This is a good time of year to winterize our 72 hour kits. We like to think that when the SHTF it will be summer and in the middle of the day. It will probably happen on the coldest night of the year when we least expect it. We should be taking a few minutes to winterize our kits so we are ready for the new weather conditions of what ever area we are in.
Before I get to the list, I want to mention the one rule to rule them all! KNOW YOUR AREA!
Pack your kit for your area. My pack for Alberta, where we get lots of snow, will be different than a pack for parts of British Columbia where they get lots of rain. Pack accordingly!
Here are a few tips on how to winterize your pack.
The food you have in your summer kit has been in your pack for probably 6 months. It should be cycled out either way. What you want to replace it with are foods that are high in calories, protein and fat. Nuts, beef jerky and peanut butter are great examples of high protein and high fat foods that can be store in a pack and are great at giving you the needed protein and fat to stay warm. Other ideas are instant oatmeal, soups in a package like lipton soups, energy bars, and trail mix.
This is a very important one. For your winter months you will need more layers and accessories like gloves and hats. Make sure you switch these over because the last thing you want to do is be cold and not have a sweater or hat in your pack because your pack is still set up for summer. Also make sure you check the fabric of the clothes your packing. The last thing you want to pack into your winter bag is a pair of jeans. They get wet easily, hold onto water, and freeze. Good materials are wool, fleece, waterproof gear, polypropylene or hydrophobic materials. These fabrics are breathable, pull the water away from your body and help trap air. The trapped air will act as a great insulator keeping you warm.
One other point for clothes is your footwear. Make sure that your extra pair of shoes are winter ready. Change them for boots or add some gators to help keep the snow out of your shoes and keep your feet dry.
Don’t forget your water. You can become very dehydrated in the winter weather. Just make sure when you pack it that it won’t freeze, or if it does, it has room to do so. You don’t want your bottles to burst when frozen and then thaw, leaking water onto all your gear.
Another option is to find water when your out in the wild instead of carrying it. One note on that though is DON’T EAT SNOW. Not as a source of water anyway. Your body burns too many calories turning snow into water and then into energy. You could always put snow into a pot and boil it.
Since you may be using the snow method of water, one thing you will definitely want in your winterized kit is water purification tablets. These should be in your kit already, but definitely make sure while your swapping out all your other gear. Nothing worse than getting sick while in the elements.
You will already have fire starters and such in your pack, but since it’s now winter, you will want to double the amount of your fire supplies. Not only will you be needed fire to cook your food, you may need to make a fire just to stay warm. Make sure you have enough supplies to start multiple food fires as well as heat fires.