To bug out or not becomes a critical decision when we are faced with an emergency, disaster or when SHTF. Winter is a season that involves a lot of preparations for everyone. But for preppers, winter preparations don’t just mean planning your winter wardrobe and arranging Christmas decorations. It should also involve carefully organizing a winter bug-out kit just in case the unexpected occurs. But do you have an idea of what to include in a winter bug out bag? Scroll down and check out this list of 25 bug out bag essentials that you need to have.
Winter Bug Out Bag Essentials That Should Not Be Forgotten
Preparing for a winter bug out is a necessary thing to do since we do not really know what can happen during this cold and gloomy season. It is best if we are totally prepared. The bug out items consist of all the necessities one would need in order to survive a disaster for at least 72 hours. Putting together a winter bug out kit can be a little tricky especially if you’re not properly guided.
You might get puzzled or confused as to what things should be included in this special and essential survival list. We have some suggestions to help you organize your own winter bug out kit. It may be a long list and you might think you won’t be able to fit all of these items in your bug out bag. You need to remember that the discretion is still yours. Think of it as a checklist of stuff that you need in your bag especially when you need to bug out during winter. Check out this list of bug out bag essentials below and find out what you are missing.
1. Hand Axe or Hatchet
Carrying a small ax or a hatchet in your winter bug out bag is advantageous especially when you need to cut wood for fire or building a shelter. It can also be a self-defense weapon when SHTF. Choose a hatchet or an ax that has a forged steel head with sturdy and durable handles.
2. The Bivy Sack or Tent
When you’re out for a winter activity such as camping or hiking, having a waterproof bivy sack can guarantee you a warm, good night sleep. It is basically a slip on cover for your sleeping bag thus providing you more warmth and protection from the harshness of the cold. Other than that, it is much easier and lighter to carry compared to tents. But if you’re a bit claustrophobic then a waterproof tent is more suitable. You can also bring a tarp that can serve as an additional shelter or over. There’s a wide array of designs and brands of bivy sack and tents that you can choose from that will fit your exact needs.
3. Winter Bug Out Boots
A durable pair of boots that will exceptionally hold up in extreme weather conditions should be included in your gear. Protection for your feet is a must especially if you spend most of the time in snowy places. Hypothermia and frostbite should be taken seriously and safety should always be the first thing you need to consider. There are plenty of types, designs, and brands that you can choose from. In my opinion, mud boots are great because they can hold up pretty well in snow as well as in muddy terrain. They are lightweight and easy to wear.
4. Communication Device
More often than not when you’re in the backcountry, cell phone coverage is limited or no coverage at all. And one of the best way to stay connected with your peers is by using a two-way radio. If you’re fortunate enough to own a satellite phone then it is far better because it can allow you to contact and ask for help in a survival situation. Nowadays, there are satellite phones that have a GPS and built-in navigation system.
5. First Aid Kit
First aid kits should always be included every time you hit the outdoors. It is one of the most important items in your bag but unfortunately it is often neglected and doesn’t seem to get much recognition compared to guns and knives. First aid kits should not be an option if you’re going to bring or not. It is a must-have if you’re going to be engaged in an outdoor activity such as camping or hiking.
6. Sleeping Bag and Fleece Liner
Having a good and reliable sleeping bag that will provide you warmth and protection against the cold winter nights is a must for every survivalist and outdoor enthusiast alike. And for you to be more comfortable, using a fleece liner is a great idea. It can add a couple extra degrees to make you warmer midst the biting cold. Choose a sleeping bag that is waterproof and offers exceptional insulation.
Food is our fuel to keep us going so we definitely need it in our bug out bag. During winter, our body needs more calories to keep us warm. You need to bring food that is fortified with calories. Bring food that is easy to cook and will provide you the energy you need. MREs (meals ready to eat) or LRPs (long range patrol rations) along with granola bars or power bars, beef jerkies, and dried fruits are recommended by seasoned outdoorsman that can give the calories you need to sustain cold weather conditions. Warm soup, stew, one-pot meals or dutch oven meals can surely give you comfort.
As far as winter gloves go, you need to look for a pair that has a sheer cold and moisture-repelling capability. You need to keep your hands dry and toasty warm all the time. Pick a glove that lets you operate your phones or lets you use your fingers while keeping it encased in comfort. But if it gets too old, you can use mittens to make your hands warmer.
9. Snow Goggles or Glasses
Snow goggles ensure your survival during winter or in places where extreme weather condition exists by keeping the cold from hurting your eyes. Cold can give your eyes a burning sensation. Goggles and glasses come in different lens tints to match the various weather condition. Protect your eyes from the sun and the wind because nature’s beauty and prowess is useless if you can’t see them vividly.
10. Warm Headgear
A full-time and experienced survivalist knows that a huge percentage of our body heat escapes through our head. That’s why we have to wear and carry an extra head gear such as beanies and bomber hats. A warm headwear will help our core body temperature rise. It would be even better if it is waterproof and has a fleece ear covering and drawstrings to keep it tight against the ears for more protection.
11. Insulated Water Bottles
You need to be hydrated at all times and having an insulated water bottle in your bug out bag is a real boon. You can drink hot tea or coffee if you want to have a caffeinated companion in a cold winter morning to warm you up and get you going. Having warm water in your pack is absolutely beneficial in a winter survival episode.
Winter jackets can help you withstand the harshness of the piercing cold weather. It should be made of good materials and insulation so that your body can be warm even if you’re not on the more. It would be even better if your jacket is waterproof and has synthetic insulation in moisture-prone areas such as the collar, the cuffs, and areas around the zippers. You can also add water-resistant fabric in the event that you have to crawl into a snow cave or find yourself in the bottom of an icy canyon.
