Travel Safely: How to Make a Winter Car Emergency Kit

Winter Car Emergency Kit

By Amanda Tallent

Taking on the cold for your next trip? The winter season can bring some beautiful white wonderland scenes to your hiking trail or campground, totally transforming the landscape. While you’ve most likely packed proper clothing and gear for your trek, have you prepared your car for winter weather too? Winter weather conditions like snow, sleet, and ice can make simply getting to your starting destination a challenge.

If you plan on driving to your next adventure during the winter season, you should prepare your car with a winter emergency kit to keep you safe in any scenario. Icy road conditions may shut down roadways while heavy snow can make certain roads impassible, possibly leaving you stranded for hours on end. To stay warm, hydrated, and safe in these scenarios, there are a few items you should keep in your car just in case you find yourself in an emergency.

From a winter backpacking trip to hitting the slopes in Italy, don’t get on the road without these essentials packed away in your car:

  1. Matches
  2. Ice scraper
  3. Snow shovel
  4. Water
  5. Snacks
  6. Toolbox
  7. Flashlight and batteries
  8. Warm blanket
  9. First aid kit
  10. Reflective triangles
  11. Phone charger
  12. Kitty litter
  13. Jumper cables

Winter Car Emergency Kit 1

Download and print these winter car emergency checklists and contact sheets to prepare for your next winter trip.

 

What to pack in your winter car emergency kit

If you have enough room in your trunk or backseat, pack the items into a large duffle bag or storage container. To always be prepared, pack your emergency kit once and leave it in your car all winter season long.

 

Food and water

As a seasoned outdoors person, you probably know your favorite non-perishable snacks so go ahead and add some of those to your winter car kit. Jerky, granola bars, and trail mix are some great options. These should tide you over if you’re ever stranded roadside waiting for weather conditions to ease up or for help to arrive.

Water is another essential item to keep in your car kit. Preferably, you’ll want to pack a large glass jug of water so that it holds up better than a plastic bottle or thermos. Just be sure to replace both the food and water every so often to keep them fresh.

 

Snow tools

Those who have lived through cold winters probably own multiple snow shovels and ice scrapers. You’ll want to purchase a collapsible snow shovel to keep in your car to save space. Shovels can either help you get your tires unstuck in the snow or to uncover your snow-covered car to make you more visible to rescuers. Ice scrapers obviously help scrape ice from your windshield so you can see better and drive safely.

Kitty litter may be a surprise to some readers but it is used to help gain traction in the snow. Other alternatives are sand, road salt, or snow mats to help your tires get unstuck.

 

Safety items

Your car should already be equipped with a first aid kit, but if it’s not, you’ll certainly want to include one for winter travel. Also, pack some reflective triangles to set out on the road to keep you visible to passing drivers or those coming to help you.

When it comes to staying warm, pack a heavy-duty blanket and some extra sets of socks, gloves, or winter clothes if you have space. If you’re stranded in your car for a while, you won’t want to waste your gas and battery by keeping the heater going. That’s why you should also pack a flashlight, batteries, and matches for other scenarios where you may not have light or heat.

 

Miscellaneous

Have you ever jumped a car before? Driving in winter weather can wreak havoc on your battery so you’ll want to make sure you have jumper cables somewhere in your car too. Otherwise, you’ll have to depend on other good samaritans or a tow truck driver to jump your car with their own cables.

Pack a phone charger, preferably a car charger and a backup portable charger, for emergencies. Keep an emergency contact list with you that has emergency numbers for the area your travelling in (it isn’t 911 outside the US!) and any friends or family members in case your phone dies.

 

 

Of course, these items are always good to have on hand should you get trapped by a snowstorm, but the safest bet is to stay indoors in inclement weather. Keep updated on local conditions and reschedule your adventure if it’s too dangerous.

 

Blogger and Guest Author at

Amanda Tallent is a blogger and content creator who develops helpful and compelling stories. She calls Austin, TX home but enjoys traveling in search of breathtaking views, crave-worthy dishes, and unforgettable experiences. From hang gliding in the Swiss Alps to horseback riding through medieval Spanish towns, she’s always in search of her next adventure.

