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33 Items To Build A DIY Winter Emergency Kit For Your Car

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Essentials you’ll want in your car for any sort of cold weather travel

Traveling during the cold winter months can be a dicey prospect, whether you are commuting to work or traveling for recreation. Careful planning and preparation are necessary in order for you to be safe on the road.

Accidents can happen at any time, and preparation is key in order for you to come through safely.  Preparing an emergency kit for the cold weather doesn’t need to be a daunting task.

First, you need to figure out what you are going to need. Are you going on a winter road trip ? Do you have a long commute? How will you be traveling in the cold, snowy weather? So, what should you have in your emergency car kit when the cold weather months are upon us?

These items are listed in no particular order. There are so many items that you could pack, but what do you actually need ? That depends on your particular driving situation. Look through the list and figure out what you are going to need in order to build the perfect winter emergency car kit. 

Items For Winter Emergency Car Kit

  • Emergency Car Kit:

Jumper Cables

  • Flashlight:
  • First Aid Kit:
  • Ice Scraper:
  • Cell phone:

Battery Power Pack for Electronic Devices

Medications, snacks (non-perishable/ high protein).

  • Extra Items, to make being stuck less terrible

Traction Mats

Looking for tire traction mats, air compressor, extra clothes.

  • Lighter/ Waterproof matches

Pen and paper

  • Fix – A – Flat
  • FINAL THOUGHTS…
  • Related Articles

Emergency Car Kit

  • Gloves (Winter)

First Aid Kit

Ice scraper.

  • Kitty Litter / Sand /Safety absorbent
  • Snacks (Non-Perishable/ High Protein
  • Emergency Flares

Hazard Triangles or Led Flashers

Fire extinguisher.

  • Tire Chains

Candle Powered Heater

This is an extensive list of items and you probably won’t need everything on this list, but let’s take a look at these items to determine what you need.

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Essentials You Should Always Travel With in Winter

Let’s just start at the top: an emergency car kit should be a staple for every vehicle.  It contains many of the items that you will need should you break down.

For a relatively low investment, you can have peace of mind that if something should happen, you will have the basics.  Emergency car kits are available with a variety of choices, so what do you need?

DIY Emergency Car Kit for Cold Weather - Emergency Car Kit

A basic emergency car kit contains only the first aid kit ; this is a relatively inexpensive option, but it won’t help if your vehicle breaks down. On the other end of the scale, there are emergency car kits that contain jumper cables, air compressors, tire repair kits, etc. You would truly be ready for nearly anything that could happen.

Most likely, somewhere in the middle is where you would fall. An emergency car kit with a small tool kit and jumper cables would suit your needs. So, what are your needs? Are you commuting back and forth to work? Are you taking a long road trip? Are you going away for the weekend? All of this will determine what level of emergency car kit you need.

Having an emergency car kit is a great start. But most are not geared specifically toward cold weather.  You will need to augment your own personal car emergency kit with items specific to dealing with cold temperatures.

The HAIPHAIK Emergency Roadside Toolkit from Amazon is a great place to start. It’s one of the few kits that come with a shovel. It lacks a first aid kit, but if you want to start building your own kit. This is a good place to begin.

If these are not included with your emergency car kit then you should absolutely have a set with you.  You never know when you will need them.

DIY Emergency Car Kit for Cold Weather - Jumper Cables

If you don’t know what you are looking for, then click over here to see what size jumper cables you need.

Also, there are some other considerations that you need to keep in mind.  Like what does the red and black on the jumper cables mean ?

Choosing jumper cables is not complicated, but you should be educated before you make your choice.

Another staple that should be in all cars, no matter what season is a flashlight.  However, for cold weather, special consideration needs to be made to the type of battery that your flashlight uses.  

Cold weather will affect all batteries, but your regular alkaline Double A’s will be affected by the cold much more than a lithium-ion battery.  Even though the flashlights are stored in the car, the constant cold will eventually drain them. Then, when you need to use them, and you will, the batteries will be dead. 

Also, look for an LED flashlight .  The LED bulb has much more versatility than a conventional bulb and will be more useful in cold weather.  The LED bulb does not get hot like a conventional light bulb, so in extremely cold weather conditions, they are less likely to break.  They also draw less power from the batteries, so an LED flashlight will last a bit longer in the cold weather.

Finally, use rechargeable batteries or a rechargeable flashlight .  By maintaining a regular routine of recharging the batteries, you will always have a flashlight ready to go in case of an emergency.

  • Wait! Did you find this article preparing for a summer trip? You don’t need a lot of this stuff for summertime travel. Check out our article on how to build an emergency car kit for summer!

An extra pair of gloves is always good to have in the cold.  A nice set of wool gloves or even mittens is essential to have in your car kit because once your hands and fingers get cold, it is very difficult to warm them back up again.  

DIY Emergency Car Kit for Cold Weather - Wool gloves

Also, you never know when you are going to need to touch something that has been exposed to the cold.  This will chill your fingers even faster. Gloves are good for keeping your hands and fingers warm, even if you have to do some work outside in the cold.

A nice pair of wool gloves will do the trick nicely.  What you should really look for would be something that is waterproof or, at the very least, water-resistant.  Because once your hands and fingers get cold AND wet, it will be very hard to recover from that.

This stuff runs along the lines of fixing a flat in your car; you don’t know when you are going to need it until you need it.  I have used this stuff to get my car doors open when they were frozen shut and to scrape a layer of ice off my windshield.

RoadwayReady - 33 Items to Build a DIY Emergency Car Kit for Cold Weather

I always liked having a can in the car because you just never know.  The one thing to keep in mind is that it does not work well when extremely cold.  If it sits in your trunk for too long, you may need to warm it up a bit before it will work properly.

You always want to have a blanket in the car during the winter months.  During the cold winter months in Maine, we always had at least one blanket in the car, just in case.  If you break down, you will be very thankful that you have a blanket to keep you and your family warm.

What kind of blanket do you need?  The first thing that people think of when it comes to having an emergency blanket is the metallic space blanket . To be sure, these blankets serve their purpose. However, a warm wool blanket is the way you want to go. A space blanket will not keep you warm when it’s 20 degrees outside and the temperature is falling.

Think of it this way. When you go camping, you don’t bring a pad and a space blanket and expect to stay warm. You have a sleeping bag to keep yourself warm and dry. The same principle applies to ‘camping’ in your car when you break down.

This is especially important when you have babies in the car . Babies tend to get cold quickly, so having an extra blanket or two is a good idea. You also want to make sure they are kept warm in their car seat .

Spare batteries are always good to have.  You keep spare batteries in your house. You had better keep them in the car as well.  Again, lithium-ion batteries are the best to keep in your emergency kit. They have a good shelf life, and they don’t leak.

Regular alkaline batteries will freeze and leak in freezing cold temperatures. This will do you no good when you are in an emergency situation. It will also damage the device that they are in.

This should be a staple in any car, any time of year.  Pick a first aid kit that will satisfy you and your family’s needs. 

DIY Emergency Car Kit for Cold Weather - First aid kit

Your first aid kit should include various size bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment, and wrap. All the things you may need if you cut your hand changing your spare tire.

Don’t underestimate a good ice scraper .  These things are invaluable because, you know, they let you see where you are going.  You should have one of these in your car during the winter at all times, not just in an emergency car kit.  

I always carried two with me. One was extendable and had a brush on one end, with a typical ice scraper on the other end. I would brush any loose stuff off first and then follow up with some hardcore scraping .  

I always liked an ice scraper with a metal handle and rubber blade.  These always did a superior job of getting ice off of my windows.  

Again a basic that should be in your car, any time of the year.  It doesn’t need to be a 199-piece set. Just something simple with pliers, screwdrivers, work gloves, wrenches, and a small ratchet set.

We are not talking about extensive mechanical work here. I am talking about having a screwdriver to pry the hubcap off of your wheels.

In lieu of a tool kit, a multi-tool, such as a Leatherman , is your best bet.  I carry one of these around with me wherever I go, regardless of the season.

With a multi-tool, you have a set of pliers, a knife, a screwdriver (Phillips and flat head), a file, etc.  You never know when you are going to need it, but you’ll be glad you have it when you do. 

This one goes without saying.  This is probably your most important tool if you find yourself in an emergency situation.  Just make sure it’s charged or that you have an additional power source with you. Which leads me to…

These babies are handy to have and inexpensive. We have one charged up and ready to go for hurricane season here in Florida. The only thing you have to do is make sure it’s charged and that you actually have it with you.  

DIY Emergency Car Kit for Cold Weather - Battery power pack

Like all batteries, it is susceptible to cold weather, so it needs to be brought into the warmth at night.  Don’t leave it in your console or in your emergency car kit. There is a risk that the battery will die when exposed to extreme conditions.  

We use our cell phones for everything, so the likelihood of having a drained battery is pretty good.  It’s nice to know that you have a little extra power if you need it.

There may be no more important tool than a shovel when you are traveling in cold weather especially if there is snow in the forecast.  

When you find yourself stuck in the snow or ice, your best friend will be your shovel.  Anytime you need to get unstuck, the shovel is the tool of choice. Be it you are stuck in a parking space because the plow truck pushed snow up behind your car? Or you find yourself on the side of the road because you got stuck in a rut.  

A shovel combined with a good set of traction mats, and you could possibly free yourself from a bad situation. 

This will not apply to everyone. But it’s something you need to keep in mind if you have specialized meds that you need to take. At the very least, you may want to have some pain relievers with you, just in case.

It’s bad enough being stuck on the side of the road and not being able to get where you were going.  It almost adds insult to injury to be hungry at such a time.  

Have healthy snacks like granola bars, almonds, crackers, and beef jerky at your disposal. You want something calorie-rich that will last a while. You don’t know how long you are going to be stuck.

If you have children in the car, make sure that you have snacks appropriate for them.  They will make a stressful situation worse if they are hungry. 

Extra Items (To Make Being Stuck Less Terrible)

The list above describes the essentials that you should have in your emergency car kit for cold weather.  If you want to be uber-prepared for cold weather, continue reading.

These are items that are not essential but nice to have if you happen to get stranded in cold weather.

As I have said before, if I had known about these when I lived in Maine, I would have invested in a set.  

DIY Emergency Car Kit for Cold Weather - Traction Mat

For most of us, we are driving to work, school, and dropping off the kids, it’s pretty basic. In cold weather, basics can become complicated. A little patch of ice, some packed down snow, and you are not going anywhere.

Traction mats give you the ability to get unstuck and go again, all on your own. Potentially, with a little bit of digging and placing these bad boys in the right spot. You should be going again.

The best part is, they are portable and don’t take up a lot of room in the trunk.

Check out my recommendations on the best tire traction mats for you. Click the button to find out more Read More

A portable air compressor is always nice to have. They can either be part of a jump starter pack or a stand-alone unit that plugs into the cigarette lighter.

DIY Emergency Car Kit for Cold Weather - Air Compressor

When you are on the road, an air compressor has one job. To keep your tires inflated.  If you pick up a nail or discover that your spare tire is flat. Rather than using some Fix-a-Flat, an air compressor will get your tire back to where it needs to be so you can continue on your journey.

Remember you don’t want to over or under inflate your tires, so check your PSI before you get back on the road.  Also, keep in mind that you may have a slow leak. Inflating the tire with an air compressor may only be a temporary measure.

You may need to have the tire professionally fixed.  But at least you were able to get moving on your own terms.

Emergency Road Flares

No, these are not the ones you fire out of a flare gun.  As much fun as that is, road flares get ignited and placed on the road to warn other drivers.

These are nice if you don’t want to get creamed while you are waiting on the side of the road.  These signal other drivers that you are in distress. Some emergency car kits come equipped with emergency flares.

Just a word of caution: please be careful when using emergency flares.  They are very hot and can cause serious burns if not used properly.

A safer alternative and perhaps a bit more long-lasting alternative to emergency road flares are hazard triangles or flashers .  These, too, warn oncoming drivers that there is a broke down vehicle.

However, they do it without the flames.  Also, they are reusable. All in all, these are probably a better solution than road flares.  You do need to make sure that you have a good battery in the flashers, though.

Why would you need to carry a spare set of clothes?  Usually, when it’s cold, there is snow and ice. Snow and ice melt and make your clothes wet.  Wet clothes make you cold and put you at risk of hypothermia.

DIY Emergency Car Kit for Cold Weather - Extra Clothes

Or just having some extra clothing to wrap around you like a blanket.  Anything to keep you insulated if you happen to be stranded somewhere.

At the very least, carry a pair of insulated socks.  Cold feet are the worst and are high-risk candidates for frostbite.  

A what now?  Yes, before Google Maps, there were paper maps that showed where roads would lead. “ Why on Earth would I need a paper map? I have my phone.”  