13. Bug Out Lighting and Batteries
Headlamps, flashlights, and other lighting source are real life-savers in long and cold winter nights. You need to make sure that you have enough extra batteries before you head out into the wild. Having the capability to see in the dark is an advantage for every survival situation. Don’t forget to include lighting equipment in your bug out bag if you’re going to be engaged in an outdoor activity especially for camping and hiking. You also need to know that battery life decreases in cold temperature. You may want to store your batteries and battery-operated devices in your sleeping bag to keep them warm.
14. Mylar Blankets
Mylar blankets are also known as space blankets, thermal blankets or first aid blankets. It is made of heat-reflective thin that can retain or reflects back up to 90% of our body heat. This can be included in your first aid kit because its compact size and weight is great for tight or small spaces and will come handy in the event of an emergency situation. Though they may be difficult to refold, they are inexpensive enough to have a few in your bug out bag.
15. Navigation System and Maps
In the event that you find yourself in an unfamiliar territory, it would be best to have a compass and a map in your hand to find the right direction and location and navigate your way through. In this age where technological advancement is omnipresent in everything, it is easy to avail and use Smartphone andGPS navigation system. But when SHTF and batteries ran out and satellite signals are unreliable then having a map and your good ‘ole compass in your bug out bag is a true savior.
Every seasoned outdoorsman and veteran prepper knows the importance of carrying paracords in their bug out bag. There’s a wide array of usages that you can do in a paracord both in survival and in hunting. It can help you build shelters, snare out animals using their internal stands, you can rig a pulley system if you want to lift heavy stuff, tie things to your bag and a whole lot more. Include this on your list every time you’re planning to hit the outdoors regardless of the weather condition and season for it is valuable it is a valuable gear that should not be neglected.
If you’re going to travel in cold weather conditions where snow covers most of your way then you need to shovel your way through. Having a portable or small shovel in your bug out bag will surely come handy especially when snow and blizzard hit hard. It is also useful when you need to dig through the snow when you’re preparing your campsite.
18. Ski Mask
In winter, we are prone to windburn, sunburn, and frostbite. We need protection and prevent these circumstances thus having a ski mask is an awesome idea. It can cover your neck, face and the whole of your head. Fabric and design are the common factors that you need to consider when choosing a ski mask. Look for a ski mask that offers exceptional protection from the cold wind while maintaining its breathability.
19. Swiss Army Knife
A Swiss army knife is one of the essentials that should always be included in your list of gears. Since it was first introduced, it remains a go-to tool whenever you’re outdoors. It is a multi-tool that can serve a lot of purposes primarily because of the stuff included. There are knives that come with a flash drive, scissors, flashlights, saw and steel combinations. With this knife, you can repair stuff, start a fire and can also be used for defensive purposes when SHTF.
20. Cooking Stuff
A portable stove and cookware are definitely advantageous for winter survival. You need a container where you can boil water and cook food since the required calorie is higher in cold weather to keep you warm and your temperature regulated. Silverwares such as spoons and fork is also needed to eat from cans and to deal with hot food.
21. Sanitation Supplies
In times of distress, hygiene is important. Poor hygiene maintenance may lead you to infections and contamination especially if you have a wound or a cut. Our bug out bag should include sanitation supplies like soaps, shampoos, wipes and hand sanitizers. Communicable diseases during winter like cough, cold, laryngitis, and pharyngitis are common so you need to be protected and the best protection is prevention. Wash your hands and other parts of your body and maintain cleanliness at all times.
22. Winter Bug Out Socks
Carrying extra socks in your bug out bag is a must. Protect and keep your feet warm and toes intact. Good pairs of socks will provide you comfort as you travel and proceed with your journey through the blistering cold. Bring at least three pairs.
23. Signalling Equipment
Winter weather can be very unforgiving and danger is always present. When faced with a life and death situation, it would be best if you can call for help immediately. But when phones signals are down and your two-way radio ran out of batteries, it will be difficult to call out for help. That’s why carrying a signaling device is a brilliant idea. It may be a whistle or flares that can send signals or SOS messages in far distances.
24. Fire Starters
You can always look for dead wood and tinder to start a fire, but carrying reliable fire starters such as lighters and strike-anywhere matches and ease up the process. We all know the importance of fire most especially in a winter survival situation. With fire, you can cook food, boil water, signal for rescue and it will keep you warm and comfortable.
25. Wool Pants
Wool pants are the best option to wear whenever you’re outdoors during winter. It provides warmth, durability, and comfortability. It is also resistant to flame so you wouldn’t have to worry getting close to a campfire. But just like any other thing in this world, it also has a small downfall –it easily gets dirty. But that’s a small price to pay for a winter gear that will keep you warm and dry at the same time. Don’t forget to pack extra wool pants in your bug out bag.
Watch this video below for more cool info on what to include in your winter bug out bag!
The fact is that winter weather is unforgiving, not to mention deadly at its worst, we preppers must be ready and have plenty of supplies. We can never be too sure and a lot unexpected things might occur amidst the blistering cold that the winter season brings. To bear the unbearable and come out alive from a survival situation is a mark of a true survivalist. Arm yourselves not only with the right gears but also with knowledge in survival tactics. Penny for your thoughts? We would like to hear from you. You can drop your two cents in the comments below.
We also came up with a Winter Survival Guide to help you further, check it here!
Featured Image Via nationalgeographic