Surviving the Winter Wilderness

By John Sader

Very few people prepare for emergency survival situations during the winter. Many people die every year due to the cold wilderness. Most often, getting stranded on the road can quickly become a survival situation. Even people participating in winter outdoor activities can find themselves in these types of situations. Hiking trips, skiing, hunting, ice-fishing and snowmobiling can become deadly in an instant. Being prepared can give you a fighting chance. I am going to go over some products that you should always either carry with you into the woods or have in your car during the winter.


3 days without water, 3 days without food. That’s how much you need to prepare, especially if you’re venturing out into the woods. In the winter, I would try to have more than the recommended. For short term excursions, aim for more water if you must prioritize. Fortunately, winter means snow, which means if you have a way to heat it, water shouldn’t be too much of a concern. Everyone should always have some food and water in their vehicle, and you will need it if you become stranded on the side of the road. Datrex makes emergency water pouches that you can easily fit into a day pack, or in your vehicle.

Datrex also makes emergency ration bars if you’re looking for something full of calories, has a long shelf life, and is compact enough to fit in any bug out bag or vehicle compartment. If you’re looking for a little more flavor and variety, Redcon1 makes great MRE bars. Hot meals are a welcome addition to any survival situation, and there are many companies out there that make excellent dehydrated meals specifically for survival and outdoor situations.


Figure 1: Redcon1 MRE Bar

Don’t underestimate the usefulness of a good camping cookware set. Having a couple compact pots and pans will allow you to melt snow for water, cook dehydrated meals, and provide you with the means to carrying water.

First Aid

Every vehicle should have a first aid kit, and everyone should know some basic first aid. Luckily finding a great low cost first aid kit is relatively easy. They’re cheap enough that anyone can afford to have multiple first aid kits at home, in their car, and in their bug out bag. This compact first aid kit costs $18 and comes in a MOLLE compatible pouch.


Figure 2: Sportsman Industries Survival Shelter Kit

Technology has provided us with the ability to carry compact shelters that are quick and easy to assemble. For winter situations, make sure you purchase an emergency shelter suited for cold weather, and make sure you get a thermal blanket and heating products. Something like this Survival Kit should do fine. The great thing about these, is that you can keep them in your car and will be able to sleep inside your car if you need to. If you are heading out into the woods on an excursion, then you should prepare yourself with a better sleeping bag, and have some basic shelter and fire making skills.


Surviving the winter woods without fire is impossible and having a single way to make fire is not smart. You must be able to make fire in any type of inclement weather, even when there’s a blizzard. In addition to both a lighter(s) and waterproof matches, you should always carry a flint and striker along with tinder material. Having special made tinder will help you get a fire going even if everything is wet. This kit includes a ferro rod, fatwood chips/sticks, saw dust, and jute soaked in soy wax.


Figure 3: Dinosaurized Fatwood


Surviving without tools is very difficult and having the right tools can save your life. You will need tools that can aid with food prep, first aid and shelter construction. Invest in a good quality knife and learn proper knife handling techniques. A single good knife can do almost everything from prepping tinder to processing wild game.


Figure 4: Kershaw Blur Tanto

Another great, often overlooked item to have is a power bank. Having the means to charge a cellphone can be your saving grace. The DuraHub is a purpose built choice for outdoor power. It is a 2000mAh waterproof battery bank with LED light, solar charging 3A USB port and QI wireless charging support.

Dinosaurized, tool kit to survive in the wood

Figure 5: DuraHub battery bank

Finally, no survival kit is complete without a multi-purpose shovel. Having something like The Dino Tactical Outdoor Shovel will allow you to take surviving to another level. It is great for hiking, fishing, camping, hunting and general survival. With the Dino Tactical Outdoor Shovel, you will be able to dig fire pits, chop small trees, cut rope, and break ice, stone, and glass.


Figure 6: Dino Tactical Outdoor Shovel


  • Digging
  • Planning
  • Cutting
  • Sawing
  • Chopping
  • Breaking
  • Flint Striking
  • Chipping


  • Hoe
  • Ice-axe
  • Hexagon Spanner
  • Serrated Saw Edge
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Fire Starter
  • Bow
  • Bottle Opener
  • Nail Puller
  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Wire-Cutter


The Dino Tactical Outdoor Shovel is made with 1075 carbon steel with a military-grade aluminum handle that combines lightweight with strength and durability. It is designed with ergonomics in mind and comes with several extension bars and a carrying pouch. Every Dino Tactical Outdoor Shovel purchased from comes with a 30-day risk free guarantee with 24/7/365 ticket and email support. On sale right now for $49.99

Having a survival plan is essential when venturing out into the winter woods. Winter survival is tough even for the experienced outdoorsman. It is not enough to just go out and buy everything you need. All those tools will be useless to you if you don’t know how to use them. There are plenty of online resources that will teach you enough about survival to at least practice honing your skills in a non-survival situation.

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