Yes, you may have your GPS. I use mine all the time. But what happens when you have no signal? What are you going to do?  Whenever I am making a trip out of town, I have a paper map with me. There is something nostalgic about being able to navigate with your wits.

You don’t need one for your daily commute, obviously.  However, if you are planning a long road trip, it may not be a bad idea to carry one with you as a backup. Learn how to read a map, it will be one more tool for you.

Lighter/Waterproof matches

The ability to start a fire seems to be universal when it comes to survival.  Matches and lighter help that along tremendously. Now, obviously no one wants to be caught out of doors in the winter. However, if you are, you will need a fire to keep you warm.

DIY Emergency Car Kit for Cold Weather - Lighter Waterproof matches

Which leads us to the next item…

With a few tea lights and a coffee can, you can create a rudimentary heater for your car.  Please be careful not to set the interior of your car on fire.

With the proper candles, this will generate enough heat to keep you warm until a tow truck arrives and gets you going again.  

Continuing with this theme…

If things go badly with your candle-powered heater, you need a way to put out the fire.  Fire extinguishers come in a variety of sizes

Check over here for the best fire extinguishers for your car.

If you don’t need it for yourself, you will at least be in a position to help someone else in an emergency.

What I wouldn’t have given for a tow strap when I got run off the road in Maine.  There I was completely helpless. I was totally unprepared…shame on me.

DIY Emergency Car Kit for Cold Weather - Tow strap

With a good tow strap , another vehicle, and someone willing to give you a hand, you can get yourself unstuck from many situations.

Find a secure spot on your vehicle and attach it to a secure spot on another vehicle some gentle pulling and you should be back on the road again.

These are almost a necessity if you do any offroading, but that is a different topic.

One last note: while it is good to have one, you should probably have some experience with a tow strap. Or, at the very least, have someone with some experience show you how to use one.  

You can do some serious damage to your car or the other person’s car if these are placed in the wrong positions.  

There are substitutes for almost everything.  A rope is a great substitute for a tow strap. Make sure it is a good length, and it is a solid rope.

The same warnings apply to know how to use one. 

Even in this digital age, a pen and paper are useful to have.  Like many other items on this list, you won’t know you need them until you do.

DIY Emergency Car Kit for Cold Weather - Pen and paper

You may need to write down directions on how to perform a certain task. More likely, you will need to leave a note for someone.  

Whatever the case, it’s good to have.

Ah, good ol’ Fix-A-Flat.  No matter how you feel about this product ; if it means getting you to a hotel for the night, I think you will use it.  I would.

Remember, it’s not a permanent fix, but it may get you to a safe and warm place.

The one drawback to Fix-A-Flat is that it doesn’t like the cold weather. So don’t leave it in the extreme temps for too long.

More Winter Travel Tips & Inspiration

Whilst the wintery weather certainly curtails a lot of road tripping adventures as roads become icy and inaccessible, but there are still plenty of places across the United States where you can have fabulous winter adventures.

If you’re still keen to hit the road this winter, check out next:

  • The Most Magical Christmas Destinations in the US
  • Canada’s Best Winter Family Holiday Destinations
  • Best US Winter Wonderlands For A Cold Weather Vacation
  • Epic US National Parks that are even better in the winter!
  • Here’s how to prepare you and your vehicle for a winter road trip
  • Escaping the Cold? Our favorite warm weather winter road trip destinations

We’d love to hear what other items do you always include in your winter travel kit?

download your free road trip checklist click here button

© Family Road Trip 2024

Roadway Ready Dad

About Roadway Ready Dad

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diy winter travel kit

How To Build A Winter Car Emergency Kit Before The Cold Hits

Home / Prepare / Prepping How To's

Winter Emergency Vehicle Kit

A Complete Guide To Building A Winter Car Emergency Kit

Because for those of us who live, work, and play in the mountains…

We see the first signs of winter earlier than most.

And once it’s here roadway conditions will change for the worst…

But being stranded isn’t just for us mountain folk, it’s for EVERY responsible adult!

TOPICS IN THIS GUIDE…    ↓(click to jump)

  • A Winter Survival Kit For Car

Gear To Help You Get Unstuck

  • Gear In Case You Can’t Get Out
  • Winter Car Emergency Kit Plan

Prepper Checklist eBook Cover - with gas mask on a SHTF scenery background

Want a free 78 item prepper checklist?

Why everyone should have a winter car kit.

We all know icy roads and deep snow are extremely dangerous for travel.

And they’re a leading cause of stranded vehicles.

Every year, we hear stories of motorists stranded in winter storms.

Sometimes it’s only overnight.

But occasionally people get stranded for days ( or even weeks ).

Frightened souls left to huddle in their vehicles struggling to stay warm .

Far too many of those sad tales end in tragedy:

↓ Trapped in a Blizzard

However, with some  basic survival knowledge and a emergency supply, your odds of surviving stranded in a winter blizzard go up significantly.

These are supplies everyone should store in their vehicle for winter travel.

It’s called a winter car survival kit.

This kit will help you accomplish two things.

  • It will help you get unstuck should your vehicle slide off the road
  • And help you survive should you not be able to get unstuck

car-stuck-in-snowy-road-1

Your best bet is to avoid spending a night ( or longer ) stranded.

So it’s worth having a few tools in your vehicle to get you going again.

The preventative equipment required for self-rescue consists of:

  • Ways to remove snow
  • Traction devices to get a grip on icy and snowy surfaces

1. Snow Shovel

winter car kit shovel

Often, some digging can get you free.

And even if you still can’t get your vehicle free…

A shovel will keep your vehicle from being entirely buried under a snowdrift.

Because a buried vehicleis nearly impossible for a rescue team to spot.

Or if worst came to worst, you could use a survival shovel to build a snow shelter .

↓ Lifeline Aluminum Shovel

2. Windshield Scraper and Brush

windshield snow scraper and brush

A good, heavy-duty scraper and brush with a long handle will save you a lot of time and effort.

It will also make visibility easier, keeping it out of the ditch in the first place.

Having one of these is a must-have all winter long.

I’m always amazed when people are huddled in their cars waiting for the defrost to warm their windshields.

Talk about unprepared!

↓ Top 6 Best Ice Scraper & Snow Brush

3. Traction Mats

traction mats

Often, a little extra traction is all that’s needed to get moving again.

Many people use sand or cat litter.

But these items only work once, and then you’re out of luck.

A set of traction mats are reusable.

And can be easily repositioned to keep you heading in the right direction.

↓ SubZero 12501 GripTrax 03

4. Tire Chains

tire chains

In packed snow conditions, tire chains are an excellent way to get traction and prevent sliding.

However, they’re a controversial topic…

So make sure to check the local regulations regarding their use.

  • Many western states require tire chains in severe conditions.
  • In the Midwest, they are illegal in most jurisdictions even during the worst snows.

If you carry chains, make sure you know how to install them.

Put them on first in your dry driveway and later in a snowy parking lot.

It’s a lot harder to get them on tight and secure when it’s dark.

And you’re fumbling cold hands will appreciate the practice if the need arises.

Side Note: Make sure you vehicle has a full spare tire, avoid relying on a donut spare.

This is wise advice is for ALL seasons.

↓ Snow Chain comparison TEST

5. Small Tarp

small-tarp

It also keeps you from losing parts or tools in the snow.

A 5’x7′ tarp is a perfect size for a lot of roadside uses.

↓ Top 10 Best Tarps Review

6. Battery Boost Jumper

diy winter travel kit

And it’s easy to find yourself unable to start the engine when you need it most.

A self-contained battery jumper is a simple solution.

And way better than waiting for another motorist with jumper cables to start your engine.

↓ NOCO Boost Plus Jumper Review

7. LED Tactical Flashlight

All survival kits need a super bright LED  EDC flashlight .

If it’s dark out (or the blizzard has blocked the sun) you’ll need illumination to see what you’re doing.

Also, it’s a good idea to keep extra batteries in your winter car survival kit as well.

Want a free FireHawk Tactical Flashlight?

Click Here To Get 2 For 1 FireHawk Flashlights

↓ Get A FREE FireHawk Tactical Flashlight (+S&H)

diy winter travel kit

Gear In Case You Can’t Get Unstuck

If you have to stay out overnight, you’ll need a few more things.

At this point, your focus turns from getting your vehicle out to keeping yourself and your passengers protected from the elements.

8. Water Bottle

diy winter travel kit

In the winter, the colder temperatures often trick people into assuming they don’t need to drink as much water.

You tend not to feel as thirsty .

The truth is:

You must stay hydrated to maintain proper body temperature, no matter the weather outside.

Want proof?

High-altitude mountaineers spend about as much time melting drinking water as they do climbing – it’s THAT important.

A stainless steel water bottle is an excellent choice.

That way you can use it over a camp stove or small fire to melt and heat water.

Never eat large amounts of snow directly.

Always melt the snow before ingesting.

If you eat snow directly, you’re basically using your internal body temperature to melt the snow.

This can lower your core temperature and lead to hypothermia .

↓ Use these Cold Weather Water Bottle Hacks

9. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Drinking With A LifeStraw

You should always purify your water before you drink it.

Whether it’s coming from your tap or from the snowbank where you’re stranded.

The easiest way to purify water on the go is with a LifeStraw Personal Water Filter .

We put the LifeStraw to the test so you know it’s a solid device.

↓ LifeStraw Review and Field Test

Tip: If you have kids or grandkids that you drive around, make sure to get them each a LifeStraw .

The last thing you need in a survival situation is kids refusing to drink from the same LifeStraw.

high-calorie-food-bars

It’s burning them at an increased pace t o keep your core body temperature up.

Cookies, crackers, nuts, dried fruit, plain chocolate bars, jerky are all good foods to add to your kit.

I also like the high-calorie bars since you buy them once and you’re food preparation is done.

Snickers bars may taste great, but you’ll chip a tooth on the caramel trying to eat one that’s been sitting in sub-zero temps.

If you’re able to heat water over a stove or fire, consider adding powdered hot chocolate or another warm drink with lots of calories.

11. Extra Warm Clothes

mechanix-gloves-1

Quite often, this can leave you snowy and wet, a bad combination for cold weather survival .

Carrying a change of clothes and some extra insulating layers will let you get out of any wet clothes and warm up.

Gloves are a must.

If you’re trying to do any of these survival tasks with bare hands you’re not going to be successful.

I like Mechanix brand gloves since they provide me the dexterity to perform survival tasks.

Try lighting a fire with thick mittens on; not fun.

↓ Mechanix Gloves – What You Need To Know

12. All-Weather Reflective Blanket

diy winter travel kit

These blankets are made with a heat-reflective internal layer to trap the body heat you’re generating.

Keeping you warmer, and longer.

Also, consider how many people you’ll be traveling with.

And be sure that you can keep everyone warm.

↓ Survival Frog TACT Bivvy Review

13. Paracord ( FireCord )

fire-cord-paracord

You should spend a few dollars more to get Firecord .

It’s designed with  7 strands of paracord and 1 strand of Fire Cord you can use as fire tinder.

↓ 550 FireCord | Live Fire Gear

14. Waterproof Matches and Tesla Coil Lighter

Tough Tesla Electric Lighter

You might also add an electric  coil windproof lighter to your vehicle as well.

A fire will allow you to keep warm, melt snow into water, and signal searchers.

↓ Frog & Co. Tough Tesla Lighter Review

15. Camp Stove

small-portable-camp-stove

In dry, cold conditions you may be able to find enough dead, dry wood to maintain a small fire.

So a fire starter makes a wise addition.

In wetter climates finding anything dry enough to burn is always a challenge.

So adding a small portable camp stove is a better option.

↓ Coleman Power Pack Single Burner Stove Review

Survival Gear Checklist eBook Cover -with fire piston on a rock and campfire in the background

Want a free 54 item survival gear checklist?

16. extra fuel bottle.

fuel-bottle

Obviously, extra fuel can be handy if you’re relying on your vehicle for shelter.

Running the engine for heat will keep you warm, but it will also slowly drain your gas tank.

Carrying a couple of extra liters of fuel in a sturdy container will give you a bit of a buffer.

↓ Laken Aluminum Fuel Bottle

17. Hand Crank Radio / Cell Phone Charger

diy winter travel kit

Other times, it’s because mother nature reared her ugly head.

Icy roads, winter storms, freezing rain, and other winter weather patterns are common reasons to pull over and wait until it’s safe to start traveling again.

Typically, you won’t want to continually run your vehicle while you’re waiting…

Which means you won’t be able to listen to the radio without risking draining the battery.

It’s always important to keep your “ear to the ground”, as they say, to stay updated on the weather.

So add a hand crank radio in your winter car survival kit .

It’s a dependable connection to the outside world.

Keeping you informed on the weather and whatever else is going on.

18. Survival Playing Cards

diy winter travel kit

Your first priority will be that you, and your loved ones, will live to see another day.

