Foods for Winter Wilderness Survival

Foods for Winter Wilderness SurvivalWinter hiking and other outdoor activities require at least twice the caloric intake of your normal day-to-day life (unless of course you are a mountaineering guide!). To keep your body going strong on the coldest winter days, you need foods that are high in carbohydrates and simple sugars to provide fuel for active periods and to keep your body warm at rest. Improperly planning for food requirements can make for an uncomfortable trip at best or a deadly one at worst. The possibilities of foods that fit the bill are extensive, but some good options are light in bulk and cooking time (since cooking in the frigid cold requires more fuel and time) while remaining high in carbohydrates and caloric content.

Instant Soup

Instant soup cooks fast, warms your body to keep hypothermia at bay and has the added benefit of keeping you hydrated thanks to a high water content. Many varieties of instant soups are available, and many come in small packets that are lightweight and easy to pack. While avoiding foods that must be cooked may sound like a better option for winter wilderness trips, these instant soups can literally be life savers if you become stuck in extra-cold conditions, as they help warm you from the inside. Remember to carry a fire kit to heat up your soup.

Peanut Butter

High in calories, carbohydrates and proteins, peanut butter is a near-perfect food for outdoor activities. The fact that it requires no cooking is an added bonus in the chill of winter. The one caution concerning peanut butter is that it can freeze in extremely cold temperatures. Keep it in an inside pocket at least for the last hour or so before eating to let your body heat help thaw it out.


Butter is an excellent way to add some extra calories for cold weather activity into just about anything. It can be added to anything from cereal to tomato sauce, and the alteration to taste is often barely noticeable. Again, keep in mind that butter, like peanut butter, can freeze, and needs to be thawed before use.


While you may hear constantly that snacking is bad, during winter outdoor activities snacking is almost essential. Whatever your favorite snacks, be they energy bars, cereal, nuts, jerky, trail mix or even candy bars, carry plenty on your winter outings, and always keep them handy for a quick energy and warmth boost throughout the day.

Article Written By Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams has spent over 11 years working in the information technology, health care and outdoor recreation fields. He has over seven years of technical and educational writing experience, and has brought strong skills and passion to the Demand Studios team in articles for eHow and Trails in 2009.

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