Basic Tundra Survival


The Tundra is the worst place to have to survive. The absolutely bitter cold mixed with little life in any form creates a unique landscape that is nearly impossible to survive in. The Tundras frozen climate causes a shock factor in your body and it begins to burn through 3 times more calories than in any other climate. The danger of this area is beyond just freezing, there is a chance of blindness from the reflection of the sun off the snow. There is very little chance of getting a fire going if you in the deep tundra (The Arctic Circles for example). In the mild tundra (northern Canada region for example) you have a chance at finding trees unless they are covered by the snow. It is a terrible place to live. In the true tundra the ground is always frozen and finding vegetation that you can eat will be almost impossible.


The truth is there is very little you can do to survive the tundra environment. Those few things you can do though are vital and have to be done. There are 5 rules that you need to do every day in order to survive the tundra; (1) Shelter (2) Food (3) Water (4) Fire (5) Food. That is right, food is on there twice. In the Tundra, food is going to be the saving grace to your life.

Tundra Shelter Creating shelter in the tundra is very easy. The snow and ice are already there and make perfect shelter building material. Snow is mostly air which makes it a perfect insulator. There are several methods for making a snow or ice shelter, however it does not matter which method you use the first premise is always the same; You need to have 12 inches of snow or ice all the way around. Now as for the actual methods, there are only two distinct methods, (A) The Dug Out (B) The Snow Cave.

snowcave winter-survival-shelter3




(A) The Dug Out The Dug Out works in any snow covered area with trees around. Luckily the the tree has done most of the work for you. You simply need to dig out the base of the tree and use the branches over head as a cover. I works wonderfully and it is very fast. This type  of shelter was a favorite among soldiers on both sides of the European Campaign of WW2.

(B) The Snow Cave The Snow Cave is a perfect shelter to make when you do not have trees around or when bad weather hits quickly. The snow cave is also easy to build. It only requires to either build up a snow mound or to dig down into the snow. Once you have dug down into the snow it is imperative to dig a cold air sump in the snow cave. This will allow the cold air to remain below you while you sleep in the little heat your shelter will provide. Very simple, Very Easy.

Food in the Tundra Finding food in the tundra is never easy. However unless you are in the very center of Antarctica, then you should be able to find an animal like a salmon, seal, or penguin. These animals are plentiful in the Arctic and can be relatively easy to catch. However if you are in the arctic without some sort of spear or gun, then your chances of survival are way down.

In Arctic conditions the human body is going to burn through calories. A typical individual in the United States burns about 2000-3000 calories a day just living. In Arctic conditions, that calorie count jumps to 7000-9000 calories per day and in some case as much as 12000 calories in a day.  The absolute key to living in the Arctic is animal fat. Fat holds 3 times as much energy as carbohydrates. In the Arctic you are probably not going to find carbohydrates, so look for fats, oils, and protein; in other words Animals.

Six_Emperor_Penguins baby-mum-weddell-seals

Water In the Arctic water is not the utmost priority however it is important. In the best case scenario in the Tundra, you find 50 animals to eat. That is great, but the reality if you eat all of that food then you are going to dehydrate quickly. Luckily if you are in the tundra chances are you are going to have clean water all around you. Ice and snow. Now never eat ice or snow for liquid for two reasons, first because the frozen water will lower your core body temperature and kill you, secondly it is very hard to be sure if it has parasites or not. To ensure it is ok to drink and to keep it from freezing your core. Find a way to boil the ice, and create clean drinking water. This is a perfect method to warm up your core. If you can’t make a fire, fill up a water bottle and put it next to your core to melt the ice and snow.

Fire Fire is not at the top of the list for surviving in the Tundra. The reason is that fire in a tundra environment is going to be tough to come by. There is little wood to use and worse it is hard to light without a lighter because of the frozen nature of the terrain. It is tough to make a fire but not impossible. If you can make a fire, you can use stones to help keep you warm by placing in the fire to warm up and then placing them next to you. It is a very useful technique to stay warm at night.

Food Food is twice because it is so important. I cannot express how important food is in the Tundra environment. Your body will burn through all of its reserve calories in less than a day. Without a great deal of food you chances of surviving more than a week is almost none. Food is that important.

Surviving the Tundra is not impossible but it is the most challenging environment to survive in. In the tundra, mother nature is definitely against you in almost every way. Keep a calm head, use basic sense, and you should be able to survive.


As Always Folks Don’t be like that Guy; Prepare and Survive Todd Out.


4 responses to “Basic Tundra Survival

  1. Pingback: How to survive in a cold environment - Enjoy these free learning resources!·

  2. Thank you so much! This has really helped me out in my project on the tundra!!!

  3. Sounds like a good place to hone your human instincts and survival instincts

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