Once you have the situation under control and you’re monitoring the airwaves with your pocket radio , there’s nothing wrong with breaking out a deck of survival playing cards .

These survival playing cards  serves more than one purpose.

They are, of course, a standard deck of playing cards but they are also an educational tool.

Why? Because each of the 52 cards has a survival or emergency situation described on it and tips on “how to survive it”.

19. Road Flares

Being able to notify others of danger up ahead is very important! 

Whether it’s to let them know you’re stuck in the middle of the road or that there’s another dangerous hazard.

Road flares should be in EVERYONE’s vehicle emergency kit – no excuses.

They save lives!

20. Propane Heater

diy winter travel kit

But why just store it in your vehicle?

That way, if you’re ever stuck overnight freezing cold blizzard, you can stay warm.

Just note, you can suffocate if you don’t have proper ventilation.

Go here to learn more about tent heaters.

21. First Aid Kit

Of course, no winter emergency car kit would be complete without some first aid supplies.

IFAK first aid kits  have what you need to treat basic medical emergencies.

Buy one and add it to your stash of supplies.

22. Winter Travel Kit Bag / Tote

winter emergency vehicle kit duffle bag

Once you’ve assembled your supplies, choose a bag that will fit them all.

It doesn’t necessarily need a lot of pockets…

But make sure you have a way to separate your spare gas can and your camp fuel from the rest of the gear.

Action Plan

Winter Emergency Car Kit Action Plan

This action plan can be summed up in just two words: Do. It.

  • Invest in the gear and supplies listed in this article.
  • Then put them in a duffel bag and put this bag full of gear items in your trunk.

You have zero excuses not to do this.

If you drive in winter conditions at all, it’s your responsibility to invest in a few essential tools and supplies.

This responsibility goes double for anyone who drives others around.

That means parents of young children and those who take care of the handicapped or elderly.

The time to take meaningful action is NOW before the first flakes begin to fall.

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Ultimate Winter Car Emergency Kit: Be Prepared for Cold Weather

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link. Please see my disclosure for more details.

When it comes to winter driving, we face some unique challenges, from maneuvering through snow and ice to dealing with limited visibility and the possibility of road closures. But fret not! I’ll show you how to craft the ultimate winter car emergency kit to tackle these obstacles and keep you safe in harsh weather conditions.

You know, growing up in central Alaska, winter driving was a big deal for my family. Being ready for anything was simply a way of life up there. Even though our weather isn’t as extreme as in the great white north, surprises still happen.

Recently, seeing the major pile-up on I 94 in Michigan during this last snowstorm made me think—how prepared are we for situations like that? Having an emergency winter car kit isn’t just a smart move; it could genuinely be a lifesaver when things get rough out there.

Understanding Winter Travel Challenges

Winter driving presents a medley of challenges: navigating through snow and ice, dealing with reduced visibility due to fog or blizzards, and the looming possibility of road closures. Having a well-prepared emergency kit becomes more than a safety measure—it’s your lifeline during these conditions. It’s about ensuring you’re equipped to handle the unexpected twists winter can throw your way, keeping you and your loved ones safe and secure when the roads get treacherous.

Building Your Ultimate Winter Car Emergency Kit

Creating your ultimate winter car emergency kit doesn’t have to break the bank. With a bit of planning and resourcefulness, you can assemble a reliable kit without spending a fortune. Remember, this kit isn’t just about saving money—it’s about keeping your family safe and secure during unexpected winter emergencies on the road.

Warmth Essentials

Staying warm is the name of the game during the winter time. And if your trapped in your car waiting for help to arrive, tempuratures can drop rapidly.

  • Heavy Blankets or Sleeping Bags: Opt for insulating blankets or sleeping bags rated for cold weather.
  • Extra Hats, Gloves, and Socks: Keep spare warm accessories in case of wet or lost items. I like to keep an extra set of warm clothes as well. This is a great opportunity to put the clothes you were going to take to the Goodwill to use.
  • Hand Warmers: These portable heat sources are excellent for keeping hands and pockets warm.

Visibility & Safety

Visibility and safety gear are crucial additions to your winter car emergency kit, ensuring you’re visible in low-light conditions and alerting other drivers to your presence, ultimately reducing the risk of accidents or being stranded unnoticed during harsh weather or road closures.

  • Flashlights with Extra Batteries: Choose durable, weather-resistant flashlights for better visibility.
  • Reflective Warning Triangles or Flares: Enhance visibility during low-light conditions or snowstorms.
  • High-Visibility Vest: Stay visible to other drivers in case of roadside emergencies.

Basic Tools

Including basic tools in your winter car emergency kit is essential for handling unexpected situations like clearing snow and ice, addressing minor vehicle issues, or even assisting others in need, providing the versatility needed to navigate through winter challenges on the road.

  • Ice Scraper and Snow Brush: Essential for clearing snow and ice off your vehicle.
  • Shovel: Consider a compact folding shovel for digging out of snowdrifts.
  • Multipurpose Tool or Swiss Army Knife: A versatile tool for various emergency needs.

Vehicle Maintenance Tools

Vehicle maintenance tools are a lifesaver during winter emergencies, allowing you to jump-start a car, navigate through icy roads with tire chains or traction mats, and swiftly change a tire, ensuring your vehicle stays operational and safe during treacherous conditions on the road. Having these tools at hand can be the difference between being stranded or reaching your destination safely.

  • Jumper Cables or Emergency Jump Kit : Ensure they’re in good condition and long enough for roadside use.
  • Tire Chains or Traction Mats: Provide traction in snowy or icy conditions.
  • Spare Tire and Tire Changing Tools: Check tire condition and ensure proper tools are available.
  • Spare Gas Can: Incase you run out of fuel and need to walk to a nearby gas station.
  • Fire Extinguisher: A small extinguisher best suited for the types of fires you might encounter in vehicular accidents

Food & Water

In your winter car emergency kit, having food and water ensures you and your family stay nourished and hydrated during unexpected road delays or emergencies. Non-perishable snacks and bottled water provide sustenance, while hot beverage packs offer warmth, ensuring comfort and energy during challenging situations on wintry roads. Be sure to rotate these supplies every year.

  • Non-Perishable Snacks: Pack energy bars, nuts, or dried fruits for sustenance.
  • Bottled Water or Water Filter: Stay hydrated with clean drinking water.
  • Hot Beverage Packs: Instant coffee or tea can provide warmth and comfort.

Communication & Assistance

Incorporating communication and assistance tools in your winter car emergency kit is vital for staying connected and seeking help in critical situations. From a fully charged portable phone charger to signaling devices like a whistle or signal flare, these essentials enable you to reach out for aid and alert others, ensuring timely assistance during emergencies on the road.

  • Fully Charged Portable Phone Charger: Keep devices charged for emergency communication. I like to keep an old cell phone in my car for just this purpose. Even if you don’t have it connected to a service it can still make emergency calls.
  • Whistle or Signal Flare: Emergency signaling tools for attracting attention.
  • Emergency Contact Information Card: Include vital contacts in case of an accident.
  • Crank Emergency Radio: Keeps you up to date on changing weather conditions and when assistance will be able to help.
  • Walkie-Talkies: Walkie-Talkies are indispensable in a winter car emergency kit as they facilitate communication between stranded family members or companions in areas with limited or no cell service.

Medical Supplies

Medical supplies in your winter car emergency kit are a must-have for addressing minor injuries or health concerns on the road. From a comprehensive first aid kit stocked with bandages and antiseptics to essential medications and a thermometer, these supplies empower you to handle medical situations promptly, providing peace of mind and ensuring prompt care during emergencies.

  • First Aid Kit : Stock with essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relief medication.
  • Essential Medications: Carry necessary medications for existing health conditions.

Thriving Through Winter Emergencies

Winter driving isn’t just a snowy scene; it’s laden with challenges like snow-covered roads, limited visibility, and potential closures. A well-prepared emergency kit becomes your safety net, ensuring you’re equipped to handle these unexpected hurdles. It’s about more than just being ready—it’s about thriving through winter’s surprises, keeping your loved ones safe, and ensuring you can navigate any roadblocks with confidence. As an adult now, I really do not envy what my parents had to go through in Alaska to keep their family of 6 safe. But, I did learn some valuable skills that I can pass on to you guys!

Take charge today! Building your winter car emergency kit is your ticket to thriving, not just surviving, through unexpected road situations. It’s an investment in your safety and that of your family. Don’t wait until the snowflakes fall; start assembling your kit now, ensuring you’re ready for whatever winter roads might throw your way. Remember, preparation today ensures confidence tomorrow!

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My Homestead Life

DIY Winter Emergency Car Kit ~ FREE Printable PDF Checklist

Posted on Published: December 29, 2020  - Last updated: March 18, 2023

My Homestead Life may earn a commission for purchases made after clicking links on this page. Learn More see Privacy Policy .

For yourself, and all of the people you love, make this DIY Winter Emergency Car Kit in order to be prepared for winter emergencies. 

We recently went through a severe winter snow storm that left many stranded for days. The worst part about it, aside of being without power and water for five days on Christmas, was all of the abandoned cars left on the roads.

They were blocking roads, in creeks, and in ditches. The stranded cars literally blocked emergency crews from helping people.

emergency-car-kit

DIY Winter Car Emergency Kit ~ FREE Printable PDF Checklist

Something as easy as assembling a winter emergency car kit can be the difference between life and death for yourself or someone you love. It is that serious. 

I recently witnessed hundreds of vehicles stranded on the roads in the winter storm. Snow and ice covered the roads making it impossible to drive.

Winter roadside assistance wasn’t available due to the vast amount of people in distress. Tow companies claimed it would be days before they could get to everyone. 

Winter weather and winter driving is no joke that can leave you stranded with little to no warning. Being prepared with a survival kit is your best chance at making it through the season alive. 

What Is The Best Car Emergency Kit?

You can buy a ready made emergency car kit, however, I have yet to find one that has everything that I would suggest you need to make a winter emergency car kit.

If you can’t make your own, buying one is better than not having one at all. 

Making your own DIY Emergency Car Kit means you can customize it to fit your specific needs. 

How Cold is Too Cold? 

The average human body temperature is 98.6 degrees. Hypothermia can occur when your body temperature drops below 95 degrees. Hypothermia can cause confusion, lack of motor skills, make you sleepy, and more.  Your core temperature begins to drop  when the surrounding temperature is 50 degrees or lower. 

Keeping warm is essential to your survival in a winter emergency situation. 

For more signs of hypothermia you can see the symptoms at  Hypothermia ~ Mayo Clinic

Signs of Frostbite and Prevention

Frostbite is a nasty thing and can be quite painful, extreme cases can lead to amputation. Frostbite occurs when body parts, normally extremities such as the fingers, toes, ears, and nose, are exposed to freezing temperatures. 

Signs of Frostbite

  • First signs are red skin that throbs, burns, or stings.  
  • Yellowish-gray or white skin that feels waxy or firm.
  • Lack of feeling. 
  • Other symptoms include swelling, itching, burning, and deep pain when warming back up.

Frostbite Prevention

Of course some survival situations are unavoidable and if you have to make the choice between dying or getting frostbite, choose life. If you have the ability to protect yourself from frostbite, do everything within your power. 

Some tips on how to prevent frostbite are

  • Dress in layers. The more layers the better. If you have a garbage bag or plastic bags, wrap your feet or hands with them. 
  • Limit your exposure to the elements. 
  • Stay hydrated. 

You can find more Frostbite Prevention tips at  How to Prevent Frostbite ~ WebMD

What are the 5 essentials for an emergency kit?

No one can ever predict how long you will be stranded or what your situation will be. I strongly suggest you stock the entire list of the Winter Emergency Car kit, however, if you can only prepare a few things, here are my top 5 suggested items. 

  • In the cold weather the main concern is to stay warm. Anything that you can use to achieve that goal, use it. This includes extra clothes, blankets, plastic bags, body heat from other people, and burning candles in a tin can to give off heat. 
  • Staying hydrated. Water bottles are a must. 
  • Food. Although people can survive for quite some time without food, we function much better with it. 
  • Way to communicate. A whistle, help sign, solar cell phone charger. Something to signal help. 
  • First Aid Kit. An injury that goes untreated could hinder your chances at survival. 

What should be in a Winter Emergency Car Kit?

Before leaving the safety of your home in the winter, it’s a good idea to make sure you have:

  • Full tank of gas
  • Your emergency kit well stocked
  • Check the weather and avoid pending storms
  • Check your tires for good tread and check your tire pressure. 
  • Fully charged cell phone. 
  • Let someone know where you are going, the route you’re taking, and expected arrival time. 

Winter Emergency Car Kit Supply List

Get a large tote that you can keep in your trunk for your emergency kit. Check the dates and supplies before each season, rotate supplies as needed. 

