Prepping is more of a lifestyle than a specific set of actions. We live in a way that helps us not just prepare for a specific situation, but to be already prepared for whatever comes. Within that lifestyle, however, we still prep specifically for the seasons, and up here in Montana, the only time we aren’t prepping for winter is … during the winter.
Even if you spent your summer playing instead of prepping, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you’re ahead of the game for this winter.
Have the Supplies You Need
Just like you need certain tools to get your garden in, you’ll need certain things to get through a winter. To know what you will need for your specific area, of course, you’ll need to think about what winter is like where you live. For most places in the U.S., that means planning for snow and/or ice, and so you’ll need the following things at a minimum:
Shovels and Scrapers: there’s nothing worse than walking out the door for work and realizing your vehicle is stuck in the snow, or has a windshield full of ice … and all you have to use on it is your debit card.
Ice Melt or Salt: While we don’t always consider the ramifications past initial pain, falling on an icy sidewalk or driveway can cause serious injury — and that can put a real damper on your entire life for months. Have what you need to keep your property clear of ice and snow, even if just for you and your family’s safety.
Fuel: Whether you’re using firewood, propane, or even electricity as your primary source of heat, you’ll need not only enough of that for the winter, but you should also have a backup method. If propane is how you heat your home in the winter, for instance, make sure that if you run out of fuel or it is so cold that your furnace isn’t keeping up, you have something to supplement with. Also remember that in a SHTF situation, wood will probably be all that’s available.
Car Survival Kit: It doesn’t matter if you’re going two miles or 200, you need supplies in your car or truck. Warm clothing, food and water, light sources, blankets, boots and anything else you think you may need if you have to spend 24 hours in your vehicle in winter weather.
- Miscellaneous Items – Sure, you might have hats and gloves and mittens, but what about handwarmers, flashlights, lip balm or wool socks? Any of those things could make the difference between inconvenience and something a lot worse.
- Also consider having things like bubble wrap, mylar, and plastic sheeting on hand in case you need to block off a room for heating purposes.
Plan to Keep Your Mind Busy
Once the snow — and the temps — start falling, it’s easy to settle into hibernation mode. It’s cold outside so why not just stay in front of the TV, right? Wrong.
Winter is the time you go over the past year and figure out what went right and what needs to be tweaked for next year. You never finish learning about how to be better at prepping, and there is a lot you could be amassing in terms of knowledge prep before the snow flies:
- Were there any erosion issues on your property during spring or fall rains that you will need to come up with a fix for?
- If you’re considering getting livestock, then winter prep is a great time to pick up any books or information you need to start researching that animal and how to care for them. If you already own animals, use your prep time to assess anything they’ll still need for winter.
- Go over your garden. How did it do? How’s your soil? Do you need to expand or change the varieties you’re planting? What will you need to plant your indoor seed starters?
- Make a list of repairs you need to make around the house. What materials or tools will you need for them? Get those supplies now and you can spend your winter being productive.
Go over each facet of your situation, write down anything you need to tweak, add to or even scrap. Make plans, supply lists and even task lists.
If you live in a high-snowfall area, you need to also plan for the possibility of being snowed in. Don’t just plan for heat and food, either; have things in place to keep you learning and focused. Boredom can be dangerous, too.
Prepping is a year-round exercise, not just a weekend camping trip. That means every season is not just preparing for the next one but evaluating your performance on the last one. Instead of sitting around and eating all winter, set yourself up for success — and come out of this winter smarter, more efficient and ready to do even better next year.
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