Simple Winter Car Survival Kit

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Most of you who follow the news have by now heard of the plight of so many people in Atlanta that were stranded in their cars, forced to sleep in the floors of local stores and a city that looked virtually unprepared for any event like this. Its times like this that I wonder how things would have been different if everyone involved had taken the time to prepare a simple winter car survival kit. I think that there are certainly factors that would have made this little amount of snow something to contend with anyway, but the lives of a lot of people could have been much better with a little planning and preparedness. This type of road incident isn’t unheard of and it simply makes good sense to have supplies in your car that you can count on if you are stranded.

Before I get everyone from the South upset, I will say that most places in Georgia aren’t used to snow. In the south, snow really is an oddity. The cities in the south do not have the equipment to take care of the snow as well as cities in the north because they so rarely get anything at all it is hard to justify the expense. The threat of any snow sends people to the stores in a panic and forces school closings for days after most of the snow has melted. A snow like this in a city like Atlanta is rare and it is perfectly normal to expect some level of chaos for southern drivers when faced with weather they aren’t prepared for.

There are some things though that I would say are still your responsibility. The weather forced a lot of people to wait in traffic for hours due to accidents or road clearing operations. Having simple preparations ahead of time (even more so with the threat of inclement weather) would have made these delays more tolerable and could have ensured that more people could have made it home to their families instead of spending the night on the floor at CVS.

What do you need for a winter car survival kit?

Before I get into the actual content list of items to store in a winter car survival kit, I should bring up fuel. It can’t be said enough that you should have no less than a half a tank of gas at all times. Why? Because if for some reason, you aren’t able to fill up, a half a tank will last longer and get you more places that sitting on empty. For those people who had to sit in their cars for hours, a half a tank of gas could have kept them warm and more importantly moving.

So on to the list. The items below should be in everyone’s car if you go anywhere in the winter. Some of the winter car survival kit items are just as important in the summer and can be considered as core. We’ll list off the items that are specific to Winter, but it will be obvious.

Core- Car Survival Kit items.


Winter Car Survival Kit additions

  • Wool Blankets – 2
  • Survival Bivvy – 2
  • Boots or hiking shoes with good gription (yes that is a word)
  • Small Camping shovel – necessary in some locations more than others
  • Windshield scraper
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Wool or Fleece hat/gloves
  • Spare fleece pullover

What could you sub in there for Summer? Certainly more water and perhaps sunscreen or shading devices. I am sure we will write on this topic for the summer also. Stay safe by making sure you have these basics with you. They do take up a little room, but you can fit all of this in a decent sized plastic bin and forget about them. You will be happy they are in the back when you need them.

Is this list the end all be all of survival necessities? Nope, but it is the basics and you have to start somewhere.

If you want to print this list out, just click on the Print button at the top of the page.

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  • Liz Lintner

    I agree with your blog today whole heartedly, but do know it wasn’t the snow and road clearing/car crash issues–this was ice. Full on ice within an hour of this storm starting. Had people (Anyone with a smart phone, government officials, almost everyone involved) believed what the weather predicted AND PLANNED accordingly, perhaps we would have a different outcome. Add that to a million car mass exodus and chaos is the only outcome. I will happily always have (and have had since college) water and a blanket in my trunk. Thanks for the good advice. I do worry about all of us if some event befalls Atlanta and there is an evacuation.

    • Thanks for your comments Liz!

      Yes, I assumed it was pretty dismal weather even though the overall accumulation in inches wasn’t that significant(relatively speaking). That goes to show you even more so how important it is to be prepared for little blips like this. Glad you have that thought in the back of your mind at all times. I am sure you will need it one day.

      Atlanta or any large city is not where I would want to be if anything serious happened; I agree with you. The reality for a lot of people is that because of work or family they simply don’t have any better options at this time. As long as you carry your car-sense forward to the rest of your preps, you will be far better off than the average person I bet. Thanks again!


  • Kyle

    For those of us who are more mechanically inclined, I would prefer a tire plug kit:


    And an air compressor to the Fix-A-Flat or Slime

    Also, what about keeping a cordless drill and a pack of tire studs in your trunk? Wouldn’t take up too much space but in the off-chance of an ice over like Atlanta, you could stud up your tires and be on your merry way.

    Or is that too prepared? Bordering on the edge like zombie-centric survival?

    • Thanks for the comments Kyle,

      Not sure that is bordering on too prepared, but it might be more trouble than I personally would want to go through on the side of the road, possibly at night, possibly in bad weather, possibly if I was in a big hurry…