If you’ve been prepping for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with the survival rule of three. This concept says that the average adult can only survive for about three hours in the elements without shelter before experiencing negative effects on the body.
Negative effects on the body from exposure to the elements can include everything from hypothermia to heat stroke, depending on temperatures and other conditions. One of the most important skills you can master as a prepper and survivalist is the ability to protect yourself from the elements. Much of this skill centers around weatherization for preppers.
Weatherize Your Bug Out Bag
When it comes to prepping, your bug out bag is a lifeline if you have to leave the safety of your home for any reason. A bug out bag full of supplies and food won’t last very long if it is at the mercy of the elements while you carry it on your journey. So when it comes to weatherization for preppers, you definitely want to protect your bug out bag.
Start by purchasing a bug out bag that is made from a water resistant or waterproof material. One of the easiest ways to protect your bug out bag against the elements is to line it with a plastic garbage bag before you begin packing your supplies inside. If your budget allows, you can purchase dry bags to pack your supplies into before they go into your pack.
For those who are budget conscious, zip lock bags and other plastic bags or containers can help keep your vital supplies dry and protected. There are also sealants you can buy, similar to fabric protector spray for shoes and boots, which you can spray on your bug out bag in order to seal it and give it some additional water resistance. For additional protection against heavy rain, you can use a backpack cover which is additional material that folds down over your pack when you are wearing it.
Wear a hat in cold weather to help hold body heat in and keep your body warm. Dress in layers and make sure the layer closest to your skin has wicking properties to keep moisture off skin. Wool socks are definitely on the list of things to do to weatherize yourself against cold weather. In warmer climates, wearing a hat can help protect your face from dangerous sunburn.
Carry chapstick and lotion to protect delicate skin from chapping and cracking from repeated exposure to sun, wind, or cold. Wear a raincoat or rain poncho to help keep your clothes dry.
Weatherize Your Boots
A large part of weatherizing yourself is to weatherize your boots. It’s critical in winter months to help keep your feet warm and dry to stop frostbite or hypothermia from taking hold. There are multiple ways to winterize your boots including:
- Using plastic bags or zip lock bags over your socks
- Spraying or coating your boots with a water repellant spray such as Kiwi Rain, Scotchgard Fabric Protector, Nubuck, or even WD-40.
- Wrapping insoles with duct tape for added insulation
- Applying wax to fabric of boots to repel water (buy a wax toilet ring for less than $5)
- Buy boots with a Gor-Tex inner lining (do not warm boots by fire, it melts Gor-Tex)
Weatherize Your House
The first thing to consider is also the most expensive: insulating your entire house. Probably not a great idea if you anticipate a hurricane or tornado will devastate it.
Cold weather brings a host of issues if your house isn’t weatherized including drafty rooms, icy windows, and frozen water pipes. As a prepper, it’s critical to fully weatherize your home in case of a power out situation where your available heat is minimal. Old windows can be drafty and can be the cause of major heat loss from your home. This can cost you more money in heating costs every winter. If possible, include the costs of replacing windows one or two at a time in your summer budget. By replacing windows in the summer when window companies are scrambling for customers, you can sometimes get a better discount.
Another trick to save money on heating costs is to seal around window frames and door frames and any cracks or spaces along baseboards or inside cabinets with caulking. You can buy a draft blocker for under doors or you can use a pool noodle, cut in half, and wrapped in fabric to block drafts. Blocking drafts from getting in will keep your house warmer in the winter months. You can use a lit candle to check each room of your home for drafts.
Another method of weatherization for preppers or anyone who wants to stay warm and still save money on heating bills is to use bubble wrap and heat shrinking window film on all windows for the winter months.
First dampen a piece of bubble wrap the size of your window pane and apply it to the window. It will stick because it’s damp. Then follow directions included in a shrink wrap window kit to cover the entire window with film and heat with a hair dryer to shrink it tight.
Once you have sealed your house against cold air and drafts, you should also weatherize the water pipes in your home. This can be done by using an electrical heat wrap which will warm the pipes as long as the power is on. As a backup to your heat wrap when power goes out, wrap your pipes in foam insulation specifically for pipes which you can buy at the hardware store.
Finally, weatherize your house by making sure you do have at least one alternate heat source to use in a grid down situation. This can be done using whatever works best for your home, such as a fireplace, kerosene heater, or a fuel run generator. Since homes are sealed up tight in winter weather, make sure you also install a working CO2 detector to monitor any fumes that may build up.
Weatherize Your Log Cabin
When it comes to weatherizing a log cabin, you will follow many of the same tips as weatherizing your home. Check for drafts and seal them off around doors and windows and make sure you have an alternate source of heat.
But for a log cabin you’ll also want to inspect the exterior for any chinks in the logs that need to be caulked. This will stop drafts, keep mice out, and also help to keep moisture out of your cabin. It’s also a good idea to reapply your exterior stain every four years or so to ensure the wood is sealed against the elements.
Weatherize Your Vehicle
If you live full time in one of the colder climates, you may already be in the habit of weatherizing your vehicle to protect it from extreme cold in winter months. This can include using an antifreeze that is rated for low temperatures and replacing standard window washing fluid with Ice Guard washer fluid.
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You may also decide to change your tires to snow tires, all weather tires, or even add snow chains to your tires for the winter. As a prepper, another important tip to weatherize your vehicle is to make sure your car BOB includes warm blankets, and winter accessories such as wool hat, gloves, hand and foot warmers, and a scarf or balaclava to cover your face. If you travel frequently wearing only dress shoes or tennis shoes, you’ll want to include a pair of wool socks and warm boots as part of your car BOB.
In the trunk of your car you should also store a small shovel, some kitty litter or other method of traction, along with road flares and even tow chains. Many preppers even equip their vehicle with a small winch. This way if you are stranded in winter weather or get stuck in the snow, you’ll have what you need to get unstuck or stay warm until help arrives.
Weatherize Your Livestock and Pets
When it comes to weatherizing, don’t forget your livestock/pets. Make sure your animals have a shady place to get out of extreme sun and heat along with plenty of fresh water in summer months. Most animals also need to be in a dry and draft free barn or coop to keep from getting sick.
Groups of animals will keep their pen warm from their body heat but if they get wet or can’t get away from cold drafts, staying warm will become more difficult. Some people actually put some of their chickens inside their greenhouse to keep it warm.
Inspect the barn or pen for drafts and seal them with caulking or even stack several bales of hay to block wind. Repair or cover any broken windows to keep rain and drafts out. Horses can be blanketed in winter to keep them warmer. Lastly, inspect the roof of your animals’ pen for any leaks or drafts, and do necessary repairs before winter.
Are you ready for winter weather? Have you thought about how to protect yourself from wind, rain, or extreme heat this year? What’s your process for weatherizing your home? Share any tips you have in the comments below.
A mother of four and grandmother of nine boys and one girl, Megan is living the lifestyle any prepper would want. Gardening, homesteading and constantly planning for emergencies big and small, she’s a beacon of knowledge in the prepping community.