All together you’re probably looking at around $1,000 to put this survival rifle together, with the bulk of the cost in the rifle and silencer. Feel free to watch the entire video, but you really only need to watch the first five minutes or so to get the idea. And if you want to see him tear the rifle down–including a look at the silencer–then skip to about the 11:30 mark afterwards. Enjoy!
This DIY armor was hit with 9mm as well as various shotgun loads, including birdshot, buckshot, and a slug… and the DIY armor stayed intact! Unsurprisingly, it didn’t survive any 5.56 rounds, but if it did then THAT would’ve been a miracle and he should be patenting the process right now.
In any case, they start off the video with testing various firearms and then show the build process at around the 5:00 mark. Of course, this DIY build shouldn’t be considered a substitute for REAL body armor, but it was neat to see that it could be done with a little ingenuity…
The shotgun is one of the most valuable
survival firearm one can own instead of a rifle or pistol. It possesses a great
force of firepower compared to shots fired from a pistol. Therefore, owning the
right to say that “no one really wants to be hit by one” when it is draw out.
The main advantage that labels a shotgun
as a good survival gear is the variety of ammunition. It generally means that a
shotgun fires at least 8 to 26 large lead pellets from a single shot every time
the trigger is pulled.
This is advantageous especially when we
are not experts in aiming or in a chaotic state that our ability to aim has
been blindsided. It increases the possibility of landing a bullet on the
attacker without needing to constantly reload.
There is a wide range of shotguns offered
in the market and each with different capabilities. Understand the
characteristics of each shotgun to be able to select a suitable shotgun
for survival needs.
Choose a suitable gauge
The fundamental of operating a shotgun is
to fire numerous rounds of round lead pellets down a smooth bore barrel.
Shotguns barrels are usually chambered in gauges instead of calibers.
A gauge represents the number of lead
pellets it takes to enter the barrel to make a pound. The most familiar gauge
sizes for shotguns are 10, 12, 16, and 20 gauge being the easier ammunition to
find. It’s important to select a gauge size that is suitable for your usage.
Recoil is typically the significant factor
that decides what gauge size you will pick as not many can handle the recoil
produced. If the recoil for a 20 gauge is too much to handle, consider going
with a 20 gauge. But if a 20 gauge is overly powerful as well, you can choose
the .410 bore as your last choice.
Other sizes are too rare and you will have
a hard time finding ammunition on the shelf at a megastore.
Break open shotguns
This shotguns are classified as those that
break open on the hinge to insert or remove shells. They are included in
classes which is the single shot, over under and side by side.
Break open shotguns can come with single
or double triggers and a wide selection of barrels. A double barreled break
open shotgun with two triggers means that each trigger represents one barrel.
So by pulling two triggers at a time, you will be firing two shots straight but
you will most likely be abusing your shoulders.
These shotguns are the easiest to maintain
and with good quality performance it can go up to 150,000 rounds without any
problem. Break open shotguns with side by side or over under class usually comes
with exchangeable chokes resulting to different shooting characteristics of
However, the drawback of a break open
shotgun is the limited amount of rounds they can shoot without reloading. As
each shotgun only offers a maximum of two barrels, you are only able to fire
twice and needing to break open the shotgun to reload thereafter.
Unlike break open shotguns, a
semi-automatic shotgun has a single barrel and majority comes with a magazine
tube that stores additional shells. This reduces the number of reloads you have
to perform after firing a few rounds.
Semi-automatic shotguns is classified to
two basic cycling actions. They can either be recoil driven or gas operated.
Shotguns that are recoil driven are usually inertia or kinematic driven.
Despites the difference in name, both mode operates similarly.
If the shotgun is kinematic driven, the
recoil of the shell releasing will push the bolt back discharging the used
shell and loading the shell from the magazine tube. If the semi-automatic
shotgun is gas operated, some of the expanding gasses from the shell releasing
are spread out through ports in the barrel ejecting the spend shell and
reloading the next shell afterwards.