38 thoughts on “Travel Safely: How to Make a Winter Car Emergency Kit

  • February 5, 2020 at 11:18 am
    Permalink

    That’s good to prepare. I never thought to put food in the car that is non-perishable, but that makes good sense too.

    Reply
  • February 4, 2020 at 2:28 am
    Permalink

    A useful kit, especially snacks and water. I so dislike snow and hate travelling in it but if it has to be done, these are great tips.

    Reply
  • February 3, 2020 at 8:56 pm
    Permalink

    What a great list! Def good to have on hand for anybody, not just women!

    Reply
  • February 3, 2020 at 5:38 am
    Permalink

    Helpful post. I will take note of this once we do a winter hike! Thank you very much.

    Reply
  • February 3, 2020 at 2:54 am
    Permalink

    Emergency kits are important for safety purposes especially when you are on travel. Great tips and it would help a lot nice post!

    Reply
  • February 3, 2020 at 2:12 am
    Permalink

    Being someone from tropical country and now live in Texas that don’t see snow or ice every winter, this is really helpful. I have no idea at all on what to pack for your safety when traveling in the winter. Although I have some of this in the car, I must add a few items to it. I also like to bring blanket. Just in case.

    Reply
  • February 2, 2020 at 10:36 pm
    Permalink

    Safety should always be a primary concern before we head out for any trip. Thanks for your check list of must-haves in your car. That was helpful.

    Reply
  • February 2, 2020 at 9:47 am
    Permalink

    These are the important things for the winter drive there. We went to skiing every year, in Italy or Austria. One thing sometime is mandatory required by the local authorities is the snow chain. Unless the car is a four-wheel drive. The snow chain is very important as the mountain area could have heavy snow suddenly. We had once had that for just 50 kilometres of driving.

    Reply
  • February 2, 2020 at 6:48 am
    Permalink

    In the winter, we all love to travel and we always try to get ready for the trip and take precaution for our health. But we always forget to ensure the health of the car in this snowy weather condition. In your blog, you have nicely described about what we should bring while travelling long and snowy roads. Matches, Ice scraper, Snow shovel, Flashlight and batteries, Warm blanket should be there with us. This is really helpful.

    Reply
    • February 2, 2020 at 11:03 pm
      Permalink

      Our family bought us emergency kits for our cars when we first got them, but since being an adult I haven’t gotten one for my van yet. I will have to put one together.

      Reply
  • February 2, 2020 at 2:06 am
    Permalink

    Thanks for the reminder to stay prepared. Even though I live in a winter state (Michigan), it’s easy to forget to restock these things, or to not have what you may need. I always hated carrying Kitty Litter because inevitably the bag would rip and it was messy. Now they have “traction mats” which accomplish the same thing and are lighter and less trouble, and are reusable!

    Reply
  • February 2, 2020 at 2:01 am
    Permalink

    I have never driven in snow before. So, it is definitely one of the most daunting tasks for me. I am glad I came across your post on how to make a winter car emergency kit for I would have never known where to start. Thanks for this!

    Reply
  • February 1, 2020 at 5:32 pm
    Permalink

    I would have to say I’m totally not ready if I got stuck in my car! This is very helpful and has made me think that I really should get a car kit sorted for any eventuality. The first aid kit and snacks are good things for everyday journeys. Was a little confused about the kitty litter until you explained and then it made perfect sense!

    Reply
  • February 1, 2020 at 4:58 pm
    Permalink

    Wow! I would have never thought about this. I need to get my act together and get going on my winter kit!

    Reply
  • February 1, 2020 at 3:53 pm
    Permalink

    These are great tips! I’m from Wisconsin and we can have some harsh winters so this is a good reminder for me.

    Reply
  • February 1, 2020 at 1:23 pm
    Permalink

    Living in the desert in Dubai, we have very different issues so I actually leant a lot about creating a car kit of the winter weather. The spare batteries for a flashlight are a fab idea, something we would probably overlook and could get caught short. Kitty litter was something I wouldn’t have thought about, this would be useful in the snow.

    Reply
  • February 1, 2020 at 1:20 am
    Permalink

    So important to be prepared in the winter! We live in the Northeast, and winters drag on for so long. It helps to be ready in case of emergency.

