Cold weather numbs both the physical and psychological parts of the body. Windchill refers to moving air coming in contact with skin. Building a fire requires knowledge of where to find materials and what type are good for a fire. Lower elevation provides more fire materials. As much as fire is a survival tool, it can be a hazard as well. It's important to know where and how to build a fire, under what circumstances a fire could ignite a shelter, clothing or melt overhead snow. It can even melt insulating snow surrounding a shelter. Learning what foods are available is important to survival.
Survival in cold weather also means avoiding frostbite, dehydration, hypothermia, snow blindness, and even sunburn. Trench foot and immersion foot refer to spending hours or days being exposed to wet or damp conditions just above the freezing temperature.
The four basic principals to staying warm in cold weather are:
C - Keep clothing clean.
O - Avoid overheating.
L - Wear clothes loose and in layers.
D - Keep clothing dry.
Lightweight survival bags and blankets made by Blizzard are made with Reflexcell material. Reflexcell is a triple layer metalised polymer foil that expands to form insulating air pockets. It also reflects heat. The United States Army, Special Forces, fighter aircraft, sea rescue teams, and armed forces from Finland to Australia are beingissued these items. Testing artic temperatures with Reflexcell has proved it is up to four times more successful at preventing hypothermia.
The type of fire you build depends on your situation of location and materials available. Some examples of fires to build are teepee, cross-ditch, pyramid or lean-to. Fire can havepsychological benefits of security, aid in medical attention, sterilize, provide warmth, protect from animals, and signal for rescue.
The U.S. Army Field Manual 21-76 and U.S. Army Survival Manual covers desert, artic, jungle, and sea survival techniques. Topics include shelter, edible plants, animals, and directions using the sun and stars.
Psychology is important in survival. The will to live is just as important as having the skills to survive. Survival mode produces stresses that effect the mind and emotions and a person needs to understand these stresses to in order to survive.