February 26, 2015 at 4:22 am #37315
One of the first lessons I learned was one that I didn’t expect to learn being that I was from one of the coldest regions in the U.S. It was also one of the first times that something “woke” me up to how lazy or comfortable most of us are with the convenience that surrounds us. Food, transportation, information . . . it’s all right at our finger tips . . . until it isn’t.
It was about 13 years ago. I had went to my home town (about a 6 hour drive north) to see my family for Christmas. Unfortunately I had to be back to work Christmas morning (Ah, the days of working private security . . . I’m glad they’re over!!!). So in order to see my family and then get back to work I decided to drive through the night on Christmas Eve to get back. It just so happens, that was the same night the right front tire on my car decided it no longer desired to be a part of the vehicle.
About half way back home . . . in the middle of nowhere . . . at about 2AM . . . in -36 F (-38ish C) . . . that was without the windchill. Initially I thought I just had a flat and put on my cold weather gear to get out and change the flat only to find that the bolts that hold the tire on had broke clean off and the tire was nowhere to be found.
As I was standing there dumbfounded, staring at the tire, another late-night traveler came down the road and stopped to see if I was alright. He ended up giving me a ride to the next town that had a 24 hr gas station open. As I sat at that gas station drinking some of the worst coffee ever brewed I decided to see how long it would be until the next car drove by. Just to see how long I would have waited if the guy had not been driving. In the next four hours, not one car went by.
Now there are a lot of things that I could of done to stay alive. I most likely had enough fuel left in the tank to run the car off and on and keep myself alive until the next vehicle came by. Or, worst case built myself a snow cave. However, other than my hands, a mountain dew and some Twizzlers I didn’t have anything else with me that could have been useful.
Since that day I now have an emergency kit with just about everything that I could possibly need to survive. Now add in the fact that I always have a Get Home Bag with me and I know that I can survive anything.
In the kit I carry:
Extra blankets (wool or fleece)
Emergency blankets (mylar)
lighters & fire starters
a paint can heater (basically an empty paint can, stick a roll of TP inside and fill with rubbing alcohol or denatured alcohol)
Extra hat, gloves, socks, thermal underwear.
Roadside kit (flares, tools, jumper cables . . .etc)
First Aid kit.
I think that is all or at least most of it. This is aside from my Get Home Bag. This is just the kit that stays in the vehicle.
There are a ton of blogs and videos out there you can watch to get all the information you need to build your own and know how to survive if you get stranded in severe temps/cold weather. But here are a few bits of advice that I will give you. Some of these can easily be applied to some of you in the southern part of the US (or anywhere in the world) that have found yourself dealing with subzero temps. Using some of this advice can help you keep yourself and your family warmer in your own home, let alone out in the elements.
1. Layer your clothing. Use a 3 layer system to keep yourself the warmest possible. This also makes it easier to remove layers when doing physical labor. You don’t want to sweat too much in severely cold temps. That’s a good way to freeze to death.
First layer is the base layer (closest to your skin), should be a fabric that will wick moisture away from your skin. Wool or a synthetic fabric works best.
Second Layer is the insulation layer; this can be a thin or as thick as needed depending on how cold the temp. Fleece and Wool are some of the best insulators in my opinion as they retain the most heat. Cotton, down, and synthetic fabrics work well, but can be bulky.
Third and final layer is your protective layer. Water proof and wind proof. Gor-Tex is pretty much the hands-down winner for this layer.
2. Section off the area that you will physically occupy. The smaller the area, the easier it will be to heat. For example, if you are in an SUV, move to the back and use some of your blankets to create a wall to block off the front section from the back. You can also put blankets up around the sides and back hatch to create extra insulation to keep heat from escaping through the windows and sides of the vehicle. It was actually common practice in medieval castles to put up tapestries during the cold months to help retain heat. Just makes sure that when you put them up that they are not directly on the wall/window. Have there be a small air space between the wall/window and the blanket.
You can use this method inside your home as well if the heat went out. In addition, you can throw up a tent for sleeping in. Ever notice in movies that take place before central heating where the huge 4-poster beds had curtains on all sides and a canopy on top? That was so that any heat would be retained and kept in that small area during the night rather than trying to heat the whole room.
