Cold Weather Canteen Tips – Top 10

Cold Weather Canteen Tips – Top 10

Keeping hydrated in cold weather is just as important as keeping hydrated in hot weather but presents the additional challenge of making sure your water source stays liquid.  Here are the Top 10 Cold Weather Canteen Tips

  1. The only place better to store water than inside your canteen is inside your body…drink plenty of water as staying hydrated helps your body regulate temperature better.
  2. If possible, select a canteen that allows for some expansion when freezing without breaking.
  3. When freezing can’t be avoided leave room for expansion by filling your canteen about 2/3 full.
  4. Carry your canteen as close to your body as possible to keep it from freezing.  Canteen can be carried inside your jacket or between your layers of clothing.
  5. USGI Arctic CanteenIf you can’t carry your canteen close to your body then wrap it in insulating layers of spare clothing being careful not to let your only spare clothes get wet.
  6. Carry your canteen upside if you think it might freeze.  Water freezes from the top down…and you’ll still be able to drink if the bottom of the canteen starts to freeze but the neck hasn’t.
  7. If possible select an insulated canteen for extreme cold weather situations.  A canteen like the USGI ARCTIC Canteen is designed to keep from freezing at -40 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 hours.  It’s essentially a one-quart stainless steel vacuum bottle.
  8. If your canteen does freeze don’t thaw it over a direct flame unless the instructions specifically recommend it…this will damage or ruin most canteens.
  9. Store your canteen in your sleeping bag overnight to keep it from freezing.
  10. If possible, fill your canteen with warm (not boiling) water before putting it in your sleeping bag…it’ll keep your feet warm.

If there are any alumni from the Northern Warfare Training Center out there…maybe they can add to my cold weather canteen tips.

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4 Responses to “Cold Weather Canteen Tips – Top 10”

  1. tom says:

    Work at MWTC in Bridgeport, California. Up until we stopped using this model canteen we would teach the students these tips except for carrying upside down. For use in sleeping bag we recommended putting cover on backwards to force the cap to stay closed.

  2. Dandy says:

    Been there done that. When I went through the US Navy’s SERE school in Maine we learned these exact tips. Although, I had not thought about Tip #6 before. I’d just want to make sure that the cap made a good seal and didn’t leak!

    I preferred to carry two canteens. I tied them together with paracord then hung them around my neck inside my Navy cold-weather issued buffalo skin coat. I’m not sure what the temp was during the day, but the coldest night was -25F and we got along well in our two-man snow holes that we dug out and covered with spruce branches/needles. BTW, if you’re traveling in deep snow you are NOT GOING ANYWHERE without snowshoes!

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