The 12 Items Your Car Needs to Survive Winter

Gear for bundling up, shoveling out and jump-starting yourself

January 3, 2018 9:00 am

Welcome to In a Better Place, in which we help you handsome up your home, office or apartment, one space at a time. This week: your winter vehicle.

It’s that time of the year:

Black ice on the roads, snow dunes in the medians and a thermometer in the single digits.

Should you get stuck in a ditch, how would you fare?

If you had to think about that, you’ll want to peruse the 12 essentials we’ve rounded up below to help your jalopy survive the season — heated seats not included.

(By the way, food, water and warm clothes should be no-brainers.)

For when the battery dies: DBPOWER Portable Car Jump Starter
A lightweight and compact jump starter that can shock you back to life 30 times on a single charge. No more waving down strangers, and with charging ports, there’ll be no dead devices either. (And it’s only $70.)

For charging your devices: Goal Zero Venture 70 Recharger
If you already have a jump starter or don’t want to risk draining it on devices, pack this waterproof battery pack with two USB ports that can power a phone 5-6 times on one charge.

For extra warmth: Faribault Military Wool Blanket
One wool blanket is good, but more are better. Unlike your heater, these babies never shut down. Bonus: they’re machine washable.

For digging yourself out: Voile Telepro Shovel
The wide, tempered shovel makes finding your car under a few feet of powder a snap, while the extensible handle makes storage simple. And those holes in the shovel are for turning it into an emergency rescue sled.

For de-icing yourself: The Ice Breaker Ice Scraper
You’ll need a scraper, claw and brush — period. This has them all, with an ergonomic handle and swivel brush to boot.

For hands-free light: Revolt Rechargeable Headlamp
When it’s below zero, you won’t want to give up a hand to hold a flashlight. This bright headlamp is powered by three AAA batteries, and rechargeable ones are included.

For lighting the way: Orion Safety Highway Flare Kit
Six 20-minute flares, a high-visibility vest and a water-resistant pouch that includes a diagram of how to deploy everything.

For warmer hands: Arc’teryx Alpha SV Mitten
No, your cashmere-lined leather gloves are not enough, so keep a pair of these waterproof, breathable, sealable gauntlets tucked away.

For warming hands (and feet): HotHands Hand Warmer 20-Pack
If only the guy in To Build a Fire had these 10-hour heat packs. Yes, they’re single use, but they’re also the most reliable: battery heaters need power and refillable Zippo hand warmers are too finicky (and, y’know, emit gas).

For an escape EDC: SOG Escape Knife
You could get an emergency-specific tool, but a solid everyday carry blade with a built-in glass breaker and seatbelt cutter will serve you better.

For waiting it out: Marmot Trestles 0
Rated for temperatures down to 0 degrees and vibrant orange in color — just in case you’re snoozing when help finally arrives on the scene.

For taking your mind off it: A Song of Fire and Ice
If you’re waiting for a tow truck, or simply make it to the chalet before the rest of the gang, break these out. They won’t use up any valuable resources, and reading about murderous ice zombies will make the freezing temps seem trivial. Also, isn’t one of your resolutions to read more?

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