Driving conditions in the winter can deteriorate quickly. If you live in a climate with harsh winters, then you may be very experienced. Regardless of how well prepared you think you might be, it is a good idea to review what emergency supplies and tools you have in each of your vehicles.
This post is a long list. You may be thinking “How on earth does she expect me to fit all that in my car?”
Remember that these are all items to consider. If you just drive around town a little or have a short commute, some items may not be things you find necessary. Staying warm, dry, fed, hydrated, and having the ability to call for help are all main priorities. If you can trouble shoot or deal with things like a flat tire or dead battery it can save you the hassle of waiting for help. Just because you have AAA doesn’t mean they are going to be able to get to you as fast as you can fix minor issues yourself.
Consider how much you drive and how far and use this list as a guide to creating a winter car kit that best suits your needs. Sawyer Products SP103 ... Buy New $19.95 (as of 11:35 EDT - Details)
Emergency blankets and an emergency bivvy
Emergency blankets are one of those inexpensive preps that we should all have about a dozen of. At under $10 for a dozen at times, this is a cheap prep that can save lives. At the same time, emergency blankets are thin and can tear easily. An emergency bivvy is tougher and is often made mummy style, so you have a hood to help conserve all that body heat that escapes from your head when it is uncovered. We have a bivvy in our truck, and it weighs about 8 oz and fits in a space about the size of two soda cans.
Check out this post for some options for your car.
Extra water and a water filter
A case of bottled water can go a long way. Of course, I understand that leaving water in an unheated car means it is going to freeze. For those in very cold climates, the solution may be to take a water container and just make sure to fill it up each day and put in your car. Take it into work with you and make sure it is full when you leave. A 64 oz water bottle works well. You could also bring a thermos of warm or hot water and leave that in your car. Stanley makes some excellent large thermoses that are 64 oz.
I also think it is wise to have a water filter in case you are stuck for longer than you expect or the situation changes and you are able to walk to a gas station or something. A Sawyer Mini with a squeeze bag is an option as is a water bottle you can fill but has a built-in filter that takes out organisms. A simple Brita is not what I am talking about. Britas are for taking out things like fluoride and chlorine, not bacteria and viruses. 1 Pack Blue 2000ML Uni... Buy New $12.49 (as of 03:30 EDT - Details)
A urinal can make things a lot more comfortable if you find your self stranded on the side of the road. Getting out of your car in a blizzard to use the bathroom is unpleasant at best, and it is even possible to lose your way back to the car or become too chilled. Whiteout blizzards are no joke. It is important to stay hydrated during an emergency though so you are going to have to use the bathroom if stranded for a long time.
I think that people carry a lot of stuff in their cars, so there is probably room for a few days worth of food during the winter months. 72 hours is a good rule if you have condensed rations. That doesn’t take up much space. Also, remember that case of water.
If you really want to keep it simple, put a 6 or 12 pack of MREs in your car with some bottled water and your water filter.
Depending on if you had an accident that stranded you or you injure yourself doing something like getting a food container open, jacking up your car, etc.
MRE 2020 Inspection Da... Buy New $72.48 (as of 03:30 EDT - Details) It is good to know what is going on and to have something to listen too. An mp3 player is also great, and some radios like the Kaito’s I often mention, allow you to play mp3s through them. There are several model sizes of these radios, and they can be a real blessing if you are stuck on the side of the road in a whiteout or in the case of a lot of weather-related wrecks.
Treacherous conditions happen fast!
It is amazing how fast weather can cause problems. I remember when Matt and I were coming back from taking a friend back to their place, and we hit snow and then by the time we were at Old Fort Mountain, a very steep and notorious road, there were wrecks everywhere. I was very scared at times. Matt was very careful, but it was like an ice rink for a lot of people that were in cars. We had moments that we had wished we had pulled over and got a hotel. Those big trucks coming over that mountain only have so many runaway truck ramps they can use.
Jumper cables or battery charger/starter
Dead batteries are a major contributor to motorists being stranded. If it happens while you are doing a lot of stop and go on the highway due to the weather.
This jump starter is great because you can just keep it in your car to jump start it yourself rather than trying to get someone to pull over or calling for assistance. Make sure you get the right size for your vehicle. The one above is good for most vehicles but you can get a more powerful model. I like that this can be used as a battery bank to recharge small devices, so you have some extra power on the go even if your battery is just fine.
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