Oct 282011


This is a collective wiki for all occupy movements, but city-specific sub-categories are encouraged:

There are 3 primary concerns for winter:

People – keeping us warm (clothing, etc.)
Shelter – needs to be warm and sturdy (resist snow load, wind, etc.)
Safety – fire and carbon monoxide, snow removal, preventing slipping on ice, etc.

Please help the wiki by adding links, or even better, the useful information from your source. Keeping this organized is important.

Ways to help:

  • When it gets cold go home to your parents or college dorm.
  • Donate warm clothing to your local Occupy, or contact any group for a mailing address if you can’t do a drop off. Scarves, hats, gloves, socks, etc., are especially welcome.
  • Pass this on. Especially if there are people in your local Occupy who moved from a warmer climate! They may not know how to deal with winter.
  • Ideas for ensuring safe walking conditions in camps are needed!


READ THIS: Cold weather tips for protesters. Also, in the comments are very useful suggestions having to do with protesting outside, especially if you are standing or walking on concrete for a long time.

General strategy for outdoor winter survival

  • Stay Dry- That includes your sleeping bags, clothing, and skin. Sleeping bags especially can get saturated with condensed body moisture overnight which freezes during the day, and will lose their insulation over time if not dried out regularly. Cotton and goose down are fine when dry, but do not insulate when wet. Synthetic insulation and wool will keep you warm even when wet (but not as warm as they do when dry).
  • Stay Fed- You burn a lot of calories in cold weather, even if not active. Producing all that extra body heat requires high energy food!
  • Stay active- excercise will keep you warm, but be careful not to get all sweaty (stay dry, remember?)
  • Stay off the cold ground- a sleeping bag alone will not keep you warm, the insulation underneath gets flattened. You need an insulating pad of some kind.

Keep your stuff from getting ruined by cold

  • water expands when it freezes – it will explode containers if there is no air space in it, beverage and food cans/bottles can explode and make a mess.
  • Electronics don’t like cold – if you bring a cold gadget indoors, water will condense inside and fry circuits. let it warm up a bit before turning on.


  • Dress in layers: Polypropylene or wool layers under regular clothing, and a rain shell in wet weather. Look for items with a NSN number (military issue). Look for wool and thermals underwear
  • Waterproof shoes/boots. Wear boots LARGER than your normal size – more room for extra socks, extra space = insulation, ability to move toes and improve circulation.
  • Mittens and gloves; mitts for standing around, gloves for working. Insulated gloves for warmth, but waterproof and ‘contact’ gloves are also useful for specific tasks in cold weather.
  • Space blankets, hooded and regular all weather blankets like NASA TECH wind H2O reflect 90% of body heat, But be aware that they are not breathable, and you may get sweaty (stay dry!). 5×7 hooded: Examples here; also emergency blankets and bags

Keeping warm while sitting or lying down:

  • Layers of corrugated cardboard, or even newspapers. Wrap in plastic to keep it from getting wet and then frozen.
  • Foil bubble home insulation. Regular bubblewrap, even. Home Depot/Lowes have double reflective layers of mylar with bubble wrap in between. http://www.lowes.com/pd_13358-56291-BP48025_0__?productId=3011906&Ntt=reflective+insulation&pl=1&currentURL=%2Fpl__0__s%3FNtt%3Dreflective%2Binsulation&facetInfo=
  • Foam sheets or blocks (styrofoam).
  • sleep with a warm bottle of water, this keeps you warm, and keeps your water from freezing at night.
  • campmor.com has the lowest prices on sleeping bags. Buy synthetic instead of down. When down gets wet it is useless and takes forever to dry.
  • There are many sellers on eBay with cheapie space blankets for around $1 each when you buy in lots of 25, 50, 100 etc. Don’t know if the ones slightly higher cost are more durable. I’d consider using them as *part* of the tent insulation on the sides but remember you need to have space for moisture from breathing to escape and condense outside the tent.
  • Space brand “All-weather” blankets, also sold as Coghlan’s Thermal Blankets, are 5×7 tarps with a space blanket on one side. http://Overstock.com has them very cheaply in packs of 12 for $96. ($8 each) Sam’s club has similar prices if you buy them special order. Other places are typically $15-$25. If I do extensive searching, I can find $10-12 each but with companies/sellers that are not well known.

