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How to Survive an Ice Age

The last Ice Age ended 11,000 years ago, so don't worry if you aren't prepared. Here's how to survive if the next one -- just in case.


  • Step 1: Read up on hypothermia, the potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when your body temperature gets dangerously low. Know how to recognize, treat, and -- most importantly -- prevent it.
  • Step 2: Don't worry if you think you won't be able to survive an Ice Age: Scientists aren't expecting one for another 20,000 years, give or take a few thousand.
  • FACT: According to scientists, there have been 17 ice ages in the past 2 million years.
  • Step 3: Pick up some skills that will help you survive an ice age, like how to build a snow cave and how to cut snow blocks to make walls. Consider learning how to rappel down a rock face and climb up rope, so you're prepared to escape glacier crevasses.
  • Step 4: Invest in a sleeping bag rated for -20 degrees, and an insulation mattress you can put underneath it. They'll help you get a good night's sleep without freezing to death.
  • TIP: Don't worry about gaining weight: You'll need about 6,000 calories a day to survive because your body will have to work hard to keep warm.
  • Step 5: Assemble a wardrobe designed to withstand temperatures of -45 degrees Fahrenheit, including a parka with hood, insulated boots, polypropylene thermal underwear, a hat, and a face mask. And invest in a good pair of sunglasses to avoid snow blindness.
  • TIP: Start stockpiling the hand and foot warmers commonly used by skiers and snowboarders.
  • Step 6: Stock up on canned and dried food. The average Ice Age lasts 100,000 years, so anything perishable is out. With no way to grow crops or maintain livestock, you'll have to rely exclusively on this pantry. The good news is you'll have plenty of snow to melt for water.

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