Winter Emergency Kit For Your Car (Winter Survival Kit List)

Last Updated on October 11, 2022 by Rose Morah

When driving in winter, it is important to always have an emergency kit in your car.

A good car emergency kit saves you time when you get stuck, may end up saving a life, and makes it easier to get out of a sticky situation in winter.


In this article, we have listed must-have essentials that you should have in your emergency kit when traveling in winter.

The following is what you need to include in your winter survival kit list:

1. A collapsible shovel

A collapsible shovel is a must-have car accessory that helps you when you get stuck when driving in winter.

I recommend getting a snow-removal type of shovel as it gets the job well done.

Lightweight travel-size shovels are also easy to find. But personally, I prefer a heavy shovel because it doesn’t break easily.

If you are driving a truck, then I’d recommend you get a full-size shovel.

2. Flashlight

A good size LED flashlight is a must-have in your car emergency kit because it helps you see at night in case you get stuck.

Be sure to carry extra batteries just in case the light dies, depending on the situation you are in.

See also:

Cheap Warm Winter Vacations In The US.

How to Sleep in a Car During Winter (5 Things You Should Know).

3. Jumper pack and cables

Jumper cables are a must-have car emergency essential in winter.

Having jumper cables in your car is important in case you get stuck due to a discharged battery with no one around to help you out.

This saves you time because you don’t have to wait for someone to offer you theirs.

4. Snow chains

Snow chains are a great accessory that helps prevent the car from skidding on icy roads or getting stuck in the snow.

Try not to drive on half a tank of gas during winter. You don’t want to be trapped in a storm with no gas.

5. Spare floor car mats

Car mats have helped me multiple times when driving in the winter.

I normally throw them under the tires that are stuck to help increase the traction. In most cases, they are usually enough to get me out.

I have some cheap mats that I carry for that reason so I normally don’t have to use the expensive ones to get myself unstuck.

See also: Best Tesla Winter Road trips Tips (According to Tesla Owners).

6. Emergency triangles

Emergency triangles should always be in the car whether it’s winter season or not.

However, they are even more important during the winter because when driving in snow and ice the braking distance increases.

So, if you are stuck over the crest of a hill or just around the bend, you will need the emergency triangle to give a clear warning to other drivers.

7. Disposable body heaters

Disposable body heaters are important for use if you are stuck in snow for a longer period.

They help make you feel warm when you stuck them inside your clothes.

However, I’d also recommend that you always check the expiry dates of the disposable body heaters because the expired ones are not that reliable/effective.

8. Regular glow sticks

Glow sticks are perfect for use if you get stuck and can’t get yourself unstuck.

You can use them to flag down other cars and make yourself visible. The good thing is that they don’t use batteries and they work even in winter conditions.

So, before you head out, get packs of regular glow sticks and stow them in your glove compartment for emergencies.

9. Emergency contacts and addresses

Emergency contacts could include friends who live along the route, assuming you are driving far distances from home.

This helps in case you get stuck at night with no way to unstuck yourself. You can leave the car and go to sleep at their place.

Additionally, if it gets too snowy and slippery to drive, you can just take a bus or walk to your friend’s house.

See also: Best Driving Weather Apps To Check Road Conditions on Your Trip.

10. A headlamp

A headlamp acts as an alternative to a flashlight because sometimes it is hard to hold the flashlight when you trying to unstick yourself out of a situation or when changing a tire.

11. A satellite messenger or a personal locator beacon

If you are going on a winter road trip in remote areas, I recommend you get a satellite messenger or a personal locator beacon just in case your phone signal fails.

The signal will be picked up by a satellite right away.

This car emergency accessory has helped save lives.

12. Tea lights or a big candle

The tea lights or candles help preserve some heat and keep you warm without consuming batteries or fuel as you wait for help.

This is especially when you are stuck and have to wait for the tow truck for a prolonged period of time.

I also recommend getting a proper surface in the car to place the candles as they burn. Additionally, be sure to follow safety precautions when using the candles, like cracking the windows for enough oxygen.

13. Gloves

Get a good pair of warm gloves that you can use when changing your tires during winter.

Other essentials to include in your winter car emergency kit

  1. Hand warmers.
  2. First aid kit.
  3. Hatchet.
  4. Rope. Kinetic recovery rope.
  5. A knife or multitool.
  6. Duct tape.
  7. Tarp.
  8. Tow strap, hitch pin, and shackle.
  9. Traffic vest. 
  10. Road flares.
  11. A pair of MaxTrax/ Traction boards.
  12. An emergency blanket.

Lastly, remember to carry water and some snacks when going on a road trip in winter.

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