How to Prepare for Winter Driving Emergencies

Text by: Kelsey Begg

Adventure Medical Kits, Black Diamond, Burton, Clif Bar, Coleman, Led Lenser, NEMO Equipment, Pendleton, Petzl, Probar, Smartwool, Snow Peak, The North Face, VSSL, Woolrich. How to Prepare for Winter Driving Emergencies

When it’s bone-chillingly cold outside, we feel it, animals feel it and so do our cars. Whether you have a new car or an old car, extreme cold temperatures can make them act up or simply not at all. So what do you do if you find yourself waiting for a tow, it’s -24°C outside and your car won’t start so there’s no heater to warm up with?

Towing companies are extra busy on these colder-than-usual days and evenings and you may be stuck waiting for a while in those frigid, sub-zero temperatures. In this situation, a winter emergency car kit could save your life so if you haven’t got one in your car already, don’t wait for a first-hand experience before you get one.

Inside Your Winter Emergency Car Kit

Warm Blanket

Staying warm in the cold can be the biggest battle when you’re dealing with a broken down car so a big warm blanket to cuddle up in is essential. Whether it’s a Survival Blanket or one of Woolrich’s wool blankets, you want a blanket that is large enough to wrap yourself up in and protect your body from the cold while you wait.

pendleton journey west blanket - twin


Journey West Blanket – Twin


woolrich sherpa rough rider blanket


Serpa Rough Rider Blanket


adventure medical kits emergency blanket

Adventure Medical Kits

SOL Emergency Blanket


nemo equipment victory blanket

NEMO Equipment

Victory Blanket 4P


Toque or Beanie

Having a warm toque or beanie to throw on while you’re waiting in the could will keep your head and ears warm and avoid excess body heat from escaping. If you have a balaclava you find you are not wearing often, you could throw it into your emergency kit too so you can have total face coverage which would be ideal if ever you are stuck in a blizzard.

volcom argenta beanie


Argenta Beanie


coal the uniform SE beanie


The Uniform SE Beanie


arcteryx phase ar balaclava


Phase AR Balaclava


fjallraven nordic heater winter hat


Nordic Heater


Warm Socks & Mittens

Once your extremities get cold, it is hard to get them warm again and sometimes it can even be painful. Avoid frozen fingers and ice-cube-toes by stashing some warm and cozy socks and gloves into your winter emergency car kit. Something cozy and made of merino wool like the Wigwam Unisex Pine Lodge socks or the Icebreaker Lifestyle Light OTC Carina socks would be perfect.

For the fingers, I would suggest mittens over gloves because although they may offer more freedom of movement for your fingers, mittens are generally warmer. In either case, you could always add one pair of each into your winter emergency car kit. Picking a pair of mitts or gloves that are waterproof are great too so if you need to be outside the car in wetter weather you can keep your hands warm and dry.

the north face denali thermal etip glove

The North Face

Denali Thermal Etip Glove


the north face solo mitts

The North Face

II Solo Mitts


smartwool popcorn cable socks


Popcorn Cable Socks


burton men's party sock


Party Sock


Headlamp or Flashlight

If you run into an undesirable situation at night, having some source of light other than your cell phone is ideal because as we all know, the cold also affects cell phones too. Find a small flashlight or a headlamp and add a pack of spare batteries into the kit too just to be safe. Some headlamps like the Petzl Tikka R Plus Headlamp are rechargeable so ensure that it is always fully charged to avoid any unpleasant surprises when you really need it.

For a flashlight that does it all, pick the Black Diamond Ember Power Light flashlight. You have light and a USB port which you can charge hand-held devices with like your phone. This is ideal if your phone has died and you need to call for help or are waiting for a call from the towing company.

black diamond revolt headlamp

Black Diamond

ReVolt Headlamp


led lenser flashlight

Led Lenser

P3 AFS p Flashlight


petzl actik headlamp




snowpeak mini hozuki led lantern

Snow Peak

Mini Hozuki LED Lantern


Candles & Matches

When your car is dead, there’s no chance of using the heater for warmth so a blanket will do. If you are going to be stuck for an extended period of time, it is possible that eventually, a blanket won’t cut the bite from the sharp, winter winds so a small candle can be a suitable source of heat.

Throw in a pack of waterproof matches and some candles into your winter emergency car kit. You’ll be thankful for them when the time comes and you’re stuck in your car and it feels like a commercial-sized refrigerator.

vssl beeswax candle


Beeswax Candle


vssl firestarter & mirror tin


Firestarter & Mirror Tin


coleman waterproof matches


Waterproof Matches


Snacks & Water

You never know just how long you’ll be stuck for so a few granola bars to snack on and some water are crucial. Whether you stock your kit with bottles of water and Clif Bars or Probars that are quite filling or you’ve just got a box of your basic granola bars or fruit snacks, any type of non-perishable food that will satisfy your hunger.

probar peanut butter chocolate chip bar


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bar


clif bar nut butter filled energy bar

Clif Bar

Nut Butter Filled Energy Bar – Chocolate Hazelnut


clif bar caramel nut brownie luna bar

Clif Bar

Luna Bar – Caramel Nut Brownie


probar superfruit slam bar


Superfruit Slam Bar


Winter Driving Necessities

Winter driving is serious business depending on where you live and you need to take the proper precautions to ensure that you are prepared. Aside from a winter emergency car kit, there are a few other items that should always be in your car during the winter months. These things include a shovel, booster cables, snow/ice scraper, a first aid kit and even some flares.

Don’t get caught freezing in the cold this winter. Winter weather can be unpredictable and result in unexpected car issues putting you in a dangerous situation if you are not properly prepared.

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