    Reply
  • January 31, 2020 at 11:26 pm
    Permalink

    I am quite fortunate as I live in southern UK and due to warmer climate compared to 70 years ago where my islands would get winter weather like Canada, and now we hardly get a snow drop. So most of the time, I dont carry shovels, a flask of tea etc. However by law we are required to keep first aid kits, triangles, spare tyre etc. I always have bottles of water in the boot (trunk) and a coat just in case, but if really bad weather is forecasted, then I never drive as people on my island can’t drive in snow as they haven’t got a clue. Rambling on a bit there, but however when I drive in Norway and Canada in the winter, I always make sure I got the equipment I need and the food/drink required for the journey.

    Reply
  • January 31, 2020 at 9:04 pm
    Permalink

    I have several of these things in my car but there are a few more things I need to add. I’m in Toronto and I definitely need this for our cold winters.

    Reply
  • January 31, 2020 at 6:25 pm
    Permalink

    I’ve been wanting to put one of these together but wasn’t sure of all the things I should put in the kit. Thank you for the list!

    Reply
    • January 31, 2020 at 9:06 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks, Shayla! Happy travels!

      Reply
  • January 31, 2020 at 6:02 pm
    Permalink

    Amazing tips. I don’t live in a place where we get a real winter but definitely want to travel up to the mountains and this will be very helpful. I wouldn’t think of having even half of those things.

    Reply
    • January 31, 2020 at 9:07 pm
      Permalink

      Thank you, Marla! As a native Texan, driving in the snow was new to me too but we gathered some great tips from experienced winter drivers.

      Reply
  • January 31, 2020 at 5:14 pm
    Permalink

    I hadn’t thought of reflective triangles and a snow shovel. But, that’s a great tip. This is a great list. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • January 31, 2020 at 9:10 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks, Leah. There are even collapsible snow shovels that fit nicely in your car! Safe travels 🙂

      Reply
  • January 31, 2020 at 4:04 pm
    Permalink

    This is actually on my list of things to do this weekend. After getting the car stuck in the snow last weekend, I realized how unprepared I was!

    Reply
    • January 31, 2020 at 9:13 pm
      Permalink

      Oh no, sorry to hear that Krystal! Hope this list helps in case there is a next time. Safe travels!

      Reply
  • January 31, 2020 at 3:48 pm
    Permalink

    Thanks! This is such a helpful reminder- I’m passing this on to my teen who just started driving.

    Reply
    • January 31, 2020 at 9:14 pm
      Permalink

      Great idea, Tamara 🙂

      Reply
  • January 31, 2020 at 2:09 pm
    Permalink

    Being in Minnesota, we have snow tools in the car and blankets. We have a first aid kit too, but are missing a few items on this list! We will have to update our car safety kit!

    Reply
  • January 31, 2020 at 12:57 pm
    Permalink

    Since we definitely get winter weather in Toronto, we really should have a winter emergency kit in the car. Matches are a good idea. Since we don’t smoke, we never have these in the house. Keeping snacks is another great idea – something like protein bars should keep well. And water too. Good tip about refreshing these regularly. Having a portable charger is not something we often think about if we have a charging cable in the car. But great if you can’t get car power. We will have to add some things to our kit when we get back home.

    Reply
  • January 31, 2020 at 12:55 pm
    Permalink

    I couldn’t agree more with this list of essentials! As a New Englander, many of these items are always in my car. I’ll be honest though, I have trouble keeping the snacks stocked for emergencies. LOL htt

    Reply
    • January 31, 2020 at 9:17 pm
      Permalink

      Same here, Jackie!!

      Reply
  • January 31, 2020 at 9:08 am
    Permalink

    I never thought on it. But, it is so important to have this kit when you go out and where you cannot reach the signal to ask for help

    Reply
  • January 31, 2020 at 4:27 am
    Permalink

    This is so important to have during the winter months. We used to have one when we lived in Germany, but now that we live in Texas it seems less practical. I still keep one, because you never know.

    Reply
  • January 31, 2020 at 12:44 am
    Permalink

    This is very informative. We are from Alabama and never had to do this before, so I was kind of lost with what to pack when we went to the California mountains over the holidays! !

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 7:34 pm
    Permalink

    Great tips! This is something I don’t think about much living in California, but so important to have an emergency kit of some kind in the car!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
%d bloggers like this: