How to Make a Winter Survival Kit

Winter Survival Kit

Make a Winter Survival Kit for Your Vehicle

Winter can be cruel in some parts of the world; cruel, and very dangerous. That danger  exists for everyone who is away from home when a winter storm hits…even motorists. It isn’t unusual for winter motorists to suddenly find themselves in a life and death situation because of a sudden winter storm. Their very survival can depend on whether they stocked survival gear in a winter survival kit in their vehicle..

You need to have a winter survival kit in every working vehicle you own.

Here are some guidelines before you experience a winter storm:

  • Keep your vehicles gas tank at least half full at all times.
  • Before winter hits prepare your vehicle for winter.
  • Keep your winter survival kit inside the passenger area if you can. There is no sense leaving the vehicle if you don’t have to.
A winter survival kit

Winter survival kits save lives every year.

Alright, lets put together a winter survival kit.

  • It’s cold, you need something to keep you warm. I like to have wool blankets for everyone in the vehicle  Sleeping bags will work but they can be bulky. If space is at a premium you can pack bivy sacks or space blankets.
  • It is always a good idea to have a couple of ways to start a fire. Lighters, waterproof matches, fire-steels, they all work. Some small candles are a good idea.
  • Extra hats and gloves don’t take up much room but will be appreciated by everyone in the vehicle.
  • A shovel. My favorite survival shovel is the Cold Steel shovel.
  • A bag of cat litter or sand. It can help the tires gain traction.
  • Drinking water.
  • A small coffee tin. This can store lots of the smaller items and will also serve well to melt snow over a fire for extra drinking water.
  • Energy or survival bars.
  • A good first aid kit.
  • Duct tape. Always carry duct tape.
  • Large plastic bags. These can insulate the body or cover a broken window. Here the duct tape will come in handy.
  • A survival whistle. Whistles can be heard much further than the loudest shout.
  • A signal mirror.
  • A red handkerchief for signaling. Tie it to the antennae or to a stick to alert rescuers.
  • Survival knife.
  • Compass and maps.
  • A powerful LED flashlight. I like the Fenix PD31. Extra batteries.
  • A saw or axe.
  • Vehicle emergency kit with jumper cables, tow chain, flares, etc.
  • 100 feet or more of paracord. It has many uses, but can be a lifeline back to your vehicle if you have to venture outside in a blizzard.
  • Windshield de-icer and scraper.
  • Tool kit or a good multi tool.

Some advice if you get stranded in your vehicle during the winter.

  • Don’t over exert yourself. The last thing you need is to add a heart attack to your problems.
  • Stay in your vehicle and only venture outside when you must. You want to stay as warm and dry as possible.
  • If you have to leave your vehicle during a winter storm, attach the paracord from your kit to you so you can easily find your way back during the blizzard.
  • Only run the vehicle 10-15 minutes per hour to conserve on fuel.
  • If a snow drift covers the vehicles exhaust there is a chance of CO poisoning. Crack a window open a little on the side of the car away from the wind while you are running the vehicle. Doing so will help protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.  Also, whenever you go outside the vehicle make sure the exhaust is clear of snow.

As you can see making a winter survival kit for your vehicle is easy. It  just requires you gathering a bunch of items that you should already have together in a box. Remember that you need to make one of these winter survival kits for each one of your vehicles. If you don;t have enough for all of your vehicles it is easy enough to buy a winter survival kit already made. Just 15 minutes of preparation can save your life.

  1. madeleine parizeau
    madeleine parizeau11-22-2011

    Great article. I really should get a survival kit.

  2. Mark A.
    Mark A.12-15-2011

    I live and work in Montana and have to travel from Kalispell to Helena to Butte in the worst winter weather. What was my winter survival kit? My cell phone, snowshoes and a blanket. Well that has now changed since I read your blog article. I’m going to be putting together a winter survival kit for my SUV. I have gotten stuck a few times, but was lucky enough to walk in snowshoes to safety. I was definitely taking too much for granted. I’m going to subscribe to your blog.

    • James Sorick
      James Sorick12-15-2011

      Glad to hear that Mark! You can never be too prepared.

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