3. Last but not least, if you use something such as candles or the paint can heater to heat the space (any open flame) make sure you crack a window. I know this may sound counter productive, but you need oxygen to live . . . and so does the flame.
I apologize for the uber long post, but I hope my experience and knowledge can be a benefit to others.
CTFebruary 26, 2015 at 10:13 am #37326
Good post CT. -36 is no joke, even for a short period of time.February 26, 2015 at 12:12 pm #37329
Temps that low can kill fast, yet few ever think they might become stranded outdoors.February 26, 2015 at 12:30 pm #37330
I have a friend that was part of emergency response team near Syracuse NY. Very often cars with urbanites would be involved. In mid winter with low temperatures they would be driving across the state with nothing but their cocktail party outfits. The car might have a flat tire but it turned into an emergency because they were freezing.February 26, 2015 at 2:07 pm #37356
Burning the spare tire can keep you warm. Some diesel or gas and a road flare. Let the air out or hole it first.
My winter list….. in the vehicle.
Pak boots with wool liners – winter mittens
Mainstay bars and water rations
Axe & knife
Mapp gas torch – lifeboat matches
Led headlamp with lithium batteries
Roadflares – safety vest
Blizzard mylar sleeping bag
WW2 wool sleeping bag and bivy sack
Backpack and assorted tools wrenches etc. extra wipers.February 26, 2015 at 7:17 pm #37398
CharlieTango, thanks for the story. Amen. Wyoming and Alaska was where I got a lot smarter about cold weather. I kept a ‘car bag’ with cold weather emergency items including good sleeping bag, food, water, fire making stuff, glock, and radio/communications etc.February 26, 2015 at 7:57 pm #37402
<div class=”d4p-bbp-quote-title”>74 wrote:</div>MtB,<br>
I have a friend that was part of emergency response team near Syracuse NY. Very often cars with urbanites would be involved. In mid winter with low temperatures they would be driving across the state with nothing but their cocktail party outfits. The car might have a flat tire but it turned into an emergency because they were freezing.
They’ve had some nasty chain vehicle crashes up there this year on the Thruway and 81 going north bad enough to close all four lanes down. Sudden whiteouts and slippery conditions. The weather changes fast there.
Cocktail party outfits …. lol They must be from or going to Turning Stone, the
indian casino. Rooms there $200 a night … so you can gamble. But the girls are cute.August 1, 2015 at 9:00 pm #42864
living in northeast ohio now and im a southern girl so im used to the desert southwest and south central plains. so i went out and bought me an extreme cold weather parka from a local surplus store (really glad i found one) next payday getting good wool thermals. i carry a backpack with me in my vehicle wherever i go with a few survival item and have for a long time now.. my knife is always with me. i might not like the cold weather but i think i could survive long enough to get home and in a shtf scenario i could do “ok” been studying constantly on survival for a very long time…. those items are in my truck wherever i go from now on. good thing i have an extended cab lolAugust 1, 2015 at 10:36 pm #42877
Northeast OH. Many years ago of my brothers moved to one of Cleveland’s suburbs on the Northeast side and my sister moved to a suburb on the West side of Cleveland. The difference in snowfall amounts was astounding. It is the northeast side of Cleveland that gets pounded with snow,
ladyt, don’t forget about your feet and hands. A good quality parka is a great start but you also need boots and gloves rated for extreme cold. My experience is that if you take care of your feet, hands, and head you are most of the way there. Most people go from heated homes to heated cars to heated buildings and only experience the cold for relatively brief periods. The clothes they wear look the part but typically are not really designed for prolonged exposure to the cold. Fashion over function which will bite them in a winter SHTF scenario.
For gloves, my suggestion is that you consider lobster claw style gloves. They are halfway between regular gloves and mittens. Two fingers each in the “claws” and the thumb stays by itself for dexterity. Much warmer than regular gloves and you maintain much of the dexterity that would otherwise be lost with heavy weight mittens.August 1, 2015 at 11:42 pm #42879
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