What You Need in Your Car for Winter
Today, it’s all about what you need in your car for winter. Did you know that it’s a good idea to have specific items packed in your vehicle during the winter months?
When the temperature drops and the roads become hazardous due to snow, ice, rain, and sleet, a lot can happen. You don’t want to end up stranded in your vehicle with nothing available to keep you comfortable and safe while you’re waiting for help.
What You Need in Your Car for Winter
Because rough conditions can make it challenging for help to arrive, you don’t know how long you’ll need to wait in the car until someone can get to you and provide assistance. You’ll feel more at ease if you have the right essentials stored in your vehicle.
Make sure you have items packed for each person who’d typically ride in the car with you, such as your significant other and children.
It’s always beneficial to have a supply of blankets in your vehicle. During those cold winter months, you could find yourself not only cold but dangerously so. If someone in the car gets cold, you’ll have a blanket available for them to use.
If the heat stops working and you find yourself stranded while waiting for assistance, you don’t want to find yourself unprepared and subject to severe exposure due to the elements.
So, make sure you’re protected from the cold weather by using heavy-duty blankets to stay warm. You can fold these blankets and have them in a convenient storage tote bag that you can put in the backseat of the car or in the trunk, whichever you prefer.
Be sure to have a minimum of three blankets to use, and more than that if you’re traveling with multiple passengers.
Flashlights with Batteries
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to evaluate your surroundings or check your vehicle’s condition, it helps to have flashlights with workable batteries. Always make sure you have some backup batteries to use just in case the ones inside the flashlight have died out.
You may think bigger flashlights are better, they are not so much anymore. Then, you can conveniently fit them in the back of your vehicle or the trunk, keeping them with the blankets and some of the other items you’ll keep in the car for winter.
Matt, in our comment forum, a good friend of mine suggested this brand of flashlights, this is the first one I purchased. I will buy more as I can. OLIGHT, but I want this one, OLIGHT
Change of Clothes
Always have at least one pair of clothes that you can change into inside the vehicle. Then, if you’ve had to exit the vehicle for some reason, or something spills or gets all over you, you can take off the wet clothes, place them in a plastic bag, and put on your clean, dry clothes to feel comfortable again.
You wouldn’t want to get stuck sitting in cold, wet, or soiled clothing for hours on end. Of course, when you’re packing a change of clothes, pack something you won’t need in the short term since it’s going to sit in the car most of the time.
A pair of jeans or sweatpants with a warm shirt and sweater should suffice unless you feel an extra coat would provide the additional protection you may want.
Pack some extra warm and protective gloves to have with you in the car. If you get stuck and need to wait for help, or you get stuck and need to exit the vehicle as you work to get the car up and going again, you might need to put on an extra pair of gloves as your fingers start to get exposed to the cold air and possibly wet conditions.
Excessive exposure to freezing temperatures could easily cause frostbite that you don’t want to experience. As a result, it pays to be safe by packing comfortable and durable gloves that will keep your fingers warm.
Emergency Car Kit
I have two of these bags that I made into a car kit for emergencies and they are secured in the back of my Honda CRV. My Dewalt tool kit is my first aid kit, I added the RED first aid symbol so people would hopefully realize I do not have expensive DeWalt tools in it. I love these Husky Tool Bags.
Have some road flares in the car to set outside when you’re dealing with an emergency. It’s one of the best ways to draw attention to yourself when you need help, but also alert others that you are there in case visibility is reduced due to a storm.
People are more likely to notice the flares and then come to your vehicle to check on things. It’s also an excellent way to let the tow truck or the person you’re waiting for figure out where you are from the location you’ve given them because they can see the road flares from a distance.
You can buy road flares online, have them shipped directly to you, and place them in your car for any emergencies that arise. These work for me, they
Kitty Litter and a Small Shovel
Some people don’t realize it, but kitty litter can help a car’s tires gain more traction. You spread the kitty litter as far under and in front of the traction wheels and let it sit for a minute or two.
It should give those wheels some extra traction to get out of that “stuck” situation unless you are in so deep you’ll need an extra assist. That’s where the small shovel comes in.
Use the shovel to remove the snow in front of and behind the wheels so you can apply the kitty litter and rock the car enough for it to get the necessary traction needed.
I had a friend who is a professional photographer take the two pictures of my PLANO Fishing Tackle Box below (which is no longer available), so this is why they have a black background.
It always pays off to have a first-aid kit in your car. You can buy a first-aid kit or prepare one by adding items to a plastic container. Some of the things you should have in the first-aid kit include:
- Rubbing alcohol packets
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Topical ointment
- Other important essentials
These items get put to good use when you’re dealing with injuries or other issues and you can’t get help right away.
Even if you’re not in pain or dealing with a severe injury, someone else in your vehicle may end up in that situation, and you can make sure you’re fully prepared for the most unexpected challenges that can happen while out on the road.
