Not sure if winter’s begun to show it’s frosty fingertips where you live, but here in Toronto, the weather’s slowly begun to take a turn for the colder. Last December, Thomas and I had the misfortune of living through 5 nights and 4 days with no electricity in sub-zero degree Canadian weather, as the Toronto power grid went down and emergency vehicles were having trouble getting the electrical lines back up. Being left without working central heating, and without a working stove (yes, ours was electric) really had us wishing we were more prepared than we were.
This year, we’re doing our best not to relive our mistakes. After all, the past could repeat itself. However unlikely, we could be stuck in yet another ice storm, maybe one that knocks out the power grid for even longer this time.
Just after the events of last year, we took a hard look at our winter preparedness gear and decided it just wasn’t enough. After all, we didn’t just want to grit our teeth and get through a winter emergency, we wanted to live through it as comfortably as we possibly could (and maybe not freeze as much?). From our tech to our cookware, to our heating methods and all the way down to our clothes, there was just all around more that we could have had to have been better prepared.
We’re taking a hard look at that winter emergency supplies list now, reworking it a little, then checking up on our stock to make sure we’d really be ready this time, in the case of another city-wide winter emergency. Whatever we haven’t yet added to our stockpile, we’ll start ordering ASAP, to make sure it will get shipped to us plenty long enough before we need it.
Take a look below to see if there’s anything you feel would be an asset to your winter emergency stockpile as well. If you have tips/suggestions for us, either in terms of products to get or in terms of which products not to get, please let us know in the comments! Last year, one of our readers recommended an excellent portable propane heater, and if we didn’t already have a propane heater, you sure as hell better believe it’d be the first thing on our to-buy list! I firmly believe that it’s always incredibly wise to learn which items have proved useful to other preppers, and which products have turned out to not be worth the investment. After all, you don’t want to be stuck with a problematic product that you haven’t tested (you should always test – but hey, sometimes you’ll forget, it happens) in the middle of an emergency situation. Passing on information about the good and bad products out there really helps us to be better prepared as a community – at least I think so.
Winter Emergency Gear for Survivalists & Preppers to Stockpile
Please note that this list is not exhaustive: we know that there’s plenty more we could add in terms of emergency supplies, but we tried to concentrate on those items that would make living through colder weather easier. For a much more exhaustive prep stockpile, check out our Ultimate Survival Gear List.
And now onto the winter emergency supplies…
1. Winter Survival Gear List of Gas Heating
Staying warm during winter emergencies is indubitably your top priority. Hypothermia is no joke, and while there are many different ways you can insulate your body that don’t require gas heating, few even come close to keeping you as warm as the emergency supplies on this part of the list.
- Butane/propane heater
- Secondary butane/propane heater
- Butane/propane backup
- BBQ lighters
- Long matches
2. Winter Survival Gear List for No-Electricity Cooking
While it’s very likely you’ll still have running water during a winter power outage emergency, chances are you may not have a working gas stove to use.
If your stove is electric like ours, you might want to add one or two of the cooking devices below to your stock of winter emergency supplies. Although it is completely possible to eat only cold food, you’ll get a huge psychological boost if you’re able to eat a warm meal here or there. There’s nothing like a hot bowl of soup on a freezing cold day to get your spirits up.
- Butane/propane camping stove
- Butane/propane portable stove
- Butane/propane backup
- Wood burning portable stove
- Dry wood
3. Winter Survival Gear List of Warm Clothing
What you wear will be very important in any cold weather emergency. Even if you do have other methods of keeping warm, none will replace the necessity for well-insulating clothes that can be layered on top of each other to keep in extra heat.
- Wool socks (different sizes for layering purposes)
- Wool hats, gloves, scarves
- Leggings/long johns
- Down jackets
- Lined hunting pants
- Warm pants + shirts/sweaters (different sized thickness and tightness for layering purposes)
4. Winter Survival Gear List of Misc Heating
While having a gas heater is certainly a benefit, you definitely don’t need one to stay warm in case of a winter emergency scenario. Adding many of the following items to your stockpile should help you keep plenty warm regardless of whether or not you have a gas heater, or in case you happen to run out of fuel before the emergency situation ends.
- Wool blankets
- Hot water bottles
- Sleeping bags
- Mylar emergency blankets
- Even more thermal blankets
- Tent (can be used for sleeping in to contain more heat)
5. Winter Survival Gear List for Illumination
You’ll likely want some way of seeing in the dark if the power goes out in the middle of the winter. It’s not absolutely necessary, but we found it very helpful to at least keep a few candles lit in the room while we slept, and a flashlight on a bedside table in case we wanted to make a trip to the washroom in the dark of the night. Lighting and illumination products typically last a long time and are relatively inexpensive anyway, so it doesn’t hurt to have them in case of an emergency like this.
