5 Life Saving Snowmobile Survival Priorities…

Snowmobile Survival Priorities

Photo © by Craig Nicholson


Related: 1st Aid Realities


What are your snowmobile survival priorities on snowmobile tour or snowmobile vacation? Most snowmobilers head off into the backcountry with little thought about what could go wrong.

We trust to luck, fate, our companions and even our snowmobiles to get us back safely. But what if the worst happens? Are you prepared to spend a night in the bush in cold snow conditions?

Snowmobile Survival Tips #1 – Shelter

In order of importance, the five key snowmobiling survival priorities are: shelter, fire, water, signal and food. Shelter is first, because it’s your main defense against hypothermia. Shelter also takes the most thought and is the longest to prepare. That’s why an early decision to stop and build a shelter is of critical. Once in place, it can significantly increase your survival odds.

Carry string, duct tape, a plastic tarp or drop sheet and a multi-tool knife. Then use branches, boughs, bark and moss to build a space large enough to curl up in. An A-frame or lean-to is easiest. Make a thick floor of evergreen boughs so contact with the snow won’t make you wet.

Tip #2 – Fire

Fire is next up, and more effective once a shelter adds protection and heat retention. Place the fire outside the entrance and put a large rock on the far side to help deflect heat back to you. Get your fire started by carrying a waterproof container stuffed with Vaseline-soaked cotton balls. A lighter may not function in the cold, but my pocket sized StrikeForce Fire Starter device (survivalinc.com) works every time.

Be sure to have lots of dead wood to keep those flames burning all night. Start collecting it from farther away and work in towards your shelter, so fuel is closer in the dark.

Tip #3 – Water

Water is the third priority. A human can last up to three weeks without food, but dehydration can kill in only a few days. So now I always carry a small bottle of water, which doubles as a container. It’s also good to have a metal cup to melt snow faster or to brew up a hot drink.

Tip #4 – Signalling

With your immediate situation stabilized, think about signaling for help. When someone misses you (You left a trip plan at home, right?), and weather permitting, search parties will out. So think big and smoky. Learn about signal fire configurations and ingredients that put out dense black smoke, visible for miles. Carry a couple of signal flares. Don’t light anything until you hear or see searchers.

Tip #5 – Food

So what about hunger? Carry a couple of power bars, a bag of trail mix, beef jerky and soup mix in your pack. With careful rationing, you can keep going for days.
Survival takes knowledge, foresight and practice. Learn more “survival skills” for wilderness emergencies to be better prepared.  And carry a SPOT X or a satellite phone. I still may not know where I am, but at least I’ll be able to order fast food!

CLASSIC SNOWMOBILE VIDEO! In this classic Snowmobiler Television clip, The Intrepid Snowmobiler does his best to survive.


Check out more riding tips!

The tips and advice in this blog are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.


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