Extremely small cold weather survival

With the “epic” blizzard hitting the East Coast I wanted to give you a couple of extremely small and compact winter survival tools that will help you maintain core temperature in the most extreme conditions.  As a note, if you live in a more temperate climate, keep in mind the fact that most cases of hypothermia happen when the temperature is in the 50s.  Why?  It’s the perfect temperature that encourages activity, sweat, lighter than necessary clothing, and big temperature shifts due to the sun.  In other words, this is something you need to know regardless of whether you live in Alaska or Hawaii.

In the picture below, I show a shelter system I use that has worked very well for me down to as low as -10 degrees and Ox down to -10 with only pants and a T-shirt on.

Display Images To See The Picture

Figure 10 – Left: SOL emergency bivvy from Adventure Medical Kits; Middle: Bag Liner; Right: GI Poncho;

On the left we have the SOL emergency bivvy from Adventure Medical Kits.  Many 72 hour kits come with Mylar bags, but Mylar tends to crinkle and tear.  I oftentimes wonder how many people selling 72 hour kits with traditional mylar blankets have actually spent a night outside using one to keep warm.  Over the years, I’ve gone from being mildly annoyed with these cheap sheets of mylar to *almost* getting to the point where I think it’s criminal negligence to include them in entry level kits.  Why?

Normal mylar emergency blankets, in a word, “suck.”  Of those who have and made it through the night using one, I wonder how many had a blanket that was still holding together enough to use for a second night.  If you doubt my assessment of traditional mylar, pull out one of your mylar blankets/bags and see how it performs.  And if you really want to test it, let it ride around in a backpack or in your car for a few months and see how well it holds up.  I would bet you that if you’ve got a traditional thin mylar blanket for more than a year and try to use it, it will fail immediately at the fold edges or corners.

They ARE functional, WAY better than nothing, and provide more heat retention per ounce/dollar than almost anything else you can buy, but they do have serious shortcomings.  If you know them and are comfortable with them, you won’t be disappointed by them in a survival situation, but if you naively expect them to be more than they are, you’ll be disappointed.

The SOL bivvies that I show above are flexible, don’t tear, cost less than $20 and they still reflect about the same amount of heat as Mylar. They are great tools.  In addition, they’re a lot quieter than Mylar.  If you’re a light sleeper, like I am, this makes a huge difference in your quality of sleep.

(Ox’s note:  I met with the SOL guys at SHOT Show, told them about the tests we’ve done, and they returned the favor by telling me about some AWESOME new products that will be coming out this year.  I saw a lot of things that I’m not supposed to share the details on and I believe these fell in that category, but I’ll let you know as soon as I know I can share the details.)

The middle bag in the picture is a Sea To Summit / Thermolite bag liner. A bag liner like this one will add 10 or 20 more degrees of temperature rating to your sleeping bag, regardless of whether it’s a bivvy or a full fledged sleeping bag. These will allow you to use the same 30 or 40-degree sleeping bag year round by letting you simply add a liner for three and four season camping.  The one I use (+15 degree bag liner) adds 15 degrees to ANY sleeping bag.  They also make a +25 degree bag liner.

A big reason to use bag liners is that if you’ve ever backpacked for a week or two, your bag can get to smelling pretty funky. A bag liner allows you to take the bag liner out and rinse it off in a stream every day, giving you a much-much cleaner smelling sleeping bag.

When combined with the SOL bivvy, it gives you a little more insulation and warmth in a small, lightweight package.

Another practical use for these is to carry them while traveling to avoid bed bugs in hotels.

In any case, what I do is use the bag liner close to my body, and the bivvy outside of that, and the reason I do that is for flexibility. On a very warm evening I can just use the bag liner or nothing at all, but I like the bag liner because it gives some instant protection, and on a little bit cooler evening, I can use just the bivvy or a combination of the two.

I’ve used this combination successfully down to -10 degrees, outside, on the ground, with no supplemental heat or cover.

If you start out cold or can’t get warm, this setup has the added benefit of reflecting the majority of the heat put out by chemical hand and body warming packets.

One thing that you’ll learn, and you’ll learn it faster the colder it is, is that you’ll lose a lot, if not most of your heat to the ground in this setup.  To combat this, you want to insulate yourself from the ground.  If you don’t have a camp pad, pile at least 6 inches of leaves, pine needles, or other debris that is “cushy” and traps plenty of air.

In a rain situation, it’s hard to beat a GI Poncho like the one shown on the right (photo), and specifically a poncho with grommets on the corners so you can make it into a tent. The “tent” doesn’t have a bottom, it doesn’t have walls.  All it has is an A-frame roof, but with the combination of these three items you can have shelter in most situations.

As a note, if you like this type of material, it’s a tiny component of the Fastest Way To Prepare course.  To learn more high speed, usable, and practical tips, tactics, and tricks for surviving any disaster that man or nature can throw at you, check it out by going >HERE<

Chris Kyle/Larry Yatch American Sniper Benefit

If you haven’t seen American Sniper yet, it’s an awesome movie and I strongly encourage you to see it.

Here’s a quick TV interview that my friend, Retired Navy SEAL, Larry Yatch recently did about his tour on Team 3 with Chris and about the movie:

I got to spend some time with Larry in Vegas at SHOT this week and we had a chance to swap stories about Chris.  To be clear, we had very different relationships with Chris.  Larry went to war with Chris and they were close friends/brothers.  I felt an instant kinship with Chris when I met him, thought the world of him when he was alive, and was devastated when he died, but I feel like it would be less than honorable to call him a “close friend” because of the lack of time that I spent with him.

