Jan 16, 2013

9 Essentials for the Ultimate Winter Car Kit

By Tarah Damask

Leaving the warmth of an indoor space to get into your car is one of the most commonly disliked experiences of winter - ask anyone! Like the unkindly sensation of chilly hardwood floors against your bare feet when you’ve emerged from a cozy bed, it’s equally not as fun having to spend a ton of time warming up in the car. As if that wasn’t enough to make you shiver, you then start to worry about the possible dangers of the road: Flat tires, blizzards, and unyielding livestock in the middle of the street – hey, it happens! Any of these things can keep you stopped for hours in the dead of winter, and your car could suddenly stop working, as you inconveniently end up without cellphone reception. And, to make matters worse, it could all happen at night. Yes - in the dark.


Even though the odds of these things happening could be in your favor, you never know when you might run out of luck. So to help you be prepared for those roadside conundrums, we’ve rounded up our must-have items for the ultimate winter car kit.

Warm Blanket

Sometimes you just need one more layer to attain perfect car coziness. Tossing a folded blanket into the backseat or the trunk takes up little space and offers a world of warmth when you need it most. Need a little extra heat? You can use this heated car blanket as a traditional blanket or plug it into your car’s power supply for an extra warm drive. Car Cozy 2 12-Volt Heated Blanket, $30, available at Target.

Windshield Scraper

A towel will stick to the ice and leave lint all over the place. The cardboard cover to your atlas will bend and crumple. You may curse the skies, try to use the plastic spork you left in the back seat, or even devise a plan to pour water on the ice to “loosen it up.” But like anyone from snow country can tell you – if you don’t have a windshield scraper for that ice – you’re outta luck. Bigfood 9-inch Ice Scraper, $2, available at The Home Depot.

Hand Warmers

You threw your way-too-padded gloves off while you changed the tire and now your significant other is giving you a disturbingly descriptive explanation of frostbite. Calm your fears and heat up your hands! These warmers are great to keep on hand for yourself and the whole family. Put them in yours and your little ones’ coat pockets to remain cozy and happy (and whine-free). Grabber Hand Warmers, $11, available at Target.

First Aid Kit

Hey, things happen. People slip on ice. Icicles fall from trees. Kids throw snowballs at each other without remembering to pull out the small twigs before flinging them at one another, and before you know it, somebody needs a bandage! Here’s to hoping you will experience a blissful winter season, but - just in case - don’t get stuck without the basics. Coleman Expedition First Aid Kit, $23, available at Amazon.

Tire Chains

Unless you have experienced tires that simply refuse to grip the ground, you cannot possibly comprehend the sheer frustration that occurs when your perfectly capable car is rendered motionless as a result of winter weather. Don’t listen to your friend’s grandfather go on and on about the “solid set of tires” you’ve got. Sneak the traction chains in your trunk and just nod and smile at anyone who tells you otherwise. Security Chain Company Traction Tire Chains, $75, available at Amazon.

Drinking Water

Ever seen the lone person trapped on the highway in their car during the breaking winter weather news report? There’s always one. Remember that time a water delivery truck showed up with refreshments to help the stranded individual out? Of course you don’t, because this never happens. Getting stuck in winter weather traffic or waiting for roadside assistance can really take a lot out of you – so it’s best to tote along some water in an insulated bottle. Sigg Traveller Water Bottle, $22, available at Vine.com.

Roadside Assistance Membership

The roadside assistance representative will give you a long spiel about how much money you’ll save in the long run by signing up. Usually, such sales pitches are just that: a person trying to sell you something you don’t need. However, roadside assistance is practically priceless when you find yourself stuck. When the roads are icy and your town has one local towing company, it’s AAA to the rescue! Sit back, relax and let your membership do the rest. AAA Basic Membership, $59, available at AAA.com.

Roadside Emergency Kit

If you happen to hit a bump in the road, being prepared can mean the difference between laughing it off and having your friends yell things at you like, “What do you mean you don’t have a flashlight/life hammer/battery charger to jump-start your car?” Roadside kits should really be called “Avoid Becoming The ‘Unprepared’ Friend Who Ruins Everyone’s Fun” Kit instead. Put a kit in your trunk and keep your friends. They’re worth it. American Red Cross Roadside Kit, $46, available at Amazon.

Winter Accessories

You really will lose a ton of body heat if you don’t wear a hat. You won’t believe how sensitive your neck and face feel when exposed to cold wind. Oh, and your hands. Every kid has forgotten to wear gloves at least one time and has learned that lesson the hard way. So keep your grown-up-self warm and cozy, because re-learning childhood lessons is no fun. No fun at all. Unisex Beanie, Gloves and Scarf, $25, available at Amazon.

  • 9 Essentials for the Ultimate Winter Car Kit
  • Warm Blanket
  • Windshield Scraper
  • Hand Warmers
  • First Aid Kit
  • Tire Chains
  • Drinking Water
  • Roadside Assistance Membership
  • Roadside Emergency Kit
  • Winter Accessories
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9 Essentials for the Ultimate Winter Car Kit
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