  • Reflective Triangle
  • Blanket- Wool
  • Winter Boots
  • Energy Bars or Granola Bars
  • Ice Scraper
  • Water Bottles
  • Body/Pocket Warmer Packs
  • Toilet Paper Roll
  • Salt (for melting snow and ice)
  • Solar Cell Phone Charger
  • Jumper Cables
  • Rubbing Alcohol (to melt ice on windshield, or to release frozen car doors)
  • Kitty Litter, Cat Litter, or a Bag of Sand (to help provide traction for tires)
  • Small Folding Shovel
  • Metal Coffee Can (burn candle in the metal can to give off heat)
  • Mylar Blanket
  • Car Fire Extinguisher 
  • Local Paper Road Map
  • Basic Tool Kit
  • First Aid Kit with Medicine
  • A Box of Small Trash Bags- you can use bags to cover your feet or hands to help protect from snow and trap body heat. 
  • Car Window/Windshield Breaker
  • Seatbelt Cutter

FREE Printable Checklist >>>DIY Winter Emergency Car Kit

How can i survive in my car in the winter.

Keep in mind the rules of three. Average humans can go

  • Three weeks without food
  • Three days without water
  • Only three hours without shelter
  • And three minutes without air

Of course this is a general rule and not an exact science as there isn’t any scientific data to prove this. If you have food and water and are not in danger of freezing or being trapped, using the car for shelter until help comes may be safer than leaving your vehicle. When you feel it’s safe to do so, seek help as soon as possible. 

Being Prepared 

If this year has taught me anything at all, it was the necessity to always be prepared. From hurricanes to winter storms and everything in the middle. It is essential for our survival to be prepared for the emergencies life throws at us. 

If you want to become more self-sufficient and prepared for emergencies, you will enjoy some of my other articles

  • The Ultimate Preppers Checklist For Non-Preppers
  • Bathing Off-Grid With Our Outdoor Shower & How To Stay Clean Without Electricity
  • Everything You Want To Know About Preparing For A Hurricane
  • How To Keep Food Cool Off Grid & Without Electricity 
  • Living Off The Grid- What You Need To Know

diy-winter-car-kit

A special thanks to all of the members of Old Paths to New Homesteading and Self-Reliant Living for their suggestions. 

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Stay ahead of the winter weather with a winter emergency kit

adrian-kingsley-hughes

As winter weather sweeps through most of the US bringing snow, frigid temperatures, and dangerous conditions, authorities are warning people to prepare for outages, travel delays, and more. 

Whether you're someone who hunkers down when the weather gets bad, or you have to be out and about, technology can make a difference  to how you deal with the cold. And while most of the time that difference is reducing a problem into an inconvenience, sometimes -- and I don't want to sound overly dramatic saying this -- technology can be the difference between life and death.

Also: My 5 must-have gadgets for off-grid adventures

Here's my plan of action. And while it changes as tech moves forward and I learn more, I find this approach covers most of the bases.

Note that you might need to cater for different types of emergencies. Maybe the power goes out for days or even weeks, or maybe flooding is a risk? 

My advice: let your personal experiences guide you.

1. Start with the kit

I'm going to break these items down into the essentials, and things that are nice to have, both for the home and in the car. 

I will recommend some products that I have personally tested and use, which I have found to be reliable (after all, this is not the time to find out that something is unreliable).

The essentials

  • Power bank  (I love this one because you can leave it plugged in ready for use) and cables
  • LED flashlight
  • Waterproof bags for your devices and belongings
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Long-life spare batteries for anything that takes batteries
  • Warm hats and gloves
  • Emergency food (remember to have food for your furry companions, too)

Also:   The 5 best fire extinguishers

Things that are nice to have

  • Power station  
  • Gas generator (be aware that these things come with a load of dangers and caveats)
  • Emergency radio
  • USB heated blanket  (these blankets are super warm, don't need mains power, and there's no risk of a fire)
  • Entertainment that doesn't require internet (such as board games)

Also:   The 5 best portable power stations

  • Weatherproof power bank (and cables )
  • In-car charger
  • Jump starter
  • LED road flare and flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Emergency mylar thermal blankets  
  • Warm  hats  and  gloves
  • De-icer and scraper
  • Tire inflator  
  • SOS satellite beacon
  • Spare set of warm clothes
  • Some entertainment (especially if you have kids in the car, because a book or toy goes a long way when you're waiting for a tow truck)

Also: The best portable jump starters

2. Familiarize yourself with any kit you don't know how to use

I've seen people superglue their hand to their face, smash themselves in the teeth with a hammer while trying to put up storm shutters, struggle for over an hour trying to start a gasoline generator that didn't have any gas in it, turn an expensive tent into a fireball attempting to refill a gasoline stove that was already lit, slice their hand open with a screwdriver, and settle down to read the instructions for some essential bit of kit as a massive storm approaches.

Add stress and fear into the mix, and you have the potential for a lot of chaos and mayhem.

Not sure how your portable battery pack , generator , or new weather app works? The time to be figuring this out is now, not when you are hip-deep in snow and the lights are out.

Also:   The 5 brightest flashlights

Oh, and now is a good time to download and print out any manuals you might need.

Also, the more you practice and use your gear, the more likely you are to remember you have it. I've known people forget that they even have some useful bit of kit when an emergency hits. 

It's not a failing, it's human nature.

3. Charge all your gadgets at once

Do this job while you have power. This task is especially important if you live somewhere where the power is likely to go out.

Also, remember to charge up any portable battery packs and rechargeable batteries that you might have (you might not need them, but they may help a neighbor out of a bind).

For things I keep at home, I charge these packs and batteries up to 100%, and I have a power station and a couple of power banks that stay on charge all the time for emergencies. 

Also:   The 5 best portable power banks  

For things that I throw into the car and forget about for six months to a year, I charge these packs and batteries up to about 80%, as this is better for long-term storage.

4. Keep your eye on the weather

Here is a selection of websites that will let you do just that. You might also want to make a note of a local weather station and news site:

  • Weather.gov
  • Weather Underground
  • Weather Channel

Also:   The best generators

And here are a couple of apps to help you stay informed:

  • Apple Weather  (iPhone and iPad)
  • Weather Underground: Forecasts  (Android)

5. Weatherproof your devices

If you have big, cumbersome weatherproof cases for your smartphones and tablets that you don't normally use, now is the time to put them on.

Go on -- no one will judge you.

Also:  How to get water out of your phone

If you don't have a weatherproof case, then a Ziploc bag is better than nothing. And if you have one of those little bags of silica gel that comes with all sorts of things you buy, throw one or two of those into the bag with your device, as it'll help absorb any water that makes its way into the bag.

6. Backup your data

Fire, flood, and theft are bad news for your device, but if you have a backup, your data is not lost.

An off-site or cloud backup is preferable (even if "off-site" means keeping a drive at a friend or family member's house).

If all you have is an external hard drive or USB key, then that will have to do -- pop it into a waterproof bag to give it a fighting chance. Alternatively, you can invest in a waterproof and fireproof storage drive . 

Also:   The best external hard drives

My solution is to backup to the cloud using Backblaze , and also have local backups in a waterproof and fireproof external drive  for easy access.

7. Take a first aid class

It  could save a life .

More how-tos

This futuristic portable battery kept my home running during an outage. here's how, the best portable power stations for camping: expert tested, how to take care of your tech in a heatwave.

people pushing a truck stuck in snow

How to Make A DIY Winter Survival Kit for Your Car

Updated March 11, 2019 . AmFam Team

Emergency Roadside Assistance Coverage

From starting your car to keeping you warm, the following items can help keep you going if you find yourself in a slick situation when driving this winter:

Find a Big, Transparent Storage Bin with a Sealable Lid

Use this to store the majority of the items listed below and be sure that it can fit neatly into your car.

jumper cables on a car battery

Jumper Cables

Get a long set of 15 feet or more — and be sure to learn how to jumpstart a car  so you're prepared if you need to use them!

LED Flashlights

Having a few on hand will allow you to hand one off to someone if they need to walk at night to seek help. Stock extra batteries, too.

scraping ice off a windshield

Snow Scraper

In cold climates, this is a must. Get one with a brush on one end and hard scraper on the other. Don’t forget to wipe headlights and taillights, as well as windshield wipers.

A Five-Pound Bag of Sand, Road Salt or Kitty Litter

This will come in handy if you slide off the road and need traction to get out of the snow. Pour it sparingly under each tire and slowly back out — if possible. If you’re in a pinch without these items, you can always use your car mat.

shoveling snow from around a car

A Good Snow Shovel

Odds are, you’ll need to dig out yourself or someone else at some point over the winter.

Chemical Hand and Foot Warmers

Buy these small, inexpensive packets in sporting goods and hardware stores. Your toasty fingers and toes will thank you!

a stack of blankets

Warm Clothes and a Blanket

Keep an extra hat, scarf, pair of mittens and boots in your car. A good winter-rated sleeping bag is a nice addition, too. You’ll have additional layers if you unexpectedly have to walk for help or simply want to stop to admire the sights. You never know when they'll come in handy!

Food with a Long Shelf Life

Pack a few cans of easy-open beans, protein bars, a small unopened jar of peanut butter, and a bag of crackers. Bring along several bottles of water on the day of travel, but store these separately because they may freeze if left in your vehicle on cold days.

a flare on the road

A Six-Pack of 30 Minute Road Flares

These can be found at most auto parts stores, and often come with a highly reflective orange vest in a convenient carrying case. Use these for signaling help or starting a fire. Keep these stored away from children.

Cell Chargers

If you’re snowed in and stuck, you can let the sun charge your phone with a solar charger and seek help once service is in range. Also remember to have a standard plug-in charger and cord as well for your phone.

replacing wiper blades

Spare Wiper Blades

It’s a good idea to swap out your wiper blades as winter approaches. If the ones on your car are a little worn but still usable, hold onto them when you get new ones.

A Good First Aid Kit

This one is a must. And, when you’re traveling in winter, be sure to bring along a few days’ worth of necessary medication just to be on the safe side.

A Small, Well-Stocked Emergency Toolkit

These can be purchased at hardware stores or online. Be sure yours has a good multi-tool with a knife.

a woman putting chains on her tires

Tire Chains

Getting through a mountain pass with even an inch of snow on the ground can be harrowing, and having a set of chains on your wheels is sometimes required. When ice and snow pile up on the interstate, chains can keep you moving. Practice putting these on and taking them off on a warm day.

Apps for Driving in the Winter

Did you know there are apps that convert your phone to a walkie-talkie, where you can call for help, even when you’re out of cell range? Another must-have is a good weather app to get up-to-date details on weather conditions according to your GPS location. There are apps to help you find parking and simulate driving in winter traffic. Do some research and find out what apps to download before hitting the road.

Store the Right Car Insurance

Having the right car insurance before you hit the road this winter is key to keeping your finances safe. Check in with your American Family Insurance agent to ensure your coverages are set up to best protect you. Ask about adding coverage, like rental car reimbursement , may help cover the cost of a rental car if your vehicle is in the shop after an accident. Or emergency roadside service , which is a saving grace if you get stranded on the road.

Readying yourself for winter driving and road emergencies is an important way to stay safe on the road, and much like having the right insurance in place, you'll be glad you took the time and prepared for the unexpected.

This article is for informational purposes only and based on information that is widely available. We do not make any guarantees or promise any results based on this information.

Tools & Resources

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Today's Homeowner

Expert Advice On Improving Your Home

Winter Survival Kit: 25 Items to Stock in Your Car

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Jonathon Jachura

Contributor

Jonathon Jachura is a two-time homeowner with hands-on experience with HVAC, gutters, plumbing, lawn care, pest control, and other aspects of owning a home. He is passionate about home maintenance and finding the best services. His main goal is to educate others with crisp, concise descriptions that any homeowner can use. Jon uses his strong technical background to create engaging, easy-to-read, and informative guides. He does most of his home and lawn projects himself but hires professional companies for the “big things.” He knows what goes into finding the best service providers and contractors. Jon studied mechanical engineering at Purdue University in Indiana and worked in the HVAC industry for 12 years. Between his various home improvement projects, he enjoys the outdoors, a good cup of coffee, and spending time with his family.

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Reviewed By

Jeff is a writer, editor, and marketer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been editing on the Home Solutions team for over a year and is passionate about getting homeowners the information they need when they need it most. When he’s not working, Jeff can be found at baseball games, golfing, going to the gym, reading, watching movies, and playing video games.

April 22, 2024

people pushing a car stuck in snow

People often stock their first aid kits and gather supplies in case of emergencies — but during the winter, you need to plan for safety outside your home, too.

In addition to regular maintenance, it’s important to make sure your vehicle has weather-appropriate tires with good tread and to fill your car with gas before driving in severe weather.