Anyhow the difference in method, both
operate by using the force from releasing shells to recreate the action which
in return lessening the recoil of the firearm. However, these shotguns do
require a certain level of maintenance to keep them operating properly.
Instead of releasing gasses which are carbon
filled like how normal pistols would, the gasses are spread throughout the
ports in the barrel. This result to having barrels that are congested with
carbon particles leading to further cycling issues. Fortunately, they are easy
to take apart and reassembly so there is no reason for you to not clean it.
The reliability of a semi-automatic
shotgun is definitely less than the break open shotguns or pump shotguns. Its
only major disadvantage is the cycling problem. The spring within the barrel
has an expected lifespan of firing approximately 10,000 rounds before wearing
out even though with constant cleaning. However, this does not label the
shotgun as incapable.
A pump shotgun is the one where the
fore-end can be shift forward and backwards. This cycling movement is
controlled by shifting the fore-end to the direction of the receiver to
discharge the used shell and then forward to load a new shell.
The pump shotgun is usually single
barreled with a magazine tube to store additional shells. Therefore, the
movement rate of the fore-end is controlled by the speed of the user.
The recoil force from this shotgun is
greater than a semi-automatic shotgun because it does not spread out energy
throughout the port of the barrels. There are many other guns classified under
this category such as riot guns, tactical shotguns and self-defense guns.
However, it requires less maintenance and
greater reliability compare to semi-automatic shotguns. It will still be able
to fire even after years of not cleaning just that probably its performance is
Nonetheless, here are the few common
series of survival shotguns for you to consider:
Mossberg 590 Mariner
The Mossberg 590 Mariner is a 9 shot 12
gauge shotgun which means that it can store up to 9 shells in the magazine
tube. It is a tactical pump shotgun with a single barrel that fires smoothly
with a reasonable price tag for newbies.
The production of this firearm’s barrel is stainless steel making it sustainable for harsh environments. This is suitable as a survival kit as storage in any condition will not affect the well-being of this firearm.
Mossberg 500 Lineup
The Mossberg 500 series is slightly similar
to a Mossberg 590 Mariner but instead of a stainless steel barrel, it is
manufactured based on an aluminium receiver. This lightens the weight of the
shotgun remarkably. However, it prevents the use of majority sidesaddle slug
A shotgun sidesaddle is an accessory used
by owners for convenience to carry more shells on their firearm. This series
comes with a polymer safety button and trigger assembly. But the Mossberg 500’s
magazine tube cannot be lengthen due to the fact that the barrel is fixed to
the end of the magazine tube.
The Remington 870 series consists of a
wide range of selection with more that 30 different models. Its level of
reliability is better compared to a shotgun from the Mossberg series in terms
of having a smoother pump action. Furthermore, the Remington 870 is the perfect
choice for hunting
small game too, in addition to being an excellent
In a scenario of unexpected home
intrusion, you would want to be loaded with as many rounds as possible.
Shotguns from this series can be equipped
with an extension tube to store 7 additional shells. To acquire this extension
you must first remove the dimples from the magazine tube to attach the
accessory. But by doing so, bear in mind that you may compromise your ability
The model most suitable for home defense
would be the Remington 870 Express Tactical 18” barrel with a synthetic stock.
It comes with a multiway synthetic stocks with a 18.5 inch or longer barrels
making them versatile for both female or male user.
However, the Remington 870 uses a safety
push button that is not as obvious as the Mossberg making it less safe to have
around younger ones.
Winchester SPX Defender
This shotgun is known as the Winchester
Super Pump X Defender with a 12 or 20 gauge size. It’s probably one of the best
value tactical shotgun out there with great performance, light weight, short
barrel and all within a reasonable price.
The shotgun comes with a 18 inch slim
barrel receiver made of aluminium. This results in lighter weight allowing
smaller shooters to operate the shotgun with just a single hand on both the
grip and the trigger.
