Winter can be very challenging for beginners, as players will have to face a limited food supply and material, the risk of Freezing, and the appearance of Deerclops. This is a guide for players who have difficulty surviving during winter. This also includes advanced tips and information. As of RoG and/or DST, this guide is outdated.
Preparation (During Summer)
The first steps for winter survival can be done before winter itself begins. It's always good to be prepared in terms of food, equipment and a base.
Storing food is an essential part of preparing for winter. While there are some unique food sources (such as Winter Koalefant and Deerclops) which only become available during the winter season, most of these are sporadic and should not be depended upon for survival. Additionally, harvesting these winter-only foods can be difficult, dangerous, or time-consuming. As such, gathering and storing food before winter begins is a far more efficient way of building-up one's food stores.
Certain foods (Seeds, Fish, Honey, Koalefant Trunk) become extremely scarce (or outright impossible) to obtain during the winter, so special care should be taken to collect these before summer ends. Honey spoils extremely slow so pack a great deal of it.
Rabbits can be stored in chests to completely avoid spoilage altogether, but each individual rabbit will take up an entire slot of storage. However, if a situation arises in which food is desperately needed and only live rabbits are available, the player will be forced to murder them all at once. This will cause the player's Naughtiness Rating to increase significantly, potentially causing Krampus to appear and steal the player's items.
Some may find it useful to set-up groups of Evergreens, Farms, Berry Bushes, Grass, Saplings, or Bee Boxes near their main camp. It should be noted, however, that only Evergreens will grow at a considerable rate during winter.
Meat received by killing Tallbirds, Koalefants, Beefalos, Volt Goats and Pigs can be used as a food supply for the winter. Any meat which begins to spoil (which can happen in the latter-half of winter) may be dried using a Drying Rack to produce fresh pieces of Jerky. Although Jerky does take twice as long to dry in winter, this process will still allow it to remain fresh for another 15 days (or longer if it is stored in an Ice Box). Furthermore, Jerky also restores significantly more Sanity and Health than other forms of prepared meat.
If Meat is not available, Monster Meat can also be used. This would only work if the player has access to a Crock Pot to produce non-Monster food items (such as Meatballs, Kabobs, and others but not including Monster Lasagna).
Morsels are also a stable supply of food during winter. These can be obtained from "rabbit farms", in which a number of Traps are placed near the Rabbit Holes in one particular area. The accumulated Rabbits can then be killed to produce Morsels, which may then be dried in the Drying Rack to produce a Small Jerky. Small jerky can be made in 1 day, making it good to stockpile for unforgiving circumstances.
Since Berries, Carrots, and many other foods sometimes offer greater benefits when used as ingredients in a Crock Pot, it may be more efficient to store them in an Ice Box in their "uncooked" state so that they can be utilized in various recipes later in the winter.
Equipment is needed for maximum survivability in winter. Warm clothing increases the time before the Character starts to freeze. Various items such as the Heat Stone and Torch are also useful to prevent Freezing.
Main article: Freezing#Warm Clothing
Warm clothing is a must have during winter.
The Beefalo Hat is probably the most advisable of the warm clothing because it can easily be crafted and it takes the Head slot, so there is room for Backpack. Also, as it is a tier 3 warm clothing, it provides the best protection against freezing. If playing as Wilson, you may also want to use Wilson's Beard to stay warm for an even longer time, due to the fact it has an insulation factor of 135. Another valuable item of winter clothing is The Puffy Vest, which is a tier 3 warm clothing. This means that, when used alongside the Beefalo hat, insulation becomes a very scant problem in Winter. However, it takes up the clothing slot, which means that a Backpack cannot be equipped. If the player is going on a gathering mission, it is worth thinking about whether or not they need the Puffy Vest equipped.
These are items that are helpful for providing heat when held or are used setting up fires, providing heat. It is always good to bring a Torch or a Heat Stone (Note: Requires Heating from fire source beforehand) to prevent freezing.
It is advised to collect a large amount of cut grass (up to 3 stacks) along with a number of sticks. This will enable you to trap rabbits, which are useful for Crock Pot recipes and for emergency food stockpiles if nothing else. Rabbits do not spoil (Note: In Vanilla. In RoG, feeding the Rabbits is necessary to keep them fresh) and are a cheap and easy way to get food in a pinch. However, murdering them through the prompt in the player's inventory could result in Krampus being spawned, which could potentially damage your supplies as Krampus steals any items they can get their filthy hands on.
