Alaskan Winter Survival Basics

Winter is an excellent time to get out and explore Alaska! Whether on Alaska’s roads or in the wilderness, dangers await the unwary adventurer. Here is a brief primer on how to survive your Spring Break and other Alaskan adventures.

Human Physiological needs – remember that humans evolved in warm and sunny Africa! Rather than trying to remember how to snare snowshoe hares with paperclips, understanding your physiological needs will enable you to actively prepare and fight for your survival.

  • Food - balanced and high energy
  • Water – unfrozen
  • Oxygen 
  • Warmth / Shelter

Survival Preparations – with tools and knowledge you can carry or create our ideal environment wherever you go! The better prepared you are the more options you create.

  • Food – bring plenty and means to prepare it
  • Water – bring lots and protect from freezing. For longer outings a stove is a necessity to melt snow for additional water
  • Warmth – stay dry!
  • Your body cannot just turn up the thermostat – you must be active (and eating) to generate metabolic heat
  • The more clothes, warmer boots and warmer sleeping bag you have the more comfortable you will be
  • A Shelter (i.e., tent, snowcave, or tarp) will help create a warm environment for you and protect you from the elements
  • A (safe) external heat source is always a plus in cold weather – fire, stove, candles and/or chemical heat packs

Participate in an Outdoor Adventure
Outdoor Adventures offers exciting instructional trips to UAF folks. These trips are your chance to hone your winter camping and traveling skills while avoiding the pitfalls (i.e. life threatening experiences) of learning about Alaska’s backcountry dangers yourself.

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