Are You Ready to Bug Out in the Cold?

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    Spring may be less than five weeks away but you a quick step outside might not have you believing it. With record cold temperatures plaguing much of the country and plenty of snow still falling to add to that already on the ground, spring is more of a mirage than a reality. Wishful thinking may bring thoughts of spring, but that is as good as it gets while we deal with ice, snow, and bitter cold.

    What if you had to bug out right now, in the type of weather we are currently experiencing? Do you have a plan in place to generate and maintain the heat and warmth needed to survive? Are you able to outfit yourself to survive severe cold? Protecting your body is an essential part of cold weather survival. Without your body in good working order, having all the supplies in the world will do you no good.

    Most of the heat loss we experience is through our heads. Having something on your head will enable your body to better retain heat, making it not have to work so hard to generate more heat to compensate for what is lost. Having a warm hat with flaps such as trooper hat or ushanka will aid in heat retention by keeping your noggin warm. While you are thinking about outfitting your head to stay warm, take care of your face and eyes at the same time by purchasing a good pair of sunglasses or safety goggles. Both will help you face biting wind but UVA or UVB polarized sunglasses can aid in avoiding snow blindness.

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    Your hands and feet will also be an important part of your survival since you will need them to complete many tasks. Having cold or even frostbitten hands will put you at a great disadvantage. If your hands are allowed to become extremely cold or even riddled by frostbitten skin, you can lose the ability to perform tasks as simple as feeding yourself. It is also possible to lose both hands and feet to frostbite (along with ears, noses, etc) so protecting them from the elements is the only surefire way to ensure those body parts are in it for the long haul. Without your feet, you could wind up not only able to escape and evade effectively but also stranded in one place. When it comes to hands and feet, don't forget to prepare with warm, waterproof gloves as well as thick socks and waterproof footwear. Also useful are hand and foot warmers for when the going gets especially tough.

    As great as it is to have warm hands and feet to go with your warm head, you still need to take precautions to keep your core warm as well. Keeping the temperature of your core as consistent as possible while still retaining freedom of movement to accomplish tasks can be tricky, which is where layering clothing comes into play. By layering lightweight clothing closer to your body, your core will be able to get warmer more quickly. Atop this layer of lighter clothes, a heavier, waterproof layer should be added to seal the deal and keep you dry. An easy way to look at this is having a comfort layer against your skin, followed by warming layers, and lastly a exterior layer that will protect from the elements.

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    Winter will be over soon, or so they say, but you are in no way ensured that a SHTF scenario will not present itself between now and then. Convenience is something that seldom exists when things are going right, let alone when they are going wrong. Take Old Man Winter seriously and prepare for anything he may throw at you, including bugging out in the cold.

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