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Staying warm in the cold is not easy. Without shelter, a fire, and a cozy place to sleep or rest, you could suffer hypothermia and be in real trouble if you are caught out in the cold. Cold temperatures are no joke, and it does kill people, whether you are outdoors in the wilderness, or homeless in the city. However, to battle the cold and keep the body warm, there are a few things you can should know on how to stay warm in the cold.
Lack of shelter is one of the most pressing concerns that our world is facing today. And of course, there are a lot of reasons for this, whether they are scenarios such as economic downturns, oppressive systems or joblessness. But when it comes down to it, aside from air, water, food, and security, shelter is also one of the five survival essentials we need to stay alive.
A social collapse is not a far-fetched idea, in fact, it’s happening to first world countries this day and age. That’s how things are rolling right now. We are in an era in which a massive breakdown can happen by just the single press of a button. If that happens, the task of finding shelter is as difficult as securing food and other essential amenities.
If you are a prepper, you will always have the ability to bug out to the forests and woods and build your shelter there. Some people would prefer to stay off-the-grid as a way of avoiding robbers and savages. In all of these situations, it is clearly highlighted that having a shelter is important. Without a reliable refuge, you are exposed to the cold and other elements.
We are all aware that SHTF situations are just looming around the corner. They are the predicaments that will catch you off guard and if you are not prepared, could leave you without a roof (or walls, at least). If you are stuck in such a situation, do you know how to stay warm in the cold? If not, this guide will help you fend off the cold.
When I am outdoors, there are a lot of things that I have to check through to make sure I am safe, secure and healthy. Depending on the time of year, one of the most important things I have to tend to is making sure I have the right clothing, the right sleeping bag, and the equipment to stay warm in the cold.
Here are some of the things I have learnt as a regular of the outdoors, on how to stay warm in the cold.
The cold temperature is a signal that tells us that we need to wear our thickest garments. Our bodies are conditioned so that the density and weight of the cloth will provide our body the warmth and insulation that it needs. But this is not really the case.
You see, the warmth that your clothing produce is dependent on the number of air pockets that it has. The more air pockets the garment has, the more heat generation it can provide.
Because of this, it is recommended that you should wear clothes in multiple layers. It works better than a single piece of thick and heavy garment. Make sure that the clothes that you are going to wear can wick the moisture away. The moisture produced by your skin can cause cooling due to evaporation. Meanwhile, the clothes in the exterior layers should block moisture and wind. It would be great if you can wear clothes that are made from non-permeable materials such as vinyl to stay warm in the cold, but there are many other fabrics and designs out there that insulate the heat, and keep out that cold.
The color of your clothing matters, especially if you are dealing with frigid temperatures. If you are trying not to get cold, it is best if you can wear something that is black or near its shade. Dark materials are efficient in absorbing radiation and in turn providing a little bit more warmth to your body.
Black shirts or clothing are not advisable to be worn on sunny days because they double the heat that you might feel. But in cold situations, dark colored shirts should be worn religiously. On the other hand, white and light colored shirts are capable of deflecting heat. They are good for humid conditions, but never for cold seasons.
Dark colors produce an effect that allows the fabric to absorb heat from any sources. The heat source doesn’t have to be the sun. It could be the nearest campfire or the torch that you are carrying. As long as the heat is in the vicinity, a black shirt can trap it for your comfort.
You should not only worry about your garments when things get a little cold, but you should also secure the coziness of your feet, which is necessary so that you can move briskly and attentively when outdoors.
Fortunately, you can keep your feet warm by wearing several layers of socks. Just like your upper garments, the socks that you should wear must be able to wick off the moisture build-up in your feet. After all, your feet tend to sweat, even if the temperature is cold. The wicking of moisture is also necessary to curb down the chances of infections and odor.
Furthermore, a large pair of shoes is essential so that you can give room for the layers of socks to fit in. You don’t need to compromise your comfort just to stay warm in the cold. Aside from this, big shoes lessen the risk factors of foot cramps and callous. If the room is too spacious in your ankles, just wrap them in a piece of fabric. You can also place a brace on the back of your heels.
Overall, walking with hiking shoes, that are made to be durable in rough conditions, is more comfortable than tightly fitted footwear. You will notice the difference if you trek a long and arduous path. Make sure though, that your shoes can provide breathing room for your toes.
The cold reaches your extremities faster than any other part of your body. Even if the main parts of your body are covered thoroughly, your feet, head, and hands will still get cold. Your fingers and nose are susceptible to frostbite. Therefore, it is essential that you can keep them warm as much as possible to minimize any chance of frostbite.
To maintain the temperature of your limbs that are susceptible to frostbite, make sure that you wear gloves. You also need to slip something thin under the gloves, such as insulation, for heat retention. For instance, you can use a thin foil because it is capable of warming up quickly. Tinfoil can be reused quite easily, too.
Layers of fabric, vinyl, and plastic are necessary to optimize the heat that your body feels. However, I have to remind you that when you wear these materials on your hands or feet, loosening them from time to time is necessary. Doing this will allow the internal moisture to be wicked off and released.
It is imperative that you can cover your head properly in cold situations. Your hair can act as a decent insulator, but it can only do so much. Your head can lose the natural heat that it has quickly. And that is something that you have to prevent.
There are ways on how you can maintain the heat and comfort of the head and neck region. For instance:
There are circumstances that require you to survive the cold weather without the comfort of shelter or refuge. While hoping that this will not happen to you, it is likely that if a SHTF situation does happen, you have to be prepared at all costs.
The things that I have listed here can help your body stay warm in the cold while you are outdoors. However, the warmth of the garments and clothing that you wear are just temporary. You still have to find a place where the cold cannot bother you. Also, it would be great if you can learn how to start a fire with wet wood as well as other ways you can light a fire. Otherwise, things might turn for the worse.
Did you learn from this guide? Do you know other ways to stay warm in the cold? Share all of your thoughts in the comment section below!
I am Nora D.King – a contributor of RainyAdventures.com. I am a nature lover. I believe that it is important for people to connect with mother nature’s gift of the great outdoors. I also write for several websites that focus on traveling and backpacking. I’ve also ghosted for other famous personalities who are known to be active in exploring nature and survival enthusiasts.