Winter is one of the two seasons that are in the base game. In Reign of Giants DLC, there are four seasons. If the game starts in autumn, then it will take 21 days for winter to arrive (default settings). Winter will last for 16 days and the player will have to prepare by stockpiling food and supplies if they hope to survive.
Preparing for winter
The most difficult part of getting through winter is food shortages. Because of the extremely low temperatures, barely any plants and trees are able to grow properly. To combat this, you must stockpile a large amount of food. The best way to do this is to create multiple farms and grow vegetables and store them in ice boxes. Build a crockpot to make better foods that restore more health, hunger and sanity.
You should also hunt animals like the Koalefant and rabbits and dry their meat on drying racks to create jerky. Jerky restores more health than if you eat the meat itself, and it also slows down spoilage rate.
During winter, food will spoil at a slower rate but you can slow this down even more with the use of an ice box.
An ice box can be crafted on an Alchemy Engine using gold nuggets, a board and a gear. I recommend having 2 ice boxes filled with meat and vegetables.
The other problem you will face during winter is freezing. You will need to stay by the fire or wear thick clothes to prevent freezing to death. If you hunted a Koalefant, you should have received a Koalefant trunk which you can use to make a jacket. You can also use silk from spiders to create a winter hat which will help keep you warm.
Before winter, you should also create a thermal stone and an umbrella or a pretty parsol. The thermal stone will collect heat and turn red the longer you sit near a fire. The heat from the thermal stone will keep you warm for a limited time as you venture out away from your fire. An umbrella (or pretty parsol) can be used to keep yourself dry in case of rain. If you become wet in winter you will freeze much faster and risk death.
You can tell winter has arrived when the screen changes colour to a blue tint and the rabbits will grow white fur. As winter goes on, plants and trees will slowly wither away and snow will pile up on the ground. Night and dusk will become longer as daytime decreases. Beehives and butterflies will become inactive during winter.
If you stockpiled food from autumn (or summer), then you should have no problem surviving winter. Be aware of Pengulls, who will rise from the water and set up a nest nearby.
Pengulls are not aggressive but will retaliate if you attack them or steal their eggs. If one pengull is attacked, the entire group will rush to eliminate the attacker, so be careful if you plant to hunt Pengulls for meat and eggs.
Hound attacks during winter will have Blue hounds instead of Red hounds.
By far the biggest obstacle for the player in winter will be fighting the Deerclops.
The deerclops will spawn near the player sometime in winter. Deerclops is one of the toughest enemies of the game and can kill the player and destroy their base if not dealt with properly.
Another thing you have to deal with in winter is the arrival of MacTusk’s hunting party who will spawn near a Walrus Camp. It consists of aggressive mobs led by MacTusk, his son Wee MacTusk and 2 blue hounds.
After 16 days pass, winter will come to an end and you are free to grow trees, plants and crops to prepare for the next season.