Here are some survival gear items you should always have in the winter months.
We know you won't like hearing this, but winter and extremely cold weather is almost here. Every year, people find themselves in trouble in their outdoor activities because they don't have the proper winter survival gear on hand.
We're talking stuff beyond the usual first aid kits and snow shovels. The things beyond the base layers, winter boots, mittens, balaclava masks and hand warmers you use to keeping toasty warm in harsh winter weather conditions.
For the purposes of this article we're going to highlight a few key items for your survival kit that could save your life in cold weather. Because in a survival situation, you will need every edge you can get.
The Original Space Blanket
Most people who find themselves in danger in a cold weather survival situation realize the most danger simply comes from the cold. Frostbite and hypothermia are no joke and can kill you quickly in extreme winter conditions like a snowstorm.
We chose this emergency blanket for this list for a few reasons. One, this product is extremely highly rated by users on Cabela's. It's garnered up 100 five-star reviews and zero reviews under four stars. The blanket's reputation speaks for itself as campers and hunters rave about how warm it kept them in extreme conditions.
Second, there are a ton of "emergency shelter" and emergency sleeping bags on the market, but this offers more versatility than those other products. You can wrap it around yourself to help retain body heat. Or you can stake it up like a tarp as a bivy or shelter thanks to grommets in the corners.
This blanket is waterproof, windproof and rated for cold temperatures down to -20°F. It also only weighs about 12 ounces, meaning its light to pack into a winter survival kit or for a prepper's bug out bag. At only $16.99, there's really no excuse to not have one to protect yourself from the elements.
UCO Titan Stormproof Match
There is no shortage of fire starting tools on the camping market today. Many people buy a cheap magnesium fire starter, toss it in their bag and call it a day.
For the record, we don't hate this kind of fire starter, because they do work. But in the harshest of winter weather conditions, when you NEED a fire now, a magnesium or other type of fire starter could provide nothing but headaches, regardless of your level of survival skills, and especially if all the wood or tinder you have is wet.
That's why we're recommending these windproof and stormproof matches. If you've never seen these things in action, we recommend looking them up on YouTube where countless people have tested them. These are not your ordinary matches. They produce a huge flame that some user reviews compare to a road flare! They also burn for up to 25 seconds, giving you plenty of time to stoke the fire and really get it going.
But the most impressive thing about these matches? You can literally dip them in water and when you pull them out, they will re-ignite on their own. You can see how useful that feature will be when it is cold, and you're wet from snow and ice. They're also going to be easier to handle than other matches at four inches long.
SOG Survival Hawk Hatchet
A hatchet or tomahawk is always a good tool to have in any survival situation. You can use it to chop firewood, clear downed trees blocking your vehicle, split the pelvic bone of a harvested animal and many other uses. In the winter, a hatchet can be useful for clearing away packed ice and snow too.
There are plenty of options on Cabela's and many other outdoor retailers for heavy duty hatchets, especially survival-style ones. We picked this SOG Survival Hawk because it has almost exclusively four and five-star reviews online, with users describing it as lightweight and easy to handle. It also includes a hammer and nail puller for additional useful features.
This blade also features a fire starter that stores in the handle, giving you additional value. The blade is full tang, so you can put a lot of force behind this blade while chopping without worry of the tool breaking on you.
Cabela's Alaskan Guide Series Headlamp
In the winter, the days are short, and the nights are long. If you get into a survival situation, you're going to need light at some point. When that happens, you need a light you can trust. The Cabela's Alaskan Guide headlamp is one of the highest-rated ones sold on the site with over 200 perfect five-star reviews that praise this for being a very reliable and light weight light source.
This headlamp is 45 lumens using four LED bulbs. This light is waterproof. It also lets you cycle through four different light modes of high, medium, low and flash. That last mode could be useful for helping signal searchers looking for you.
But probably the biggest reason we chose this one over the others is because of the 105-hour battery life off three AAA batteries. That means it should be useful to you for prolonged periods of time where you might be stranded or otherwise unable to reach safety. It's comforting to know your headlamp will be able to function when you need it. And psychology is a large part of survival according to most experts.