If you have read as many survival stories as I have, if you follow rescues in the paper, there are plenty of people who get out on snow machines, ATV’s, bikes or hiking and either try to go too far or run into some difficulty. Then it’s decision time, “do I still try to get home or do I button up and spend the night?”
All to often those who forge on are the ones who don’t make it, they get lost or in more trouble due to darkness. Tiredness and the onset of hypothermia can make proper judgement difficult or even impossible.
Search parties don’t generally run at night, so your chances of being seen moving about are eliminated. It’s so easy to get into more serious trouble by pushing on after dark.
The best course of action in most cases is to work out some kind of shelter. Get out of the wind, rain or snow. Insulate yourself the best you can. Avoid working too hard on this, you cannot allow yourself to get sweaty before settling in to bed.
Perhaps we should envoke the KISS principle here, Keep It Safely Simple. Utilize your machine to block wind. Find trees, brush, rocks, snowbanks, etc. for sheltering you from the elements. If you are in snow, try to find something to insulate you from the snow while laying down.
An effective way to keep warm is to use your coat as a bivy, check out our video. If it has a hood pull it over your head to add more insulation. Now get situated for how you are going to lay, pull your arms out of the sleeves and into the chest area. Cross your forearms over your chest.
Doing the jacket bivy has a couple of advantages. One, by pulling your arms in against your chest, you are able to keep them warmer than they would be out in the sleeves. Two, by crossing them over your chest you are able to share the warmth of blood circulation between your bodies core and the arms.
Hopefully your coat is large enough for this. I always try to buy coats a bit over-sized, as this allows for better layering and also makes the jacket bivy easy to pull off. If the sleeves are cut too tight, many times you can take the jacket off zip it up, and pull it over your head like a sweater.
So if you ever get stranded, keep your wits, shelter up and use the jacket bivy to keep yourself cozy till morning.
Stay safe and enjoy to outdoors – till next time – Perry Peacock