Essential Winter Survival Gear to Keep You Warm and Alive

Winter Survival Fire

Learning how to survive in sub-zero temperatures and inclement conditions while being surrounded by nature is no easy feat. 

Though it is more than possible, mistakes are oftentimes made to prevent this from happening. When incorrect gear is brought or you weren’t prepared for the weather that was thrown at you, the simple task of just surviving in the winter can feel nearly impossible. But, that’s why we’re here. 

Below, Survival World has compiled a comprehensive list of the winter survival gear you’ll need to keep you warm and alive during the worst weather conditions. 

Whether you’re planning on camping the winter months away or are just wanting to be as prepared as possible for an emergency, we have everything you need to help you do more than just survive–you’ll thrive.

The Best Winter Survival Clothing

Winter Survival Clothing: Man in Woods

Surviving the winter would be nearly impossible without the right clothing. It may seem obvious, but warm clothing is one of the best (and easiest) ways to protect your body during tough conditions. 

Even if the winters in your region aren’t incredibly harsh, it’s smart to be prepared, just in case.

Cold-Weather Clothing: Jackets, Shirts, & Pants

When it comes to your shirts and pants, just regular ol’ cotton will not do the trick. Cotton shirts will not keep you insulated the way you need to survive during the winter. 

Instead, you should rely on thermal undershirts and long sleeves you can hide underneath your regular clothing for added warmth and protection. 

Thermajohn makes thermal clothing options for both men and women, with products designed to provide warmth with ease. (Plus. they’re super comfortable, too.)

Thermal pants and long sleeve shirts just aren’t enough, though. To make sure you can truly survive during the winter, we suggest investing in a high-quality water-proof jacket. 

Water-proof jackets like Wantdo’s are made specifically for the rain and snow, with materials to prevent moisture from seeping through. 

With warm, fuzzy fabric underneath the water-repellent raincoat, you’re sure to stay nice and warm (and alive) in the coldest of conditions.  

Winter Boots

Winter boots in the snow

As important as it is to keep your arms and legs warm and protected, it is crucial to do the same for your feet. Winter boots are some of the best types of shoes to wear during inclement weather. 

Winter boots are often water-proof and extremely durable, helping to protect your sensitive feet from getting exposed.

Timberland makes great men’s winter boots. These boots are stylish and not overly clunky, yet still provide high-quality protection from whatever Mother Nature has to throw at you. 

Great for use on trails, paved roads, or trekking through the snow, these waterproof boots will keep you both safe and comfortable during the winter. 

Sorel is another shoe brand that crafts boots that are ideal for survival in the winter. Their women’s water-proof, insulated winter boots are not only gorgeous, but they keep your feet warm and free of moisture of any kind. 

These boots only go up to the ankle, but if you’re trekking through deeper snow, they also offer taller options to prevent any snow from falling inside. 

With these boots, your toes stay dry and, thus, your body is able to stay much warmer than if you just wore your typical sneakers.

Gloves and Socks

You simply cannot expect to survive the winter months without proper pairs of gloves and socks. 

Though small, these little pieces of clothing protect integral parts of your body where most heat is released. When we cover and protect these areas properly, we can continue retaining our body heat and surviving the best we can.

Unfortunately, your basic mittens won’t do the trick. To survive in the winter, you want to rely on water-proof, wind-proof gloves to get the job done. 

Prodigen offers outdoor winter gloves that come with special material on the fingertips to allow for smartphone use. 

On top of this, they are totally weather-proof and are adjustable to fit your hand specifically. Inside, there are three insulating fabrics just waiting to keep your fingers warm and moveable.

Just like we suggested thermal pants and shirts, we also highly suggest utilizing thermal socks to help you survive during the tough winters. Thermal socks will help trap the heat from your feet, keeping you warm and insulated without even realizing it. 

Debra Weitzner’s thermal socks for men and women are both warm and comfortable on the feet, lined with a thick fuzzy material that feels like your favorite pair of everyday fuzzy socks. Only, these socks will actually help keep you alive, too.

Winter Survival Gear and Gadgets

Winter survival gear

The right clothing is key to surviving the winter, but so is the right gear. Without proper winter gear and gadgets, survival is nearly impossible, and you’re entirely left to your own devices. 

Instead, stock up on the best winter survival gear you can and the winter months will suddenly feel as simple as summer.

Flashlights and Lanterns

You cannot survive without light. High-quality flashlights and reliable lanterns are key to getting you through the winter, especially in the event of loss of power. 

These ultra-bright 2000 Lumen flashlights are great for keeping on-hand during the winter, as they’re waterproof, long-lasting, and rechargeable. 

You never want to be stuck in a situation without light, but, with these durable flashlights, that becomes nearly impossible.

While the idea of a lantern may feel a bit outdated, they’re still some of the best ways to have a reliable light source, especially during harsh winter weather. 

Camping lanterns are frequently used in emergency situations, like natural disasters, because of how durable and long-lasting they are. 

A lantern will stay lit for much longer than a typical flashlight, and they produce significantly more light, too. Lightweight and easy to carry, a lantern will be your best friend during your winter survival journey.

