What should be in a Winter Car Kit

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What to Include in Your Winter Car Preparedness Kit

What should be in a Winter Car Kit? A winter car preparedness kit should include at least 1 gallon of water per person, non-perishable foods, warm clothing and blankets, a first aid kit, flashlight, basic tool kit, lighter, tow strap, cell phone charger, and a portable battery jumper box to name a few. Having these items in your winter car kit will ensure that you have the things that you need to stay safe and warm during an emergency situation.

If you live in an area where it snows in the winter, then you know that it’s important to be prepared for car emergencies. A winter car preparedness kit is a collection of items that you might need if your car was to break down in the cold weather.

In this blog post, we will cover the essential items to include in your winter car kit.

What does it mean to be prepared?

Being prepared means having the necessary supplies, information, and strategies in place to ensure that you are ready for whatever situation may arise. This is especially important in the winter when temperatures drop and conditions become more hazardous.

Being prepared for cold weather car emergencies can mean the difference between life and death.

Should You Prepare Your Car for Winter?

Yes, absolutely! It is important to keep your car running in good condition by doing regular maintenance, such as changing the oil and checking tire pressure. Additionally, keeping an emergency kit in your car can help you stay safe if something were to go wrong while driving in the winter.

what should be in a winter car kit

Winter Vehicle Preparedness Kit


Water is one of the most important things to help you survive any situation and should be the first thing on every preparedness list.

The body needs water to properly function and after just 3 days without, you are likely to die of dehydration.

With that being said, it’s important to keep at least a gallon of water in your car in case you find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere and need something to drink.

You can keep this in the form of bottled water or in a gallon jug. It is up to you.

The typical bottled water available in cases at your local supermarket come in 16.9 ounces so you would need to keep approximately 8 bottles to make 1 gallon.

If you have the space to store both a 1-gallon jug of water plus some bottles then that is even better.

You could also always have to use some water to add to your car’s radiator if it overheats.

Non-perishable snacks

If you find yourself stuck in your car for a long period of time due to a breakdown or traffic jam, it’s important to keep some snacks on hand.

Stock your car with a few non-perishable snacks like nuts, protein bars, or another type of meal replacement bar that will provide you with enough calories for the entire day.

It wouldn’t hurt to keep enough food in your car kit for a couple of people.

Extra clothing

Having extra clothing in your winter car preparedness kit is an important item that many people overlook. It’s easy to forget about this essential item, but it can save you a lot of hassle and discomfort should you get stranded in the cold.

Making sure to pack warm clothing in the winter (and change it to cooler clothing in the summer) will help to keep you warm if you get stuck out in the cold.

Items to include:

  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Warm pants
  • Extra warm socks
  • Warm comfortable shoes suitable for walking
  • Gloves
  • Warm hat
  • Coat


It is a good idea to keep a blanket in your car preparedness kit should you ever find yourself stuck in the cold. A blanket can provide much-needed warmth and protection from the elements, and can be crucial in helping you stay safe should you find yourself stranded for an extended period of time.

First-aid kit

Having a first-aid kit in your winter car preparedness kit is essential for any emergency situation.

A first-aid kit can help provide the necessary medical supplies and tools to deal with any potential injuries.

It should include items such as:

  • Band-aids in various sizes
  • Bandages
  • Gauze
  • Antibiotic cream
  • OTC (over-the-counter) pain relievers like Tylenol, Aleve, and Ibuprofen
  • OTC (over-the-counter) allergy medicine
  • Spare supply of prescription medicines you take
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Alcohol prep pads
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Disposable gloves
  • Facemasks
  • Cotton swabs
  • Adhesive tape
  • Super glue (for closing cuts)
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Heating Pad
  • Battery powered Radio

By having a first-aid kit in your car, you can be sure that you are prepared to provide the necessary medical care should an injury occur while on the road.

Additionally, it’s also a good idea to keep a list of emergency phone numbers in your first-aid kit so that you can get help as soon as possible.

