You might remember that awhile back, Jettica wrote about climate in the post apocalypse. She talks about different climate and weather possibilities for the post-apocalyptic world. (They’re all valid possibilities.)
One of the things she talks about is snow. I, personally, hate snow. Despise it. With the heat of a thousand fiery suns. But unfortunately, I’m moving back to Canada and snow will once again be a fact of life. For probably six months of the year.
Have I mentioned I hate snow?
Anyway. Snow usually comes during that most dreaded of seasons–winter. (Well, I dread it, anyway. I hate winter as much, if not more, than I hate snow.) Winter is hell on icy, locked up wheels for most of us now, when we still have central heating and cars with block heaters–can you imagine what it’ll be like during the post apocalypse?
Yeah. It’ll be bad. And I can’t say that you’ll survive. (Winter, it is a cold, harsh, unfeeling entity.)
I know Ann talked about surviving the winter months in this post, and she’s got some valid tips. But here are a few more things to keep in mind in terms of what you’ll need to have with you. You know, if you happen to get stuck in a part of the world where winter will be your post apocalypse hell. Like Canada.
I do this in the winter, and so do a lot of people I know. Layers can be taken off and put away if you no longer need them–you don’t want to be sweating your moisture into that frigid air, now do you? (You really don’t.) Layers can also be put on when it’s cold–you don’t want to waste valuable energy shivering to keep warm (you really, really don’t).
Stock up on thermal underwear. You might think it’s dorky, but it provides a good base layer. My husband uses a lot Under Armour base layers. I go to MEC. My mom goes to Costco. It doesn’t matter where you get them or what they look like; just get them.
Get some thermal socks, too. There are some great hiking/camping socks that are toasty warm. Ski socks are another alternative.
Get a warm (but lightweight) jacket
The warm might be a no-brainer, but you may not have considered the lightweight. Trust me, winter jackets can get bulky. Sometimes, what’s inside them can be heavy (for instance, I’ve found that down-filled jackets are heavier than other jackets I’ve owned). This is one you’re going to have to test out. Go to a store, try on some jackets, and make a note of what you liked. Better yet, buy it.
As for fit, make sure your jacket isn’t too big–it’ll let cold air in. But make sure it isn’t too tight, either, as that doesn’t leave you much room for layers.
Get a winter sleeping bag
Ever gone winter camping? I have (but I got my Girl Guide camp badge out of it, so I guess it was worth it). Anyway, it’s hell with the wrong sleeping bag. Make sure you get a sleeping bag rated for cold temperatures. For example, this one is rated to -30 Celsius. This one is rated to -20 Celsius. (And those little dashes in front of the numbers aren’t dashes–those are negative signs. As in, below zero. Damn, winter’s cold.)
Note that -40 is where Celsius and Fahrenheit meet. Just an aside.
For cold weather sleeping bags, a mummy bag might be the best option. They seem to be rated for colder temperatures than regular sleeping bags.
Get a good pair of winter boots
By good I mean well insulated, waterproof, and tall enough to keep as much snow away from your feet as possible. Because snow inside your boots? Isn’t fun. It’s also wet.
This should really go without saying, but forget the high-heeled leather boots. They will do nothing to keep your feet warm. Then your toes will get frostbitten and fall off.
Get a pair of cross-country skis or snowshoes
If you’re in a very snowy area, snowshoes will be a huge help. They’re a bit tricky to walk with, especially if you’re not used to it, but they’ll keep you above the snow which will make walking easier.
Cross-country skis will get you across snowy terrain faster. And the poles make good weapons. (I didn’t learn that in gym class, no of course I didn’t.)
Get winter accessories
Scarves aren’t just a fashion accessory in the winter. They keep your face from getting frostbitten. So get something long enough to wrap around your neck and cover your mouth and nose. Make sure it’s made of a warm material, too. I hate to say it, but silk doesn’t always do much when trying to protect you from -50C winds.
Wear a hat (we call them toques in Canada). Make sure it covers your ears, too. Better yet, get a balaclava. You’ll look like a bank robber, but it’ll keep your head and face warm.
Get a good, warm pair of gloves or mittens. Mittens are better for keeping your fingers warm, but gloves are better if you’re going to be doing a lot outside. (Like scraping ice off your windshield and shoveling your car out of the damn snowbank that accumulated outside your house overnight.)
Get a lightweight tent you can carry
Yes, they exist. My husband has one. Seriously, get one of these. Because you really don’t want to be sleeping out in the open during winter. Especially if it’s a post apocalypse winter.
Don’t forget the rest of your supplies
You’re still going to need your food, first aid stuff, weapons, water filtering things, and all that other fun stuff you’d need to carry if you were in a warmer climate. Don’t sacrifice water or food for an extra pair of boots. Yeah, you’ll probably need those boots, but you’re going to need that food, too. Basically, you’ll just have more to carry.
Lucky you, living in a cold, wintry climate.