Winter’s signature dish, snow, is both a barrier and an asset to the outdoorsman venturing out in the cold. While it makes it harder to walk, easier to get lost, and colder, there are so many benefits to having that white powder laying around.
For starters, if you happen to be in the true backcountry, the snow can be relatively untouched. While not 100% sterile, it can be used for many of your cleaning needs. Simply scoop some of the frozen crystals into a pot and melt it down into water. Generally speaking, three cups of snow yields about one cup of water. Use this water to clean your dishes, hydrate the dog, or wash those stinky socks if needed. Though many don’t trust it, I regularly use snow to hydrate during the winter. So long as it comes from the top and is very white and untouched, I have not problem with it. I do of course melt it first, as consuming straight snow can cause your core temperature to drop, leading to a whole world of problems.
Snow can also be a useful first aid tool. With thin sheets of ice covering the ground, you may find yourself slipping once or twice during the winter. The cold snow can be great for numbing pains when you don’t have an ice pack at hand.
With the cooling power of snow, feel free bring some of the food you wouldn’t even think of bringing in the summer heat. Snow is natures refrigerator, so bring what your heart desires and don’t worry about spoiling.
Lastly, snow makes for great shelter building/ enhancing. Snow is a great insulator, so shelters made out of it are much warmer inside than the temperature outside. It also blocks the wind, keeping the bitter wind chills out of your warm dreams. If sleeping in a cave of frozen water isn’t your thing, still consider building a wall of snow around whatever you DO use to keep that wind off.