Also, consider putting together a winter survival kit for your vehicle. In case of an emergency, it could save your life and the lives of your passengers. Having the right supplies on hand will give you peace of mind when driving in hazardous winter conditions.

Having the right automotive tools and supplies in your vehicle provides self-sufficiency in the event of a breakdown or accident during winter weather. The following items can keep you safe on the road.

Essential Automotive Supplies

These items should always be in your vehicle to prepare for breakdowns or accidents:

  • Auto/travel tool kit: Contains essential tools for minor repairs.
  • Cell phone car charger: Lets you charge your phone if your car stalls.
  • Compass and road maps: Navigation aids if you become lost.
  • First aid kit: A comprehensive kit to treat your injuries until help arrives.
  • Flares/reflective flags: Alert other drivers of your disabled vehicle.
  • Jumper cables: Cables allow you to jump-start your battery if it dies.
  • Seatbelt cutter/glass breaker tool: Helps cut jammed seatbelts or break glass.
  • Spare tire: Allows you to replace a flat tire and continue driving.
  • Tire repair kit: Temporarily patch holes in your tires.
  • Tow rope : Used to tow or be towed if your car breaks down.
  • Vehicle manual : Review the manual to understand the emergency features of your car.
  • Whistle to signal for help : Use to call out for help if stranded.

Essential Winter Weather Gear

In addition to your year-round automotive kit, you’ll want to supplement it with winter-specific gear to handle storms and cold conditions. Consider packing the following extra items during the winter driving months:

  • Bag of cat litter: Can be used for tire traction if stuck in snow or ice.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries: Illuminates your surroundings if stranded at night or in bad weather.
  • Hand-crank weather radio or battery-operated radio with extra batteries: Provides weather updates if cell service fails. You can also use it to call for help.
  • Rock salt : Melts ice on pavement, steps, or windows.
  • Small shovel : Digs your vehicle out of snow if stuck off-road.
  • Waterproof matches and candles : Provides heat and light if your car shuts down.
  • Windshield ice scraper with a brush: Removes frost, snow, and ice from windows.

Severe winter weather can knock out cell service, stranding you without communication. Having backup options like a radio and extra batteries ensures you can receive weather alerts and call for assistance. Other gear like salt, a shovel, and a scraper allow you to clear snow, melt ice, and maintain visibility to escape safely.

Survival Items in Case of Extended Stranding

These additional items that could save your life if stranded for an extended period:

  • Blankets/sleeping bags: Protects against cold temperatures if stuck overnight.
  • Bottled water: Prevents dehydration if stuck without access to water.
  • Extra set of clothes, gloves, and hat: Allows you to layer up or change out of wet clothes.
  • Manual can opener: Allows you to open canned goods in the absence of power.
  • Necessary medications: Be sure to have several days’ supply of prescriptions with you to treat conditions if you are stuck waiting for help.
  • Nonperishable food, dried foods, and energy bars: Provides nutrition if stranded for long periods to avoid hypothermia.

If your vehicle breaks down in a remote area, you may be stranded for hours before help can reach you. Having food, water, warm clothing, and blankets prevents your condition from deteriorating while waiting for assistance. Any necessary medications could also be vital.

So, Is a Winter Survival Kit Worthwhile?

A winter survival kit is absolutely worth keeping in your car at all times. You should tailor your safety kit to the hazards in your region. For example, in areas with frequent heavy snow, include a high-quality ice scraper and collapsible shovel. In remote areas, pack enough food and water to sustain you for several days, along with blankets and clothing to keep you warm . Customizing your kit allows you to address likely risks on your travels.

Without the proper gear, you may find yourself stranded in dangerous winter conditions. A well-stocked survival kit provides safety, security, and peace of mind. Though you may never need to use it, you’ll be thankful to have emergency supplies if the need arises.

FAQs About Winter Survival Kits

Where is the best place to keep my winter survival kit.

Store your kit in the trunk or cargo area of your car. Emergency items stored in the cabin risk becoming projectiles in an accident. The trunk keeps them secure yet easily accessible.

How often should I check my winter kit supplies?

Check your kit at least once per season. Replace expired food, water, and batteries. Update clothes for proper seasonal fit. Refill any depleted items.

What items should I pack for the kids?

Include warm clothes in children’s sizes. Bring diapers and wipes if traveling with babies. Pack snacks, bottles, and formula or milk if needed. Add toys and books to keep kids occupied.

Should I build multiple kits for each vehicle?

Yes, it’s wise to assemble a dedicated kit for each car you drive. You can’t guarantee having the right supplies if you leave them behind in another vehicle. Customize each with gear to meet your car’s needs.

Can I just build my own kit rather than buy one?

Absolutely. Purchased kits save time, but DIY kits allow you to cherry-pick exactly what you want. Take inventory of your needs, assemble supplies, and pack them in a tote or storage container.

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My Itchy Travel Feet

My Itchy Travel Feet

The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Alan’s Tips for Making a Do It Yourself Winter Driving Kit

This article may contain referral links. Read our DISCLOSURE

Updated 11.01.2019:  We’re all accustomed to seeing Alan’s amazing travel photos, but rarely do we hear from the man behind the lens. In fact, very few readers realize that Alan is a travel planning machine who thrives on the challenges of off-the-beaten-path travel . We’ve already spoken about winter travel and the hurdles that come with it, but today, Alan is graciously sharing the items that he packs in his do it yourself winter driving kit.

Here we are, winter bearing down on most of us. We’re layering on warm clothes and using hand lotion like crazy. But what about the car? Have you included a winter driving kit in case that emergency happens? Unless, of course, you happen to be catching some rays on a Florida beach. If that’s you, no need to read further.

Alan’s winter road trip tips

Going somewhere with snowy driving conditions. The items in our winter driving kit will keep you safe.

And, unless you happen to have your own plane to get around everywhere you need to go—while you’re looking down on the rest of us—then your auto is it. When you turn the key to drive into the national forest for some snow play or motor down the interstate for a visit with the kids and grandkids two states over, are you bringing along a winter driving kit?

I’m assuming that you’ve already winterized the car. You’ve confirmed the battery is strong, the antifreeze is good and tires nearly new. Don’t forget the spare tire. When did you check the air pressure last? Okay, now you’re ready to go!

This is where Murphy’s Law always comes into play. You’re fifty miles out of town with near-new tires, right? However, there’s Farmer John, a hundred yards ahead, and out the back of his truck falls that big rusty nail from the barn. Whoops! Nail into the tire, dead center. Flatter than flat! Or, the drive is going great, no problems, and out of nowhere comes the invisible section of black ice. Off the side of the road you go. No damage maybe, but stuck nevertheless.

With the right items onboard, most inconveniences can be corrected and the much-anticipated winter trip resumed. Without them you may be stuck for hours, cold, miserable and mad.

Do It Yourself Winter Driving Kit

Be prepared on a winter road trip. Pack your car with the items in our winter driving kit.

What do I carry in the car? My do-it-yourself winter driving kit comes in two levels; the first is for the indispensables — the basic items. The second is my “extras” list for the rest of the tools that will save you from being stuck on the side of the road.

DIY Winter Road Trip Kit Level One: Must-have items for any cold weather driving trip.

  • Warm clothes, gloves and hat, always. If it’s 5 above but just an easy hour drive over to the kids’ house, don’t wear shorts and sandals. Remember Murphy’s Law!
  • Cell phone and car charger. Easy!
  • Extra water and protein bars or other non-perishable, easy-to-pack food items. Hungry travelers are no fun to be stranded with.
  • Extra cash. You slide off the road, completely stuck. Farmer John comes along and pulls you out. Very neighborly of him. You want to show your appreciation and out comes a little cash to pay for his gas.
  • First aid kit
  • Leather work gloves . Spinning off lug nuts and working the tire jack is better with gloves.
  • Battery jumper cables. That strong battery you have can go south at the most inopportune time.
  • Matches. Just in case you’ve gone down the embankment, no one can see you and you can’t climb out. Find something to burn and create smoke.
  • Flashlight and new batteries
  • Windshield scraper
  • Travel blanket
  • Auto fire extinguisher
  • Leatherman utility tool
  • Toilet paper/baby wipes. Just in case nature calls.

DIY Winter Driving Kit Level Two: If you’re headed into a blizzard or enjoy visiting snowy areas for recreation, you’ll be glad that you packed these items.

  • Storage bag to hold the rest of this gear.
  • Cable winch puller 8,000 lb (Come-Along). This simple tool can likely move your car from a stuck to unstuck position.
  • Tree Saver winch strap . The cable winch puller needs an anchor point, the tree is perfect and the strap keeps it from being damaged.
  • 12v air compressor . A very handy item, runs off the battery, a game-saver if there is a slow tire leak and you’re trying to limp home.
  • Bottle jack . A small but useful tool that can quickly jack your car to put rocks and dirt under the drive wheels for traction.
  • Tool kit: pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches/sockets (SAE-metric), hex/star key set, duct tape.
  • Telescoping power wrench . For changing a flat, this power wrench is much easier than using a car wrench.
  • Snatch block + 3/4” shackle . To use with tow strap and Come-Along.

There you have it. I bet some of these items are in your garage already. Use my list to create your own DIY winter driving kit. Short of a rollover you’ll be able to rescue yourself for a safe arrival at your winter destination.

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Winter Emergency Car Kit: Carry This Gear for Cold-Weather Driving

winter road side emergency

Preparation is key to winter driving wherever the destination is, especially if things don’t go as planned. Here are the winter car essentials to carry in your winter driving safety kit.

Winter means white-knuckle driving through dizzying snowstorms on the way to those absolutely epic powder days — or just a trip to a friend’s place out of town. What could be just a minor problem in warm conditions could be downright disastrous in winter without the proper gear.

This winter-ready gear list prepares you for breakdowns, spinouts, highway mishaps, or getting stuck in the snow.

Winter Emergency Car Kit: Essential Gear

Portable jump starter.

portable jump starter | winter emergency car kit

Long gone are the days when your only hope of starting a car with a dead battery is to find another running vehicle. Today, you can grab your portable jumper, clip it to your battery terminals, and fire up your car. I’ve used the apparently out-of-business Cyntur jumper since 2015, and it still works like a champ.

But since you can’t get one of those anymore, grab the super-popular GOOLOO 2000A Peak 19,8000 mAh SuperSafe Car Jump Starter with USB Quick Charge 3.0 off Amazon for $99. One of our other editors loves the Athena Power Bank and Jump Starter from Uncharted Supply.

Either one will jump start your car or truck’s dead battery, charge cellphones from one of its USB-C or USB-A ports, and has a built-in flashlight! These are so much easier, safer, and more reliable than jumper cables that there is no excuse not to switch over.

Remember to charge the jump starter before the deep cold weather sets in.

a folded brown wool blanket, emergency foil blanket, and box with an emergency blanket from SOL

Heat-reflecting “space blankets” are inexpensive and take up almost no room, but they’re not as warm as wool. The SOL Emergency Blanket ($5) is small and affordable. Buy a few and keep them in your winter emergency car kit, just in case.

black gerber gorge mini shovel | winter emergency car kit item

A compact snow shovel is essential in snowy climates and a must-have for any winter emergency car kit. Storms in the mountains or northern parts of the U.S. can drop feet of snow in a day, making that parked car immobile until you shovel it out.

Not to mention a trip to the ditch can sometimes be fixed with a shovel. Plows can stick you behind massive snow berms, so stow a shovel that can handle hardpack. We like the Gerber Gorge Shovel ($24).

Extra Jackets, Hats, Gloves, Boots

Winter wear is your survival suit in a storm. A complete winter kit will take up a lot of room in the car, but ensure that each person is outfitted with enough layers and outerwear to spend at least an hour (longer in remote areas) outdoors when venturing out in cold weather. Don’t skimp on the basics.

In addition, having a pack of hand and foot warmers to pull out in a pinch is a great option. Offerings from Ignik activate by air and can stay warm for hours.

Flashlight or Headlamp

Fenix uc35 led flashlight with pocket clip

If you’ve ever needed to change a flat tire at night, you know just how critical a flashlight can be. I keep the Fenix UC35 flashlight in the center console of my truck at all times.

At $90, it’s a higher-end flashlight, but its performance is top-notch (if you’ve never used a super-nice flashlight, it will blow your mind). And, because it’s rechargeable, I can keep it juiced up by occasionally plugging it into my truck while winter driving.

Another worthy option is a headlamp to keep your hands free while you work.

Tip: Don’t rely on lights that require a live 12V power source to function. They don’t work if you have a dead car battery.

If you want to cover all your bases, get a flashlight that can power up from multiple power sources . If the battery gets used up, you can recharge it using the hand crank or built-in solar panel.

Don’t forget the flashlight built into the portable jump starter if it has one. The LED light is pretty bright and will last for hours if fully charged.

