Bug Out Bag

7 Winter Survival Gear to Winterize Your Bug-Out Bag



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Make sure to winterize your bug-out bag for the coming season with the necessary winter survival gear!

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Set Your Bug-Out Bag for the Cold Season

You’ve got your gear all packed. Your tools, weapons, first aid supplies, winter survival food, fishing tackle, and other survival gear are all ready to go. But is your bug-out bag ready for winter?

Once your bug-out bag is packed and ready, it’s tempting to put it “out of sight, out of mind.” After all, there’s no point in opening it up until you need it, right?

WRONG. The truth is, you should be checking your bug-out bag often to make sure you don’t forget anything and your gear is in good working order.

Update it regularly with season-specific gear, so you’ll be ready to go no matter what time of year you’ll be bugging out. Below you’ll find a few suggestions for winterizing your bug-out bag.

Take these steps and stock up on winter survival gear. Take comfort in knowing that you’re prepared to leave at a moment’s notice should disaster strike in the winter months.

The winter wilderness can be a horrible place to spend a few minutes in. Here are just a few items to consider adding to your cold-weather survival gear list.

1. Winter Clothes

hat gloves drying gray white winter | winter survival kit

It should go without saying that preparing for winter requires special consideration for your clothes. Make sure when packing your bug-out bag that you include warm clothes such as a heavy jacket, wool socks, a hat, gloves, and boots.

This will be tricky since winter clothes tend to be heavier and bulkier. You may need to make room in your pack to accommodate these clothes. Pack smart, and make sure your pack isn’t too heavy to carry for long distances.

2. Weatherproof Fire Starting Materials

fire strater on rock | home winter survival kit

It’s always important to have fire starters, lighters, and matches that can withstand the elements, but this is especially important in winter. Snow, wind, and wet conditions can make it more difficult to start a fire.

Stormproof matches are a must for your winter survival gear.

3. Mylar Blanket

A Mylar blanket can be a true lifesaver in a winter survival situation. These high-tech blankets reflect light and help the body retain heat.

What is a Mylar blanket? A Mylar blanket is the official product of Dupont Tejjin Films and is a type of polyester resin. It is popular for its heat resistance and strength.

If you ever find yourself bugging out or stranded during winter, you’ll be glad you packed a couple of these. The best part is they are thin, light, and won’t take up much space in your bug-out bag.

RELATED: Winter Storm Survival: How To Stay Warm And Survive the Cold

4. Polyethylene Foam

polyethylene insulation isolation foam aluminum foil | best winter emergency car kit

This is one piece of winter survival gear that often goes overlooked. Polyethylene foam is typically used in packaging, but it also makes great insulation.

Use it under your bivy sack or sleeping bag to add an extra layer of warmth between your body and the cold ground.

5. Shovel

military spade folded on green bench | extreme cold weather work gear

A shovel is a good item to have on hand in any survival situation, but it’s especially important in the winter when you may find yourself needing to dig out of the snow. Fortunately, these lightweight folding shovels are perfect for your bug-out bag.

6. Eye Protection

This is another winter survival gear item that often goes overlooked. The combination of the bright sun and snow in winter can cause snow blindness, a temporary but painful loss of vision due to exposure to UV rays.

In a survival situation, being able to see is a must. So be sure to pack UV-Protect sunglasses in your winter bug-out bag.

7. Insulated Water Bottle

thermos bottle near brick wall background | winter survival

You may be stocked up on water, but it won’t do you much good if it’s frozen solid. Pack a couple of insulated water bottles so you’re sure to always have clean drinking water whenever you need it.

Watch this video by Survival Life and have a quick walkthrough of the Everstryke Pro:

The most important thing that protects you from extreme cold is heat. Always make it a point to have the necessary gear to keep you warm. You’ll never know when the car engine will cease to function due to the weather.

When that happens, your warming gear will be the difference while waiting for rescue to arrive.