- 100+ hour candle
- Solar powered light (we got one of these recently and we love it! review coming soon)
- Extra batteries
6. Winter Survival Gear for Communications
It’s always a good idea to keep a cell phone working in case you have family or friends you’ll want to get in contact with during an emergency. You never know who may need some help. Keeping a wind up or AA-battery radio will also help you keep up-to-date on what’s happening in your city, so you can have a good idea of how long the emergency will last and how likely it is to continue past the estimated resolution date.
- Wind up or AA-battery radio
- Extra phone battery
- Car power charger
- Electricity power banks
7. Winter Survival Gear List of Short-Term Consumables
While it’s a huge benefit to have long-term non-perishable survival foods stockpiled anyway, we’ve found these short-term consumables really helped us out during last year’s emergency. Hot soup is amazing on a cold day, and it’s always nice to have some spreads and canned tuna on some bread in case you really feel too exhausted to be cooking.
- Bottled water
- Boxes of breakfast/energy bars
- Soup cans
- Canned fish/meat
- Sandwich ingredients: spreads (peanut butter/jam/nutella) & refrigerated bread
8. Winter Survival Gear List of Pet Items
Going through last year’s winter emergency with our pet cat opened our eyes to how vital it was to have some extra supplies lying around that are specifically geared to helping your pet survive. We kept our cat huddled up in the same room as we were in, only letting him out through the cold house a couple of times a day for exercise. You might also want to feed your pet a bit extra in case the power goes out in the winter, as producing heat requires more calories to be burned.
- Extra bags of dry pet food
- Extra bags of litter
- Carrying cases (in case there’s a need to move to a warmer location)
Looking for Budget & Discount Survival Gear?
If you’re interested in grabbing some inexpensive survival gear from outdoor retailers like Cabella’s, REI, and Patagonia, take a look at our massive list of knife & outdoor retailers’ sale, deal, & clearance pages! All the best outdoor gear discount pages to visit linked to on one page.
There’s also plenty of cheap, yet high quality survival gear that’s a great price whether or not it’s on sale. If you’re interested, take a look at what we think the best bang-for-buck survival gear products are at the $5, $10, $15, $20, & $25 price points.
Any Supplies We’ve Missed?
Let us know if we’ve missed anything that should be on this winter emergency supplies list by leaving a comment down below!
alvan w atkinson says
Used a little Buddy Heater 9000BTU setting for 2 1/2 days on 20lb propane tank Heated two bedrooms and bathroom Kept heater in bathroom. Two people sleeping in two bedrooms, no problems. Would also get Coleman stove with Coleman L that connects to 20lb tank.
Can have light, hot food for days on one tank. Polypropylene underwear is good if you can use it other times. Any layer is good as long as not sweating. Warm underwear is big positive esp when inactive-sleeping. Running water is great for preventing frozen pipes, and doesn’t take a lot if pipes inside. Remember to bring propane tanks inside before house gets cold- vapor pressure and available gas goes down with cold. (Keep tank warm as you are). Also start car couple of times a day so battery charged and car not too cold. Some people have gone and sat in car to prevent hypothermia. Be sure exhaust not blocked by snow-carbon monoxide!!! Have not tried it but heating ceramic plates, or hot water bottle, and place in bed in pillow case might warm bed before climbing in. Found sleeping bags opened up on top of bed make great quilts and better than trying to turn over in narrow bag. Most people’s bed’s more comfortable than in sleeping bag in tent on floor. A small generator run for several hours a day can charge batteries and cell phones, keep freezer (food outside may get eaten by animals) stable. Candles add a lot of heat but dangerous if left all night in my opinion. Buddy heater in nearby room is probably safest. Bathrooms work great with tile floor next to bedroom. Keep plumbing warm. Canned soups and hot chocolate, coffee great comfort foods, and soups have wide variety.
Thomas Xavier says
Thats an excellent list mate. I had a lil’ propane heater in the Garage in Canada and it worked a treat.
Thanks-I’m in the north northeast and winter prep is getting more important, esp. having water and heat. Survivalist mag gives some great Doomsday tips too, esp. surviving medical issues (up here, it’s usually hypothermia). Why doesn’t any list I’ve seen have SAFETY PINS on it? You know, the big old-fashioned diaper kind? And a small SEWING KIT? From fixing tent rips to loose pant hems to medical use for needles, both items seem vital to me. Just $1 at the Dollar Tree! Stock up on DUCT TAPE and TRASH BAGS while you’re there. You can keep heat in by sealing windows with tape and bags, or wear bags on feet for extra water proofing in boots; to keep sanitary with waste, bag and tape it.
