Packing A Personal Winter Survival Kit
This winter's weather should remind each of us that winter survival kits aren't just a luxury item; they can be literal lifesavers. While everyone should have a winter survival kit in their car, those of us who don't drive should carry a personal kit as well. Whether we're walking to the corner store or taking a bus across-town, it's best to be prepared for an emergency.
First, we need to pick an appropriate container for our kit. We'll want something similar in size to a clutch or a 90's-style fanny pack. A container of this size is easy enough to slip into a bag, purse, or large pocket. Something made out of waterproof materials or nylon works best, with a zippered pouch.
One of the first things a winter survival kit needs is a way to stay warm. Even a thin hat and pair of mittens are better than nothing, and they're easy to roll up and fit into your survival kit. In a perfect world you'll be wearing a hat and gloves already, but you never know when you (or someone else) may need extras.
Now that we've got a way to keep from losing warmth, we need a way to make some. A single-use hand-warmer packet can provide enough heat to warm up chilled fingers, thaw a lock, or defrost a window. I recommend keeping two in your personal winter survival kit, if you have the room for them. A cheap lighter or matchbook is also a good idea to have handy.
Let's face it; flashlight technology has made huge advances in recent years. Miniature LED flashlights can be bought cheaply, and there's no reason not to keep at least one in your survival kit; some are small enough that you can add two or three to your kit and not take up too much room.
If there's been an emergency, odds are somebody's hurt. Most survival kits will contain adhesive bandages, but some parts of the country get so cold that the adhesive won't work. For this reason, I recommend a small roll of cotton bandages and a small roll of elastic stretch bandages. not only can they be used for first aid, they can also be used for emergency repairs of insulation and clothing. You should also have a small, waterproof container for pills containing a day's worth of any prescribed medications, as well as a pair of acetaminophen/ibuprofen/caffeine pills (for headaches) and naproxen (for muscle pain).
Let's face it; you're not useful in an emergency situation if you're missing something you need from your daily routine. If you drink a lot of coffee or soda, pack caffeine pills. If you're an eater, pack some chocolate bites. If you're a smoker or vaper, go buy a spare vape starter kit and make sure it's charged.
You know those protein bars that taste horrible? Add one to your survival kit, along with a small pack of trail mix. Trail mix can be easily shared, and the bar can replace a meal if worst comes to worst.
No modern survival kit should be without a portable battery and charging cable for your phone. In this case, cheaper can be better; many less expensive brands of battery will heat up if attached to your phone while it's turned on, providing a little heat to cold hands.
Every winter we hear stories that only have happy endings when the people involved have something to help them survive the elements. Making your own survival kit is a great way to make sure your story has a happy ending.