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Got your own list of winter survival gear to add to this list? Share it with us in the comments section below!

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in January 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

Last update on 2024-04-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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  1. Myke

    October 3, 2016 at 10:32 AM

    I love shopping at my local thrift store. I’ve found incredible deals there, especially on winter items. I’m always looking for 100% wool sweaters and find them on average $4 a piece. They’re great to have and also to give to others in need. I’ve found almost brand new Danner Gore-tex boots for $20 and many lesser named Gore-tex boots for $8 – $10. It’s amazing what people get rid of and how little it Costs to pick up items. Happy hunting.

  2. Rick

    October 3, 2016 at 4:42 PM

    In addition to my “base” BOB I plan to have a red and a blue nylon bag that would be easy to grad – red for summer only items and blue for winter only items that you can have ready to grab.

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  7. Evan

    January 20, 2017 at 5:47 PM

    My work is 35 miles from my house, so a tent is included in my get home equipment. I live in Maine so the ground freezes. Most tents come with plastic stakes which are worthless so make sure to get good steel stakes if you live where the ground freezes hard. I have way more than I can carry so I have a sled that fits in the trunk that carries all I may need. In the summer the sled gets exchanged for a two wheel deer carrier. Laugh all you want this system works great.


      January 23, 2017 at 5:32 PM

      I camp in Wyoming where the ground is either frozen or just rocky and the wind always blows. I have found that steel nails about 10 inches long with a flat washer really works to hold my large or small tent against all the elements. They are also much easier to pull out. The nails, washers and a hammer are packed right in my tent bag.

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  9. Reader/Budding survivalist

    August 28, 2017 at 10:36 PM

    The term is “bug-out”—a “bug-out bag”, if you mean the bag itself. It’s an adjective, because it describes what kind of bag (one you use when you bug out). The 2-word phrase “bug out” denotes the action of bugging out; consequently, that makes it a verb phrase. “Bug-out bag”, what you take with you when you “bug out”. Thanks for taking the time to read my letter.

  10. judiabbott

    November 26, 2017 at 4:24 PM

    Have winter camped in Dolly Sods, WV and on Mt Kilimanjaro. I have everything except need to replace my Gerry butane stove (from 1975). What do you recommend?

    • Timothy Vincent

      December 8, 2017 at 8:49 PM

      MSR Whisperlite International version – burns regular, unleaded gasoline. But do get the repair/maintenance kit and make sure the O-rings are in good condition before use, leaks can be catastrophic!

      • Neal Thurston

        November 8, 2018 at 5:43 PM

        Great stove. I have one and continually put it to the test. Light, compact, and very good heat output. Don’t forget a couple of extra MSR fuel bottles that you can use for whatever type of fuel you’ll use.

    • Tommy Sheets

      November 12, 2018 at 5:13 PM

      Bio-lite are the best. Charge, Heat,Multi-fuel Cook and renewable

  11. Frank Novotny

    November 26, 2017 at 6:04 PM

    for keeping water from freezing, carry a rubbing alcohol bottle filled with Everclear, 180 proof grain alcohol. Add a little to your canteens when the temp drops. It will boil off immediately with cooking and it will kill creepy crawlies in the creek water you use. Next, get an all fuel stove for high altitude use. Use clear lamp oil. Better than butane or gas and much safer and more heat per volume and weight.

  12. David

    November 26, 2017 at 6:58 PM

    Eye muffs help to block out the wind and makes a difference in keeping the body warmer.


      November 8, 2018 at 8:09 PM

      Thanks for all the input. I love winter camping but all my equipment (except for sleeping bag and my Limmer custom boots) is going on 45 years old. Are eye muffs like horse blinders? Can clear lamp oil burn well in the MSR whisperlite? I have the original MSR but it didn’t do well below freezing.


    November 26, 2017 at 7:17 PM

    I keep packs of hand warmers in both my edc and Bob.

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