It is important to note that first-aid kits must be checked and restocked regularly as some supplies may expire over time or be used up.

It is also essential to ensure that the items in your kit are appropriate for the particular medical situation you might find yourself in.

It is also a good idea to include a copy of The Prepper’s Medical Handbook by Dr. William W. Forgey.


An LED flashlight is an essential item in any car kit. You can use the light to check what’s wrong with your car or even signal for help in an emergency situation.

A good quality LED flashlight will also be essential if you have to walk home or to the nearest gas station at night in order to get gas or anything else.

LED Headlamp

A good quality LED headlamp is an alternative to the LED flashlight or just an additional resource to keep in your kit. A headlamp is a good way to be able to see in the dark while still be able to use your hands while you are working on your far or just to stay prepared while walking to a safe location.

Spare Batteries

Having spare batteries for your LED flashlight in your car preparedness kit is an essential part of being prepared for winter car emergencies. If you find yourself stranded in the cold and dark, a bright LED flashlight will be invaluable for checking what’s wrong with your car or signaling for help.

LEDs are becoming increasingly popular due to their long battery life and brightness, so having extra batteries on hand is always a good idea. That way you can be sure that your flashlight will stay lit no matter how long you are stranded in the cold.

Having spare batteries for your LED flashlight can help keep you safe and warm in the event of an emergency.

Seat belt cutter & Glass breaker

A seat belt cutter and glass breaker are essential tools to keep in your car preparedness kit. This combination tool can help you escape from a vehicle in the event of an emergency, or even just provide a sense of security if you are driving alone at night.

The sharp blade on the device will allow you to easily cut through a seat belt, while the small hammer end of the tool can be used to break a car window if needed.

It is important to ensure that this item is kept in an easily accessible from your driver seat like the center console so it can be quickly retrieved in case of an emergency.

Having a seat belt cutter and glass breaker in your winter preparedness kit can help ensure that you and your passengers are safe in case of a winter car emergency.

Cell phone charger

An essential item in any winter car preparedness kit is a cell phone charger. A dead battery can quickly become a problem when you are out on the road, and having a cell phone charger handy can help you stay connected and charged.

Additionally, it’s also important to have an emergency contact list stored in your phone. This way, if you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to make a call, you can still reach out for help.

Emergency Phone Numbers

Having emergency phone numbers at hand can be extremely helpful if you need help quickly. This could include the police department, towing service, and your auto insurance company.

Emergency Cash

Having emergency cash on hand is always a good idea just in case your debit or credit cards don’t work.

You should keep about $100 in mixed bills and some coins so that you can purchase gas, food, or other supplies you might need if you are unable to use a card.

You want to have a mixture of small bills like $1, $5, $10, and $20s rather than one or two large bills because a lot of businesses don’t like to take large bills under normal circumstances.

Compass & Road Maps

Make sure that you have a few maps of the area in case your GPS fails. This way, you won’t be left without directions. Along with this, it helps to have a basic compass to give you a sense of direction so if you need to hike to the nearest town to find the help you will be able to do so.

It is also important to be aware of the area you are in while driving so that in the event of a vehicle breakdown, you will have an idea of where you are.

Basic tool kit

Having a basic tool kit in your car preparedness kit is essential for any emergency situation.

A basic tool kit should include items like screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, wire cutters, and a socket set.

These tools can help you replace or repair parts of your car in an emergency situation.

Tire repair kit

If you get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, it’s important that you have a tire repair kit handy so you can patch up the tire and get back on the road.

You can also include a can of Fix-a-Flat to use in a pinch to get you to the nearest town.

Jumper cables

Jumper cables are an essential item to have in any car preparedness kit, especially during winter. Jumper cables are used to jump-start a car if the battery dies due to cold weather or other reasons. Having these in your kit can save you from being stranded in the cold for hours, or even days.

For those who live in colder climates, it is also a good idea to keep an extra set of jumper cables in your car preparedness kit. This way you will always be prepared should something happen and you need to jump-start the battery.

