Winter Emergency Survival Kit

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For some of us, it is that time of year again. The cooler weather is upon us. We get to bust out our warm jackets to say comfy and cozy.

Something that this reminds me of, besides hot cocoa, is the need to have an emergency survival kit. This article will cover some ideas and considerations for you and your family.

As I noted, I have the basics in my vehicle and on my person. But, did you ever think about any specialty gear you need in a winter situation?

Have you been stuck in the snow, wheel spinning like crazy, and you don’t know how to get out? That’s why you should have kitty litter in your vehicle.

looking out a snow cave to the snow covered mountains and blue sky

Winter Happens

There are times when I swear winter comes without warning.

It is a beautiful 80-degree day with blue skies; the next day is 30 degrees with a -14 wind chill. And then everyone starts freaking out and buying everything they can get their hands on.

Driving anywhere is super insane because everyone forgets how to drive when there is ice on the roadway.

This shows that there is nothing at the supermarkets, gas stations have lines longer than Disneyland, and people are unaware of what is happening around them.

For Your Vehicle – Items to Consider

There are a lot of items to have and carry with you during winter. We are going to cover things mainly that you should have in your vehicle.

  • Blankets (I just got a D/C power electric blanket, it’s incredible!)
    • Sleeping bags
  • Extra beanies/socks/gloves
    • If you have the room, pack extra clothing. It is nice to have something dry that will be a lifesaver.
  • Flashlight, with extra batteries or a charger
    • Side note, I love having a headlamp in my car.
  • First aid kit (you should already have this)
    • I also like to ensure I have a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. I generally take the one the dentist gives you and toss it in my glove box. If you are ever stranded in your car, you will thank me.
  • Windshield brush/scraper
  • Drinking water
    • The Grayl is an excellent addition to this list. See the review for more information).
  • Non-perishable food
    • Granola bars, and trail mix, I also like a few instant coffee packets (Alpine or Via are my favorites)
  • Cat litter or sand
    • It can come in handy for various reasons (if you need to use the ‘facilities’ or if you get stuck and need traction).
  • Charger
    • For your phone


A Few Other Items

It may seem strange, but I have a deck of cards in my glove box.

This always comes in handy, especially when going to the mountains for a day of fun. I have been stuck on the highway with nothing to do, and these were great! Having a deck of cards is an excellent way to pass the time.

I also kept a large candle under my seat (it was better when I had a truck); it would provide just enough warmth in the cab.

I’m sure some people will freak out about this, so do this at your own risk. A better thing would be to get some hand warmers, or something I’ve recently been looking into is a DC electric blanket.

If you are in your vehicle, there are a lot of other items you can bring. You can expand the above list or take more of something (like clothing, food, and water).

Are you traveling with others? Make sure you bring other games that would be fun.

Be sure to check your car before going anywhere (all fluids, especially window washer and oil, tire pressure, spare tire, jumper cables, and jumper pack).

How About Going on a Hike

I think an essential item to have is a map or a GPS (or an awesome phone app).

It is also crucial to have the appropriate clothing for the conditions. I tend to wear shorts everywhere I go, yes, even in the snow.

But, if I am going hiking or in snow conditions, I always make sure I have at least one pair of pants (and a pair of sweats for at night and sleeping).

As a side note, I have wanted a Garmin handheld GPS for years. I cannot get myself to spend a few hundred dollars on one. There are personal locator beacons that are cheaper and only for emergencies, which would be totally worth it. And since I like going places alone, there are some outstanding apps out there for mapping.

Currently, I’m using two free ones to ‘test them out.’ But some paid ones work great.

Man hiking in the snow with a backpack on

A Few Items to Remember (especially on a hike):

  • Pack in layers
    • Stay away from cotton! That’s just my two cents.
    • Many people will tell you to wear big puffy jackets or large ski/snowboarding gear. That is okay to do, but I am more of a layer-type of guy. This will allow you to be super warm and take off outer layers as you or the weather warms up.
      • Layers will include a base layer, a mid-layer, and an outer layer.
  • Extra clothing
    • You want to make sure you have something dry.
    • This includes another pair of socks.
  • Boot and the appropriate footwear
  • Socks
    • I am sadly prone to blisters (so I always have Vaseline and Moleskin). I also use a thin liner sock or those try-on socks you get at the store.
    • Then have a regular sock (I like Darn Tough and Smartwool)
  • Hat or beanie
    • think I’m in love with Buffs too. If you don’t know what they are, let me know. I might do a review on them later.
  • Gloves
  • Food
  • Hydration
    • Remember to drink regularly. You also want to ensure the water does not freeze (sip through your water reservoir or shake your bottle to make sure).
  • Sunglasses (if it’s snowing, you will need this)
  • Sunscreen
    • I always have this with me, but I’m also bald.
  • Always bring first aid gear and know how to use it.
    • You want to be careful not to get injuries or illnesses
    • This could include:
      • Frostbite (waxy/pale/cold skin, tingling or numbness)
      • Hypothermia (shivering, confusion, change in your mood)

What Did We Miss?

I am sure that a few things have been left out of this list, such as checking the weather before going on excursions and adventures.

Always make sure you are prepared the best you can for all situations. Even more so during the winter as the weather can turn at the drop of a hat (speaking from mountain areas especially).

Remember that it is always important to prepare for all situations when going out in the elements. You never know what life will throw at you.

The above lists are a great starting point.

Please leave a comment below if you found this helpful or if you have any other suggestions.

I have a few lists with over 200 items and do my best to keep them shorter.

Together we will be prepared for whatever life tosses at us!

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2 thoughts on “Winter Emergency Survival Kit”

  1. This article is so unique and creative! The way you mention the Winter Emergency Survival Kit in your writing really made me think of how important it can be to have those items on hand during unfortunate circumstances. What would you do if the power went out and there was no way for people to stay warm?

    • Very true, and as for portable power, it depends on your circumstances. If you have time, being able to collect during the day with the sun or wind is an awesome possibility. But, if you are like most that don’t have the ability, having a portable power station like the Jackery is my go-to for sure.

      You can also make your power station, but I’ve found Jackery to have quality products, and the weight is much lower than DIY systems I’ve seen.


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