Outdoor Survival Tips: Preventing Hypothermia

It may surprise you to know that one of the most dangerous survival situations in the backcountry is not from an animal attack or trail accident, but instead results from our own lack of preparedness for inclement weather. No one can accurately predict the weather in the mountains, which can change dramatically in a matter of minutes. Besides feeling miserable, being cold or wet can also be a very real and dangerous threat to a person’s survival in the backcountry. However, it can be easily prevented by always packing the proper gear regardless of the length of your trip. I recommend you bring the following essential gear:

  • Rain gear that will keep you warm and dry in the saddle and an extra warmth layer
  • An axe or a saw (or both for longer trips). Nothing can take their place if you need firewood.
  • Space blanket
  • A zippered plastic bag within another zippered plastic bag containing the following:
    • Several fire starters
    • Waterproof match container with matches
    • Partial roll of toilet paper
    • Lighter
    • Mini-Mag flashlight with extra batteries and bulbs

Besides its obvious use, the toilet paper makes good tinder and can be used in other types of emergencies. The matches are a back up for the lighter. I also recommend that you gather about three times more firewood than you think you need for the night and strongly urge you to research hypothermia. It could save your life.