Winter Survival: Practical Preps for an Emergency Bug Out
“I got to, got to, got to, get away…turn me loose, baby.” – Jimi Hendrix, “Stone Free”
Yes, ReadyNutrition guys and gals, there comes a time when you just “got to get away,” so to speak. This doesn’t mean to the sands of (what used to be) St. Bart’s. This means “E&E,” or “Escape and Evasion,” as we used to call it in the Army. But what if your car is not working because of an EMP…and you have two feet of snow on the ground? What if you have a sheet of ice so thick on the ground that the Olympic Hockey Team could practice on it? The “suck” factor will be high, and the adrenaline will be pumping. You have to get out of there. Are you prepared?
You can be. Firstly, let’s refresh a few things that have been mentioned already. You have your BOB (your happy “Bug-Out Bag”) if you wish to call it that. It should be packed and ready in your vehicle.
And at this stage of the game, you should have already switched off for your winter needs, as we covered in numerous articles before.
You need both a Gore-Tex top and bottom for extreme cold weather. First things first! What are you facing? If it’s the ice, you need a pair of Yak-Trak’s or Crepons (like these) to place upon your feet with metal spikes on the bottom to give you some traction. Yes, these guys will run you about 30 to 40 bucks, and it’s well worth it. The rubber harness that holds either springs or spikes/metal cleats are durable and will last you for more than a couple seasons if you use them regularly.
Remember JJ’s principle of redundancy: You use one pair for daily use, and the other pair you “squirrel” away for an emergency.
You don’t want to have that everyday pair break down right at the critical moment. According to Murphy’s Law, what can go wrong will go wrong. You can even the odds if you buy two of each item…one for regular use and one for emergency/backup. OK, so you have just emerged from the car and ran across a large deserted parking lot full of ice to the woods. At the tree line, you notice that the snow has drifted to a depth of a foot and a half.
Next on the agenda is a pair of snowshoes. Now, depending on where you live, you may need a really good pair…the kind that is about 32-36” in length. For your immediate getaway and for lightness and convenience, there is an alternative to carry with your backpack. Snowshoes used by utility men and electrical linemen.
These guys are made out of really durable plastic…the kind that a nuclear weapon might have a hard time melting. Just joking, there, but you see the point. These snowshoes are more compact and are usually a bright orange color. Some plastic surface bonding spray paint will take care of that. They make them orange so that in the course of their work when they set them down they won’t lose them. It makes sense. Now you’ll have to adapt them to your use and purpose.
They’ll slip over the top of your shoes/boots, and can be adjusted with straps. They work. There’s a lot of different kinds. I prefer the ones that are a little more “rounded” than the rest, so they resemble a large tennis racket head. This gives you plenty of surface area. Throw them on and take them off later with ease. These will run you about $30, but you can find them in your second-hand stores if you search hard enough.
Lastly, how about a toboggan? Yeah, sounds stupid, I know…until you realize you would like to haul some stuff with you away from your now-worthless SUV that the EMP has fried. The toboggan I’m referring to is basically a plastic sheet (the tougher the better) with two holes located at the top…yeah, a kid’s toy.
Until you have jerks shooting at you and you need to go down a long stretch of hill. Or until you have about 50 lbs. of stuff you don’t want to leave with the vehicle.
Do yourself a favor and make sure you have about a 10 to 15-foot section of rope with you, burned on both ends that can haul or lift a couple of hundred pounds. This will make life easier for you to drag that toboggan with you. The toboggan can also be used as a ground cover or as a wind barrier if you have to start a fire. Your only limit is your imagination.
So, these are some simple and cost-effective methods to help you E&E in the Great Winter Wonderland! Make sure you test your equipment and practice with it. If you’ve never used it before, you’ll be at a disadvantage when the SHTF and you have to do it for real. Practice makes perfect, and there’s no better time to start than the present. JJ out!
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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.
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