Traction Devices or Sand/Grit

maxtrax

A traction device called Maxtrax has taken off in the overlanding community over the last few years because it works incredibly well. If you’re stuck, stick these under the tires to create a runway out of a slippery situation.

Icy roads and gravity can work against a vehicle trying to make its way uphill on a remote stretch. Or, you might need added traction if stuck in a ditch. A sealed container of sand or grit rock can offer traction if thrown under the tires.

It gives grip on slick snow or ice where no tread can grab hold. A better — albeit pricer — option is a traction device such as Maxtrax or tire chains .

First-Aid Kit

winter road warrior deluxe emergency kit

You probably won’t need an elaborate first-aid kit , but bandages, antiseptic cream, antacids, and pain relievers will solve many minor issues. If someone in your family has allergies, consider adding the appropriate meds for them as well. The StatGear Auto Survival pack has the basics for a winter emergency car kit.

Signal Device

If you’re stranded, you’ll want some way to flag down passing motorists to get help. Tie a brightly colored bandana to a disabled vehicle to make a well-known signal for help .

Road flares are a good option, too, and will significantly increase your visibility on a stormy night. A third option goes back to the portable jump starter’s integrated flashlight, which likely has flashing and SOS modes to attract attention.

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It takes a little skill and can result in car damage if not done correctly, but a tow strap can get your car out of a shallow ditch and save a bundle in tow truck charges.

Especially in remote areas, be ready to rig up reliable, strength-rated tow straps if you get stuck. Just be sure the vehicle pulling on the other end is capable, use strong points on both the towing and towed vehicle (not the bumper!), and beware of traffic and other hazards.

Even if you don’t know how to perform basic car repairs, someone who stops on the road to help out just might. Carry tools that can do many jobs — pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches, a hammer, duct tape, electrical tape, and a sharp knife can do the trick for many roadside fixes.

The Ten Below Winter Road Warrior Deluxe Emergency Kit ($160) has tools and other survival equipment. There are other budget options out there too, or you can make your own.

At the minimum, carry a Leatherman or similar multitool, which can get you through numerous minor repairs. Don’t forget to have spare fuses and a jug of coolant for longer trips in your emergency kit.

Spare Tire & Jack

person changing to spare tire on the side of snowy road

Does your car have a spare tire and a jack? Be sure you have both, as well as a tire iron. Check your spare regularly to ensure it stays properly inflated. Know how to change a flat.

In some cases, a can of foam sealant will get you out of a pickle if you run over a nail. At a minimum, it will let you drive to a safe place to put on your spare tire or get somewhere where help is available. And using a sealant is faster and simpler than changing a tire.

Fix-a-Flat injects a mix of sealant and air to inflate your tire. The 16-ounce size will work for most cars; a 22-ounce can is available for larger pickups and SUVs. Bear in mind that there isn’t enough product to fully inflate the tire. You’ll have to add more air from another source, such as a portable inflator.

Please don’t drive more than 100 miles without getting a permanent repair or replacing the tire. The same rule applies if your spare tire isn’t a full-size replacement. The maximum recommended speed for a donut spare tire is 50 mph and not farther than 70 miles.

Food & Water

emergency survival kit and go pack | winter emergency car kit essentials

It might take some time for help to arrive, and snacks keep you occupied and quell some of the complaints from the back seat. (Consultant Jim Cobb said he keeps a jug of water, paper cups, and snack mix in a cooler in the back of his family van.)

Be sure to leave plenty of space in the water jug to allow for expansion in freezing temperatures.

Entertainment

It may sound trivial, but you could end up sitting for hours while waiting for a tow truck. Have a paperback book or a deck of cards in your emergency car kit to pass the time. If children are in the mix, double up on the entertainment supplies to keep kids occupied in the idle wintertime.

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stuck in big pile of snow

Frequently Asked Questions

What should be in a winter emergency kit.

A winter emergency kit for the car is crucial because getting stranded in freezing temperatures is downright dangerous. Hence, keep a winter emergency kit inside your vehicle with the following articles:

  • Battery booster cables or portable jump starter
  • Portable shovel
  • A bag of kitty litter or sand
  • Ice scraper
  • Portable power supply to recharge your cell phone
  • Blankets (boots, gloves, and a warm hat are also helpful)
  • First-aid kit
  • Spare tire, jack, tools, and tire sealant
  • Hazard triangles and/or LED flasher to warn approaching drivers and mark your location
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Water and non-perishable food

What Should I Carry in My Car During the Winter?

It’s always helpful to keep vital emergency supplies in your car. Stow these items in your vehicle, and you’ll be ready for almost any winter mishaps on the road.

  • Bag of sand or kitty litter for traction on slippery surfaces
  • Hazard triangles and/or LED flashers to warn approaching drivers and mark your location
  • Working flashlight
  • Blankets and extra cold weather clothing
  • Water and snacks
  • Basic tools and duct tape
  • Spare tire, jack, and tire sealant
  • Portable jump starter or jumper cables

What Are Considered the Top 5 Survival Items?

The following survival items are ranked in order of priority. Keep these important items handy for emergencies.

  • Proper clothing
  • A means to light a fire
  • Survival knife or Leatherman tool
  • Plastic whistle
  • Personal first-aid kit

What 10 Things Would You Pack in a Survival Kit?

A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic things you may need in an emergency. The most critical items in your kit are enough food and water for several days to cover you, your family, and your pets.

That said, here are 11 more essential items that you should include in your survival kit:

  • Basic tools or Leatherman tool
  • Flashlight and spare batteries
  • Manual can opener
  • Survival knife
  • AM/FM radio powered by batteries, solar panel, or hand crank
  • Supplies for your pet
  • Books, games, puzzles, and other activities for children

Writer and editor Sean McCoy

Sean McCoy is the Editorial Director of GearJunkie, and 5+ other AllGear websites.

He has been writing about hunting, fishing, trail running, camping, skiing, and more for 15+ years.

Prior to GearJunkie, he was the chief photographer for the Virgin Islands Daily News and former editor-in-chief for GearJunkie. Based in Denver, Colo., McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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PreparednessMama

Food Storage, Gardening, and Self-Reliance for Busy Moms

Winter Travel Car Kit – Don’t Leave Home Without It

By PreparednessMama on July 12, 2018 * 6 Comments

Your Winter Travel Car Kit Can Take the Unexpected by Storm.

I’m a big baby when it come to traveling in the snow so for me winter travel can be stressful, you never know what kind of conditions you might have to face. I thought it would be a good idea to review the items you should have on hand in your winter travel car kit. There are still several months of icy, rainy, and snowy conditions left to tackle.

Make sure you have a winter travel car kit | PreparednessMama

If you are stuck in your car for hours, waiting for the snow plow, these simple items will come in handy. Even two hours spent waiting in your car can make for a pretty uncomfortable, chilly time.

“The key to staying safe during winter travel is to be prepared, and the best way to be prepared is to have a winter survival kit right in your car ready to go at that moment you become stranded, a good survival kit is one that will keep you warm and safe.” says Matt Hehl of AAA.

PreparednessMama’s Winter Travel Car Kit Suggestions  (at Kit.com)

  • A full tank of gas
  • Boots and warm socks (if you usually wear dress shoes)
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Ice scraper
  • Shovel (the small fold up kind)
  • Signal flares
  • Matches / Lighter
  • Jumper cables
  • First Aid kit
  • Pocket hand warmers
  • Water (1 to 2 gallons)
  • Food (protein bars or other easily storable food)
  • A NOAA Weather Radio

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Known as the “Voice of NOAA’s National Weather Service,” NWR is provided as a public service by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), part of the Department of Commerce. NWR includes 1025 transmitters, covering all 50 states, adjacent coastal waters, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Pacific Territories. NWR requires a special radio receiver or scanner capable of picking up the signal. Broadcasts are found in the VHF public service band at these seven frequencies (MHz):

If you don’t have time to put together a full fledged car emergency kit , these important items, selected especially for winter, will come in handy as you travel this season. Don’t leave home without your winter travel car kit!

What other items would you add to a basic winter travel car kit?

diy winter travel kit

January 21, 2016 at 9:22 pm

love the article, maybe check out our video on same subject https://www.facebook.com/aarmed.ca/videos/1556006861326530/?theater

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February 17, 2016 at 6:24 pm

I thought it would be a good idea to review the items you should have on hand in your winter travel car kit. Where such information?

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April 19, 2016 at 1:09 pm

I agree that you should have all of these items in your emergency road kit. However, one thing I would like to add is having a spare tire. That way you do not need to get towed in a snow storm.

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February 19, 2018 at 6:52 am

A spare tire and a tool kit should be added to that list. If one knows how to change tires, no need to wait for help in the cold then. This is only if tires are flat. In any ways all those items on the list should be present in a car.

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October 20, 2018 at 10:01 am

This will help a lot. Thanks for sharing

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February 6, 2019 at 3:46 am

Winter has adverse effects on vehicles. During this time the roads become covered with snow and ice. Therefore it is difficult for the drivers to drive in the snow covered road. So, it is necessary to use winter tires in the vehicles which can provide better grip on the snowy road surface.

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A Girls Guide to Cars

14 Crucial Items for Your Winter Travel Emergency Kit

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Winter Travel Emergency Kit

I’m a warm weather gal, but these 14 items are still crucial for your winter travel emergency kit.

After all, you never know when freezing weather will strike!

I live in South Texas so snowy, icy roads are something I see on TV or hear my friends in Northern states talk about. Every time I know I’m going to need to drive in colder climates, I take extra measures to prepare. If you’re traveling to a cold weather climate this winter—or if you’ve recently moved to a location where people don’t consider 65 degrees Fahrenheit chilly winter weather—these tips on what to put in your winter emergency kit for travel are especially for you. 

And it’s also handy for any cold weather veteran who needs a refresher on what needs to go into the car when the mercury starts dropping. This is a great time of year to take stock of what you need to put in your car to tide you through the colder months. Whether you’re going on a road trip or just driving across your city when it’s snowing, you just never know what’s going to happen. 

This list of 14 things that need to go in your emergency kit for winter travel will help keep you safe and cover all your bases.

1. Blankets

Blankets will come in handy if your car breaks down and you have to wait for help in the cold. It will get cold fast if you can’t turn on your car’s heater.  This is a great reason not to toss or donate your old bed linens when you redecorate.

You don’t need designer or coordinated blankets for car blankets. Just roll them up, stick them in, and make sure you’ll be cozy!

Related: Holiday Road Trips: Why Fly When You Can Drive?

Winter Travel Emergency Kit

2. Extra Outerwear – Coats, gloves, mittens, and hats

Winter weather can be unpredictable. If you find yourself stranded and you’re not dressed properly (i.e. evening wear), you’ll appreciate being able to grab extra outer garments if you need them. I also recommend you have a pair of galoshes or other sturdy footwear for this same reason. 

I have a bag of winter clothes in my car for myself and anyone who frequently rides along with me. Coats, hats, gloves, boots, wool socks—even snow pants if you live in an extra-blustery area.

3. Flashlight + Extra Batteries

Darkness comes earlier in winter. If you run into car trouble, you can use your flashlight to troubleshoot in low light. You can also use your flashlight to signal for help. While there are some flashlights designed for all those purposes, any old light you have laying around will do.

Don’t forget to check your batteries periodically and replace as needed. Keep some spares in your purse, since cold batteries are used up faster than warm ones.

Related: Road Trip Hacks You Need To Know Before Hitting the Road

4. first aid kit.

You can purchase a prepared first aid kit or assemble your own. Make sure you have bandages, medical tape, antiseptic, scissors, disposable gloves, and tweezers. And, you need a first aid kit in your car all year around. If you don’t have one now is the time to get one. If you do have one, this is a great time to check things over and make sure you’re well stocked.

For specific winter purposes, think about investing in a mylar emergency blanket; air-activated hand, foot, and body warmers; waterproof matches; and an instruction manual on how to handle emergencies like hypothermia, frostbite, and snow blindness.

5. Bottled Water and Non-perishable Food

If you’re stuck somewhere and have to wait for assistance, you’ll want to make sure you’re able to stay nourished and hydrated. Granola bars, protein bars, and packages of nuts or trail mix all make great, high-protein choices.

If you are a parent or routinely travel with kids in the winters, throw in some extra, kid-friendly snacks. Most kids like fruit gummies or Goldfish Crackers. Stock up. No one wants to be stranded, but being stranded with hangry kids is the worst.

Related: Be Prepared: Winter Emergency Kits

Winter Travel Emergency Kit

Photo: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

6. Speaking of Small Humans

If you have kids, make sure to stock your car with whatever is going to keep them comfortable in the event you’re stranded or stuck in the snow. What you need will vary based on your kids’ ages. You’ll need extra diapers and wipes for babies and for older kids, and you’ll want to make sure you have enough battery power and charging cables to keep their devices going.