One really neat thing is that I had Chris sign & autograph a copy of American Sniper to Larry…not knowing just how close they were.  Chris was going to give a copy to Larry the next time they saw each other.  Chris died before they saw each other again, but I was able to give Larry the copy that I had Chris sign for him.

One thing Larry and I both noticed is that Chris was much more jovial in real life than in the movie.  One example was from the party below.

OxChrisDillardme, Chris, and Dillard

We were standing in the kitchen talking at 1-2 in the morning and a guy who was there because his girlfriend was invited came in and asked Chris for some of his snuff.

Chris told him something along the lines of “you don’t ask a guy for his last bit of dip”, but the guy was insistent.  So Chris made him a deal he didn’t think he’d accept.  Most people wouldn’t understand or appreciate what happened next, but the simple version of the story is that the guy ended up unconscious for a few seconds, swallowing his dip, and spending the next half hour in the bathroom puking until his girlfriend dragged him home. Good times :)

Shortly after his death, Glenn Beck auctioned off his signed copy of American Sniper and raised $16,000 for Chris’ wife, Taya.  As soon as I heard this, I got in touch with Glenn, sent him a copy Chris had signed for me, and we raised another $16,000 for Taya.

This week, Larry is doing another fund raiser in Minneapolis.  On the 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th Chris and one or more other SEALs (depending on the night) are hosting a $75/seat fundraiser/showing of American Sniper.  They’ll be giving a presentation on BUD/S and the SEALs before the movie, showing the movie, and then doing a question and answer session afterwards.  There are only 1,000 available seats and Larry told me at breakfast yesterday that they were down to about 50.  Proceeds will go to the Chris Kyle Foundation.  If you’re in the Minneapolis area on the 29th (the rest are sold out) or have the ability to be, here is the link:  sniperevent.com/

For more information on retired Navy SEAL, Larry Yatch and the Concealed Carry Masters Course, go >HERE<  We’ll be donating 20% of sales through this link to the Chris Kyle Foundation along with the proceeds from the movie showings.

4 Ways To Fight To Your Gun

Ox here, with this week's newsletter, brought to you by the "Fight To Your Gun" combatives program from Target Focus Training.  Designed and proven by and for special operations personnel, it's the ideal self-defense program for people who want to be able to effectively handle a younger, bigger, stronger, faster attacker...even without a gun, knife, or other external self-defense tool.  To learn more, go >HERE< I touched on this briefly yesterday, but I want to go into it in more depth … Continue reading...

What’s Ahead In 2015

Welcome to this week's newsletter, brought to you by the SURVIVE IN PLACE Urban Survival Course.  The first, and still best, guide to get you prepared to survive short and medium term disasters in your current home, whether it’s because of a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or pandemic.  To learn more, go >HERE< now. It's a new year, and for that we can be thankful, but that doesn't mean that last year's backlash won't be a concern in 2015. Today's article touches upon why we should be … Continue reading...

The Holidays: A Time To Remember What Really Counts

Welcome to this week's newsletter, brought to you by the Dry Fire Training Cards iPhone & iPad app!  This is the digital version of Dry Fire Training Cards that you can have with you 24/7 for dry fire practice, mental imagery practice, and live fire practice.  Download and start using it immediately on your Apple device by going >HERE<. I hope that this holiday brought special blessings to you and your loved ones. This year, I hosted Christmas, and in between the presents and visiting … Continue reading...

Winter’s Here: 20 Popular Survival-Related Novels To Relax With

Welcome to this week's newsletter, brought to you by...Amazon.com of all things :)  They can still deliver stuff by Christmas, so if you haven't gotten Dry Fire Training Cards, 30-10 Pistol, Concealed Carry Masters Course, Urban Survival Cards, or "Election"--the thriller/novel, head on over to Amazon now and get 'em. Winter is a great time to catch up on reading, and what better way to do that than with a survival-related novel that both entertains and reminds us of why we're preppers in the … Continue reading...

Are Your Communications Disaster-Ready?

Welcome to this week's newsletter, brought to you by the "Fastest Way To Prepare" book & course, that will walk you through how to pick up "junk" cell phones for a few bucks apiece that have the same secure (non cellular) communication technology that people regularly pay $300-$600 for.  These are smaller, cheaper, tougher, and more secure than 99% of the handheld radios that you'll find in stores.  They don't require a license or a repeater, are SIMPLE to use, and have great range.  To … Continue reading...

A Safe Room: Is One In Your Plans?

Welcome to this week's newsletter, brought to you by Jeff Anderson's "Home Defense Tactics", which is the best home invasion defense course I've seen to date.  For the next 2 days, when you order, you'll get a free DVD with highlights from to a leading home invasion survival live training course - one that works with police, military, and tough & gritty civilians - to capture the ultra-critical secrets you need to fine-tune your protection plan now!  To learn more, go >HERE< … Continue reading...

Thanksgiving Then and Now

Welcome to this week's newsletter, brought to you by the SURVIVE IN PLACE Urban Survival Course.  The first, and still best, guide to get you prepared to survive short and medium term disasters in your current home, whether it’s because of a terrorist attack, natural disaster like a blizzard , or pandemic.  To learn more, go >HERE< now. I hope that your Thanksgiving was a blessing!  I spent my day at the cabin, baking pumpkin pies and cooking turkey while family members visited.  All in … Continue reading...

Were You Prepared For The Arctic Blast?

Welcome to this week's newsletter, brought to you by the SURVIVE IN PLACE Urban Survival Course.  The first, and still best, guide to get you prepared to survive short and medium term disasters in your current home, whether it’s because of a terrorist attack, natural disaster like a blizzard , or pandemic.  To learn more, go >HERE< now. It's being called a polar vortex and the warnings that went out on November 7th were not an exaggeration.  Fueled by the remnants of Typhoon Nuri, the … Continue reading...