Many shooters believe the Winchester SPX
Defender to be one of the fastest performing reloading action out there. These
shotguns loads and ejects shells smoothly and reliably without jamming up.
When the shotgun is fired, the tension of
the spring produced by the shell pushing towards the rotating bolt partially
opens the spring by itself and begins the pumping action.
However, just like the Remington 870, the
safety push button is not as obvious. Its difficult to reach as it is place in
front of the trigger guard. This makes it unsafe to have around children or
Benelli Nova Pump Tactical
The Benelli Nova is classified as a pump
shotgun that shoots 12 gauge and 20 gauge. The barrel comes in different length
variation such as 18, 24, 26, and 28 inches. It can operate on any load of
weight such as a light 2¾-inch load to 3½-inch magnum load.
This shotgun is extremely reliable as it seldom has a problem even when cycling with different shells. Besides that, it is able to handle extreme weather conditions as it is made of part corrosion proof-polymer.
However, similarly with the previously
stated shotguns, the safety push button is extremely small on this model making
it difficult to find. Another downside would be the limited ability to
customize accessory for this model due to its single-piece receiver. This also
limits the magazine tube to only holding 5 shells at a time.
There you have it, a detail guide for picking a suitable survival shotgun. Take some time to understand the shotgun that you have selected to purchase. This will help you familiarise their functions and be able to react quickly during hectic timings. Bear in mind that having a shotgun lying around can be dangerous, therefore do not have it in plain sight.
An underground bunker could be your best asset in many different survival scenarios. It gives you a place to wait out whatever chaos might be going on above-ground and helps ensure you and your family stay safe — even comfortable — no matter what’s happening in the world. Many survivalists dream of having an underground bunker. While it’s not cheap or easy to build one, it is doable. If you’re ever in a situation in which you need a bunker, you’ll be glad you invested the time and money. Here’s our guide for building your underground bunker.
Get a Permit
you start building your bunker, you need to get a permit to ensure you stay on the
right side of the law. Consulting local authorities will also give you crucial information about
such as gas or water pipes, that might be on your property — one of the main
reasons you need a permit. Before you do anything else, research the laws in
your area and take the steps required to make sure your project is legal. You
don’t want to spend a bunch of time planning a bunker, only to find out you
can’t legally do so.
you start building your bunker, you’ll need to have as many details planned out
as you possibly can. However, planning is second nature to a survivalist, who
is always thinking about the future.
Choose a Location
of the first things you need to plan is the location of your bunker. You
probably need at least half an acre to build a decent bunker. Some important
considerations when deciding on a bunker location are:
also need to decide where you want to locate your bunker in relation to your
house. Some people build their bunkers directly underneath their home, which
allows for easy access, but can make it more likely you’ll run into obstacles
like plumbing pipes and electrical equipment. You can also put your bunker
elsewhere on your property and build a tunnel to your home, or erect a small
shed to conceal the entrance.
you’re building a decently sized bunker, you’ll likely want to use some heavy
excavation equipment. You can rent this equipment or hire someone to do your
digging for you. If you’re using heavy machinery, plan for excavation to make
up a significant portion of your budget. Technically, using a shovel is an
option, but that will take much longer unless you’re just building a small
Build Your Structure
got several options when it comes to the structure of your bunker. If you want
to go the quicker and easier route, you can use a premade structure such as a
shipping container. While this is an efficient way to get shelter finished, it will give
you a lot less flexibility in your design. If you do use a shipping container,
make sure you reinforce it, as the design of these containers doesn’t allow
them to take a heavy load on the top and sides. You’ll again need some heavy
machinery to lower the container into the hole.
can also build your structure yourself. While it will take more work and time
to do so, you can customize your shelter to your precise specifications.
significant consideration when planning your structure is what material to use
for your floor, walls and ceiling. Wood is not the best choice for a bunker.