Here is what the inside of the fishing tackle looks like, this will give you ideas on what YOU need in your emergency first aid kit for your car or truck. In case you missed this post, First Aid Kits-What You Need To Survive
Hand and Foot Warmers
Kylie reminded me about having hand and foot warmers in the car. You can pick them up at the dollar stores or even Sam’s club or Costco. Hand and Foot Warmers. You basically remove the hand warmer from the packaging, shake it and in 15-30 minutes it will warm your hands and feet for up to ten hours. They are for one-time use.
Personal Hygiene Items
After we empty one of our #10 cans that are approximately six inches in diameter and nine inches tall we should never throw them out. If you are like me…I think to myself “I might need this for something”! So I stash them in the pantry or garage. Well, I have read in the newspaper where cars with adults, toddlers, and babies are stranded sometimes for hours on a highway.
All you need is the #10 can with the lid, some 4-gallon garbage bags, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and some Bio-Blue Toilet Deodorizer or some Biffy Bags are ware good to go, literally! Leanne reminded me about a piece of cloth for privacy, if you don’t have some cloth, consider getting a small popup tent for the occasion. Small Popup Tent
Non-Perishable Food and Water
If you get stuck in a situation where you can’t move your vehicle and have to wait for help, having non-perishable food and water in your vehicle will come in handy.
Be sure to have several options available, including protein bars, granola bars, a container of peanut butter, trail mix, and other items that can provide you with protein, vitamins, and nutrients.
Hazel mentioned some comfort candy, like chocolate or just candy! Maybe M & M’s would be awesome unless the car gets hot.
If the items will be in the car for an extended period, be sure to rotate the food items from time to time so they stay as fresh as possible.
It’s also a good idea to have a pack of bottled water available to drink. While you may not expect to get stuck and stranded, you don’t know what could happen, so it’s best to be prepared for what could potentially happen just in case.
12 – Volt Air Compressor
A 12-volt air compressor is a must. Last summer I experienced a flat tire while heading home from a quick Wal-Mart trip. Thank goodness my granddaughter was with me to help with the tire change tasks.
The challenge we faced was having a spare tire that had gone flat since the last time we had the car serviced and the tires checked out. Without that 12-volt air compressor to plug into the car’s 12-volt outlet and use to pump up the spare, we would have been in a world of hurt!
Having a pair of work gloves in the car also proved so helpful. Working with that lug wrench was hard on the hands, so the gloves were a lifesaver.
Although we didn’t need one, a tire plug set (buy them cheaply at Wal-Mart) may be something you consider having in case you need a quick and temporary tire repair you can perform on the spot. 12 Volt Car Tire Pump Compressor
Window Break Tool
In case you get locked out of your car, the doors become frozen shut, or the door lock mechanisms won’t work for some reason, you may need to use a car window break tool to get into or out of the vehicle.
We all hope we don’t have to face this type of situation, but we see on the news emergencies where car occupants can’t get out of a vehicle.
This tool could prove the difference between life and death. It is certainly worth having in your emergency supplies as you prepare the car for winter travel or just a fun weekend road trip.
This is one that’s been critical from the time I started driving. My dad made me keep $5.00 in the car in case I got stranded. At the time $5.00 was a lot of money, it wouldn’t go far today! That was back in 1966, driving my 1951 Chevy to school and work.
You need to decide how much you feel comfortable putting in your car, it would be way more than $5.00, these days. Anyway, slip some cash in small bills, in your wallet, purse, or another place in your car to keep for emergencies. It would be enough to fill your car with gas and buy food and water to get you to a safe place.
If you are like me, you have been stranded a time or two due to car accidents, icy roads, snow-packed roads. Mark and I were parked on a California main road between Barstow, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada for three hours. It got boring, people were thirsty, hungry, and frustrated.
If you are stuck for 3-4 hours on the highway, it would be nice to have something to help time to pass a bit faster, playing cards, reading books, or whatever.
Be sure to have these essential items in your car during the winter months. You don’t know when they might come in handy. Be safe instead of sorry by packing a bag full of these essential items, including a first-aid kit, non-perishable food, heavy blankets, and more.
It doesn’t hurt to have these items readily available and easily accessible, especially during the winter when the roads are wet and slippery.
If you’re prepared for the hazardous road conditions, you can stay safe while waiting for help if you ever need it. May God Bless this world, Linda
19 thoughts on “What You Need in Your Car for Winter”
I’m glad your going to get that light. I save a ton of money on batteries with them. I run olight on my pistols well.
The air compressor can be used in harsh conditions to air up and down tires too. I run about 20lbs in bad conditions to give me a larger footprint. If you’ve got bead lockers you can go down a lot lower. You shouldn’t be driving more than 30mph in bad conditions anyway so performance should be effected. When it improves air back up.
The zip ties for ties can help give you temporary extra traction too.
I’m almost through installing my 10K portable winch setup that goes into 2” receivers on my Trail Boss truck.
Know where your hookup points are on your vehicle in case you do have to get pulls out. Many cars have little covers on the bumper area that need to be removed and a screw in hook attached. Look now while it’s nice.
