How to Keep Warm in Winter When the Power Goes Out

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Any self-respecting prepper would warn you that depending on the government to support you through a crisis is an exercise in futility. One of the best ways to survive any contingency (such as power going out in winter) is to be prepared.

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Having indoor stoves, thermal blankets, battery-operated lanterns, ready-to-eat meals, etc., can be very useful when you have no electricity, and you freeze outside. But what are you going to do if you’re not ready?

In this post, we’re going to look at a few ways you can withstand the cold, even if you don’t have the normal survival gear. It’s not going to be easy, but it can be done.

Layer your clothes

This is probably the most obvious move, and yet, people are going to get it wrong. Start by wearing innerwear that isn’t made of cotton. If you sweat under a layer of cotton clothing, your sweating will get hotter, and you’ll feel even more chilly. It’s better to wear some thermal innerwear that bumps away your sweat… followed by a few shirts on top of that, mittens, gloves, etc.

Wearing gloves and socks is Important to keep warm because the extremities appear to get cold faster due to decreased blood circulation. Over and beyond that, when your hands and feet are cold, your whole body can feel cold.

Never stand barefoot on the floor in cold weather. Your body radiates heat, and the ground will absorb it, and you will feel colder. It’s safer to wear shoes or rubber slippers that aren’t conducting cold as well.

Smaller is warmer

Ideally, you can remain in one bedroom with a bathroom/toilet. The smaller the room, the easier it is to keep it warm. Try to get all the family members to sit in this room all day so that their body’s heat radiates out and the temperature of the room increases.

It will be a good idea to stay in a room upstairs in your house because the heat rises. It may not make a huge difference, but it helps every bit. Keep your door room closed, and put a towel at the bottom of the door to avoid cold drafts.

Even within the room, you can make it get ‘smaller.’

What does that mean to you? It means you need to set up a foldable (pop-up) tent in your bedroom and huddle up inside the tent. Now your living space has become much smaller, and the heat produced from your own body is trapped within the tent. Covering up with a pile of blankets (preferably wool) will help keep you safe.

Cold weather appears to sink into your bones. It really feels like that, but if you’re using blankets and layering up, you’re going to lift your core temperature and feel colder. You might even want to use a sleeping bag to cover yourself with blankets when remaining inside the tent. When you grasp the concept of trapping heat in a micro-environment, you will know what you need to do.

Wear a mask

Masks are not just for COVID-19. You keep your body from radiating heat by wearing a mask. So, you’re going to stay a bit warmer. It also helps to cover up your face to keep it warm. You can use a cloth mask.

Wear a balaclava

If you have one, wear it. Period.

Use a hot water bottle

Heat the water in a mess tin or cookware and pour it into a hot water bottle. Of course, because the power is out, you’re going to need a portable stove to boil the water. That’s why it’s of utmost importance to be prepared to have all these crucial things available for you to use when the ‘sh*t hits the fan.’ Or in this situation, when life threatens you with menacing cold weather and a more than inconvenient power outage.

Methods to heat up the house

If you have a wood stove, by all means, use it.

But if you don’t, you might have a terracotta clay pot, which is typically used for flower pots. Grab one of these pots and put it on top of three bricks (arranged in a square with an opening) so that it is lifted. Now light 2-3 tea candles and put them under the pot.

The pot and the bricks are going to get hot and heat up the place. You’ll be surprised to see that this approach will actually heat up the whole room. If you don’t have a pot or brick, lighting a few candles can help to heat up the room.

As long as the flame is open, the air in the room can heat up to some degree. It is imperative that you have a carbon monoxide detector in your room/house if you use indoor generators/wood stoves, etc.

Carbon monoxide a type of odorless gas that can knock you out (and even destroy you) without you being aware of it. That’s why portable generators should always be put away from home.

But, of course, you need to be ready enough to own one, and unfortunately, not many people are well prepared. Get a portable generator and fuel (NO electricity) to power it. It’s one of the best choices you could make as a survivor.

Keep cold out

Besides doing your best to stay warm, you’re also going to have to be careful in keeping the cold out. Close the doors of both of your rooms. Hang thick blankets on the windows to keep the cold from creeping in. Place the towels at the bottom of all doors to avoid cold drafts.

Other points

Besides the key ones listed above, there are a few other points that are going to serve you well. Bear in mind that every variable counts. Men will grow beards to keep them warm. Hydrate frequently, even though you don’t have a feeling of thirst. If you can drink warm water, that’s better than that.

Avoid the coffee. It indirectly makes you feel colder as soon as the effects of caffeine go away. Some people use liquor to make them feel warm for a while… which is best used ONLY if you’re cold to the point that your teeth chatter and you feel weak. A peg of bourbon can make you feel warm quickly, but this is only a short-term measure if you feel very cold.

Alcohol is a vasodilator that can actually make you feel warmer until the symptoms are gone. If you sweat, you’re going to lose heat. It will affect the control of your body’s natural temperature. So, drink it minimally and only when you’re in desperate need – and quickly put on your clothes and follow the tips above to keep warm.

Eating can also help to increase the temperature of the body. Appetite can be the only thing you are not thinking about when you feel colder than the local snowmen, but you should eat regularly. Not only will it fuel your body, but it will also keep you warm.

Light exercise helps to increase your body’s temperature and get your blood circulation going. Doing a collection of two burpees or squats would be extremely helpful. Alternatively, 2 minutes of skipping would also do the job.

Bear in mind not to workout for too long. Quick bouts will improve your metabolism, but if you start perspiring, you will lose heat, and your efforts will be counter-productive. Less is more in this case. In conclusion, always note the old Malay saying, “Prepare the umbrella before it rains.”

Get your portable stoves, thermal blankets, fuel, candles, prepared meals, thermal indoor clothes, portable generators, hot water bottles, tents, mess tins, and everything else you think you need to keep warm.

When the weather gets really cold and the roads start getting that dangerous slippery ice, not only will the shops be closed or empty of goods, but it might not be possible to try to get what you want to be shipped. Use the pointers in this article to keep warm and stay safe.