While it’s cheap, sturdy and easy to work with, it won’t last as long as many
other materials. Untreated wood is susceptible to weathering and rotting. Even
treated wood will eventually break down and may suffer from insect infestation.
better option is metal. Welding thick metal sheets together and supporting them
with tube steel makes for a sturdy, moisture-resistance structure. The downside
to using metal is that it’s more expensive than some other options.
you want a more affordable but still sturdy option, consider using bricks or
cinderblocks. They last a long time and are relatively easy to install. Bricks
will also provide excellent insulation.
excellent option is concrete. It’s long-lasting, sturdy, affordable and
relatively easy to work with.
careful when choosing the materials you’ll work with. Even small items like the
fasteners you select have an impact on your structure’s durability and safety.
Bolts, for example, can typically withstand more
pressure than screws or nails.
Build Entrances and Exits
How you get into and out of your bunker is another vital
consideration. Many survivalists opt to create a passage from their house to
their shelter so they can get underground without going outside. You can also
create an outdoor entrance and conceal it by building a small shed over top of
it. You should always have at least two ways in and out in case one of your
passages gets blocked off.
Ensuring you have correctly supported the passages into your
bunker is essential. Use pillars made from concrete or bricks to keep your
passages sturdy and safe.
Waterproof Your Bunker
building your bunker, do everything you can to ensure moisture doesn’t seep
into it. Using a sturdy metal, concrete or brick structure is vital to keeping
water out, but you may also want to place a waterproof sheet over the top of
your shelter to provide some extra protection from moisture.
Plan for Air Filtration
also need to make sure you have access to fresh air in your bunker, which will
be crucial if you end up needing to shelter there for an extended period. Have at
least two air vents. They’ll keep fresh air flowing in your bunker and help
cool it down during the summer. Also, invest in an air filtration system and
stock up on air filters. You may also want to purchase a gas mask in case you
have to leave your bunker before the outside air is safe to breathe.
Plan for Clean Water
course, you will also need access to water while you’re in the bunker.
While you can store containers of water in your shelter, you’ll run out quickly
if you’re stuck underground for longer than you anticipated.
option is to install a large water tank next to your bunker. Doing so means
you’ll have to do more excavation, but a water tank will provide you with a
significant quantity of water.
a large water tank will eventually run out, though, if you’re in your shelter
for a long time. For this reason, it’s ideal to have a water delivery system
that can replenish itself, in addition to a water tank. You may be able to tap
into the water table from within the shelter. You might need additional permits
if you plan on digging a well in addition to your bunker. If you have running
water nearby, you may be able to install piping to channel it into your bunker.
You could also create a rainwater harvest system that collects water above the
ground and pipes it to you underground. Just make sure you invest in equipment
for filtering the water so you can ensure it’s safe to drink.
Conceal Your Underground Survival Bunker
also need to determine how you’re going to conceal your
you’re finished building it. Your hideout is going to be a lot less useful if
everyone can see where it is. So, how do you hide your bunker?
course, you’ll cover your bunker back up with dirt once you finish building it.
Use the dirt you dug out of the ground, so it blends in with the surrounding
earth. Also, plant fauna that matches the surrounding area. You want to do everything
you can to prevent the space above your bunker from standing out.
mentioned earlier, you can build a small shed to hide an outside entrance to
your shelter. If you have an entry in your house, cover it up with a piece of
furniture or carpet. You can conceal your air vents by planting bushes over
them and hiding them behind rocks.
creative with this step and use what you have to your advantage. The better
disguised your bunker is, the more secure it will be.
also want to make sure your bunker is relatively soundproof. Consider
installing soundproofing materials, such as acoustic foam, to keep any noise
from escaping into the outside world.
