Extremely cold temperatures do not mess around, so you cannot either when it comes to cold weather sleeping preparation. You need to be prepared as much as you possibly can to survive your night’s sleep in freezing conditions.
Protection against a cold environment calls for the necessary gear to get you in and out alive. The following gear puts the warmth straight back into you and keeps it there throughout the night. These eight categories contain all the essential items and measures you need to take to survive this type of outdoor sleeping.
Before you embark on such of an expedition, make sure you brush up on or learn basic survival skills in freezing conditions. Sleeping in sub-zero conditions can seriously injure or kill you – especially if you do not have the right equipment or knowledge.
First and foremost, your body needs plenty of hydration to accomplish anything and operate smoothly. Without it, you can call your sweet night’s sleep goodbye. Keep water as your number one priority throughout your venture.
Be sure to get an insulated double-wall container – such as a 64-oz. growler with filtered water. Since you will most likely finish the water that you brought from the start of your journey, bring a water filtration system as well. Then, you can convert river water, ice, or snow to your much-needed water reserve.
You need food. Period. For your metabolism to keep running properly, well-planned nutrition is essential to keeping your body warm.
While in freezing conditions, focus on bringing foods that will generate heat for your body: ginger root, hot soup, onion, oats, beans, and tree nuts. Aim to achieve serving the food as warm as you can possibly handle it because the thermal nature of the food will heat your body.
Avoid extremely cooling foods such as bananas, lettuce, tomato, and drinks with ice. These foods are designed for high-heat climates or circumstances to cool the body down. Your entire goal to get a good night’s sleep is to stay warm.
While camping in the frigid wilderness, you will already be accustomed to gather appropriate materials to start a fire for warmth. If you do not know how to start a fire in regular conditions, do not attempt to go outdoor sleeping in extreme cold weather.
When you are ready for fire starting, bring a few matches and a lighter just in case one or the other checks out of service. Lookout for dry brush, leaves, and thin sticks to start a burning ember. Then, add more dry wood accordingly to the wind and environment conditions.
Just in case, bring an emergency fire starter kit if you come across an unexpected situation of restricted access to basic fire-starting materials.
A Swiss Army knife or other useful multi-tool is a vital part of any backpacker looking to forgo a bitter-cold night. It will help preparing brush for the fire, fixing other gear, preparing food to eat, and a plethora of other situations you might find yourself in to prepare for the night.
You also might need to skin an animal you hunted or descale a fish you caught with it. It is small, compact and is designed to be your best sidekick in extreme weather conditions.
If possible, invest in a tent or at least a bivy sack to get you through the long night of sleeping. Find a tent or sleeping bag with an insulated pad to place over the hard, cold ground. At night, most of heat escapes you by way of the ground underneath you. A well-place insulated pad can be the difference between life and death.
Furthermore, having a shelter that you can set up easily and quickly can save you from spending precious time and energy building a snow wall or snow cave.
If you get the basic water, food, and fire gear sections down-packed, keeping yourself warm using the classic greenhouse effect is the extremely vital to your sleeping survival.
A heavy insulated jacket, multi-insulated sleeping bag, wool socks, waterproof and steel toe boots, thermal underwear, fleece mask, wool beanie, and wool gloves are your best bet for keeping the heat within that you worked so hard to generate. Invest more in these items because the heat that is keeping you alive is the heat your own body cultivates. So, keep it close, and keep it hot!
In today’s technological age, it is easy to think GPS first; but, have your primary method of navigation as a physical map. It won’t lose battery when you need it the most and it will not freeze. You may fall asleep and may not recognize where you left off on your route. So, to counter this, mark the spot where you are before you fall into your snooze.
Of course, bring a compass and GPS as well. But, primarily use the compass and map in tandem, and store away the GPS as a last reserve for way-finding.
We never expect when we may get hurt. Especially preparing for and during a freezing night. A first-aid kit is a critical component to this list. It can be easily overlooked as something to not be that concerned about, but it could be your largest chance at life when you need it the most.
Make sure your first-aid kit at least contains gauze dressings, bandages, tweezers, anti-bacterial wipes, a reflective blanket, and a flashlight with working batteries for your night out. These items are always handy helping you out of several predicaments.
Feel free to take notes of this list and read it several times before you have a deep understanding of what gear it takes to survive a night out in the freezing cold. Sleeping in frigid weather is not an undertaking for the faint of heart, so be sure in yourself before you set out on your voyage.
Warm food, clean water, fire creation, a Swiss Army knife, insulated clothing and shelter, dependable navigation, and an emergency kit are all necessary to prepare and successfully carry out night in the dark, unforgiving cold.