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 have noted before, 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.

winter-snow-covered-mountainsWinter Happens

There are times when I swear winter comes without warning. It is a beautiful 80-degree day with blue skies, and 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 forgot 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 not aware of what is going on 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 manly 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 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 make sure 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, trail mix, I also like a few instant coffee packets (Alpine or Via are my fav’s)
  • 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

deck-of-cardsA 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); that large candle 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 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.


A few items to remember to bring on a hike include:

  • Pack in layers
    • Stay away from cotton! That’s just my two cents.
    • A lot of 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, 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 make sure 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)

Leave Us a Comment

I am sure that a few things have been left out of this list. Such as checking the weather before you go on your excursion 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).

Keep in mind 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 different lists with over 200 items, and I do my best to keep them shorter.

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

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