Winter Bug Out Tips

Winter Bug Out Tips

A bug out event presents challenges regardless of the season. Winter, however,  brings more challenges that people must be able to overcome for survival. Hypothermia, frostbite and lack of food supply all pose health and safety hazard. The following tips are designed to help people prepare for a successful winter evacuation.

How Do You Pick an Excellent Winter Bug Out Location?

Key terms that help make locations ideal for a bug out site. These include:

Security: Is the location you have chosen hidden, defendable, will it protect you and your supplies from animals and humans? Does it provide shelter from the weather and the elements?

Self-Sufficiency: Is there potable water, natural food sources such as game, plants, etc.?

Geography: Is it far enough away from people? Is it accessible during an emergency? Is it accessible during winter?

Duration: Can you live there year round or is there a limit on how long you can stay in that location? Is it safe year round?

All of these elements impact the quality of each location you might choose. Another thought is what happens if your location is occupied when you get there. It is best to have a backup plan and location just in case. Maybe even a handful of locations, because in a natural disaster roads or other obstacles might prevent you from reaching one or more destinations.

Long Term Survival Tips and Planning

Who can say how long you might need to stay in one location? It might be a few days, a few months or even a full year. A few of the things you need to know are: How many people is this location going to support and is it capable of supporting that many people long-term?

  • Plan food stock for more people then you plan to bring. Also consider natural events such as food spoilage, pest damage, etc.
  • Learn to be a wilderness survivalist. Learn how to hunt, fish, and how to garden. It might be a good idea to leave some supplies hidden nearby. That means you’ll need to know how to properly pack and store caches.

Choosing Food Supplies that Last

  • Dry grains and legumes that are properly packed can last decades and still be edible. These include white rice, corn, wheat, and pinto beans.
  • Fruit and Vegetables include dehydrated apple slices, potato flakes, and dehydrated carrots.
  • Other food sources include powered milk, pasta, rolled oats, sugar, and salt.

Supplement with dehydrated meals from your short-term kit. If you can hunt or fish, that will also help, but you should not depend on that for food. Natural disasters affect wildlife too. Winter weather also means critters hibernate or migrate so game may not be available.

A 5 gallon bucket of dried food has enough calories to feed one adult for one month. One 5 gallon bucket holds about 25-30 pounds of food and will last a lifetime if packaged properly. Use mylar bags and seal the lid completely.

What to Bring With You

Canvas or oil-tarps: They work well for creating doorways in caves or to keep equipment dry during storms.

Cold weather clothing: Plan for extreme weather for your location. Minus temps and wind chill factors can be deadly.

Bedding: Bedding for below freezing weather. Wool is often good because it dries quickly and it also provides some protection if it gets wet.

Emergency Shelter: A tent in case you have to camp out before you reach your destination.

Alternative travel gear: Snowshoes, etc. in case roads are blocked. This would also include framed packs for transporting stuff or use a sled.

Hunting and fishing gear if available: Guns and ammo or other hunting tools such as a bow. Fishing line with hooks is needed, and if have access to a river or lake. Guns for protection. Fishing line can also be used to create trip-line to help protect your base.

Test Your Gear Before You Bug Out For Real

We have an annual winter bug out bag camp out so we can test our skills and gear. We camp for 3 nights and 4 days during the coldest time of winter to do this. It’s imperative that you know that your gear is adequate and you know how to use it before you actually have to rely on it for survival.


These tips provide a basic overall approach to what you will need to bug out in the winter. Adjust the information here to your location and consider aspects of your bug out sites, such as altitude and winter access.