Winter can be great. Watching the first snow fall, skiing, snowboarding, sledding and building snowmen can be a lot of fun. But, winter isn’t always nice. Chances are if you live somewhere it snows, or vacation in such areas, winter driving conditions can get pretty difficult and downright dangerous at times. Sure, you can wait for a snow storm or freezing rain to pass, but what if you’re one the road already? In freezing temperatures, things can go downhill pretty fast, especially if your car gets stuck or breaks down.
One way to make sure you’re prepared is to put together a robust winter emergency kit for your car. If you’re traveling with your family and kids or other passengers, you are going to want to have enough supplies to help you get your car out of those conditions while keeping everyone warm.
The Items to Add to Your Winter Emergency Kit
- A sturdy bag or container to keep all the items
- A sturdy windshield scraper and brush – Chances are you probably already have one of these. With a sturdy one, you won’t have to worry about it breaking as you scrape ice off your windsheild
- A scraper cone – Scraper cones are super helpful for getting ice off the windshield and I use it in combination with the windshield brush and scraper, for areas that are tough to work around.
- Snow shovel – you can get foldable ones or compact ones you can pack and later assemble
- Traction mats – Chances are if your tires are stuck, you’ll need these traction mats.
- Gas line anti-freeze
- Extra fuses -for your car’s electrical system
- Lock de-icer – several of these items are recommended by the CAA
- Windshield washer fluid
- Sand or kitty litter for traction (instead of salt as it can cause your car to rust)
- Tire chains – Check to see if they are allowed in your area. You might not be able to use them while driving around, but might be able to use them in an emergency to get your car unstuck.
- Self contained battery jumper – This battery jumper is helpful because you don’t have to wait for another car to drive by and it was recommended by the author of the Skilled Survivor blog.
- First aid kit
- Flares – for in front of and behind your car
- Reflective safety triangles
- Flashlight – An emergency, self-powered, hand crank flashlight won’t need batteries
- Emergency phone battery charger
- Hand and Toe warmers. You can use hand and toe warmers to stay warm without an external heat source.
- Basic toolkit
- High dexterity working gloves for repairing your car
- Tarp – if your repairing a tire or part of your car and don’t want to lose your equipment, you can keep a tarp under you – via Skilled Survivor
- Waterproof matches
- Candles with an empty food cans as holders or a Candle Lantern for warmth and light
- Food & Water – There are emergency food kits that have up to a 5 year shelf life, so you don’t have to constantly worry about replacing them. There are also food packs that you just add water to to make a meal.
- Small camp stove bowls and utensils
- Lifestraw – for if you’re stuck without a clean water source. (Note, make sure to melt snow and drink the water rather than eating the snow as consuming a lot of snow can reduce your body’s core temperature.)
- Extra clothing – socks, gloves, thermal layers
- Blankets – Emergency Reflective Blankets one for each member/passenger
- Emergency hand crank radio
- Booster cables
- Playing cards – It makes sense to have cards or games to pass the time as you wait for another motorist or rescue crew to arrive. These survivor cards were also recommended on the Skilled Survivor blog.
- Fire-extinguisher for the car
- Paper maps & compass
- Shaving cream to de-fog windshield, mirror (and driving glasses if you use them) . All you have to do is clean the glass with it.
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Winter Emergency Kit References
Disclaimer: This post is for information purposes only and does not account for individual items required for various circumstances. You’re responsible for preparing the items necessary for you and your family.