You might consider a life jacket to be overkill on a winter hike, but it can prevent a tragedy if you fall through the ice. The Coast Guard has an approved flotation jacket that is brightly colored and water resistant. Some additional items useful for helping get you out of the water include ice picks and a length of rope. In addition, having a whistle as a noisemaker might alert others that you’re in trouble. An air bag accessory is now available for those who are traveling in snow country. Although it is meant to help survive an avalanche, it can be easily deployed to achieve buoyancy in the water as well. What kind of flotation device is best? The one you wear!