Honestly, ask yourself, what will you do? Well, there are some options, and we’re going to cover them. Naturally, many of these will not apply if you live in a state that doesn’t receive much snow, such as in the deserts or the more “balmy” states. Still, you may be able to take a few things away from this. Let’s do it!
How to Get Out of Dodge in the Snow
First, are your “Go/Bug-Out” bags ready? If you’re traveling somewhere together as a family and the distance is more than a few miles, emergency bags and gear should be in the vehicle for every member of the family: no exceptions! We’ve covered bags until we’re blue in the face. Here are some essential gear must-haves (just to “refresh” your memory):
- Fire-starting equipment
- Small first aid kit
- Cold weather gear
- Poncho/tarp with grommets and bungees (for a lean-to)
- Three days of food (minimum)
- Water-purification equipment (filter, or iodine tablets)
- A weapon and ammo
Protecting Your Feet is a Top Priority for Winter Survival
Remember, your basic survival needs are your top priority when the conditions are harsh. Now, the snow! Myself? I cannot (repeat, cannot) go anywhere at all unless I have my snowshoes with me. Another option and one that I mentioned before is to find the kind of snowshoes made of durable plastic and either orange or yellow, used by the utility and electric companies for a song. Yeah, they’re not exactly “tactical” in color, but if you desire, you can paint them with spray paint. They’re that color to enable guys who are working to be able to find them after their lunch break is over, not to run with…but they work and are strong.
There are plenty of other “high-end” snowshoes, and you’ll have to shop the market. You want a pair that can carry your weight and at least 20 lbs. The contractor ones will do this, and they’re not very large or cumbersome. Keep them together with 2 D-hooks, and throw them in the back of the vehicle. Next, you need to practice on them. If you’ve never done it, walking on the snow is a different task, especially if you’re carrying gear.
Gore-Tex is ideal for shielding your body from the relentless winter weather. A word to the wise – if you can cover yourself in Gore-Tex – do it! Just one below freezing night out in the backyard without it, and you’ll run to the store when the day comes. That Gore-Tex enables you to stay warm and dry, and it “breathes,” keeping you from being a humidifier and soaked to the skin. You need good, thick socks and quality boots…I recommend Rocky Gore-Tex boots with at least 1000 grams of Thinsulate, for starters.
On a side note, make sure a good ground pad is with you. In the wintertime, you’ll need all the insulation that you can get from the ground. I jump back to the toboggans again: if you have a light rucksack as a “go” bag, you may be able to tote it…and haul other stuff in the toboggan, such as tools, clothes, and have space for extra food and supplies you may pick up on the way.
Bug Out Considerations
There are a lot of considerations before you head out on foot. What’s your plan? First of all, keep a map of the area you’re driving, and have it handy before you go. If things go south and the “S” hits the fan, you need all the intel you can get on site…where you’re located at the time it happens. Knowing where malls, stores, gas stations, pharmacies and the like are will help, and you can mark them on the map. Depending on where you are, you may choose to stay with the vehicle for a while, but if this is done? You may want to get it off the main road and camouflage it somewhat.
We talked about a Toboggan before for a load around the house…but what about the vehicle? Well, how about a kid’s sled/toboggan? You can find some sturdy ones that can take a beating…use your own judgment. If you have a big family, you may wish the one I recommended from Wal-Mart that is about $50 and can haul about 500 to 600 lbs. This one is where you can put the gear inside and drag it behind you on a nylon tow rope that comes with it. Strap it to the top of your vehicle, or throw it on the bed of the pickup. The kid’s toboggan would be of use for 1 person or one for each. The sides would enable the gear to be stowed without slipping off. Drill holes in the sides and use bungee cords to strap the gear down all the same. Better safe than sorry.
If you stay with the vehicle, make sure you have a plan: you can’t stay with it forever. It may be good for a night or two to come up with a plan (especially if you have kids, to help them get over the initial shock and disorientation). The “end of the world” is usually bad on the nerves. Use that time to focus the family on what you will do. You may have to leave the vehicle immediately, as you want to return home as quickly as possible. The situation is going to be your call, and what you believe your family can handle…and how you function as a group.
Finally, don’t forget “Yak-Trak’s” or some other type of devices to slip over your boots to enable you to walk or run on ice. They range in price and quality, but you should be able to find them in your sporting goods or big-box stores. So, plan ahead, make evac from your vehicle in the winter a training priority, and stay frosty! JJ out!