Surviving the cold - shelter and insulation

Discussion in 'Other Advanced Survival Skills' started by cafwen, Jul 3, 2016.

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  1. cafwen

    cafwen New Member

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    I thought it would be a nice idea to start a thread discussing how to survive if you are stranded in the cold.

    Some tips I have to start off with:
    Line your clothing with whatever you can find - rolled up newspaper, dried leaves or any insulating material you can find such as stuffing, rags and the like can be wedged in between layers of clothes to provide an extra barrier between your skin and the cold air.

    Utilize body heat if you are in a group - sharing a blanket, or making as small a shelter as you can squeeze everyone into decreases the amount of air that each body needs to warm up. In an indoor situation such as during loss of power in a blizzard, a small room or closet is ideal.

    Limit body heat loss through exposure to wind - avoid placing yourself in the reach of the wind unless it is absolutely vital to risk exposure. If you can, wait for a break in the weather before attempting to locate help or find food.

    I'm sure there are plenty of tips other members have to offer!
    Keith H. likes this.
  2. RichE8475

    RichE8475 New Member

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    I am glad you brought up this topic. My son and his boy scout troupe just had a discussion on this the other night. They were told that if they were ever trapped in the cold, or anywhere else for that matter, to utilize the word "STOP". This means to Stop, Think, Observe, and Plan. A person, as you said, first needs to ensure that they stay warm, and to avoid hypothermia. If stuck in a snowfall you can utilize that for a water source. Also, if trying to walk out of wherever it is, then you should try to walk in the same direction during the day. In the nighttime it would be important to get a shelter, build a fire, and dry out any wet clothing.

    I am glad that there are programs, like Boy Scouts, that are teaching children what they need to do in emergency situations. I just hope that we never have to worry about being stranded out in any cold conditions, but it is nice to have the knowledge of what to do if that ever happens.
  3. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member

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    Well obviously if it is safe to light a fire, that would be a good start. In the American civil war, soldiers used to lie on top of one another in groups. When the ones on the top got too cold, they would swop about & take a position at the bottom.
    cafwen likes this.
  4. Valerie

    Valerie Active Member

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    Ah, I've used newspaper for insulation before. It works wonderfully well. At the beginning of this year, I didn't have heat in my apartment. Because the building is old and has no insulation whatsoever, it's often colder or hotter than the actual temperature outside. I'd just moved in and didn't even have a bed yet. The cold nights of sleeping on the floor were made less brutal by putting on multiple layers and using newspaper from my shipping boxes. Definitely a learning experience, haha.
    Garrett Rooney likes this.
  5. willywonka

    willywonka Member

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    I have used newspaper too! I was once in Lynn, MA waiting for the commuter train back to Boston and it was snowing outside. My friends and I decided to wait in the station elevator (it was outdoor and only a platform) to stay warm. We were still cold after huddling together. I saw a newspaper stand downstairs so I went to get a few free magazines and we used them as blankets. It actually kept us really warm until the train came!
  6. cafwen

    cafwen New Member

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    As luck would have it I caught some of a Bear Grylls survival show last night were he addressed this topic in Siberia where he also had wild wolves to contend with! A great tip which he had is that if you can find any birch wood, this is apparently known as 'Nature's Firelighter'. You can strip the bark back and because it's waterproof the wood underneath will always be dry and gives your best chance of getting a fire started. In snow this is particularly important so that you can dry any wet clothing, and of course will keep predators away.
  7. Doubletap45

    Doubletap45 New Member

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    Never go out without proper clothing, have several "Mylar Emergency Blankets", the means to start a fire (not just a lighter, they sometimes fail in extreme cold) and a small container of tinder. I like cotton balls smeared with Vasoline in a small film can. A large, quality knife and some cordage should be a part of your kit.
    Know how to build a shelter or a snow cave. When venturing out, let someone know where you are going and when you'll return. If you get lost, try to find a good place to hunker down and stay put. Let others find you instead of wondering aimlessly.
    Panic is the worst thing you can do. I never venture out without telling someone and having my small survival pack with me. I also take my cell phone and Amateur Handheld VHF/UHF Radio with me. In many places in the U.S., you may not have cell service, but if you can get to high ground, you can reach a repeater and make radio contact with someone. In my local wooded areas and mountains, I know where the repeaters are, their frequencies and know where I may have to go to get into one of them.
    I also take my handheld GPS. If I'm hurt and cannot travel, but can contact someone by cell phone or Amateur Radio, I can give them my exact location, otherwise, it's a great tool to find your way out..
    As long as you are not too far out in the sticks, a handheld radio will sometimes make the difference.

    Waiting too long to set up shelter will kill you. First make a fire, then set up shelter
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2016
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