealed boots are going to protect you from getting hypothermia in your extremities, which can quickly become fatal when there is no medical care to rely upon.
Warmth In Your Car
In addition to winter clothes, you need to keep tools for creating warmth in your car. Lighters and matches are only the beginning
Firelighters and other combustion tools can be useful in turning firewood into something that you can cook, boil water and keep warm around. You can also purchase bags of “liquid warmth” to put inside gloves and boots to keep your extremities warm if you have to vacate your vehicle and start simply walking from Point A to Point B.
Another helpful tool to have is a metal flint stick. Pair this with your standard, every day pocket knife and you can create the sparks you need to get the tinder going for a roaring fire out in the wilderness. Depending on your skill set, this might be a much better use of space than a lighter or matches.
A cold weather sleeping bag is one of the best investments you can make as a prepper if you live somewhere known for its cold temperatures.
The camping sleeping bag you normally use simply will not be up for the challenge of a cold winter night. A regular camping sleeping bag is going to turn you into a popsicle on the long, cold winter nights. But a sleeping bag specifically designed for sub-zero temperatures is going to keep you so toasty that you might not even know its winter outside of your bag.
There’s an issue of bulk on these, however they tend to be very lightweight and can be carried outside of your pack, allowing you to fill your bug out bag with other important gear.
While you probably can’t sleep rough in them if you’re doing a long-haul bugout, having extra blankets in your car is great to stay warm even if your car doesn’t break down or get stuck in a massive traffic jam while bugging out.
High Calorie Foods
High calorie foods are always important when bugging out, but they become even more important during the winter months. There are a few different ways to think about this, but we’re just going to outline to you what different macronutrients do.
Protein is useful for winter months because it raises your body temperature when you eat a lot of it. Given that protein powders come in a variety of yummy flavors, it’s also a good comfort food to have around. Sure it goes better with milk, but it goes just great with water so you can stay hydrated while you sip on something tasty and use your body’s natural digestive process to raise your temperature.
Fat helps to insulate your body from the cold while also acting as a source of long-term energy. Think of this as “marathon energy” rather than “sprint energy.” If you’re not going to be eating as regularly as your used to, fat can help you to close the gap.
Finally, there’s carbs, which are the kind of “sprint” energy that we spoke about above. You’re not going to want to lean too heavily on this, but if you find yourself dragging and need a little extra boost of energy, then carbs are exactly what your body is craving.
Bug Out Vehicle Gear
If you live somewhere where snow chains are common make sure that you have a working pair of these in your car. You might need them to traverse even a commonly passable road if no one is plowing it like you’re used to.
Finally, car batteries tend to not like cold weather so having a jump box (or, at the very least, a set of jumper cables) in your car is an absolute must for the cold winter months.
Bugging out will be difficult and treacherous even in the best conditions. But the wintertime is far from the best conditions. So do yourself a favor and get your winter prepper gear in line before you find yourself high and dry without it.