7. Road Flares or Reflective Triangle

Snow can reduce visibility, even during daylight hours. If you have to pull over, a reflector or flares can help you be seen and keep you safe. Having a reflective vest can also be a smart idea for anyone working on the car during snowy conditions.

8. Jumper Cables

Cold weather can affect your battery. If you can’t start your car, you won’t be able to use the heater to stay warm. Not everyone who offers to render help is going to have jumper cables on them, so make sure you have them to expedite getting back on the road again. There are also self-starting jumper cables connected to high-powered batteries that are worth looking into for just these kinds of emergencies.

Related: 8 Killer Tips to Pack a Car for the Best Holiday Road Trip

Winter Travel Emergency Kit

Photo: Daniel on Unsplash

9. Phone Charger and Extra Power Supply

If you’re like me, you rely on your car’s power to keep your phone charged. I always have a cable in my car and this is a good habit to get into. It’s also handy to have an extra, charged power supply. If your car won’t run you don’t want to have a dead phone on top of that.

10. Cat Litter

This can help your tires gain traction if you get stuck in the snow. Rock salt or sand can work here, too.

11. Snow Shovel

If you’re pulled over during a snow storm, you will need a shovel to keep your car visible to rescue teams. Make sure to keep your exhaust pipe and the area around your tail lights clear. Some snow shovels can be deconstructed or collapsed for easy storage.

12. Ice Scraper/Snow Brush

Even people who live where there’s mild winter weather will experience frost or ice on their windshields in the morning. 

If you’re trying to get into your car during a deep freeze or an emergency, you won’t want to waste time—or your battery—waiting to defrost your windshield. Invest in a good scraper and brush and you won’t mangle your credit card by using it as a makeshift scraper. 

Winter Travel Emergency Kit

Photo: Anastasia Vityukova on Unsplash

13. Extra Windshield Washer Fluid

Be sure your washer fluid has antifreeze components to prevent freezing, and make sure you keep your windshield clean. 

Check the ratings on windshield washer fluid, too. Some winter fluids aren’t rated for extreme temperatures. If your area is prone to those dangerous cold snaps, make sure you’re ready for it.

14. Sunglasses – Not just for summer

The sun’s reflection on the snow can be extra bright and cause painful glare. They’re less fashion and more function in the winter, so keep those sunnies in your console during the winter months, too!  

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Winter Car Emergency Kit

snow covered trees hang over a plowed two lane road, winter sight

What to Keep in Your Car or Truck in Case of an Emergency

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Emergencies can happen to anyone. Prepare for the worst-case scenario (especially in wintertime) by keeping the following supplies in your winter car kit!

Whether you run out of fuel, puncture a tire, or slip off a snowy road, a car emergency kit can help you get back on the road safely and quickly.

In addition to the items listed below, keeping a  cell phone  on hand is highly advised. Ensure your phone is charged every time you get in the car, and keep a spare cell phone charger and a rechargeable battery pack in your emergency kit.

Read Next

Are you prepared for the next blizzard, winter travel tips from a weather expert, power outages: what to do before, during, and after an outage, car emergency kit list.

Keep the below items in a bag in your trunk. Ideally, we’d suggest keeping these items in a clear, plastic container so it’s easy to see and locate everything. You can buy a pre-packaged kit or create your own. 

Minimum Supplies:

In an emergency, in addition to a full tank of gas and fresh antifreeze, the National Safety Council recommends having these with you at all times:

  • Blankets, mittens, socks, and hats
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Flashlight, plus extra batteries (or a hand-crank flashlight)
  • Jumper cables
  • First-aid kit (band-aids, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, antiseptic cream, medical wrap).  See a first-aid kit checklist .
  • Bottled water
  • Multi-tool (such as a Leatherman multi-tool or a Swiss Army knife)
  • Road flares or reflective warning triangles
  • Windshield cleaner

Extra Supplies for Frigid Weather

Add the items below to your emergency kit for those in wintry, snowy areas. (If it’s balmy all winter where you live, be thankful that you don’t need all of this stuff!)

  • A bag of sand to help with traction (or a bag of non-clumping cat litter)
  • Collapsible or folding snow shovel
  • Tire chains and tow strap
  • Hand warmers
  • Winter boots for longer trips
  • Sleeping bag for longer trips

Note: Salt helps with de-icing driveways and roads. (Excess salinity can damage vegetation and contaminate groundwater, however. So, with this in mind, salt your driveway only when you must, and try not to use more than necessary.)

Other Essentials:

  • Small fire extinguisher (5-lb., Class B and Class C type) in case of a car fire
  • Tire gauge to check the inflation pressure in all four tires and the spare tire
  • Jack and lug wrench to change a tire
  • Rags and hand cleaner (such as baby wipes)
  • Duct tape
  • Foam tire sealant for minor tire punctures
  • Rain poncho
  • Nonperishable high-energy foods include unsalted and canned nuts, granola bars, raisins and dried fruit, peanut butter, or hard candy.
  • Battery– or hand-crank–powered radio
  • Lighter and box of matches (in a waterproof container)
  • Scissors and string or cord
  • Spare change and cash
  • Paper maps

someone scrapping a frozen windshield in a winter storm

Be Prepared for Winter Driving

Before You Go 

  • If you must travel, make sure you share your travel plans and route with someone before you leave.
  • Do not leave your car if you become stranded in bad winter weather. Don’t try to push your vehicle out of the snow. Light flares are in front and behind the car, and make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow, mud, or any object.
  • Make sure tires are properly inflated.
  • Keep your gas tank filled above halfway to avoid a gas line freeze-up.
  • Avoid driving when you have the flu, which can reduce your reaction time almost six times as much as moderate alcohol intake. 

Winter Driving Tips

  • Beware of black ice. Roads may look clear, but they may still be slippery.
  • Stuck without traction and lacking sand or cat litter? You can take the floor mats out of your car in a pinch, place them next to the tires, and slowly inch the car onto and across them.
  • Make sure windows are defrosted and clear. And be sure to clear snow and ice from the vehicle’s top! Gently rub a small, moistened, cloth bag of iodized salt on the outside of your windshield to prevent the ice and snow from sticking.
  • To restore proper windshield wiper blade action, smooth the rubber blades with fine sandpaper to remove any grit and pits.
  • Fog-proof your mirrors and the inside of your windshields with shaving cream. Spray and wipe it off with paper towels.
  • Increase the following distance to 8 to 10 seconds. 
  • Avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy, and snowy weather.
  • Do not use cruise control in wintry conditions.
  • Look and steer in the direction you want to go. Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
  • Know whether you have antilock brakes, which will “pump” the brakes for you in a skid.
  • If possible, don’t stop when going uphill.
  • Signal distress with a brightly colored cloth tied to the antenna or in a rolled-up window.

See more cold-weather tips provided by  AAA .

What do you have in your car emergency kit? Let us know in the comments. (Thank you to our readers who have made suggestions, which we have added to the above list!)

Learn More

To see what weather’s in store for your area, see our free  two-month extended forecasts or check out your local 7-day forecasts .

Be sure to find out what to have in your home emergency supply kit , too!

Catherine Boeckmann

diy winter travel kit

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In the car emergency kit: Flashlight, sleeping bag, small tent, lighter, snow boots, work boots, reflective jacket and rain gear, sweater, thermal gear, jacket, cleaning rugs, telephone charger, umbrella, hat (sun and winter hat), blanket, first aid kit.

Okay, I'm supposed to keep some bottled water in my car's emergency supplies. How do I keep the water from freezing? Probably not. So, how do I thaw the frozen water in the bottle? Tucking it inside my jacket to have me warm the water is reducing my body heat. Not a good idea. I'll have to test if the iron oxide (rust) hand warmers (so no fuel to dry out, or smell up my car from hand warmers that burn fuel) can thaw the frozen bottled water.

You can keep water warm by placing it into a cooler in the winter time.

Just read on Car and Driver that juice boxes or pouches are best, as they don't freeze.

Keep a phone charger in your car. Also, it might not hurt to keep one of the battery powered chargers in the car as well - and make sure the batteries are good.

Have a METAL coffee can, bucket, or something comparable in your car. If it has a lid, fill it 1/2 full of sand (if no lid, put sand in a sealable container so it doesn't spill and fill your can/bucket when needed). Place 2 or 3 hurricane candles (or any long burning candles you might have) in the sand and light them (have a minimum of 10 candles).The reflection of heat from the metal and sand WILL heat your car... this will also save you gas, and provide sufficient light for a passing motorist to see, and keep your water from freezing.

You should always have an emergency tool to break the windows & cut seatbelts with in case you're trapped in the car! Also, you might consider having a small, portable, camp toilet & bags, in case you're stuck in the car for any length of time, & toilet paper. Also camp chemicals to break down the waste so it won't stink!

Your headrest ..if you pull it out ...you can break a window ...that's why are made like that

Just wanted to add: Fix a flat Ice pick Paper, permanent marker/pen (to leave a note) Battery jumper machine (cig lighter hook in) Fire starter log Hand sanitizer

I have traveled alone for many years. As a Mom, my kids insisted on me being safe. So I have 90% of the suggested items but in addition I also carry a small, self opening tin of ham, crackers, paper towels I took off the Rolland folded flat in a zip lock bag.

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The Old Farmer's Store

Caitlin Houston

A Connecticut based Life and Style Blog

DIY · October 23, 2017

DIY Winter Emergency Kit for Your Car

When most people hear that my family and I are moving from Georgia to Connecticut, they can’t believe we are going to brave the winter weather. I used to be a pro when it came to driving in the snow and ice but now, I can’t lie that I’m a little bit afraid of what’s to come. It’s important that I have a winter emergency kit for my car in case something happens when I’m out with the girls (or even alone). 

diy winter travel kit

I’ll never forget the time I was in high school driving home during a snowstorm in winter.

As I tried to creep down a steep hill, my tires began slipping and my car did a 360 degree turn in front of a group of kids getting off the school bus. Fortunately, no one was injured as my car came to a stop in a snowbank. I had to call my Dad to come pick me up and while I waited in my car I was cold, hungry, and scared. Knowing what happened twelve years ago has helped me to create a winter emergency kit for my car.

A DIY winter emergency kit for your car is easy to assemble.

The items you’d find inside can be personalized to your preferences, but here are a couple must-haves.

Roadside Flare or Triangle Reflector

Tire Pressure Gauge

Jumper Cables

Ice Scraper

diy winter travel kit

For my winter weather emergency kit for the car, I’ve added a blanket , water bottles, a few snacks, duct tape , mini tool kit , mini first aid kit , and a can of flat tire repair . Other helpful items would be a small shovel, hand warmers , or rain poncho.

diy winter travel kit

Aside from the winter weather emergency kit, your car will need a little prep for the extreme winter weather it may find itself in the middle of come January. I’ve outfitted my Honda CR-V with a full set of weather ready tires.

diy winter travel kit

Whether it’s rain, snow, sleet or shine, winter weather tires will have you prepared for all the elements.

When I’m driving with my daughters, I want to feel safe and in control of my car. Between the winter emergency kit and my weather ready tires, I am confident to face any kind of winter storm.

diy winter travel kit

If you’re unsure of where to find your tire size, look on the sidewall of your tires, on a sticker on the driver-side door jamb of your vehicle, samsclub.com, or in your owner’s manual. Once you have your new tires, don’t forget to assemble a DIY Winter Emergency Kit for your car !

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What should I pack in my winter car survival kit?

It's easy to forget just how serious winter travel can be after weeks of mild weather. Winter in rural parts of northern England and Scotland means that simple car trouble could become a matter of life or death during winter storms. Meteorological winter starts on 1 December and finishes at the end of February, but ice and snow often persist outside of those months, so it's a good idea to have a winter car survival kit in the car from late autumn to early spring.

As well as considering the list below, make sure you start any long journey with a full tank of fuel, check all of the fluid levels under the bonnet and the tyre pressures, and text or call whoever you're setting out to travel to so they know you're on your way. That way they can raise the alarm if you don't arrive when expected and can't send for help yourself.

What to put in a winter emergency car kit:

  • Sand If you have a rear-wheel-drive car this one does double duty. A bag or two adds weight over the driven wheels for better traction. If you do get stuck, a couple of handfuls thrown down under the tyres can quickly get you on your way again.
  • Shovel After a snowstorm, or worse yet, after a snow plough buries your car, you're going to need a serious implement to dig it out. Perhaps more importantly, if you skid into a snowbank, it may be the difference between getting home or getting frostbite. You'll find lightweight plastic shovels on the internet or at your local DIY store.
  • Warm Clothing/Boots  Chances are you commute to work, or head to the shops without dressing for an Arctic exhibition. That’s fine, but if the weather takes a turn for the worse, or you break down or get stuck, you are going to appreciate a warm jacket, gloves, a hat, and warm winter boots. Pack for the whole family before you go on a holiday road trip.
  • Space blankets  These tin foil-like blankets you see marathon runners wrapped up in fold up small enough to pack several in the glove compartment – and they work. If you break down or get stuck and have to stay in the car and wait for help (which is safer than going out into the cold dark night), these may save your life.
  • Flashlight  You should always have a small LED flashlight in your car. They take up hardly any room, and are super useful. LED bulbs use very little power, but still make sure the batteries are fresh and pack a spare set just in case.  