Add Access to Electricity
electricity in your bunker is optional, but it can make survival more
manageable and allow you to be as comfortable as possible while spending time
in your hideout.
in mind fuels like propane and kerosene are off-limits. Even if you have a good
ventilation system, it’s dangerous to use these kinds of fuels in an underground
bunker due to the fumes they create.
can connect your bunker to the power grid, but in a real doomsday scenario, you
likely won’t have reliable access to it. You can consider connecting to the
grid as a backup, though, if you like.
best bet for getting power in your bunker is an off-grid renewable energy
system such as solar panels or a small wind turbine. If you have running water
nearby, you may also be able to build a small
water turbine generator. Having a power source can make it a bit more difficult to hide your
bunker, but you could make it look like the system is powering your home, but
also run wiring to your shelter. It would be useful to have a battery system
alongside your renewable generation so you can have a more continuous flow of
if you do include electricity in your bunker plans, make sure you can also
survive down there without it, as your aboveground generation equipment could
Stock Your Bunker With Supplies
Once your bunker is ready to go, what should you store in it?
Everyone’s list will likely look a bit different, but here are some supplies to
you’ll need a supply of nonperishable food items such as canned goods and
dehydrated meals. One positive of keeping your emergency food cache underground
is that it will naturally stay a bit cool. You might also want to dig an extra
room for food storage. Just make sure it stays dry.
supplies:You’ll also need
a first-aid kit that includes essential over-the-counter medications and
emergency medical supplies such as alcohol wipes and bandages. If you need
certain medicines that are specific to you, you might want to keep a supply in
your bunker as well.
ammunition: You might also want some method of self-defense. If you store a gun,
make sure you have an adequate supply of ammunition. Just make sure you don’t
sacrifice too much space you could use for food or medical supplies to make
room for more weapons.
Just because you’re in an emergency, that doesn’t mean you can’t
have some fun while in your bunker. Keeping a positive mindset will be crucial
to your safety and survival, and having some way to entertain yourself can help
you stay upbeat. Store some board games, a deck of cards, books, art supplies,
a musical instrument, video games or whatever else you like to use for
Keep Yourself and Your Family Safe in Any Situation
an underground bunker isn’t easy. With adequate planning and the right
attitude, it is doable and well worth it. It can even be fun. It’s not cheap,
either, but you can do it affordably if you plan and get a bit creative. Just
make sure you never sacrifice safety to cut costs.
Having an underground shelter could be useful to anyone. Doomsday preppers have lots of reasons for wanting one, but they’re also helpful during natural disasters such as tornadoes. Plus, they’re excellent for storing emergency supplies. If you go all-out with your bunker, you might even find yourself wanting to hang out in it.
If you’re unaware, the biggest mistake is always talking to the police. In the following video, a former prosecutor discusses why it’s so important to keep your mouth shut! And he points out what else you should do near the end of the video…
I happened upon this first video and then the never-ending YouTube trail led me to find the rest. I’d say that I definitely haven’t seen at least half of the gadgets shown in the following videos–possibly more–many of which look really interesting! Hope you find them as enjoyable as I did…
This is a photo of my front door, maybe you can spot what’s wrong quickly:
If not, maybe this photo helps:
You see the door security latch there? It’s missing an important part:
I’d say it’s kind of useless without that piece, wouldn’t you?
The sad thing is that nothing major happened to make it break off. In fact, all I did was fling the door open a little harder than normal (because I was hauling in some firewood) and the piece literally just fell off.
The door (and thereby the security latch) didn’t even hit the wall but, instead, a shoe rack that we have to contain all of my kids shoes that they can’t figure out how to put in their room.
Perhaps this security bar latch was just a dud but, to be honest, that doesn’t give me any “warm and fuzzies” that these devices will do their job if/when the time ever comes that they’re truly needed.
Beware! Now I get to go test the other latches I have… and maybe you should too.
My kid likes to watch YouTube videos about new gadgets and occasionally I watch them with him. One video caught my eye recently where it showed a few different door security ideas. This one on the Barricade Box was particularly interesting:
Even though it’s meant for schools I can see how the barricade box may be of use for some exterior doors at home.
Another interesting device I watched was about The Barracuda Defense System which also seem more applicable to office buildings or schools, but may find some applications at home too:
The final video I watched was about the Nightlock Door Barricade which is definitely more applicable to home security situations even though the video focuses on schools:
Anyway, I thought these door security devices were neat and figured you might find them interesting as well… and maybe you’ll find them useful for your home or to recommend to your school or place of business.
