Survival Facts For Cold Environments

Surviving in the cold and snow requires a certain set of skills.  This page is designed to provide you with information which may save your life in a cold or frozen environment.

  • In frozen environments, Ice should be melted for drinking water rather than snow! – When trying to survive in a frozen environment, water will often have to be sourced from the readily available ice and snow.  The average snow to liquid ratio is 10-1, meaning that for every 10 inches of snow melted, 1 inch of water will be obtained.  A large amount of effort is required to melt a large amount of snow, for a relatively small yield of water.  Ice, however, produces a larger volume of liquid for the same amount of effort.  To melt the snow or ice, small amounts should be added to any available water and heated.
  • If snow must be used to provide drinking water, make sure it is white, as red or orange shadings could indicate the presence of harmful bacteria, furthermore, never eat yellow snow!
  • If you begin to suffer from the effects of the cold, but have managed to start a fire, take a heated rock and place it against your femoral artery, which is situated in the groin.  This will act to warm your blood, which, again is then circulated around the major organs of the body.  This has a more beneficial effect than simply holding the warm object against your body.
  • When caught in an avalanche, it is likely that you will end up covered in a large amount of snow and not knowing which is the correct way to start digging yourself out.  If you find yourself in this situation, gravity will guide the way to safety.  Scoop the snow from around your mouth and spit.  The spit will always be forced down by gravity, so if the spit falls back onto your face, you know you are facing the right way to start digging; if the spit falls away from you, then you are facing the ground and safety is behind you.  If the spit falls down, you need to dig upwards and conversely, if the spit falls toward your head, then safety is towards your feet.Snare in the snow

 

  • When trying to survive in a frozen environment, water will often have to be sourced from the readily available ice and snow.  The average snow to liquid ratio is 10-1, meaning that for every 10 inches of snow melted, 1 inch of water will be obtained.  A large amount of effort is required to melt a large amount of snow, for a relatively small yield of water.  Ice, however, produces a larger volume of liquid for the same amount of effort.  To melt the snow or ice, small amounts should be added to any available water and heated.
  • When choosing snow to provide drinking water, make sure it is white, as red or orange shadings could indicate the presence of harmful bacteria, furthermore, never eat yellow snow!
  • Rocks heated on the fire can be used in less serious circumstances to warm your sleeping area, in the same way as a hot water bottle.  Ensure that all rocks placed on the fire are not porous or filled with water, as they may explode.  Test the rocks by banging them against each other, if they sound hollow, discard them.
  • Body heat is lost at a much greater rate when sleeping on the cold ground, compared to being exposed to cold air.  Therefore, if it is not raining and you only have one form of blanket, then sleep on top of it rather than under it.  This is confirmed by the saying  “One blanket underneath is worth two on top”.  With
    Image showing the different layers of the natural camp bed

    Image showing the different layers of the natural camp bed

    this in mind, knowing how to make a camp bed or the below fire bed, will go some way to preserving valuable body heat

    • Combat the cold night without a sleeping bag by making a fire bed.  To do this, make a large fire, building up plenty of coals and then dig a pit about 6 inches in depth and slightly longer than your body. Spread the coals along the length of the pit and cover with a small layer of earth.  This will provide valuable heat throughout the night.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.