Growing up in a rural area in Nebraska I know first hand how winter storms can leave you cut off from the rest of the world. When winter rolls around it's a good idea to have a winter survival kit on hand in case one of these storms leaves you stranded at home. Let's take a look at some of the items and steps you can take in this winter survival kit checklist that'll keep you prepared for that daunting arctic blast.
1. Store Extra Water
Water is going to be very important if you're hit by a winter storm and that's why I've included it first in our winter survival kit checklist. During the winter months pipes can freeze and electricity can go out making it hard to get enough water to get through a storm. According to Authoritynutrition.com you need about a half gallon of water per day so for a family of five you'll need about 2.5 gallons total for one day. I recommend that you store enough water to get you and your family through three days at least, this means you'll want a minimum of 7.5 gallons of water on hand. Water Brick makes a 3.5 gallon stack able water container that would work great for storing water. Just buy a few of these and you're good to go. They also sell a spigot that you can screw on where the lid would normally go on and dispense water from that.
2. Stock up on Food
The second item in our winter survival kit checklist is food. Having enough food to last you and your family at least three days is going to be very important. It'll ensure that you get the nutrition you need as well as keep everyone as happy as they can be when stuck in the house for multiple days at a time. When you're looking for food to include in your winter survival kit I suggest starting with the normal foods you already eat. When winter starts coming around just simply buy a little extra of whatever foods your family likes when you go shopping. Doing this will make it a lot easier since these are foods your family already eats and likes. In no time at all you'll have a nice larder to fall back on to in case of an emergency, just be sure to rotate these items so that they don't go bad.
Other items you can look for with longer shelf lives would include canned foods, beef jerky, granola bars and trail mixes. If you don't like the idea of constantly checking expiration dates I'd suggest looking into either freeze dried meals or powdered/dried ingredients that you can use to make your own meals. Mountain House and Backpacker's Pantry are great places to look for freeze dried meals they both offer a good variety so you won't have to eat the same thing constantly. They're also light weight and make for good items to include in your B.O.B or in your winter survival kit checklist for a vehicle. If you're looking to make your own meals from powdered or dried ingredients you can find just about anything from cheese, eggs and milk, to grains and hamburger.
3. Get a NOAA Radio
Having a NOAA radio should be pretty high up on your winter survival checklist. If you can try and get one that takes multiple forms of power and has a flashlight, this will only increase it's usefulness. NOAA stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, they're the ones bringing you the weather updates on your NWR (NOAA Weather Radio). If your power goes out during a winter storm having weather updates can be crucial to knowing what to expect next and how to plan accordingly, so be sure to pick one up if you can.
4. Flashlights, Candles and Light Sticks
During a winter storm it isn't that uncommon to lose power for hours or even days at a time. When this happens you'll want to have some form of light source. Maglite, Streamlight and SureFire are all great choices for flashlights you really can't go wrong with any one of them. Candles are also a great source of light because they don't require any batteries to produce the light, the drawback with them how ever is you need a way to light them. Long burning emergency candles are the way to go here, Emergency Essentials makes a liquid filled emergency candle that lasts 115 hours plus and for $20 you can't beat it. Light sticks are another great lighting option while they won't have the light output of a candle or flashlight they can help in a pinch if you're out of batteries, candles or you don't have a way to light them. At the time of writing this article you can purchase a 10 pack of Cyalume SnapLights for $12, they're made in the USA and last up to 12 hours. You're not going to light up an entire room with one of these, but they could be used to light up things right in front of you for small tasks. The main purpose of light sticks is for either trail marking or emergency signalling in low light environments. When you're making your winter survival kit checklist I suggest having a mix of all three of these that way you always have something to fall back on if one were to fail you.
5. Blankets and Sleeping Bags
When the lights go out often the heater will go too, it's crucial to keep yourself warm when temperatures plunge. Having blankets and/or sleeping bags around in an area you can easily access them will help a lot. Yes the insulation in your home will keep a lot of heat in, but if you're with out power for multiple days that heat will deplete rather quickly. It's not a bad idea to get some mylar blankets too they are cheap and effective at retaining body heat.
Another item to add to our winter survival kit checklist is gloves, if you have to be outside for very long at all in temperatures below freezing you'll quickly learn the importance of having some good insulated gloves. I would recommend getting leather insulated gloves, if you have to do any kind of work outside they will hold up better than the polyester kind. Just be sure to have a few pairs of gloves around that you can get to if you need them during a storm; your fingers will thank you for it.
One great way to avoid most of the calamity that comes with a winter storm is to have a generator on your winter survival kit checklist. If you have a generator you'll be far better off than if you didn't so this one is something you should seriously consider investing in. I'm not going to go into detail here about how to calculate the load requirement of a generator, but if requested I can do that in a later article. DuroMax makes a great generator that will cover all that you should really need to run during an emergency situation, it's a 4,400 running watt generator that runs on gas and it comes with two 120 volt outlets and one 30 amp twist lock. With the great reviews and good price point you can't really beat the DuroMax XP4400E. It may be something you have to save up for but it will be well worth it if you should ever need it.
Most people will neglect this and not include it in their winter survival kit checklist, but it is something that shouldn't be overlooked. When you're stuck in a house without electricity for any length of time you'll not only be battling mother nature, but your own mind as well. This is especially true today with all of the electronic gadgets and we take for granted everyday. Having some way to keep yourself and your family entertained will allow you to take your mind off the situation your in and alleviate some of the boredom that comes with being cooped up. Get a deck of cards or a couple board games to keep everyone from getting cabin fever.
9. Extra Batteries and Fuel
Another important thing to include in your winter survival kit checklist should be extra batteries and fuel. All of your flashlights and gadgets are useless if you run the batteries down on them, make sure that you have spare batteries for all the devices that you might need to use during a situation like this. The same thing goes for your generator, if it runs out of fuel or oil for that matter it's basically a giant paper weight. Make sure you have enough fuel and oil to keep your generator running through a storm like this. Generally you should have at least three days worth of fuel, oil shouldn't be as big of a deal but you should definitely keep some on hand in case it should run dry.
10. Double Check Your Winter Survival Kit Checklist
This part of the winter survival kit checklist isn't really an item, but more a step you should take to ensure that you and your family are properly prepared for winter storms. Go through this list and make sure you have the items on it before winter hits. I know not all of this is able to be accumulated in a day for most, so space it out and buy a little every week or month to get your winter survival kit up to par. Then all you have to do is maintain it by restocking and rotating food, water, fuel and batteries. Having all of this in place when that storm comes through is going to take a lot of weight off your shoulders, it's better to be over prepared rather than under.
If you're looking to make a winter survival kit this checklist will be a good start and like I mentioned before you don't have to buy it all at once, spread it out and make things easier on yourself. If you have any questions or think of something I may have missed feel free to include it in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and remember to check out Preppers Unlimited again soon for more articles, also don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.