Winter Car Kit -- Suggestions Needed




 I am trying to put together a winter car kit.  I have started my kit and have posted what I have in sections.  I am hoping that you readers will leave suggestions and ideas from what you have in your kit.  I have gone through the other kits on instructables but they are not quite what I was looking for.  The closest instructable to what I want is the "Auto Emergency Survival Kit" as it really is a good instructable.  The kit I am trying to put together is not so much survival- fishing gear and fire starters, it is more a kit to stay warm and comfortable if stranded in a blizzard or other situation.  I also always have my cell phone on me with a charger in the car.  Along with a subscription to AAA so a tow truck is available.  But depending on the weather and number of accidents a tow can be a number of hours away.  I know from personal experience.   So please read and leave suggestions on what to add.

Step 1: Warmth

So its winter, or will be, and it is cold.  So if the car gets stuck and am waiting for a tow truck the car will cool off.  So to keep warm the engine can be ran or you can use what is in the kit.  In winter I should be wearing a coat and gloves.  To augment this I have purchased chemical heaters for body, hands, and feet.  I purchased knock off Snuggies, because they were on clearance. I purchased a scarf, wool socks and plan on getting wool hats, and gloves.  I also have an emergency candle that can be lit to provide a little heat to the car.  Yes carbon monoxide can build and a window will be cracked if anything is being burned.

Step 2: Tools

For hand tools- Pocket chainsaw, multi-tool, weather radio, 5 in 1 whistle, and a folding shovel.  The 5 in 1 whistle is a whistle, match holder, mirror, compass, and fire striker.  The point of the packet chainsaw is to cut branches to either clear a path or put under the tires for traction.  Also kitty litter for traction. I also plan on adding matches and a lighter.

Step 3: Food and Water

For food- I have two MREs with heaters. For water- foil water pouches, and a Spoork to eat with.  Because the water pouches will be ice pouches I have included a Sterno type fuel cell and folding Sterno stove.  I will also include something to melt the ice in other a mess kit, pot, or metal cup. The fuel cell is also designed to be burned as a heater.  And yes carbon monoxide is an issue so if it is to be used, then a window will be cracked for fresh air, and with the chemical heaters and blankets I wont be using this as a heater.  

Step 4: Hygiene

So for hygiene I plan on packing soap, alcohol gel sanitizer and wipes, and a TravelJohn just in case. 

Step 5: Emergency

This is a kit for an accident.  So besides the emergency auto kit that is already in the car. A fire extinguisher,  tow rope, first aid kit,  and emergency tent if the car is too destroyed in an accident the tent can be set up for shelter. 

Step 6: Cost

I always like it if the cost of the instructable is listed so here it is along with where I got it:
Water- 0.23
MRE- 7.99
Fuel Cell- 3.97
Tow rope- 4.00
Pocket Saw- 24.99
Multi tool- 8.99
Fire extinguisher- 19.99
5 in 1 whistle - 2.29
Tent- 5.99
Spoork- 2.48
Stove- 8 Sports Authority
Wool socks 9.75 Sports Authority
Weather radio-50.00 Eddie Bauer
scarf- 8.00 Eddie Bauer
Hand heaters- 2 Walgreens
Foot heaters- 2 big5sports
Body heaters-5.25 big5sports
Folding shovel 12 big5sports
Port a john 1.57 AutoZone

Total of 208.55 (some items were doubled for two people and added into total)

Step 7: Suggestions

So this is what I have thought of and I know I am missing things.  What do you think should be added?



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    23 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Well, I'll add my 2 cents worth. First, I agree with everything in your kit, if it is what you have. I would add/change/remove the following (but remember, I am in Canada where winter is well below freezing (-30C is common):

    Water- Great for spring, summer, fall. In the winter don't tend to carry water as it will freeze, and possibly break the container. I don't know about the bags of water you have listed there, but I know in eastern Ontario they can make a real mess when they break at -30.
    MRE- good to have food, either buy or make one from one of the instructables. I would look for ones that don't require water or heat to eat.
    Fuel Cell- A good option to have. But if you're going to be in your car long enough to need to cook food, you need to get a refund from AAA.
    Tow rope- Great to help others and get help from them.
    Pocket Saw- What are you planning on cutting? I don't see a need for this. If you want to cut branches, get a decent folding saw. I wouldn't put this under my tires.
    Multi tool- Always good to have.
    Fire extinguisher- Another thing that is good to have.
    5 in 1 whistle - Another good thing to have.
    Tent- This wouldn't help much in the winter.
    Spoork- Personally, I hate these types of sporks. I've cut my lip on the knife they put on the fork end. But, I digress...
    Stove- Works well with the Fuel Cell you have.
    Wool socks- I always go for wool, they are much better than cotton. Make sure that it is at least 80% wool if it is a blend.
    Weather radio- Great idea to have a wind-up one that needs no batteries. I have one that it also a USB charger and flashlight.
    scarf- Great to have
    Hand heaters- Great to have.
    Foot heaters- Awesome
    Body heaters- Good idea, didn't think of this one. Will add it to my kit. I see that with the three of them you have about 6-8 hours of warmth. This is why I commented about the cooking food.
    Folding shovel- very necessary. Make sure it isn't plastic, murphy's law will break 'em when you need 'em.
    Port a john Interesting idea.

    I would add the following items: Good, think wool blanket. Metal mug to put on the stove to melt snow, make hot chocolate (they are in your MRE, right?). For traction, I have always held preference to scrap pieces of carpet. You can also go to a second hand store and buy the largest, ugliest, brightest parka you can and keep that in the truck. It'll keep you warm and seen for miles.

