Camping & Survival

30 Days of Preparing for Severe Winter Weather Day 8: What is a Cold Weather Kit?

Picture shows a woman setting up a living room fort made with sheets and chairs.

By day seven of getting ready for severe winter weather, you have already:

Day eight is the day to add essential cold-weather gear to your emergency kit.

When the power goes out, so does the heat. You would be surprised how quickly your house can get chilly. During my first year of college, I lived in a small London flat without heat. Over the Christmas holiday, condensation on the inside of the kitchen window froze overnight. What a miserable winter. Fortunately, pub culture was alive and well in jolly old England and just under my flat was a toasty—and welcoming—pub that served warm cider and kept a roaring fire. Now that I live in Texas, I don’t have to worry as much. However, I keep a supply of gear that will keep me warm—and in my own home—when the power goes out.

A cold-weather kit includes items made specifically to warm your body, including layers such as thermal shirts, scarves and beanies to emergency blankets and tents. What do you put in a cold-weather emergency kit? These six essential items will keep you warm during severe winter weather:

  1. Chemical hand warmers
  2. Beanie and neck gaiter
  3. Plastic poncho
  4. Emergency tent
  5. Sleeping bag
  6. Propane heater
Picture shows a blaze orange fleece beanie and neck gaiter with Browning Buckmark logo.
Browning’s beanie and neck gaiter are made of warm fleece.

Chemical Hand Warmers, Beanie and Neck Gaiter

We lose most of our body heat through out hands and head. Chemical hand warmers will maintain a temperature of 135 to 156 degrees Fahrenheit for up to seven hours. You can either hold them or stick them in your gloves and pockets to keep your hands and fingers warm. Cover your head with a fleece hat or beanie.

Plastic Poncho

A clear plastic poncho serves so many purposes, you should purchase more than one. The obvious reason to keep a poncho is to stay dry if you must go outside while snow, freezing rain or sleet is falling. Another reason to keep them is to cut them up and cover your windows. The clear plastic allows warm sunlight to enter, while preventing heat from escaping. You may also use ponchos to seal drafty windows and doors.

Emergency tent

Create a close-quarters sleeping area in your living room. Setting up tents in close proximity will retain heat while you are sleeping. The reflective material in an emergency tent conserves body heat.

Picture shows a woman setting up a living room fort made with sheets and chairs.
Create a close-quarters sleeping area in your living room.

Sleeping Bag

Besides wool blankets and flannel sheets—two of the warmest materials—a top quality sleeping bag designed for serious mountain trekking will keep you warm. There are hardcore sleeping bags rated to minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but with your warm layers, hand warmers and tent, a sleeping bag rated for freezing should suffice. The Chinook Trailside Sundowner sleeping bag is affordable and rated to +5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Propane Heater

Besides bundling up, a heater that uses an alternative source of power keeps the chill at bay. Mr. Heater’s Little Buddy is CSA-certified to use safely indoors. Connect it to a one-pound disposable propane cylinder and the Little Buddy heats up to 100 square-feet for 5.5 hours. With multiple safety features, you can rest assured.

If you have to hunker down during severe winter weather, staying warm is a top priority. Don’t be caught without the little extras that make a big difference. Add these six items to your cold weather kit and you will be toasty in no time.

Picture shows a small indoor propane heater.
Mr. Heater’s Little Buddy is CSA-certified to use indoors safely

What is in your cold-weather kit? Share what keeps you warm in the comment section. Did you miss yesterday’s post, “30 Days of Preparing for Severe Winter Weather Day 7: The Best Flashlights” If so, you can find it here. Tomorrow, Day 9, we switch gears to find a new holster for winter carry.

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