Additional solutions:

  • Hot beverages available
  • Hot food
  • Warming stations .. possibly use hot manhole covers for a “sauna” room.
  • We can also use solar heat gain for daytime comfort. Clear plastic roofs with windbreaking sides make for good comfort on sunny days.
  • Thick, warm wool socks are great at bedtime. So are hats.
  • If you can have an open flame outside, boil a pot of water. Have Steel water bottles filled with either water or sand. Put the water bottles in the pot until they are warm. Take them out of the pot with tongs and let them drip dry a few minutes. Then put the water bottles inside socks so they are easier to handle. Stick that in a sleeping bag for extra warmth.
  • Exercise before bedtime also helps. The only time I have gone on an overnight backpacking trip was in a 25 degree bag. I used the exercise, wool socks, and hot water bottle tips to sleep comfortably in weather below 0 Fahrenheit. Well below my bag temperature, and the temperature ratings are usually overoptimistic anyways.



  • Will it hold up in strong winds? Heavy Snow?
  • Will it keep water out, both on top/sides and floor?
  • How do we hold tents down – can’t drive stakes very deeply in the ground here; can’t drive stakes through the paved areas at all.
  • City may not allow tents larger than 10×10 without a permit
  • FIRE RISKS: open flame is dangerous; many heat sources also emit carbon monoxide


  • Floors made with a layer of hay with plywood or tarps over it. This will allow water to flow under the floor. PROBLEM: HAY IS A FIRE RISK.
  • Floors made with pallets with plywood over top.
  • If you use tarps as roofs, make sure all sides are tied or duct taped down so that they can’t flap and catch the air.
  • Large military issue tents – can be used for kitchen, other working groups, group sleeping (need to provide separate sleeping areas based on gender). Could put small tents inside larger tents. Look for NSN number for good, 4-season tents
  • eBay sells military tents. Check the description carefully to make sure they include the stakes, and don’t have holes and broken zipper. Search for “(arctic, military, surplus, expedition, army) tent -heater -pup” and select prices over $200. Also be careful about where the tent is, if it is pickup only, and if it ships freight, get an estimate before buying.
  • Cots – get people off the ground while sleeping. Opinion: this may not work because air circulation will pull heat away from the body faster than the ground.
  • Inflatable mattresses provide insulation between sleeping bag and ground. Inflate with a pump to prevent icing inside.
  • What about hammocks? (hammocks can be very cold in winter, and provide little insulation underneath, due to flattening of sleeping bag fill. they require insulation that hangs underneath so body weight doesn’t flatten it)
  • Shelters can be weighted down with sandbags, buckets filled with concrete, containers filled with
  • Kitchen tent needs to be fully enclosed – not just warmth but to help keep rodents out. Comment: If it is a tent, you won’t be able to keep rodents out. They can squeeze through tiny spaces. Best thing to do is keep everything sealed in airtight containers, and move all food trash outside the kitchen regularly. Then make sure the food trash gets taken outside of camp as well.
  • Little well insulated sleeping pods .. with wheels .. tiny house on wheels .. not a “structure” but a sleeping-barrow (wheel barrow turned into tiny “house”).
  • Inflatable structures… custom made or purchased .. dead air space can provide insulation .. flexible, not rigid structures, may avoid troubles with authorities, can be combined with other ideas, such as wheeled platforms.
  • Tie Down stakes for dogs are also used for heavy duty stakes. Could use those without having as much ground damage. http://www.lowes.com/pd_319249-16603-91495_0__?productId=3367024&Ntt=stakes&pl=1&currentURL=%2Fpl__0__s%3FNtt%3Dstakes&facetInfo=
  • On paved surfaces where you can’t drive stakes, use heavy cinder blocks tied to ropes in place of stakes. 5 gallon plastic buckets may also work if you have very heavy stuff inside.


Snow removal; ice

  • If removing snow from paths, need a plan for where to put it
  • Removing snow from gravel or dirt paths could be special challenge; not so easy to shovel.
  • Paths made of pallets and plywood will be slippery. wire mesh or chicken wire held in place with staple guns can help create traction, must be galvanized, or salt will rust it. What can we use instead? => spread sand or crushed rock on slippery surfaces to provide traction


  • If tents meet Fire Dept tests, open flame would be safer, but “Not recommended” (Boston)
  • Heat: “catalytic propane heaters” do NOT have open flames and provide heat. Well catalytic may be our answer.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors are cheap and will protect against CO poisoning. This will satisfy the fire department, and will prevent any of us from dying, both of which are good. Remember, carbon monoxide is odorless, and sinks to the bottom of tents. vent the bottom of the tent as well as the top.
  • Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning: drowsiness, nausea, unconsciousness, bright red skin, death.

Links to specific Occupy groups’ winter work


READ @ http://occupytogether.wikispot.org/Winter

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