Thursday, October 23, 2014

Basic Skills and Supplies Needed For Traveling in Cold Climates

If you’re planning a cold-climate hike or you may be stranded in colder weather, there are a few very helpful tips and skills that will keep you moving in relative comfort. This article will briefly cover the basic materials you should carry with you when traveling in a cold climate and offer a few hints on what skills you’ll want to arm yourself with if the going gets chilly.

Carry It Along

Whether you’re driving or striking out for an extended hike, there are a few items that could be the difference between suffering from exposure and survival in case of emergency. These include, but aren’t limited to:
  • Water: keep some in bottles in your car or a canteen with a treatment kit with your camping gear.
  • Tinder: matches and an old pill bottle stuffed with dryer lint and sealed in a plastic baggie can be a literal lifesaver.
  • Car Hat: if you live in a very cold climate, keep a blanket, extra pair of gloves, and a warm hat in your trunk.
  • Flairs: again, this works best for car-kits, but in case of emergency, a road flair can provide a guide for any help that may be in the area.
  • Snacks: a few vacuum-sealed snacks never hurt, especially if you’re stranded.
  • Cold climate sleeping bag
  • Survival knife
  • Nesting pots
  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit

Skills for Hikers

Along with water, food, and dry tinder, being able to keep your wits about you in the colder climates can save fingers and toes, as well as your life. Be aware of the first signs of frostbite—pinch your fingers and toes to determine nerve activity. Travel specialists from BCMI Mgmt, who encounter many hikers and mountaineers venturing out into the chilly outdoors, recommend always dressing in layers. Start these layers with a lightweight polyester shirt and build outwards, adding sweaters and jackets as needed. Wool will keep you warm, even if it gets wet, but there are a number of other, lightweight synthetic fibers that can be good to carry along, too. Other skills can be life-saving, such as:
  • Fire-building skills
  • Map-reading and interpretation
  • Building a pine-bough mattress
  • Seeking camp sites exposed to sunlight
  • Water purification skills
  • Shelter-building skills
  • Knowledge of hypothermia signs


While you may never be stranded, knowing how to fend for yourself can also enhance intentional cold-climate camping. By educating yourself on traveling lightly while carrying what you’ll need, you can go farther and derive even more enjoyment from your time in nature. It always pays to be informed and prepared, especially in harsh environments where anything can happen.


Emma is a freelance writer living in Boston. When she manages to tear herself away from the computer, she enjoys baking, rock climbing, and film noir.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Storm Prep: 5 Ways to ensure you stay safe during a blizzard

Winter season is rolling up quickly and you might be faced with a blizzard or two this winter. Are you prepared and ready to deal with a snowstorm? Check out these five ways to make sure you and your family stay safe during a blizzard.

Assess Your Home Before the Blizzard Hits

Before a blizzard strikes, take some time during nicer weather to inspect your home. Check your roof to make sure there are no loose shingles or damaged areas. Check the gutters to make sure they are secure. Put storm windows or weatherproofing plastic in place over windows. Have boards or plywood ready to put in place over the outside of your windows in case a blizzard brings hurricane force winds.

Do you know what your insurance covers if your home is damaged by a blizzard? Contact your insurance agency if you need a quote for additional homeowners insurance or have questions about the insurance policy you currently have.

Have Your Heat Source Inspected

One of the most important things you will need to stay safe and survive a blizzard is a heat source. You need to make sure your main heat source is ready to go. Call in a HVAC technician to check out your furnace or hire a chimney sweep to make sure your chimney or stovepipes are clean and in order.

Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Underwriters Insurance Brokers (BC) Ltd recommends testing every smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in your home before a blizzard hits. If you don't have any, or enough for every level in your home, now is the time to get them. Put fresh batteries in each detector then test them. Take the time to run through fire drills with your family and talk about symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure everyone knows what to do in case the unthinkable happens.

While you are checking your smoke detectors, take a look at your fire extinguishers. Find out if they need to be inspected or upgraded then make sure it happens before bad weather hits.

Stock up on Items You Will Need

Make a list of necessities your family would need if you are snowed in. Stock up on non-perishable food items, bottled water, personal hygiene items, and food for your pets. Bring in additional wood or call for additional gas or fuel oil to heat your home before the bad weather starts. Have flashlights and a battery-operated radio on hand in case the electricity goes out.

Stay Home, Don't Go Out

Finally, one of the most important things you can do to ensure your safety during a blizzard is to stay home and don't go outside unless absolutely necessary. Make sure you are well-stocked with food, personal items, and fuel or wood for heat. If you have to go outside, use a rope to tether yourself to your home so you can find your way back.

Planning ahead and being ready for a blizzard can ensure that you and your family stay safe and sound -- inside. Start planning now, before winter starts, and you will be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.


Karleia is a freelance blogger. Away from the office she enjoys scrapbooking and enjoying time with friends and family.