Wilderness Insulation Materials


This time of year protection from the cold is your utmost concern in a wilderness survival scenario.  Even if you are dressed for the elements it is not likely to be enough to keep you warm all night long when temperatures drop.  These are a few materials that are widely available in the wilderness during the cold season that can be used to protect you from the cold.


Evergreen Boughs

Evergreen boughs can be used both as roofing material for your shelter and as bedding material.  Don’t underestimate the need for a thick bed on a cold night, more heat will be lost due to contact with the ground than through contact with the cold air.

Dead Leaves

Luckily, when the weather gets colder it is often easier to find dead leaves that can be used as insulation.  If the leaves are dry they can used for bedding that you will lay directly on, or they can be used to supplement your clothing by being stuffed between your inner and outer layer.  If the leaves are wet they can be used to add to the roofing material of a debris shelter, and they can be used as bedding if you have a trash bag or other moisture barrier to separate you from the wet leaves.


In order for insulation to function it has to provide room for warm air, and then trap that warm air.  It might seem counterintuitive but snow works great for this since snow is made up mostly of air trapped in the tiny structures of the snowflakes.  You will want to separate yourself from direct contact with the snow, but snow is a great addition to shelter insulation and can be heaped on top of a debris shelter to add to its ability to keep you warm.


Not having to rely solely upon your gear for protection from the cold will greatly increase your survivability in the wilderness.

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