Portable Car Jumper Box

This is a great option to add to your preparedness kit as it will allow you to jump your own car when your car won’t start or your battery dies. These boxes are portable, manageable in size, and can save you a lot of trouble in an emergency situation.

As a bonus, you can find portable jumper boxes that also have a compressor so you can inflate your tires, and some with USB chargers so that you can charge a device.

This is the one that we keep in our vehicles and we love it.

Tow strap

Having a tow strap in your car’s preparedness kit is essential, as it can save you from a number of unpleasant situations.

A good tow strap should be made of tough, durable materials such as nylon or polyester and designed to hold up to 8,000 pounds.

Not only can this be used for towing your vehicle, but it can also be used for other tasks such as securing gear for your vehicle, pulling a stuck car out of mud or snow, and more.

Additionally, you should make sure you have the necessary hardware like clevis hooks to attach the tow strap to your vehicle.

Having this piece of gear in your car’s preparedness kit can save you from a lot of trouble in an emergency situation.

Ice scraper and snow brush

An ice scraper and snow brush are also important items to include in your winter car preparedness kit.

While many vehicles nowadays come with a built-in defrost system, having an ice scraper and snow brush on hand is still recommended for times when the defrost system fails.

These tools allow you to quickly remove ice and snow from your windshield, allowing you to drive safely.

Fire extinguisher

Having a fire extinguisher in your car’s preparedness kit is essential in the event of an emergency situation. A fire extinguisher can be used to put out small fires that start in your vehicle, helping to prevent further damage and potential injury.

Having a fire extinguisher on hand can also help to protect your vehicle in the event of a roadside emergency. This is especially important if you are stranded on the side of a road where there is no one around to help.

When selecting a fire extinguisher for your car’s preparedness kit, make sure it is designed specifically for vehicles and has not expired.

Additionally, it is important to read the instructions on how to use the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its operation. This will help you be prepared in case of an emergency situation.

Having a fire extinguisher in your car’s preparedness kit can help save lives and protect your vehicle in an emergency situation, so make sure you always keep one on hand.

Reflective triangles

Reflective triangles are an important tool to keep in your car preparedness kit. They are designed to alert other drivers of your presence when you are broken down on the side of the road. Reflective triangles provide a bright, visible signal that is easily seen from a distance, even in dim or foggy conditions.

Using reflective triangles when you are broken down on the side of the road will also alert tow truck drivers and other emergency personnel that you are in need of assistance. This can help speed up response time and get you back on the road faster.

Road flares

Road flares are a must-have for any car preparedness kit. They provide an important source of light, helping to alert other drivers that there is an emergency situation ahead.

Road flares also act as a warning for drivers to take extra caution when approaching the area.

Road flares can be used in a variety of situations such as in the case of a vehicle breakdown, or car accident, or to alert other drivers of potential hazards.

Keeping at least one set of road flares in your kit can help you stay safe on the roads, especially in case of an emergency.

Tire Chains

Tire chains are a must-have item in any car preparedness kit, especially during the winter months. Tire chains provide extra grip and traction to your vehicle’s tires when driving in icy or snow-covered conditions. This can help you safely navigate through difficult terrain and reduce the risk of an accident or getting stuck.

Tire chains are easy to install and can provide added peace of mind when you’re out on the road. Additionally, they will also help reduce wear and tear on your vehicle’s tires as well as improve fuel efficiency in adverse weather conditions.

Having tire chains in your car’s preparedness kit can provide extra safety and peace of mind when driving during winter conditions.

Folding Shovel

A folding shovel is an essential item in any car preparedness kit, especially during winter months. This small device can be invaluable in a variety of emergency scenarios, from helping you dig out your car from the snow to being able to build an emergency shelter if needed.

Folding shovels are versatile and easy to store in a vehicle, and they can be used to quickly dig out a tire that has become stuck in the snow or mud. Additionally, folding shovels are also useful for clearing debris from roads and pathways when you’re stuck in an emergency situation.