My family and I have been visiting my in-laws over the Christmas holidays. The time has been nice and mostly without incident, but the day after Christmas we had an unpleasant surprise await us when we returned from the movies… the house was full of smoke!
You see, my brother-in-law had been trying to keep the house warm with my in-laws wood stove as it’s been rather cold of late here in Missouri.
Unfortunately, he had been using paper to get the wood burning fireplace going rather than firestarter bricks which they normally use.
That, coupled with the fact that they (my in-laws) haven’t had their stove flue cleaned in probably a few years AND, equally important, the flue has two 90-degree bends in it, well… the inevitable happened and the flue clogged up just enough to continue a very slow burn yet not exhaust the smoke up the chimney. And since the smoke had nowhere to go it filled the house.
Normally, we would have quickly noticed something was wrong but, since we all went to the movies, there was nobody home to realize it!
Who knows why my brother-in-law decided to try and start a fire even though we were all leaving. I assumed he wasn’t successful and had given up when I walked out the door, but I was wrong… which brings up another great point: NEVER leave your home unattended if you have a fire going because you never know what might happen.
You see, my in-laws have a few dogs, one cat, and even our dog was trapped in the house as well. Here’s my father-in-law with all the dogs standing outside in the cold:
Fortunately, my sister-in-law (who chose not to go to the movies with us) had decided to stop by and, to her surprise, found a house full of smoke along with a handful of terrified animals. If she had been 15 or 20 minutes later, who knows if we would have had a few dead animals on our hands as well.
When she realized what was going on my sister-in-law quickly called 9-1-1, ushered out the dogs, and managed to corral the cat too. Within minutes the fire department showed up, along with an ambulance and two police cars; I’m sure it was a scene for the neighbors, to say the least.
Within an hour or so the fire department had removed the obvious smoke so we could go inside again. Regrettably, ever since then the entire house has smelled like a campfire but worse because there’s no fresh air to replace the smoky smell. The first night or two most of us had a bit of a headache and I actually slept with the window open even though it was quite cold that night.
It was so bad that we (really my wife and sister-in-law) decided to wash the walls with a vinegar/water solution and vacuumed the carpets with baking soda. Eventually, they’ll get the carpets cleaned professionally too. The cleaning has helped, though, it will probably be months before the smell complete dissipates.
Anyway, I figured I would share a personal example of a failure to be safe to get the New Year off to a running start, lol. Yes, it was a “perfect storm” of mistakes that caused the problem, but all of the mistakes could have easily been avoided had we considered our safety–and that of our pets–and bit more.
Winter is here, and the temperatures are falling fast. One thing no one wants to think about is the possibility of getting stranded in the snow. How will you survive if you get stranded in the woods during a blizzard, or your car gets stuck in a snowdrift on the side of the road? What about getting snowed-in when the power goes out? Here’s a comprehensive guide that will help keep you alive if you get stranded in the snow.
Stranded in Your Car
You’re heading over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house when the unthinkable happens — you hit a patch of ice and drift into a snowbank, getting your tires stuck. You can call AAA, but you’re stuck with the task of surviving until they reach you. How can you survive getting stranded in your car in the snow?
Car survival starts with proper preparation. You should keep a survival kit in your car at all times, which should include supplies like:
Food: Keep some high-protein,non-perishable snacks in your survival kit, like nuts and protein bars. You’ll need more calories to keep moving if it’s cold.
Water: Store plenty of drinking water in your kit. If you can, store them upside-down so that the tops don’t freeze. You can still get dehydrated even if it’s snowing outside, so make sure you drink plenty of water.
Extra clothing and blankets: You need to stay as warm as possible. Keep an extra set of clothes and some blankets in your car so that you can layer up or change clothes if you get wet.
Flares and flashlights: Emergency flares can help rescue crews see you even if it’s snowing heavily. Flashlights will keep you from draining your phone battery trying to see in the dark.