Elise Xavier says
Sewing kits are really handy, that’s very true. I have it added to my bigger list of survival gear.
Illini Warrior says
Always a big Baby Boom 9 months after that winter shut in situation – prep accordingly !!!!!
Elise Xavier says
Lol good point! :)
Other great things to have on hand are kerosene heaters and kerosene stoves. Kerosene is far less volatile than propane, diesel, or gasoline, and it’s been used for over a century, both indoors and outdoors, for cooking, heating, and lighting. I’m planning on getting a two-burner kerosene stove myself. BTW, anything that runs on “liquid paraffin” is kerosene-fuelled. In the UK, kerosene is known simply as “paraffin”, and someone had the brilliant idea of marketing kerosene as “liquid paraffin” and jacking up the price.
Also, if you store tea lights and have clay pots, learn to make a simple heater out of that. There are videos on YouTube that can show you how. It’s great to heat a small-ish room.
Elise Xavier says
Thanks for the tips with regards to the heaters, that’s good advice! And will definitely check out some videos on making simple heaters out of tea lights + clay pots.
Mr. Heater products are rated for indoor use. They are available on Amazon and at Home Depot. They run on propane. You can use wither the one pound bottles or get an extension hose and hook it up to a typical BBQ grill tank. Keep the big tank outside! Now I wouldn’t put it in a bedroom and close the door and go to sleep. The possibility of using up the oxygen in the room is definitely there. But mine will be used to heat a large living/dining area if we lose power in winter for an extended time. I also have an old Perfection kerosene heater that I am refurbishing. It will be great for warming up the living area in the mornings when a wood fire would not be needed all day. Here in the Southern US, the mornings can be in the 20’s and the afternoon in the 50’s! Perfection heaters were made from the late 1800’s until the early 1980’s. they can be found on EBay or at local antique/junk stores. The wicks are still made.
Elise Xavier says
I’ve only heard good things about Mr. Heater products. They’re pretty widely available too, yup! Good products :)
Giuseppe Calamita says
Hello, thank you fro your follow at twitter :) Very interesting and useful website is yours. I remember the times when I went in holiday with my backpack and tent :)
Interesting information to save
Flash G says
I don’t pretend to know everything about gas/butane heating and stoves, but I would use real caution as far as using them indoors goes.
When I moved to rural Maine to build my own home, one of the first things I heard from friends was how they had done without power for nine days the previous winter. One of the luxuries that had I indulged in was to install in-floor heating… There’s just nothing like having warm toes in the winter. However, the pumping system that circulates the hot water requires electricity.
If the grid goes down, I can end up with some very severe and costly damage from freezing.
Everybody urged me to buy a gas powered generator. I did just that, and took the extra precaution of installing a switching panel that allows me to selectively use any of the individual circuits in the actual home electrical wiring. I don’t have to string electric cords around the house. Refrigerator, freezer, water pump, furnace… all work, all at the same time. We just can’t walk into one of the bedrooms upstairs and turn on the lights… BFD.
For me this is now a “can’t live without” item.
The panel only cost a couple of hundred dollars, and the generator itself can go anywhere with me in the back of a pickup.
The generator is a large ticket item. It might not be a solution for everyone. But the convenience of being able to continue on with an ordinary daily life in a power outage [handicapped only by having to choose which circuits would be the most beneficial… wifi even works!] was obvious the first time the power went down for more than a few hours.
Thanks for a great article.
Elise Xavier says
Definitely agree: gas butane/propane heaters should be used responsibly, and should always be monitored. Whenever we used ours we made 100% sure it was off before we left or went to sleep. Too dangerous otherwise, especially with the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a house with in-floor heating – that sounds amazing. But yes, certainly a huge risk of damage in case the electricity goes out and it begins to freeze. Good on you for buying the generator.
A generator is a large ticket item, but if you can afford it, I’d definitely say it’s a worthy buy. Because they’re completely out of our budget at the moment, I haven’t actually done much research on them. Do you have any brands that you’d recommend? Any you’d recommend staying away from? It makes perfect sense that a switching panel is one feature you should for sure invest into: it’s a complete waste to be powering the entire house when there are things in it you won’t necessarily need to power.
Also, just curious, how much gas does the generator go through per day approximately?
Stay DRY Pals N Gals .. out sweating while shoveling snow is a NO NO !!
Elise Xavier says
For sure! Cold + wet is a deadly combination.