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What’s In Your Winter Bug-Out Bag?


The days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting colder.  The ground is beginning to freeze, and, in some places, snow is beginning to fall.  What does all this mean for you?  Well, it means the weekend bug out has to change dramatically.
Bugging out with snow on the ground can, in some ways, dramatically change how you do things.  You need to re-evaluate what you are bringing and how you go about it.  Where in the summer you may need insect repellent, in the winter you may replace it with something else.  So what do you take with you on your winter camping trips?  What do you rely heavily on?  We asked some of you this question, and the answers may actually surprise you.
First and foremost we have some of the more obvious responses.  One of the most popular responses was the camping stove.  When going on a bug out in the summer, it’s a bit easier to track down kindling to get those campfires going.  However, once there is a blanket of snow covering everything, it all changes.  It is not as easy to find dry wood capable of burning.  So you need to bring something that you can keep dry until you need it.  And for this, the best option is a camp stove.  Many of them will easily fold up, making for comfortable carrying.  This eliminates the need to search around for dry brush and sticks every time you need to start a fire.
But why have a stove if you don’t have a way to cook?  It’s always important to include several emergency candles in your pack.  Several candles are able to “Hot Burn” for up to 30 hours.  Pair one of these with your portable camp stove and you have a sure-fire way to make a hot meal.
Another popular response was the backpack.  What’s the point of bringing all this stuff if you don’t have somewhere to put it?  Backpacks are the best way to make any campers life easier.  In summer, you don’t need to worry about moisture as much (Other than the occasional rainstorm of course).  However, that also changes immensely in Winter.  The ground is covered in snow, making the likelihood of you and your gear getting wet much greater.  So, what is the best way to keep your gear dry, and keep yourself safe from frostbite?  With a backpack.  Many backpacks come with a waterproof option, guaranteeing those lighters and bedding stay dry for when you need them most.  You just can’t go wrong with a reliable backpack.
With the sun setting much earlier during the winter, you want to make sure you are not caught in the dark.  No matter what season you head out, it’s always important to have a good flashlight.  But that is even more so the case during winter.  Darkness is falling much earlier, meaning you are relying on your light more than you would be in the summer.  With so many options to light up your night, there is no excuse not to have one.  If you are looking to light up a tent, or small campsite, you can’t go wrong with a lantern.  Some even put off heat, helping you maintain a healthy body temperature on those cold nights.  Or, if you are looking for something easy to manage, go with a headlamp.  They make trekking through snow and underbrush so much easier, as they are hands-free.  Either way you look at it, you need to have a reliable light.
The last response is something a lot of people don’t consider.  No matter what season it is, when you are hiking or working, your body is sweating and using energy.  During the summer, it’s easy to remember to hydrate, in the Winter however, a lot of people forget this life-saving bit of information.   Hiking through snow can be exhausting, and can quickly deplete your body’s stores of energy.  When you are shivering from the cold, drinking water may not cross your mind.  But staying hydrated is an absolutely essential part of any winter bug out.  So grab yourself a water bottle or two, just to be safe.  And don’t forget those water filtration kits as well.  Snow can easily be made safe to drink with the help of a camp stove, and a filtration kit.  Better safe than sorry.
These are just a few ideas to include in any winter bug-out.  But we want to know what you include. What has a permanent place in your winter bag?  Let us know in the comments below.