Winter Survival: How to Blend into a Winter Environment

winter-camoSo why camo?  To blend in, naturally!  And what to do about the winter?  Well, one can always throw a bedsheet overtop of their head and squat, pretending to be a snowdrift!  Seriously, ReadyNutrition Readers, let’s talk about winter camo and cover a few tips and fine points to help you in your preparations.

The circumstances are yours to tailor-make, as everyone lives in different geographical regions and different population amounts.  That being said, it may not behoove you to walk down Main Street in Chicago dressed up with so much Real Tree camouflage that you bring to mind the “mean trees” on the Wizard of Oz!  Generally speaking, (except either for Chernobyl or Fukushima), trees don’t usually walk all around the neighborhood. You must match up your environment with how you intend to camouflage yourself.

Blend Into Your Winter Environment

We are going to go on a basis of the camo needs you will face if the EMP detonates, the missiles are on the way, and the “S is definitely Hitting TF,” so to speak.  The key word for you to remember: synthetics.  Synthetics, such as nylon and polyester are going to provide you with what is needed.  Cotton is not for exterior wear: it turns to sludge and wears out fast.  Synthetics are more durable for your outer camo wear: they clean more easily and do not rip.

Camo for Urban Environments

In an urban environment, you want to concentrate on your greys and off-whites and some striping or spotting of black…intermittently, of course.  You don’t want to appear to be a walking “parking lot” or a “driveway with legs.”  Adjust with where you are living, naturally, for example if you are surrounded by brick buildings or brownstones, you need to not stick out akin to a sore thumb.  Utilize the appropriate color for where you are going to hide, whether it is temporary or permanent.

Your top is the defining portion of your camouflage, since your head is (should be) facing in the direction of potential threat/enemy contact.  You’ll need a top for yourself, and a “shroud” for your backpack/rucksack.  Make sure your top has a hood and that it is not too tightly-fitting.  The top should be 1-2 sizes larger than what you normally wear.

The photo is of a military-issue top, ranging in price from $20-30, depending on the outlet.  Make sure the NSN is 8415002237627, made completely of nylon with a corded drawstring for the hood.  The good thing about it is it has a self-contained bag attached at the neck that the whole thing scrunches up and fits inside.  As it is nylon, it will not be all messed up from the elements.

You can pick up a nylon or polyester bed sheet for a child’s bed for use as a shroud to throw over either you or your rucksack or both, if you are lying in the prone.  Remember, both the top and bottom is for if there’s snow covering the ground…you’ll have to make an adjustment for urban or suburban conditions.

You’ll want to wear face masks that both keep you warm and break up the reflection of your face.  Sunglasses are also very important to use during the winter months to protect from snow-glare and prevent snow-blindness.  JJ prefers a baseball cap for its visor…this helps to shield the sunglasses as well as provide a little bit of shade for the eyes.  If you have the top pictured, you can cover the cap with the hood, no problem.

Also, do not neglect your protection from windburn and the cold elements.  JJ’s preference for the lips is Carmex lip balm, as it has menthol that helps heal the chapping, or make your own.  Don’t forget your gloves! This will help maintain body heat when you are exposed.  While you’re camouflaging yourself, remember to make sure your gloves are not anything other than snow tones or earth tones.  Finally, subdue all things that glitter…let them not give your position away.  For scoped rifles, you can place pantyhose over the forward objective lens…you can still see through it and it cuts down on the glare that would reflect off and give you away.

Just a few pointers to give you some food for thought.  Make sure you blend with your surroundings, whatever they may be.  Also remember that camouflage is not the same as cover…it does not make you “bulletproof,” per se.  Use your synthetic materials wisely, and shop around.  We’d love to hear from you and your ideas that you have experimented with, and welcome all comments.  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published October 21st, 2016
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  • A Arizonian

    Well done JJ!

  • grayfozx114

    I going to share something that I stumbled onto by accident, something I have not seen discussed before, and it is extremely applicable to winter survival/combat. Several years ago, me and mine were goose hunting. It had snowed, there was a foot or three on the ground, and then cleared and the temp was around -15 with a wind. BRUTAL! To hunt, we pout out decoys, then laid down in the snow and covered with a sheet. It did not take long for the cold to seep in! Getting ready to hunt on a particular day, I was in my garage when I noticed the sheet styro foam that a refrigerator we had purchased had bee wrapped in. It was three layers, about 4′ wide and 10+ feet long. Perfect size. I put it in my pack and went hunting the next day. Laying on the snow on the foam, I was absolutely comfortable, no cold from the snow! Worked good till my partners noticed I wasn’t freezing! They attacked and divided the foam….even a single sheet between the body and the ground made a tremendous difference, and the foam turned out to be the exact color and texture as the snow. I personally think anyone contemplating snow combat/survival should locate and use styro sheets. They weigh nothing, wad into a compact ball that fits almost anywhere..

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