It’s that time of year again folks! Time to break out the winter gloves, warm coats, toboggans and scarfs because old man winter is coming. I have been waiting for the weather to get colder myself but I am in a small minority apparently. Everyone I talk to would rather be on the beach somewhere soaking up the sun. I like beach vacations as much as the next person, but I like some really cold weather every year to make me appreciate the warm days of summer. I don’t feel right unless there has been some form of winter snow or storm to get teeth chattering and finally justify the purchase of those long johns.
With Cold weather you also have the nastier effects of storms which wipe out power and leave people stranded in doors for days. This normal phenomenon of Mother Nature gives us plenty of practice with our own preparedness supplies and I wanted to write down some simple cold weather preparedness tips you can use to get ahead of the game this year. Make sure you have all of these supplies on hand so that if you are forced to survive through a crippling winter storm, you will be able to laugh at old Jack Frost.
Let’s start with the basics. It never fails – whenever we have the threat of any kind of inclement weather, my wife asks me to stop by the store for some item she needs for dinner. This isn’t anything we have to have mind you, just something she forgot usually on her routine trips out. My job is to completely forget the pandemonium that awaits me at the grocery store until I round the corner into the parking lot. Then it hits me… She sent me to the store again right before a blizzard or ice storm or wintery blast was forecast for our region. Cue the ominous music now.
Just like thousands of other people in our town, I am rushing into the grocery store to get some last-minute items, but this should be a “nice to have”, not a necessity for survival items.
Even if I could not stop by the store, we would have plenty of food to last us several months at a minimum. Our food storage plan has ensured that we already have been stocking up on the foods we routinely eat and foods that are for long-term storage. There hasn’t been a storm I know of that ever lasted that long. You need to make sure you have plenty of food on hand at all times so that if an unforeseen event like this sneaks up on you, you won’t run the risk of heading to the store only to find it empty. Worse would be waiting until the blizzard or storm has you trapped in your house to realize you don’t have any food to eat. Don’t be that guy!
With wintry weather you frequently have power outages so it is important to have food that either does not require cooking or alternate ways of cooking your food. I prefer the latter because no matter what the food is, it always tastes better when it has been heated up at a minimum. If you are trapped in an apartment, a simple camp stove will give you almost anything you need to heat water and cook meals. I have a JetBoil Flash and plenty of spare fuel cans. With this I can heat water for coffee, re-hydrating freeze dried food or cook things like ramen noodles or pasta. I can easily use this in the house as long as I am careful with it.
In addition to the JetBoil, I always have a spare 20 gallon propane tank for my grill. Nothing says power outage like grilling steaks outside when its 5 degrees. Plus, this earns extra “Man points” with the wife. Double bonus if you are using the backup propane tank to grill Venison tenderloin you killed this year on the grill while it is snowing! This type of activity requires a good Scotch in my opinion.
Depending on where you live this can either be a no-brainer or something you need to plan for. In the North, cold weather gear is part of a normal wardrobe. People who live in the South can get surprised. Imagine living in Florida where your entire wardrobe is flip flops and shorts and going through a snow storm. I have found that layering works the best in every situation I have been in. With a pair of long johns as my base layer, fleece and a wind/water repellent jacket I am covered for just about any contingency. Warm gloves and a nice fleece toboggan will keep me warm outside unless I am laying in the snow on just about any day.
I try to hang on to Winter clothes that we either don’t wear anymore or have outgrown because they don’t take up too much space in the attic and you can always find someone who needs that old jacket of yours because they have nothing but a hoody.
Unless you are homeless or out on the road, you have a roof over your head to protect you from the worst effects of the winter weather. What normally happens is that through loss of power or natural gas, people can’t heat their homes. Within a short amount of time, your home, if unheated could be the same temperature as outside. Having a plan to heat your home is one of the most overlooked items when you are preparing for cold weather.
I like to have options so for heat, I have a Kerosene heater and plenty of stored fuel to keep the house warm if we lose both electric and natural gas. I also have sleeping bags that would keep us comfy down to 20 degrees. Using the clothing layer approach, a little supplemental heat can go a long way.
What if you are stranded in your vehicle in a snow storm like that family in Nevada last week? This is when your vehicle Survival Kit will be put to the test. If you are driving and you don’t have basic supplies to keep everyone in the vehicle alive in the event of inclement weather, you should take care of that now. A decent vehicle survival kit is easy to create and can probably be pulled together with the equipment you already have laying around the house somewhere. In cold weather you need a way to stay warm, eat and drink and possibly signal for help. Add a good first aid kit in there and you have the basics that should keep you alive if you find yourself trapped on the road.
With just some simple preparations, you can ensure your family will be able to weather the cold this year with no major problems no matter what Mother Nature blows our way.