Shovels

When surviving the winter, you never know what kind of work you’re going to come across. To stay warm, that might require building a fire and collecting materials, even clearing out space. 

To make all of these tasks easier, we suggest finding a collapsible survival shovel. Foldable survival shovels are easy to carry around because of their compact size. When unfolded, however, you have a full-sized shovel and various other useful instruments, too. 

Boyisen Okoolcamp’s foldable camping shovel comes with multiple functions including a pickaxe and even a nail puller to provide assistance with various types of survival. 

So, whether you need to use it as a shovel, saw, or hoe, this tool can do it all. No matter what kind of labor you must do to help you stay alive during the winter, collapsible shovels are the ones to rely on. 

Power Source

This may not be necessary for every person trying to survive the winter, but we sure think it’s helpful. 

Having some sort of power source is ideal for emergencies, keeping your batteries charged, and even providing some warmth, depending on what your power source is.

Generators can be a bit pricey, but they’re also key in helping you survive the winter. Generators provide backup power in case of emergencies, charging various kinds of electronic devices whether in the house or in the middle of nowhere. 

During natural disasters, generators are often used to bring families power that may have lost it; this is the same situation for those trying to survive the winter. 

With a backup generator, the idea of losing power is not nearly as detrimental as it once was. 

Water Purifier

Simply put, you cannot survive without water. Whether it is the hot summer months or the freezing winter ones, not having water is a death sentence. 

Unfortunately, clean, healthy drinking water isn’t always easy to find. As much as we’d all love to just stick our face in a stream and call it good, that water is not safe for consumption. In order to always have the water you need, investing in a portable water purifier is key.

No, we’re not talking about a Brita: we’re talking about products like the LifeStraw. The LifeStraw is a personal water filter that can filter up to 1,000 gallons of water without any batteries or moving parts. 

All you do is collect the natural water you find, suck it up, and the LifeStraw rids it of any impurities, chemicals, and bacteria. This leaves you with totally safe drinking water, even if you’re far from purified water bottles. 

Other water filtration devices, like the Survivor Filter PRO, are not as portable as the LifeStraw, but they’re just as effective (if not more). 

This high-quality purifier provides triple filtration of your water, removing 99.999% of bacteria and other impurities. Easy to use and made to last a lifetime, water purifiers such as these are integral in keeping you alive during the winter. 

Survival Gear to Keep You Warm

More than just clothes, you’re going to need a few pieces of other survival gear to keep you warm. 

Blankets, sleeping bags, and hand warmers are all essential gear you should have if you’re hoping to survive during the inclement winter months.

Blankets

When it comes to blankets, your standard couch fleece is not going to do the trick. To stay alive and warm during the winter, you are going to need heavy-duty, waterproof blankets that can withstand most conditions. 

Snugpack makes an incredible lightweight, waterproof, and antibacterial blanket called the Jungle Blanket, which is one of my absolute favorite survival blankets.

Brawntide’s large outdoor blanket is another example of this. These high-quality blankets are waterproof, wind-proof, and sand-proof, making them ideal for outdoor survival. 

They’re made with extra-thick warm fleece for added comfort alongside serious protection. But, despite being so thick and warm, this blanket is surprisingly lightweight and easy to carry.

Wool blankets are also ideal options for winter survival. Wool, though not as soft as fleece, is one of the warmest materials on the planet. 

They don’t shed and, even when wet, these blankets are able to insulate your heat and keep you nice and cozy. 

The Arcturus Military wool blanket is big enough for your entire family to snuggle under, too, so everybody can keep safe during cold temperatures and unpredictable weather.

Thermal Sleeping Bags

For a warm, protective place to sleep when outdoors, thermal sleeping bags are perfect winter survival gear. These insulated sleeping bags are designed to keep you as warm as possible, despite what may be happening outside the bag itself. 

Thermal sleeping bags are the best option for emergency situations. They’re easy to carry, compact, and can be used practically anywhere. The Go Time Gear Life Bivy is marketed explicitly to keep you alive in even the most extreme conditions, retaining your body heat and giving you a protected place to sleep. 

The bag is made out of puncture-resistant material and is intended for multiple uses. This pack even includes a 120-decibel survival whistle to help reach rescuers over one mile away. Truly, everything you need to survive the winter is right in this pack.

If you don’t need an entire emergency kit, Soulout’s four-season waterproof sleeping bag is the next best option. These high-quality sleeping bags are designed to endure all types of weather, from harsh rain to cold snow and even the harshest winds. 

They’re easy to carry and fold up in a compact manner, great for having with you 24/7. These thermal sleeping bags are even big enough to fit two for extra heat retention. 

Winter hiking

Staying Warm in Even the Coldest Conditions

Of course, you don’t want to forget winter survival gear like emergency kits, flares, and safely packaged foods, either. 

Having emergency gear such as this is also key in keeping you alive during the harsh winter months. 

Staying safe and warm during the winter isn’t always easy, but is possible–especially when you have the right equipment. 

If you follow Survival World’s tips, tricks, and recommendations when it comes to surviving in the winter, we promise, spring will come quickly and effortlessly. 

For more tips on surviving in extreme conditions, check out our blog.