A spare phone battery and charger: Keep your phone charged so that you can contact emergency services.
A shovel: A military e-tool (folding shovel) is ideal because it takes up very little space when folded. You’ll need to keep your tailpipe clear of snow and other obstructions if you’re planning on running the car to stay warm. If the exhaust pipe gets blocked, it can cause carbon monoxide to back up into the car.
The key is to stay warm until the tow truck or other rescue services can arrive. You can run the car to keep warm, but make sure that the tailpipe is clear. Car interiors aren’t very good at conserving heat, so if you’re worried about running out of gas, just run the car until it’s warm, then shut it off. Turning the car on for short periods will conserve fuel while helping to keep you warm.
Try to remove the snow around and underneath your tires, as well as the snow in front of your car, as much as you can. Then, try to move the vehicle forward and back slowly, a few feet at a time, to see if you can get enough traction to get yourself out of the snow and back onto the road. If you’ve got a few people in the car, you may be able to get yourself un-stuck with some old-fashioned elbow grease.
You can give yourself more traction with sand or kitty litter too. Just make sure you’re using something natural — you’re not going to be picking it up afterward.
[Editor’s note: A come-a-long could be a useful tool for this very purpose.]
Keep snow chains or other traction tools in your survival kit as well. It might be cold outside, but adding chains to your tires is a lot better than staying out in the cold for hours or days on end.
Stranded in the Woods
Camping or hiking in the winter can be fantastic, but getting stranded in a blizzard can be dangerous. The key to survival here is to have the right equipment. You’ll need four primary things to survive if you’re stranded in the wilderness— food, water, shelter and warmth. If you’re camping or hiking, chances are you have at least two of those things. If you don’t have water, melting snow over a campfire is a useful alternative.
You should know that shelter is essential if you’re hiking or stranded without a tent. A proper shelter will help protect you from the wind and keep you a little bit warmer while you ride out the storm. If you find yourself stranded in the wilderness, building a shelter should be your first priority. Look for downed branches, especially those from coniferous trees that still have a lot of foliage on them. You can use them to build a lean-to in a sheltered area to protect you.
If the snow is deep enough, don’t hesitate to start digging. Snow insulates and can help keep you warm and out of the wind. Just make sure the roof of your snow structure is strong enough that it won’t collapse and trap you inside. You can even dig a trench in the snow just large enough for you and top it with the branches you found.
Your second priority is to build a fire, which serves two purposes: to keep you warm–which is vital in these situations–and the smoke from your fire can help rescuers or passers-by narrow in on your location.
Doing so can be difficult in the wintertime because most of the dead wood is wet from the snow, but if you can get a good fire started, you should be able to dry out most anything. You’ll need a firestarter (the Swedish Light My Fire firesteel is good). If you smoke and have a Bic lighter in your pocket, you should be covered. If you don’t usually carry a lighter, starting a fire with wet wood can be nearly impossible. It might be a good skill to practice when you’re not in a survival situation.
Significant Health Hazards in the Winter Woods
Be aware of the two most significant health hazards that come from wintertime survival situations — hypothermia and frostbite.
Hypothermia is the condition that occurs when your body temperature drops too low. You’ll start to shiver uncontrollably — it’s your body’s natural way of trying to warm you up — and you may begin to get confused or have trouble thinking. You’ll know it’s progressed to severe hypothermia if you stop shivering. At this point, your body has used up your energy reserves and can’t keep you warm any longer. At this stage, medical intervention is needed.
Frostbite occurs when the tissue in your extremities or any exposed areas freezes. The water in your cells turns to ice crystals, causing the cells to burst. Severe frostbite can even require amputation. Stay as covered as possible, and take the time to warm up your fingers and toes, especially if they start to tingle or the flesh starts to feel hard.
If you know you’re going to be out in the woods, investing in some self-heating clothing which can help keep you warm no matter how cold it gets. If you’re going to be out in the snow fora while, or you find yourself stranded, this gear ends up being worth every penny.
