Survival in Winter–Dress the Part

            How would you like to live in a northern region where the weather forecast tells you both temperature and the time of exposure before frost bite?  It’s no place I’d want to live.


Yet how many times do you or I go out underdressed for the wintry weather?  We’re intending to be outdoors only a few minutes and think it’s not necessary to get fully bundled up.  But what if something happens?  The door locks behind you.  The car dies.  You slip and fall and can’t get up.  It could be anything that unexpectedly detains you and exposes you to harsh conditions..


            An acquaintance from South Dakota recently told me that, after a subzero cold spell, a warm up to zero degrees can feel pretty good.  I said I’ve experienced the same thing with 20 degrees where I live.  It is indeed tempting to go out underdressed for conditions when it’s still below freezing.  The wind doesn’t have to be blowing much to amplify the cold and expose you to the very real danger of frost bite.


You’ve heard it before.  Your mother told you dozens of times, “Dress for the weather.”  It’s a common sense recommendation that shouldn’t be scoffed at.  It’s not that hard to follow either.  Here are some general guidelines.


 Wear several layers of loose-fitting, light-weight warm clothing. Trapped air insulates. Layers can be removed to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent, and hooded. Wear a hat. Half your body heat loss can be from the head.   Yes, I know a report in the media recently supposedly debunked that one; but the fact is you’ll lose heat from any part of your body that’s not properly covered.  Never mind the percentages.  Don’t take chances.


Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extreme cold. Try not to speak unless absolutely necessary. Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves. Try to stay dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.


            By all means, dress for winter survival when you’re out in the cold.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

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