We posted on our Facebook page:
We received the following message from a Facebook follower, could you help him out? “I am homeless and living in the woods in a tent right now, the cold weather is coming up and I’m thinking of roughing it through the winter, i was wondering if you have any tips i could use to survive the winter in a tent in northern New England, i have my tent built up on a platform made of pallets with tarps and cardboard over it and i have a small fire pit but any advice you might be able to give me would be of much help. Thank You.”
Some comments we received:
Comment #1: If heading south is not a possibility, I’d start gathering straw or hay or mulch bales and basically build them up around your tent and put poles across the top and cover with more bales. You need to tie the bales in the walls together- loops of twine around every two courses would do it. If you can’t get bales pine boughs. Back your tent upp against a hill if you can and basically build a bough tent over your tent biggest issue is keeping cold from the ground from coming up. You have to insulate under the pallets or between the pallets and tent too.
Comment #2: Build a wall out of rocks, logs, whatever like that on the other side of the fire from you. It will help reflect more of the heat towards you. And try to keep your calories up as much as possible. More than you would normally eat if possible. And no alcohol whatsoever. It prevents shivering which is your body’s natural way to warm itself. And avoid sweating as much as possible. It can freeze and lead to hypothermia very quickly. Keep extra warmth on your head, because you can lose around half your body heat through your head. Keep your hands and feet warm also, keeping an eye out for frostbite.
Comment #3: Get a tin can as big as you can to use as a stove, use natural debris to reinforce your shelter walls and the. Pack it as much as you can with snow. NOT ICE. Collect newspaper and mosses and dry them out to use as natural insulators for a mattress. Collect any oil you find via fat or grease and save it to make candles with. It wi give you a small heat source that will help your extremities from frostbite. Use rocks you find away from moist areas to heat up what you sleep on at night. Keep a spare bottle for urine so you don’t have to leave the shelter at night, it doubles as warmth. Good luck!
Comment #4: I suggest you ditch the tent for the winter and fashion a shelter out of natural material (sticks, leaves, moss). You can build a simple fire pit at the outside wall of the shelter ensuring that a chimney keeps the smoke out. It will get too hot in there. If you can get access, check out YouTube videos from Equip 2 Endure. They have step by step for how to build the aforementioned. Good luck!