    That's off the top of my head. This would be a "shelter-in-place while waiting for AAA" kid of setup.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    The most common emergency that I have run into is dealt with plain old toilet paper. Cheap, easy to store and lasts longer than alcohol wipes.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nice list! you actually have most of the bases covered! Good for you.

    My suggestions:rock salt or kitty litter for ice / traction. jugs of water (water is just as important in the winter as in the summer, since the air is so dry), lighting (flashlights or headlamps), signal (flares or reflectors), mylar blankets (pack like 6, they're cheap), high calorie, high energy snacks (Snickers bars or other high calorie foods), extra clothing (gloves, jackets, etc. not for you, but for whoever might need it), first aid kit with trauma supplies.


    5 years ago on Step 2

    I carried a bag of red sand for traction, but never had the call to use it. So not sure which one would be best.


    5 years ago on Step 3

    How about Hot Can? Self heating, so save fuel, and less carbon monoxide to deal with.


    5 years ago on Step 6

    I started a thread on to encourage people to consider what should be in a winter driving safety kit. There are a number of good suggestions, and some discussions that relate to roadside emergencies, please take a look at it. Some items may be worth adding to your list, and the discussions regarding the actions of others during an emergency are worth being aware of.

    Certainly there are many lists of "winter kits" but I was glad to see that your's included a portable potty for both male and female.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Some good ideas, although I don't agree with all of it. Most important would be to dress in layers and always have a blanket, food, liquids, and communication devices(Cell/ CB) in the vehicle at minimum. Waterproof matches, extra clothes/blankets/mittens/boots, knife, multi-tool, tire chains, rope, plastic, rock salt, & triangles/flares would also be helpful.


    Hi hspam: I was thinking along the same line when I wrote

    I sincerely would appreciate your feedback. There are a couple of ideas which might fit your kit.


    6 years ago on Step 6

    Ok so I grew up where blizzards commonly knock people off the road, there are some good items in this list but some should be modified. For example you want thick cotton socks not wool. Wool sounds like a good idea but when you warm your feet they start to sweat, the wool soaks it up and almost never dries out unless thrown against heat. There are reuseable hand/foot body heaters that work like glowsticks (you crack them and they eventually re-harden to be cracked again for heat) sold in most hunting stores. There are some companies that have the DC heating blankets too that plug into the cig. lighter. Firesteel can replace most of the lighters/matches and such. I would also suggest replacing the minishovel with a military issue pickaxe/shovel combo that folds. Most minishovels are not strong enough to get through the ice. You'd also want a full set of clothes in the car, you could be stuck walking for help and will need to dry a full set without being naked in the snow.
    Things I would add; windable LED emergancy flashing lights that can be attached to poles or a stick, laminated map of the area(s), a tool box with the basics (screwdrivers/hammers/etc), LOTS of spare batteries for items that require them, a hunter's guide (has faun/fauna with pictures for easy recognition to get food and avoid poisons or disease), a lowjack or other GPS locater on the car and/or one you can carry on your person (they have watch-sized ones for adults with alzheimers, keychain ones good for up to 50yard accuracy, or just go nutters and get the AVIS pet gps injected) and rubbing alcohol with a full emergancy supply kit.

    You may be stuck for hours or days, being able to pack all this stuff up in a hiking bag with a good coat and boots can save your life. If you get injured you have a mini-kit that usually has instructions included for basic E-care, the thing that will save you the most in these situations is leaving notes or notifying people where you are/routes you're driving/approximately how long it should take. If you're over 3 hours late during a snowstorm you're probably stuck in a ditch and people will need to know what road you'd be on to send help. Be smart, prepare and don't complain about not having trunk space. It's a lot of stuff, but you'd be surprised at how you'll use all of it to survive.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Plastic vegetable bags. Take your socks and boots off and put bags on your feet. Then put your socks on. Put bags over your socks and then put your boots on. This will keep your feet warm and dry. You can also put bags over your hands and then put your gloves/mittens on. If you put bags on your hands and feet, make sure to pick up 6 bags for each person next time you're at the store.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Just one more: In remote areas where an air search might be what finds you, a can of orange spray paint can be used to "write" on the snow


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Also, if you choose the shelter of your car in blizzard conditions, the car can be buried and not seen. An orange flag that can be attached to a stick can be used to signal the car's presence.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    One of the best things a person can do to prepare for car emergencies in cold weather is to be dressed for outside weather while driving. The reason? If injured in an accident and help isn't immediate, you may not be able to move and risk dying of hypothermia. Also, a man from our town almost died from bleeding because he was trapped for hours, and his shivering kept opening his wounds.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    you want to stay warm... yet you don't have a BLANKET!?! You can keep a travel sized blanket in your trunk, or a space blanket basically anywhere.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great post, a winter car kit is a must for winter travel, maybe you might not need it but you can help someone else.
    Battery pack/jumper kit
    Ice melt or sand
    Tire chains for icy roads
    A candle in a jar for heat and comfort, but the sterno may do as well
    Feminine hygiene
    Most mre's come with a spoon I think
    Emergency rain poncho or a trash bag


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I suggest that you add some kitty litter. Kitty litter will add weight to your trunk. You can also use the kitty litter for traction if you get stuck.

    I know you have MRE's. But chocolate or some other sweet snack may also be something else that you may want to add.

    I always keep an extra set of shoes in my car. If your feet and socks are wet, your shoes may also be wet. So I would add an old set of shoes to your kit as well.

    I would also add some duct tape.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    How did I forget the Ducktape?!! Great ideas. I will add the litter, granola bars, and look into the shoes. Thanks!