Let me start this article by stating the obvious. The cold is real. It will kill you fast. We are going to talk about self imposed cold survival. If you are new to survival or don’t have refined skills in terms of packing, shelter making and fire craft, be sure you don’t put yourself at risk in a cold weather situation that might cost you your life. Instead, plan on a future cold weather trip when you are better prepared. Again, the cold will kill you if you don’t have fire and you cannot get to shelter. Keep that in mind.
In all things there is a balance of risk and reward. Practicing survival skills is no different.
For a long time I thought that as the cold weather moved in things like sleeping bags, tents, waders and fishing poles had to go up for the year. Maybe dust off the old 30-06 and do a couple hunting trips before tucking in for the winter, was my MO. My motto has since changed.
Perhaps it was the evolution of skills and confidence in those survival skills. Maybe it was a confidence in my backup gear or it could have been the fact that I understand the land and its resources better than ever. Either way, its time to embrace cold weather survival. The learning season should never end.
While you might be wondering about the motivations behind cold weather survival and why anyone would abandon the wood stove for a dangerous night in the cold, well, it goes back to the risk/reward. In the cold you will be tested in a much more extreme way. Your ability to make fire, find food, stay warm and survive in general will be tested in ways that warm summer nights by the camp fire cannot mimic.
Its a true test of ones skills but you need to understand how dangerous it can be. For even the most seasoned you should maintain a quick escape to climate control. Don’t camp too far away from your car. Things can and will go wrong and you might need to get out of the are for life or death reasons.
The truth about the cold is that it will teach you the most about what you are lacking.