Abilene State Park Ranger says camping gear can help in next winter storm

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – If the latest winter storm taught Abilene residents anything, it’s how unprepared many were to brave below-freezing temperatures without electricity.

Even though the likelihood of something similar to occur is low, many are still stocking up on those essential items.

Generators can cost thousands, but Abilene State Park Superintendent Ryan Hunter says camping gear can also help keep families warm.

Hunter says he’s an outdoorsman, and for the most part, he’s been that way his whole life.

“I did a lot of hunting growing up, and so when we hunted we were always out,” said Hunter.

Hunter traded the camouflage for a ‘Park Ranger’ badge at the Abilene State Park 12 years ago.

“It just sounded like a really fun job, and it has proven to be that over the years,” said Hunter.

His survival skills were learned at an early age, but until a few weeks ago, he’s never had to use them off park property.

“We didn’t have power for about four days,” said Hunter.

Hunter and his family live in Buffalo Gap.

“Just like everybody else, we were trying to figure out ways to stay warm, keep pipes from freezing, cook food,” said Hunter.

Luckily for him, the resources weren’t far away.

In fact, many of the supplies used on the campsite worked in the storm, including: firewood, flashlights, a first-aid kit and a good sleeping bag.

“We just put sleeping under the blankets on the bed, and even though it was about 40 degrees in the house, it was too hot to actually sleep like that,” said Hunter.

His advice to others: stock up.

“[Make sure you have] really good foul weather gear, raincoats, rain boots, [and] stuff to keep your feet warm,” said Hunter.

Hunter is an avid camper, and because of that, his family was more prepared than some others this go around.

While some will be hitting the stores now in preparation for another possible storm, Hunter says the real question is, “How often will they use the supplies they bought?”

“If this doesn’t happen for another 10 years, will this really prepare us then?” asked Hunter.

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