Outdoor Survival Guide For Extremely Cold Weather

Outdoor survival guide: wearing adequate clothing, food, water and shelter to survive in cold weather should you be stranded. This article will tell you how to make shelter, find food and survive.

You must have adequate clothing, food, water and shelter to survive in cold weather should you be stranded. This article will tell you how to make shelter, find food and survive.

In really cold regions of the world the sun will stay very low during the day, providing little heat, or the cloud cover is so thick the sun can't peek through. If you are in the mountains, a polar region or any harsh climate you will either be cold or very cold. With increasing altitude the temperatures get colder; for every 400 feet you climb the temperature will drop about 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Maybe you are hiking and you get lost. Maybe you are victim of a plane crash, or your car breaks down and you get stranded in a snow storm. Maybe you are cross country skiing with friends and there is an avalanche that separates you from your path back to your car and you have to find a way to hike around. Whatever the circumstance of being stranded in a cold environment, there are survival techniques to help get you to safety. In this article we are going to assume that you have to leave your car or plane or you will die. In some cases it is best just to stay where you are and wait to be rescued, but if no one knows where you are, hiking it out may be best.

Hopefully you will have adequate warm clothing with you. Whatever clothing you do have, should be layered on your body. The bottom layer of clothing should be made of a material that draws the moisture away from the skin. This layer should then transfer that moisture outward so that you will always be dry, no matter what perspiration level you are at. The next layer should be an insulating material such as fleece. The outer layer is the shell layer to protect you from rain, snow and wind. Hopefully you have a waterproof jacket with a hood to wear. If you have more than one pair of gloves and socks stick

them in your pockets. You will need to dry them out somehow, preferably over a fire while resting. Waterproof canvas boots are the ideal footwear. Wear 2 to 3 layers of socks in your shoes.

If you have shelter, food, water, blankets, matches, an ice pick or any other supplies you can carry - you are lucky. Whatever you have, bring it with you for survival. If you don't have shelter, like a tent, you will have to find a cave. If you can hike to civilization in a day or two, it is a good idea to keep moving and not stop to make shelter. Making a shelter takes away needed energy from hiking out to find help. If you absolutely need to stop and rest, you will need to make a shelter. If there are trees you can make shelter or build a lean to. You can also use the base of a tree and dig down as far as you can under the snow, use the branches as the roof. If there are no trees you will need to dig a snow shelter. The ideal snow to make a snow shelter out of is hard and firm enough for a man to walk on with out a deep footprint. You can make a snow trench or cave by cutting out rectangles of snow. Cut down about four feet. Leave a foot on top for a roof and begin cutting out blocks down and under the roof. You need to make more than one breathing hole for adequate ventilation. Mark the entrance of your shelter with a bright object in case somebody comes looking for you. Keep the tools you use for digging, in the shelter with you in case you need to dig yourself out.

You may need to make a fire for warmth. Use any firemaking materials that you were able to bring with you. Collect firewood if available. You can also use animal dung, and twisted grass. Begin picking up kindling as you are walking through out the day if it is scarce. Build the fire on a platform of green wood, dirt or rocks. Do not build a fire under a snow covered tree; it will drop and put out the fire. Be careful of carbon monoxide poisoning if you are building the fire in your shelter; have adequate ventilation. If you have only one match, make sure you use it to light a candle or something that will continue to burn and not be blown out.

Do not forget that dehydration can still be a problem in a cold climate if you are not drinking enough. Melt snow, look for streams and drink enough water to stay hydrated.

Finding food may be a challenge in a completely snow covered environment. Look for edible plants and berries. To test if a plant is safe to eat you should proceed with caution. Test on one part of the plant at a time; the petals, stems and leaves should be tested separately. Part may be edible, the other parts may not. Smell the plant, if it smells acidic, don't eat it. Rub the plant part on a small patch of skin and wait 8 hours to see if there is an allergic reaction. If no reaction, touch a small bit to your lips to see if there is a burning sensation. Wait a few minutes, if no itching or burning occurs place a small portion on your tongue. Wait 15 minutes. If there is again no adverse reaction chew on a pinch for a few minutes with out swallowing. Again, it there is no reaction, you can swallow the small portion. Wait 8 hours to see if no reaction occurs. You should only test one plant at a time. If there was a bad reaction, like stomach cramps, nausea or headache, induce vomiting. If there are not ill effects eat a couple of tablespoons of the plant and wait another 8 hours. A few plants known to be safe for eating are: dandelions, Beech tree nuts, reeds, Oak acorns, wild rose flowers and juniper berries. If you need protein you can kill rabbits, birds, mice, fish and squirrels. You may need to trap or snare or spear the animals.

Frostbite is a major problem when hiking in the cold. To prevent frostbite do not wear tight shoes. You need to be able to wiggle the toes and keep the circulation going. Stay out of the wind as much as possible. Keep your clothing dry. Keep your toes, fingers, arms and facial muscles moving. Exercise the facial muscles and fingers while walking.

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