What Winter Survival Essentials Are You Going To Stash In Your Car?

What Should You Keep In Your Car Winter
Photo: Ford

Everyone knows that winter is the best season for driving. You’ve got your slipping, your sliding, your low-speed drifts — the whole deal. But, when it goes wrong and you find yourself buried under say, ten feet of snow, you may find yourself wishing you’d taken a little extra care in preparing.

You’ve probably heard people recommend keeping a coffee can and a candle in your car for heat along with jumper cables, recovery boards, a shovel, flare gun, regular gun, five days of food, an extra blanket, a husky/malamute, bowie knife, kitty litter, a tow strap, a copy of To Build A Fire, a sleeping bag, a small barrel of brandy, a satellite phone and at least a pound of seal blubber whenever you leave the driveway. That’s always seemed like overkill to me, but I’m not traversing the Dalton Highway either.

I usually stick with a good set of snow tires, tow strap, ice scraper, and maybe a small folding shovel. That’s been enough to keep me out of trouble whether I was driving an old 911, Beetle or something more winter-ready like an Audi 90 or WJ Grand Cherokee. Though there have been plenty of times I’ve wished I had a big winch mounted to the front of my car.


So what about you? What’s your winter security blanket? Are you a kitty litter person? Do you ride dirty, letting the snowflakes fall where they may? Maybe just a AAA card and your personal charisma? Does the prospect of riding along in a tow truck during the plague change your calculation at all? It certainly has for me.

And no, I don’t want to hear “Oh, I live in Southern California where it’s nice.” I know it’s nice. I know you can drive up to Big Bear. Good weather doesn’t make me any less scared of this

Jalopnik EIC '48 Willys CJ-2A, '84 Porsche 911, '15 VW GTI, '07 Lexus GX 470.

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The one thing everyone needs (unless they live in Florida or SoCal), yet nobody seems to actually own.