Night Lights, at key points, may also help. The same goes with setting up Fire Pits at various locations. As a last resort, it is always good to bring Cut Grass and Logs to be able to build a fire when necessary. Willow's Lighter can also be helpful in starting fires to keep warm and, due to her immunity to fire, it is possible to light some objects on fire for heat. It is worth noting that some of these objects are non-renewable, however, and should only be lit if in dire situations.
If the player has any active Touchstones, it is a good idea to send some Winter supplies (i.e. Clothing, Fire Pits, food, etc.) to these locations, in case you were to die during season.
The base is a key component for surviving Deerclops and Hound/Ice Hound attacks during winter. Since it is hard to picture an 'ideal base' in steps, the following is a simple checklist to determine if your base is ready for winter. Each item has a different amount of 'points'. Your base should be safe enough if you have a total of at least 8 points.
- Do I have my base walled, with 1-4 entrances? (1.5 points)
- Are the entrances of my base (if any) protected by Tooth Traps or Traps? (0.5 point)
- Do I have a reliable source of food (e.g. berry bushes which have reached fruition in summer, Bird Traps, Beefalos, Pig Houses)? (2 points)
- Do I have easy access to vital resources (i.e. Cut Grass, Twigs, Logs, and Stone)? (2 points; 1 point if some resources are missing)
- Do I have some stock of vital resources? (see above) (1 point)
- Do I have a fallback plan? (1 point)
- Do I have more than one base? (2 points)
- Do I have sufficient fuel to bring the fire to its largest size every night? (1 point)
- Do I have sufficient toolsets and extra weapons? (1 point)
- Do I have some Straw Roll or Tents? (1 point)
- Do I have food improvement structures?(Ice boxes, Crock Pots, Drying racks) (3 points, 1 per structure)
Tactics (During Winter)
Time should best not be wasted during winter. There are different ways to spend your winter. Also, there are different encounters you might not be able to avoid during winter. Some of these tips are general but others are specific.
It is to be noted that these are only a few possibilities and there is no real limit to what you can do in winter.
A good way to make your Winter worth it is to manage your time. A basic tactic is to gather nearby resources or farm by the day, and cut Evergreens, stay put and cook food, or use a Straw Roll or Tent at night. Spending your winter is not limited to this scheme, though.
The only limitations on managing time are your food supply, equipment and insulation level. When going out for different activities such as Krampus, Deerclops, or Winter Koalefant hunting, it is advisable to bring a good amount of food, weaponry, and armor.
In order to avoid death by Freezing, it is best to use the preparations identified in the Equipment section. Also, prepared Fire Pits at specific checkpoints can do good, but it may be costly. Spelunking may be a good idea if the player wishes to have multiple checkpoints, as the extra stones could prove useful.
Sometimes there can be resource squeeze points during winter, especially so in adventure mode. To help with this, simply place one burnable object on the ground and light it with a torch for some quick warmth. This is especially useful on the "Cold Reception" map.
(As mentioned previously, however, take into account the renewability of objects.)
Caves may offer some protection from various elements of Winter. However, the player can still freeze to death in them if using RoG, and they do offer their own array of dangers. In Vanilla, caves are in a state of permanent summer so freezing can be avoided entirely by spending the full winter underground. This is not recommended if Sanity arrangements are not in place, however, as Caves have a passive sanity drain.
Winter has an adverse effect on the Sanity of the player. Generally Sanity becomes low during winter due to shorter days, meaning that night time is much more prevalent here than in any other season.Sanity can be increased by picking Flowers, eating certain Crock Pot recipes or Jerky, or killing Shadow Creatures. There are some clothing items, however, that do help with Sanity, however. Some even cover the insulation factor at the same, meaning you can kill two birds with one stone. Equip one of the following:
- Winter Hat
- Breezy Vest
- Winter Vest
- Tam O'Shanter
Your sanity will begin to increase during the day with one of those 3 items equipped. The Breezy Vest & the Beefalo Hat is a good combination since you can acquire both prior to winter.
A useful trick is to engage a neutral Shadow Creature (Crawling Horror only) by pressing spacebar on top of it while wielding a melee weapon, though it may take some practice.
Sanity can also be drained easily if desired by eating raw food, monster meat, eating a Blue Mushroom which also restores Health and Hunger, and many other ways. Preventing Shadow hands from swiping your fire will drain your sanity while they approach you (Note: You must be right next to your fire at night directly in front of where the Shadow Hands are going).
Resource collection is a basic activity that can be done during winter. It is advisable to collect resources every now and then, not only when resource stocks are low. Resource collection is a great way to kill time in winter.