Empty gas can

There are mixed feelings on this one as it is not recommended to keep a full gas can in your car because of the fumes that gasoline gives off but in this case, if you have an empty gas can you can walk to a gas station if there is one close.

If you have a truck then you can carry a full gas can without worrying about the fumes that may be given off.

Multi-Purpose Tool

A multi-purpose tool like a Swiss army knife or Leatherman is very handy to have on hand when you’re facing a car emergency. This type of tool has multiple blades and tools that can be used in many situations.

Matches, Lighter, or Firestarters

A way to start a fire is a very important item that can come in handy in many emergency situations.

They are especially useful if you find yourself stranded and need to start a fire for warmth or light.

You can use waterproof matches, a simple BIC lighter, or another type of firestarter.

These items are easy to store and use.

Duct tape

Duct tape is another essential item for a car emergency kit. You can use it to repair many items in your vehicle or even use it as a temporary fix until you can get your car to a mechanic.

These items should all be included in your winter car preparedness kit to make sure you are ready for any situation that may arise during the cold weather months.

Having these items on hand could potentially save you time and money, as well as keep you safe if something were to go wrong with your vehicle.

Be sure to also check your car’s fluids and tires every few weeks to ensure it is ready for winter driving. With these items on hand, you can rest assured that you will be prepared for anything the cold weather may bring.

Things to regularly check to keep your vehicle ready for winter:

Wiper Blades

Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition for visibility during winter storms.


Check your tires for proper pressure and tread depth to ensure you have an adequate grip on icy and wet roads.


Check all of the fluids in your vehicle including antifreeze, oil, brake fluid, and power steering fluid to make sure they are at appropriate levels.


Check your battery to ensure it is in good working order and will not fail during cold weather.


Make sure all of your lights are in working condition so other drivers can see you on the roads.

Keep gas in your tank

Make sure your gas tank is always at least half-full at all times but especially during the winter months. You never know when you may get stranded and have to keep your car running to stay warm while waiting on help.

If you do not have enough gas then you will have to keep warm with blankets.


Here are some common questions about preparing your car for winter:

What Items Should I Have in My Winter Car Preparedness Kit?

Your winter car preparedness kit should include items like a folding shovel, an empty gas can, a multi-purpose tool, matches or a lighter, duct tape, and any other items you may need for an emergency situation.

How Often Do I Need to Check My Vehicle for Winter Readiness?

You should check your vehicle for winter readiness at least every few weeks. This includes checking the tires, fluids, battery, lights, and gas tank.

What Type of Multi-Purpose Tool Is Best for An Emergency Situation?

The best type of multipurpose tool is a leatherman-type tool that has a variety of tools all in one package. These tools will often have a knife or two, a saw, screwdriver, pliers, and more all in one tool that you can carry.

The multi-tool is a great way to carry what you need without having to carry an entire toolbox.

Is It Safe to Start a Fire While Stranded in The Cold Weather Months?

Yes, it is safe to start a fire while stranded in the cold weather months but in order to do so you must first have the appropriate gear to make it happen. It is a good idea to have at least one of the following lighter, ferro rod, or another fire-starting tool, or waterproof matches.

I personally like to include all three options in my winter car kit, my bug-out bag, and my get-home bag to ensure that I always have exactly what I need.

If you get stranded in the winter and need to build a fire, make sure you are safe away from your vehicle, gather some of the dryest wood to use, and get to building a small fire.

What Uses Can Duct Tape Provide During an Emergency Situation?

Duct tape can be used for a variety of uses during an emergency situation including repairing holes in clothing, shelter building, patching up hoses or tube leaks, and even serving as extra insulation in your vehicle. Duct tape should always be included in any winter car preparedness kit.

Final Thought

These are the essential items that you should include in your winter car preparedness kit. Be sure to check your car regularly and to make sure to check and update your gear every couple of months to make sure you have everything you need in an emergency situation.

By being prepared, you can ensure that you and your passengers stay safe in adverse weather conditions.

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