How to survive cold weather outdoors.

Weather conditions keep on changing from time to time. It is, therefore, crucial to understand survival techniques that will help us survive at all times when carrying out outdoor activities. This article describes various ways of surviving outdoors during the cold weather season. First, before we look at the means of survival, let’s understand how our bodies can be affected negatively by severe cold. When you are exposed to extremely cold weather, your body will be affected in the following ways: hypothermia, Frostbite, and hypoglycemia.

1. Frostbite

Frostbite is a condition that is caused by the freezing of water molecules in the cells of your skin. When you get Frostbite, your skin becomes red, very cold, numb, pale, and hard. Frostbite is common in parts like toes, nose, fingers, cheeks, chin, and ears. Once the skin cells and tissues freeze, they die, and once they die, they damage the nervous system. Frostbite occurs when you are exposed to a cold environment whose temperature is below -5F.

The early symptoms of frostbite are: 

There are three stages of frostbite the first is frostnip (first-degree injury) then 2nd, third and fourth which is the most severe form. First degree irritates the skin, 2nd degree it will blister but no major damage, third-degree involves all the layers of your skin and can cause permanent damage.  

How to survive cold weather outdoors and prevent Frostbite

Put on several loose, warm clothes. When you put several layers of loose clothes, air will be trapped between the layers, and it will serve as an insulator. Your skin and body will get warmer, and it will prevent from Frostbite.

Wear waterproof garments

It is also crucial to wear a waterproof garment that will protect you against snow and rain. Remember when your clothes get wet and you are out in the cold, your body temperature will drop and this might compromise your life if the temperatures are very low.

Wear-Undergarments that wick moisture

It is also essential to put on undergarments such a hat, gloves and socks that can wick moisture from your skin. Mayo Clinic website ( recommends this as one way of preventing Frostbite.

2. Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a condition that occurs when the body loses heat at a faster rate than it can produce.  With this condition, body temperature tends to drop below 95 F. When body temperatures fall beyond normal, it can lead to the shutdown of the nervous system, which, when lasts longer without treatment, can cause death.

How to survive cold weather outdoors and prevent hypothermia

Ensure your clothes are dry

Before going out for your activities during cold weather, ensure that your clothes are dry.  Take care so that your clothes don’t get wet and if they do, get them off. Getting wet in the cold is the fastest way of being hypothermic.

Wear layered clothes

The outer clothing should be made of water-repellent and tightly woven material. The inner garment should be made of silk, polypropylene inner layers. Such clothes help in creating insulation and bring about warmth to the body.

Cover your head and hands

It is essential to cover your head, ears, and neck to ensure that heat does not escape from your head. Wear mittens on your hands instead of gloves.

Build a fire and warm your water

Building fire is one of the most effective ways that you can survive cold weather conditions. Fire brings about warmth and minimizes the effect of cold temperatures. If you have a metal water bottle, you can use the fire to warm your drinking water. Drinking warm water is the first aid for a person suffering from hypothermia.

3. Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is a condition that is characterized by reduced sugar levels in the body. It is a condition that can happen when you get exposed to extreme cold, and your body starts converting energy to warmth. When you start shivering, you get to use energy, and glucose stores in the body get used.

How to survive cold weather outdoors and prevent hypoglycemia

Eat plenty of carbs and simple sugars. When you are doing an outdoor activity during a cold-weather season, remember to carry some snacks with you. Such snacks may include pizza, cakes, biscuits, and hotdogs, among many others. This will help you to fuel your body and protect you from hypoglycemia.

general Tips o How to Survive Cold weather outdoors

Stay Hydrated

Normally, dehydration is associated with hot weather conditions. It is true, but it does not mean that the condition should be ignored during cold climates. When you out and about one of your outdoor activities, do not forget to carry a bottle of water. Why? Because the last thing that your body will need while you are freezing is water. You might get yourself dehydrating in the cold without noticing. Always ensure that you are hydrated.

Maintain your heartbeat rate

Several factors affect the heartbeat rate, and among them is temperature. Cold temperatures lower the heart rate, and this means a reduction in blood flow in the body. When there is a slower flowing of blood in the body, your body temperature lowers, and you become at risk of getting hypothermic. Therefore do basic exercises such as running, jogging, or any type of movement which will speed heartbeat rate and generate some heat.

Build Fire

If you can get some firewood and you are planning to start a fire, then you can do so. It is one of the most effective ways of surviving in cold weather during your outdoor activities. If you do not have an idea on how to build a fire in the cold, then asmag website ( provides you with excellent tips on how to do so.

Cover Exposed Body Areas

When you have your skin exposed to cold temperatures, it is the easiest way of losing your body heat. Ensure all the exposed parts of your body are covered. Most of the time, people tend to forget covering their necks, hands, and ears. You can wear a cold weather face mask for the head so that you can cover the ears and the nose. And for the hands, you can put on mittens, but if you don’t have a pair, gloves can do. However, remove your gloves immediately when they get wet.


The mentioned above are tips that can help you survive cold climates outside. The most effective one is creating a winter survival shelter. Various websites have described how to make winter survival shelters. Alternatively, tents can also help you survive when you are in the cold. Making a snow cave is also an effective measure of survival (, especially when you are in a region that has experienced snow.

Written by David Lee

What should you pack in a survival backpack?

How do you heat a tent without electricity?