Once you have a shelter and a fire, it’s time to start thinking about food and water. There are plenty of foods you can forage for in the winter time. Just be sure you double and triple check anything you harvest to be sure that it’s not poisonous.
Stranded at Home
Weathering a winter storm at home might not seem like the hardest thing in the world to do, but if the power goes out and with it your heat, it can quickly become a survival situation.
Keep a storm preparation kit in your home at all times. It will be similar to the one that we listed above in the section about getting stranded in your car, with a few notable differences:
Water: You might be able to get by with a few water bottles in your car, but at home, you’ll need more. Plan on one gallon of water per person per day for the duration of the storm. Half of that is for drinking, and the other half is for hygiene needs.
Battery or crank-powered weather radio: Keep track of the storm and changes in the weather with a radio that’s tuned in to your local NOAA station.
Diapers, formula and other infant supplies: If you have a baby in the home, keep everything they’ll need in your emergency kit.
Pet supplies: The same rule goes for pets. Make sure you have everything they could need for the duration of the storm.
Prescription medications: If anyone in your household relies on prescription medications, make sure you have a sufficient supply on hand before the storm hits.
Flashlights and lanterns: If the power goes out and it’s storming outside, these tools can make it easier to see.
The most important thing to do during a winter storm–especially if the power goes out–is to stay warm, fed and well-hydrated. In most cases, all you can do is wait it out.
If the power is likely to go out, consider investing in a generator to keep your lights, heat and other appliances running until power is restored. Always place the generator outside, and make sure it’s clear of snow and other obstructions before starting it up. Don’t plug your generator into your home’s main power though as doing so can create dangerous feedback for linemen who are trying to restore power after the storm.
Further Steps to Take While Waiting at Home
Unless you have a fireplace, don’t start a fire in the house. If you do have a fireplace, make sure the chimney isn’t blocked by snow for some odd reason. Otherwise, the smoke and CO2 can start building up to dangerous levels inside your home since it will have nowhere else to go.
[Editor’s note: ALWAYS have a quality battery-powered CO2 alarm if you have a fireplace or any gas appliances… it could save your life!]
Keep each room closed, primarily if you’re relying on a fireplace or portable space heaters to keep warm, and try to avoid going outside if at all possible. Homes are designed to maintain their internal temperature, but opening doors let in more cold air which then must be needlessly heated. Besides, it’s usually safer to stay inside during a winter storm anyway.
Remember to be aware of the signs of frostbite and hypothermia even at home. Make sure to stay dry. You might sweat or get wet from moving snow away from the door or generator. If you do, change your clothes immediately upon coming inside! Wet clothing pulls more heat away from the body, increasing your risk of hypothermia.
When you’re sheltering at home, the best thing you can do is stay warm, stay hydrated and wait for the storm to pass. Electric companies sometimes can’t work to restore power until the storm is over, so be prepared to remain in place even after the sun comes out and the storm dies down.
Take the time to check on your neighbors once it’s safe to do so as well. Young children and the elderly are more at risk during a winter storm, so if you can safely walk to the neighbors’ house then it might be worth it to check on them and make sure they’re warm and have plenty of food and water.
Staying Safe in the Worst Circumstances
No one wants to think about getting stranded in the snow, but it does happen. The best thing you can do, in any of these situations, is to be prepared for it. Set up an emergency kit in your car and home. Keep a small survival kit — with supplies like matches, a knife, a saw and some high-protein snacks — on your person or in a vehicle at all times. If you’re heading out into the wilderness, be prepared. Have proper clothing, and remember the four most important things that you need — food, water, shelter and warmth.
Winter is here–ready or not–and the snow has already started to fall. Being prepared for such a situation can quite literally mean the difference between life and death. Take the time to prepare now, before you need any of these supplies or survival skills. Wintertime is beautiful, but without the proper preparation, it can also be deadly. Stay safe out there.