Hi Matt, oh, that’s a great tip now while the weather is favorable, look for our hookup points! Good one! I forgot the zip ties! I showed Mark the one you suggested, that’s on my list to get! That winch would be awesome!! Awesome comment as always! Linda
Just need to point out that (at least in my area) You will need to take first aid kit and water in every day & night or IT WILL FREEZE. Won’t be as useful when you need it and it’s froze hard. Not sure about all of the contents of first aid kit being froze hard and thawed repeatedly…
I have prepared a backpack with all the necessities that I believe I will need in my car at all times.
Make sure your flashlight(s) and window break tool are in the front with you. I keep mine in the glove box with spare batteries in the center console.
For the emergency “potty”, I would also suggest having a way to have privacy. I have my #10 can filled with a refuse bag, ziplock freezer bags, TP, hand sanitizer, and a hunk of canvas and some binder clips to attach the canvas to an open door for privacy. I think the hunk of canvas is 60″ X 45″. It is sort of cramped but at least I have some privacy.
In addition to your water and snacks, I suggest having a book, puzzle book and/or playing cards to while away the time. I would also make sure that I have some cash in small bills tucked away in my car or wallet any time I am going further than a few miles from home – useful in the event of a power outage in the area (downed power lines? major storm?).
Hi Leanne, oh thanks for the reminder on cash. Adding that, and I like the privacy deal. Books, puzzles, etc. would be awesome as well. Linda
Linda ~ I was stranded for 5 hours one time on a 2 lane road over the mountains here in Washington during the summer. Traffic had been held up due to a serious accident. I had just about everything except a potty!! I REALLY needed the potty! It surely would have been nice also to have a book to read (a real book) not on my phone as there was no service!
That reminds me as well that we might need a way to charge our cell phones if our cars don’t run. I have 2 solar chargers that I keep charged as well as a rechargeable battery bank that will charge my phone from nearly empty 4 times. I like the solar chargers that are just a bit larger than a cell phone. If there is sunshine, I can keep them charged but if I have power available, I can also charge by plugging them into the wall socket.
Hi Leanne, oh my goodness, a great reminder about the cell phone solar charger. I gave mine to my granddaughter, she was traveling back home. I need to order another one. The rechargeable battery bank is another awesome reminder. Thank you, Linda
Hummmm …..I drive a Chevrolet Equinox. Where should I put my groceries?
I have one bug out bag and a sturdy walking stick.
Hi Jewel, I have one car, a Honda CRV, and I still put groceries in the back. You want to consider putting the most important items you need in YOUR car. It will depend on where you are traveling. Stay safe, Linda
I also have some of the hand and feet warmers that you can get from the dollar tree. You have to activate them when they are needed. the brand is Hothands.
Hi Kylie, oh, great reminder, I’m adding those to the list! I have two boxes of those gems! They work great! Thank you, Linda
I know the protein and granola bars will fill the hunger void….but the stress level (especially with scared children) needs candy…chocolate in particular 😉 Just a little comfort.
Hi Hazel, oh yeah, chocolate is my best friend! Hmmm, let’s add M & M’s!! Great comment, Linda
Regarding the hand and foot warmers that you have to activate, over a couple of years they become useless, producing no heat. At least that has been my experience. Evidently, over time, oxygen will permeate the packaging and slowly react with the powdered iron, etc. thus rendering them unusable. Maybe someone knows of warmers that have better packaging than what I have found. Until then, replace your warmers if you try one and it doesn’t heat up.
Hi Alan, you are so right on this. They do “expire” and therefore no longer work. This is a great reminder to rotate! Thank you, Linda
Linda, when we lived in the mountains of Colorado I carried an entire backpack full of everything we’d need in my trunk and it came in handy more than once. Now, where we live it rarely snows at all but old habits die hard. You list is excellent, but I do have a few additions.
I’d suggest Grabber Outdoor Emergency blankets. They are like normal, flimsy space blankets but much tougher and have grommets so you can use some paracord to rig them as a tent, ground cloth or tarp as well as a blanket.
Olights are great flashlights but my personal preference is for Maglights and these solar powered flashlights I’ve been using for more than ten years now.
Self heating MRE’s.
A way to make a fire, such as a Bic lighter or these terrific all weather matches.
Last, but perhaps most important I recommend a hand held or mobile HAM radio. Oftentimes they will work in areas that don’t have a cell phone signal.
Hi Ray, oh I love the hooded blanket, thank you for the links! I like the price of those Maglights!! Thank you, Linda
I love to have 3 small lightweight blankets in my car – about the size of a cheap airline blanket. Actually I’ve asked the flight attendant nicely and they’ve let me keep them. These are so handy! I can put them down under messy items like plants I’m hauling home, cover stuff in the car I don’t want thieves to notice (no trunk in my 4Runner), improvise as a towel, cover while using your car potty or changing into your emergency clothes, and even use when I’m driving until the car heats up (when a big blanket would interfere with driving). If I had to change a tire I could put it on the ground. There are a lot of uses. I love these things!
Hi Kay, oh, I like the small blanket idea! Those would be perfect!!! I LOVE this! Linda