Following the tips on survival in the forest in summer or when it’s more or less warm, here come even more tips to survive in winter forest. Grand Upheaval doesn’t recommend to escape into the winter forest without gear, but if you are forced to or under special circumstances, such a need may arise.
There are two tactics depending on your intentions.
If You Are Doing That on Purpose
You should have clothes of 2 types: for staying in a camp – more warming, and for walking – less warming.
When you are walking with your backpack you don’t feel frost that much. On the contrary, you feel warm and sometimes even hot. Sometimes, you may even want to get your hat off. But!!! It’s strongly not recommended to do so. The main reason for death in a cold forest is overcooling (reasonably). When you walk there bare-headed, your heat loss increases. As a compromise, you may pick clothes that are not overly warm or cold for you.
Don’t spend your energy in vain or for nothing. When camping, don’t chop thick logs for fire, you may just push them deeper as they are burning out. If you meet high hills (or even mountains), deep ravines or other landscape obstacles, look if you may go round them rather than trying to climb over them. When you are making a shelter, try not to make unnecessary movements. Everything you do should be done the way you wouldn’t have to redo).
While walking, if you have found a large path, don’t switch it for a smaller track, even in the case you think it should be shorter.
If you have lost your track, turn back following your own footprints, and analyze it. Don’t try to move forward only in order to find people or a track leading to them. It may appear that your “forward” means back, making you go far away from your destination.
If you are eating only berries and mushrooms, you won’t be able to make it for a long time. You need energy and it means – protein. You may receive some if you are able to find meat. Make doubles and traps from anything you have. Try to catch anything at all. Even mice are very good food.
Berries. You may eat only those berries that you know for sure. Because if you get intoxicated while trying to survive in the forest, your chances to get out from the forest in winter get considerably lower.
Shelters. Screens (or reflectors) may comfort you in rain or wind, but is not helpful in a snowstorm. That’s why if the wind is getting harder, you need to build shelters similar to lodges. At least, you may put four screens in a square and live there for several days. You’ll have to prepare lots of firewood to make it for the whole night if it’s freezing cold.
To find a track, look for animal trails as most animals use tracks for their movements.
If you feel exhausted or sleepy, don’t even think on sitting on the snow. Otherwise, it may be the last time you sit in your life. Even if you are overly tired keep on going on your volition, or prepare yourself a shelter, or make a fire, but don’t stay there on the freezing cold to make a rest.
You shouldn’t eat snow or drink cold water. Otherwise, you may catch cold, or lower your body temperature.
If you are stuck without normal clothing and food
This can happen to almost anyone. Airplane emergency landings (lots of cases in the past) somewhere in the Northern woods – everyone can remember one of those. Or another case: a company of young people with sleeping bags, tents and other kinds of gear came to the forest to have fun. In the middle of the night two of them stepped a bit away for intimacy. When they decided to return to the camp they were going for a long time in its direction (in their estimation). In an hour, they found out that were lost and were somewhere far away. No matches or lighters, underclad, their smartphones lost connection.
In such a situation, if you have no ability to light a fire, you’ll have to adhere to several important rules. Just remember, that while you are able to move, you will live. Your body has a capability to generated heat under very hard cold conditions. But you have to move, walk, sometimes stop and squat. You’ll be losing lots of calories. Wear everything you can, cover your head and neck.
Try breathing with your nose. And try not to eat cold snow. Try to defrost it somehow. If you feel perspired, lessen your speed, give a warm to your hands on your stomach, or just stop for some time and look around. If the night has come and you don’t have fire, it’s better not to stop on the freezing cold overnight. If you are exhausted, don’t crawl (some try doing that), because there’s a strong probability to lose your legs because of that. Try to remember a good cheerful song and whistle it quietly for yourself. And, please, stand up!
Go on walking without stop in the direction where you are expecting to find people or shelter. If you come to the river (very lucky!), go down the course. Almost any person is capable of moving for 20 hours with a 3 miles (less than 5 kilometers) per hour speed. That will make 60 miles (or a bit less than 100 kilometers). If you are moving along the river, getting to the populated area approximates 100%!
The best way to stay alive even in the cold forest is to use your forces wisely and think twice. Use your brains and you’ll be able to cope with that. Good luck!