The Ultimate Guide On Surviving The Cold (Law-Enforcement + Military)

 The Ultimate Guide On Surviving The Cold (Law-Enforcement + Military)

Written by: Josh Montgomery

Whether you are law enforcement or military personnel, keeping your core temperature warm is the key to surviving the cold.  A mixture of snow and ice, lower temperatures, wind chill, and less sunlight (shorter days) normally work together to steal your energy and body heat in cold weather situation.  Surviving these cold conditions needs a matchless set of survival skills and a little more planning.

Without a doubt, exposure to cold can kill as fast as possible. In law enforcement, preparing for anything that gets on your way such as a minor injury in cold weather before it becomes a major problem is quite imperative. This is what distinguishes wise/smart law enforcement or military personnel from the foolish one.

It doesn’t matter if you have just broken an ankle in the course of a foot pursuit, you are ensnared in a just crashed squad, or just experiencing pains from a gunshot wound — you need to protect yourself against being stuck out in the cold ill-equipped and waiting for help. Always remember the fact that a downed officer in cold is quite a dangerous situation.

The Harmful Effects of Extreme Cold Exposure

The body temperature is regulated in a narrow range. This multifarious balance must account for physiology, behavior, and environmental factors. There are countless detrimental effects, when the environmental factors engulf the body’s natural response mechanisms.

It doesn’t take long for this balance to tip in excessive cold conditions, and for these effects happen—before long, cold stress will turn to cold sprain and lots more. In general, cold stress is the personal and/or environmental conditions that get rid of body heat and reduce body temperature, triggering biological survival responses.

On the other hand, cold strain is the psychological and/or physiological consequences of cold stress.

If the military and the law enforcement have adequate protection and shelter, properly clothed, take healthy food and water, and have enough rest, they can operate and survive in cold environments. But physical functioning will deteriorate rapidly, if any of these elements is lacking.

Skin Temperature: Skin temperature deteriorates quickly as heat is lost from exposed body surface quicker than it is restored. As a result of the primary decline in skin temperature, vasoconstriction occurs, escalating the blood pressure, and rerouting blood flow to the core of the body in an effort to sustain overall body functioning and temperature.

Increase in Metabolic Heat: Exposing your body to cold brings forth increased metabolic heat because the body attempts to recompense and stave off general core heat loss. This can be harmful in intense and active situations like the military operations, where resources need to be preserved.

Hypothermia Occurs: There will be hypothermia if the core temperature of the body drops considerably. Military and law enforcement personnel necessitate cold weather clothing that can endure a number of ambient physical activity levels and temperatures, and that can protect them against snow, rain, and wind.

Follow this ultimate guide on surviving the cold for law enforcement + military to stay warm in cold weather condition.

  1. Emergency Life-Saving Kit

Apart from your top quality gloves, socks, and boots, you also need life-saving kit in case of any emergency, as there are many circumstances where you might be trapped in a place and you will be an injured officer waiting for help to come.

Few easy items to protect you in a cold include:

a) Snowmobile Balaclava: Snowmobile Balaclava is a lean piece of headwear designed for wearing underneath a snowmobile helmet. It is used for protecting the neck, face, and the head from frostbite and cold.

b) Plastic Trash Bag: This is particularly used to cover up or sit on to prevent being exposed to cold, if you have torn clothing or just to lay or sit if you are injured in the snow.

c) Oxygen-activated Hand Warmers: They are used for keeping hands and body warm when standing on a perimeter. They can be put in vest, hats, boots, and gloves.

d) Thin Wool/Fleece Gloves: This wool military surplus glove works well in a situation where your colleagues are sitting on the dash of the squad.


  1. Get Dressed in Layers

Dressing inlayers is the best way to regulate or normalize your body temperature while surviving in the cold.  Many layers are far better than a thick layer simply because they entrap air between them. In order to keep perspiration off your skin, start off with a light wicking layer and build up from there.

Three to five layer systems are therefore recommended. To keep water out and minimize heat exchange, the outer layer should be wind and waterproof all the time. In addition, layers are excellent when it comes to regulating temperature because they will allow you to add or remove them in hot or cold situation.

  1. Build Wall of Fire

You can build a wall of fire around yourself because fire is indispensable in cold survival situation. Fire will keep you warm, boost your morale, and keep the symptoms of freezing related medical conditions out of your mind.

However, when you are collecting wood in a cold survival situation, it is advisable to gather those branches that are not exposed to snow because the moisture from snowbound wood will make it a bit difficult to burn. For this reason, seek the dead branches in the lower parts of trees in that location.

  1. Don’t Forget to Hydrate

As we are used to be thirsty in hot weather, some of us sometimes don’t remember to drink water when it is cold, and drinking water in this scenario is very important. This is because staying well hydrated is significant to any outdoor cold adventure.

It is therefore recommended that you take a break for a drink every hour, regardless your activity. Let this be part of your daily schedule or routine because adequate hydration ensures excellent blood flow and other bodily functions — keeping you warm always. Drink warm water to keep your body warm from within.

  1. Cold Shelter Systems

If you want to build your shelter system for survival when there is cold, choose the four-season rated tent. This is a tent particularly designed for camping in winter, fall, summer, and spring. These tents come with less mesh netting than the three-season tents.

This simply means that they absorb heat better. Moreover, winter tents have bigger places where you can keep your outerwear and snow-covered boots. Tramp the snow down to make a solid and level base for assembling your tent. Place the door of the tent at a 90 degree angle to the wind.

Snow can be a great insulator. Therefore, constructing a snow-cave shelter urgently may help you survive cold.

  1. Keep Your Feet Warm with Proper Cold-rated Boot

No matter your status or your profession, you must take care of your feet if you are operating or passing through snow and ice. Without adequate insulation, the cold ground will suck heat away from them quickly, exposing yourself to frostbite on your toes.

Hence, wearing a proper cold-rated boot will be a wise decision. This should be what includes a removable insulation layer. Avoid boots that fit too tight, because you have to give room for a minimum of two layers of socks, meaning that you will have less blood-flow to your toes when you wear tight fitting boots.

In this case, it is recommended that you wear thin liner socks, followed by a thicker pair of wool ones. Plus a second set for sleeping as others dry out.

You can as well wrap plastic bags on your bare feet, and wear your socks on them, in extreme cold. This vapor barrier will trap heat and prevent your socks from getting soaked with sweat.


Surviving the cold can be a cruel and trying condition.  But you can really increase your chances of success with some planning and the addition of some carefully selected cold survival tips. However, there is no replacement for knowledge and experience when it comes to surviving the cold. This is why you need to follow this ultimate guide on surviving the cold.