Packing a WINTER Bug-Out-Bag

Most preppers have their bug-out-bags ready to go and close at hand, so do I. But now that the temperatures are dropping and winter is approaching with giant leaps and bounds, I asked myself if my bug out bag would be enough to survive sub-freezing days and nights without shelter. Because, let’s face it, we don’t know if shelter will be available when the SHTF. This is why each of my family members has their own bug-out-bag ready to go, children too.


Even if you have the luxury of still being in a car when it gets cold, it won’t help very much once you run out of gasoline. Without a heater you might be protected from the wind, but the cold will assault you from all sides, even the top and the bottom. That would put you in a very vulnerable position. If it was snowing, or you had enough snow laying around to shovel yourself in, not out, you could at least get a little more protection from the elements. But without a heat source it would only be a very temporary solution. That’s why it is doubly important to equip your bug-out bag with winter worthy supplies.

Aside from sweaters, thick socks, a jacket with a removable liner (this way you can adjust it to the climate you’re in), here is a list of things and their use that I’ve included in my bug-out-bags:

  • Mylar Blankets – These hi-tech lightweight blankets can be a life saver. They help your body retain its heat. They take up very little space and though they are really hard to refold, they are inexpensive enough to have a few on hand. These would help in the car situation as well. I actually carry a few of these, tucked in my spare, because I don’t want to get caught in the cold without them. Even if it’s just a case of running out of gas or car troubles in winter.
  • Emergency Tube Tents – These only hold two people, so make sure you have enough to accommodate the whole family. They protect against rain, wind and snow and can be a true life saver. Even if you find a cave to use as a shelter, you can use the tent to cover the entrance, sealing out the cold and keeping in as much warmth as possible. If you have to hit the road and hike somewhere to get yourself and your family to safety this is a must have in your bug out bag, it’s definitely in mine.
  • Emergency Bivvy Sack – Although mylar emergency sleeping bags, that are less expensive and lighter, are available, I have stocked my bug-out bag with bivvy sacks. They are warmer and more durable than the thin mylar bags. After all, you don’t know if you are prepping for short term or long term emergency conditions.
  • Hand Warmers – These chemical, friction activated, packets are also a must have. Not only in your bug out bag…you should keep some in the trunk of your car in winter. It’s hard to get your hands warm once they’re cold. Shoving one of these into your gloves and socks can prevent hands and feet from getting too cold while you’re looking for shelter.
  • Polyethylene Foam – This is something that’s used to pack things and comes in large rolls. Lightweight, it’s a great insulation to use under your bivvy sack or when sitting down in the cold. I’ve folded 6’ long pieces for each adult family member and a 5’ long pieces for each of the children in half and then rolled them tightly, securing them with 2 rubber bands. I have them wedged under the top flap of the bug out bags.
  • Insulated Bottles – When you’re out in the cold you want to make sure your water doesn’t freeze. You can avoid this by using insulated bottles. The other plus, the warmer the water you drink, the more heat your body will be able to retain.

This is what I’ve come up with so far. I’m sure there’s a lot more I will be able to add to this list in the future, and I will be as I think of other things to prepare for. If this helps you and yours to stay warmer for a little longer then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do. Stay warm my friends!

Written by: Naomi Broderick

She’s the mother of three and a professional writer for ADT, Odessa, Texas. She spends her free time wrestling with the kids, writing or prepping for disasters, or resting from all of it. Phew!

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