Winter Koalefant Hunting A good way to spend your time in winter is to hunt Winter Koalefants. This may be a planned activity or it may be spontaneous when you go out. Ideally, hunting would begin at the start of day, all until nighttime. Here is a step-by-step process for systematic Koalefant hunting:
- Prepare some good foods (such as Crock Pot food), a Torch, a Weapon, and an armor piece. Ideally, your armor piece should not conflict with your warm clothing piece (e.g. Log Suit with Beefalo Hat).
- Check for tracks of Winter Koalefants anywhere possible, except in the Forest biome as it is harder to find the next track when in a forest. Caution is advised when searching in a Marsh biome because of Tentacles and Merms, but they may also act as an unintentional ally when killing the Winter Koalefant. It is advisable to search by roads or dirt trails as this may quicken the process.
- Once tracks are found, start investigating them. If nighttime is nearing it is not advisable to investigate, and it would be better off if investigation began on the first day mark of the next day. Be sure to keep record of what day is it (for the last step). If you happen to be lost in the tracks, it is okay to retrace steps taken.
- Once the Winter Koalefant is found, one may want to wait till night to hit the Winter Koalefant and begin fighting, as the Koalefant will have fallen asleep and be vulnerable for a little while. One can corner the Winter Koalefant and hit it with a melee weapon, or one can use a ranged weapon such as a Boomerang when fighting. It is all up to the Player's preferences and situation.
- While fighting the Winter Koalefant it is advisable to use a melee weapon. After doing the initial attack, the Winter Koalefant will begin its counterattack, so the character must run away from it. After the Winter Koalefant's attack, you may hit the Winter Koalefant 4-5 times, then dodge again to avoid its next attack. This process (also known as Kiting) should be repeated until it is killed.
- After killing the Winter Koalefant always check the message log (CTRL + L). If there is text displaying "Suspicious dirt placed" after the day you began hunting (recorded in step 3) the Winter Koalefant has respawned and you may go hunting again.
- Be sure to store the big loot from the Winter Koalefant in an ice box or consume it as needed. The Winter Koalefant Trunk spoils so it must be consumed or crafted quickly into a Puffy Vest.
Information on how to deal with hounds can be found in this page.
Bird hunting is a good way to accumulate Snowbird Feathers, Crow Feathers and Morsels. This may also be done during summer to obtain Crimson Feathers instead of Snowbird Feathers, but there are more productive activities for summer. Bird hunting is a great way to kill time in winter, but beware of Krampus.
Bird hunting is done best using a Boomerang which is also cheap but it can be done with any ranged weapon. Simply killing nearby birds using ranged weapons will do. The ice staff will also work. The technique can be augmented if one wears the Feather Hat to increase the number of birds landing.
Using this technique may also be risky if Krampus appears but it is no problem to a prepared player. Krampus can also easily be killed using the kiting technique.
Currently a live bird can be cooked on the fire to ensure a 1 cooked morsel drop, this may help in dire situations.
Death is more likely during winter therefore it is advised to build a Meat Effigy. Only one Meat Effigy is advised since it reduces total health by 30. Another possibility is to use an Amulet when death is imminent but this technique is not as reliable.
Touchstones are recommended to be used, due to the fact that they require no resources to produce and they do not take up an armour slot or lower your overall health.
When a resurrection plan has been taken, it is also useful to have an extra kit of tools and other important things near the point of resurrection.
|Basic||Getting Started • The Big Picture • All About Night|
|DLC||Don't Starve in Reign of Giants • The Ultimate Reign of Giants Starting Guide • Surviving Shipwrecked • Using the Seaworthy|
|Camping||Base Camp • Frog Pond Camp • Self-sustaining Settlement • Marsh Camp • Camping Underground • Summer Cave Base|
|Farming||Gold Nugget Farm • Renewable Farming • Farming • Nightmare Fuel Farming • Slurtle Slime • Krampii • Fire Farm|
|Survival||Adventure Mode • Mob Killing • How To not starve • How to survive • Hound Wave Survival • Mushroom Guide • Boss Drops • Spelunking Guide • Winter Guide • Crock Pot Dishes • Panic Room Guide • Just Spawned • Advanced World • World vs Caves • The Ultimate Guide to Infinite Survival|
|Technical||Physical Damage Absorption • Console Commands • (Automatically Start Dedicated Server (Linux) • Simple Dedicated Server Setup • Don’t Starve Together Dedicated Servers )|
|Characters||Willow • Wolfgang • Wendy • Wickerbottom's Books • Woodie's Curse • Wigfrid • Maxwell|