Digging out car stuck in snow with a shovel

What else should I include in my winter car survival kit?

  • Candles and Matches Yes, this might be the 21st century, but there are many reasons to pack a few candles, including light, heat, and melting snow for drinking water. Pack a few into a tin can with one end removed to use as a candle holder, and to scoop up snow to melt.
  • Brightly Coloured Ribbon If your car gets stuck on the side of the road, or in a snowdrift, tying a ribbon to the antenna will make it easier for tow trucks, snow ploughs, and police to spot it.
  • Warning Triangle Some cars come with these in the boot as standard when new. If not, buy one and use it to warn oncoming traffic (or rescuers) of your predicament.
  • Whistle or Air Horn  You are going to want to get attention if you are stuck in a ditch in Cumbria. A loud whistle or air horn (or even a bell) can be heard easier than you screaming for help, especially after the first few screams.
  • Snacks  Pack something high in energy and non-perishable, such as trail mix or energy bars. When the temperature drops your body burns up a lot of energy just staying warm, and you'll appreciate having a snack while you wait hours for a snow plough or a tow truck.
  • Portable Loo Not a nice thought, but nature will take its course. So make sure you have a receptacle to take care of the liquids – his and hers are available.
  • Hand Warmers These little chemical wonders are great. Once activated, the chemicals inside react to produce heat; not enough to start a fire, but enough to thaw your digits.
  • Permanent Marker & Paper  If you have to leave your car on the side of the road, or in a parking space because of breakdown or bad weather, you’ll want to leave a note for the authorities on top of the dashboard or under a wiper blade. Use a marker with ink that doesn’t wash off easily, so any note you leave will be legible, even if it gets wet.
  • Power Pack  Everyone has a mobile phone in their pocket and a charger in their car, right? But what if the car battery goes flat and you have to leave the car to go on foot? Be sure to have a booster battery and charging cable – you don’t want to be stranded in white-out conditions with no GPS and no way to call for help.
  • Jump Leads  Of course, you had your battery tested for cold-cranking ability under load at your last oil change, right? It takes more energy to turn an engine when the temperature is low and the oil is thick, but at the same time, a battery has less power when the temperature drops. Having jump leads and knowing how to use them is neighbourly. Getting a boost, or giving one can mean the difference between having a merry Christmas or waiting in the snow for a tow truck.

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2024 storm names UK

Where do storm names come from? Every year, The Met Office, Met Éireann and KNMI (The Dutch national weather forecasting service) jointly compile a new list of alphabetical storm names.

What storm is coming next? Here's the named storm list for 2024:

  • Storm Agnes          
  • Storm Babet          
  • Storm Ciarán          
  • Storm Elin          
  • Storm Fergus          
  • Storm Gerrit         
  • Storm Isha          
  • Storm Jocelyn          
  • Storm Kathleen          
  • Storm Lillian          
  • Storm Minnie          
  • Storm Nicholas          
  • Storm Olga          
  • Storm Piet          
  • Storm Regina          
  • Storm Stuart          
  • Storm Tamiko          
  • Storm Vincent          
  • Storm Walid

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diy winter travel kit

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How to Make a Simple DIY Winter Emergency Car Kit

DIY , Family , Travel Tips

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Sanford and Son Junk Cars. All opinions are my own.

Preparing for unpredictable winter road conditions is easy with a simple DIY winter emergency car kit . Winter weather can turn bad on a dime and it’s important to have an emergency kit in case you get stranded—no matter where you live. Check out my top tips—number 9 is my favorite.

title card showing a winter emergency car kit

Nowadays, no one is exempt from extreme weather patterns…even if you live in the South. Just this week, even Florida received some snow!

And who can forget the time, back in January 2014, when the entire metro Atlanta area turned into something out of the movie Frozen -with thousands of people stuck on roads with no where to go!  Many people abandoned their vehicles and even more were forced to sleep in their cars overnight! Some children even ended up sleeping in their school buses!

It’s important to remember that winter weather can turn bad very quickly.

So, what can you do if you find yourself in a situation where you’re stuck on the road?

Well, of course stay calm and conserve fuel / supplies but most importantly be prepared ahead of time by creating your own DIY Emergency Winter Car Kit.

DIY Winter Emergency Car Kit

Disclosure: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links, thanks for your support!

1) Blankets

During the winter months, I always keep 2 individual fleece blankets in the back seat. My girls love to snuggle them and it keeps them warm while they wait for the heat to reach the desired temperature. But I also keep a larger blanket in my Winter Car Kit. This assures me that I have a blanket for myself and husband to share that’s not covered in cheerios.

2) Water Bottles

Water is an important item to keep your car no matter what the season. Hydration is key for everyday health but especially if you’re in survival mode.  Don’t be caught without water on hand!

3) Hand warmers and feet warmers

Hand warmers and feet warmers are great to keep warm. You can find them at any sporting goods store or online of course. Slip the hand warmers into your gloves or pockets and the feet warmers into your shoes and VOILA-you’ve got a mini instant heater!

4) Non-Perishable Snacks

It’s always good to keep non-perishable snacks in your car (granola bars, energy bars, low-salt trail mix, beef jerky). Remember, you want healthier choices that are higher in protein for more sustainable energy as well as those with less sugar and salt which will make you thirsty.

5) Cell phone battery pack

In the event that you’re stranded for hours, you’ll want to use a cell phone battery pack. Then you can charge your phone and not worry about keeping the car engine on.

Again, this is something all car emergency kits should have but especially if you’re stranded in bad weather.

7) Flashlight

In case you’re stranded overnight or in the early evening hours when the sun has already set, you’ll need a flashlight so you can see in the car.

8) Magazine, deck of cards, travel game, coloring book/crayons

Be sure to pack some things to entertain everyone in the car while you’re stranded. Magazines, cards, coloring book/crayons don’t take up much room and can entertain multiple people for hours. Additionally, the coloring books will help keep everyone relaxed and calm.

9) Travel Potty

Years ago, when my daughters were potty training, I bought the Potette travel potty and we still use it when we’re on road trips! (Update September 2020–we still use the awesome Potette, especially now during Coronavirus.  Check out my post about Tips for Stress-free Travel during Covid-19)

It’s kind of like a camping toilet—it’s a fold-up seat, and you stick a plastic bag underneath. It’s fantastic when you’re in the middle of nowhere and someone decides they “need to go right now!” Or….if you’re on the road the rest stop toilets are less than desirable. But adults can use it too, so if you’re in an emergency situation you have a way to relieve yourself within your vehicle. (It works best if your car has a large back like a station wagon, mini van, or SUV).

10) Optional—a small foldable shovel

This applies for states that definitely get snow….If you’re stranded in a blizzard, then you’ll want to make sure your exhaust pipe stays clear and is not covered in snow. Or else you’ll breathe in carbon monoxide when you turn on the car. So keep a small foldable snow shovel in the back to help keep your exhaust clear.

(Sponsored) Preparing for unpredictable winter road conditions is easy with a simple DIY winter emergency car kit. Winter weather can turn bad on a dime and it’s important to have an emergency kit in case you get stranded—no matter where you live. Check out my top tips—number 9 is my favorite. #winterstormprep #carkits

To Review….

What to include in your winter emergency car kit

  • Water Bottles
  • Hand warmers, feet warmers
  • Non-Perishable Snacks
  • Cell Phone Battery Pack
  • Magazine, deck of cards, travel game, coloring book/crayons
  • Potette travel potty
  • Optional: small, foldable shovel

Looking for more On-the-Road tips?

Check out these travel-related posts:.

How to Travel Safely and Stress-Free During Covid-19. 

Stop Sibling Bickering -Even in the Car – with this Simple Trick!

My favorite MESS-FREE activities for Road Trips

Must-Have Items for a Stress-Free Day Trip

Stay safe this winter!

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Don’t forget…

And if you’re worried your car may not be able to handle winter weather, live in the Atlanta area, and are ready to sell it, then be sure to visit Sanford and Son Junk Cars. They are the premier buyer of junk cars in the metro Atlanta area. Their competitors are networks with random towers whom they haven’t met. They in turn give out personal information for a fee. Everyone from the phone representative to the tower is a trusted individual, licensed, insured and most importantly an employee of Sanford and Son Junk Cars. They have been buying cars in the metro Atlanta area for decades and understand the importance of trust, comfort and safety in this process. The company also understands the importance of speed and efficiency. Sellers of junk vehicles sometimes need cash for very important life events or maybe just local code enforcement issues or the apartment leasing office wants that car off the property. Whatever the reason may be, Sanford and Son understand this is personal and want to make your experience as positive as possible.

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How to Make a Simple DIY Winter Emergency Car Kit

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Be Prepared With a Winter Car Emergency Kit

Check out the features before buying one, and don’t shy away from adding to it

black car on side of wintery road with caution sign and emergency kit next to car

A winter car emergency kit is a must for the drivers in your family, including yourself. 

Winter weather could leave you stranded, but a well-stocked emergency kit can help you get back on the road or at least make time waiting for assistance safer and more comfortable. 

We recently bought a few winter emergency kits online to gauge what they offer and how useful they might be in a pinch. The kits we bought cost between $50 and $85. See our  reviews of these kits , below.

These may seem pricey, but as we found out, you’d probably spend more to build your own kit with the same items. Although building your own kit allows you to choose heavier-duty items tailored for your specific needs, the portable size and convenience make premade kits appealing.

We purchased the AAA kit from Amazon, but we were able to find it for less at lowes.com; the other kits were bought at  survival-supply.com .

Among these kits, our team favors the Winter Cross Country Kit for its organization and the All-in-One Winter Roadside Kit for its large variety of helpful gear that struck us as more robust than the items in the other kits we bought. The kits we bought are presented below in order of price, from least to most expensive.

Shop Car Emergency Kits on Amazon

Winter car emergency kits typically include:

  • Battery booster cables.  You’ll want these in case you wind up with a dead battery or you need to help someone else with a dead battery. Alternatively, a  portable jump starter  is very easy to use and works well, but it needs to be kept charged to work on the road.
  • Ice scraper.  Every car in the snow belt should have an ice scraper and a brush. Cheap scrapers are commonly found in the kits. It is better to carry a combination snow brush/scraper that makes clearing snow before traveling easier. In some states, clearing your car of all snow is the law. Even where it’s not, it’s just common courtesy so that your blowing snow doesn’t impair another driver’s vision.
  • Portable shovel.  These are handy for digging out a car buried by plows or stuck along the roadside, and for clearing space around a tailpipe for extended idling, to prevent fumes from entering the car. Most kits come with a collapsible shovel. (The shovels come in a range of sizes and strengths.) If you’ve ever had to dig out your car before, a full-sized shovel might be in order because compact shovels can be difficult to use on big jobs. Also, keep a bag of sand handy in your trunk to help boost traction.
  • Items to help if you’re stranded.  Most kits come with a flashlight, and some include a signaling cone to warn oncoming cars of your presence. Pack backup batteries for that flashlight. Roadside triangles should be in every kit, and a reflective safety vest comes in some kits.
  • Basic first-aid kit.  Most emergency kits have one for the bare essentials, such as attending to a small cut. Add things that suit specific health needs, and be aware of how temperature may affect medicines.
  • Cell phone charger.  Almost everyone carries a smartphone attached to the hip nowadays, and a cell phone charger is a good thing to keep in the car, especially during the winter and on road trips.
  • Other common items.  Things such as gloves, a blanket, a rain poncho, wipes, and rags can help you stay clean and shield you from the elements. It’s a good idea to keep a pair of boots and a hat in the car, particularly if you’re often driving in snowy conditions.

Need New Tires for Winter Driving?

Check our car, SUV, and truck tire ratings .

Other items that come with kits may be handy, depending on your needs and skills:

  • Tow strap.  A simple tool, a strap can be essential if you ever need to be pulled out of a ditch. Know how much weight the strap can tow (reputable straps have that information printed on a label) and how to tether it to the appropriate part of a car before using it. Read your car’s owner’s manual for recommend practices for using a tow strap, such as using a detachable tow hook to use a tether. 
  • Fire extinguisher.  It’s good to have if you need to fight a small fire, but if your car is on fire, back off and wait for the emergency help. If you buy an extinguisher, make sure it is intended for automotive use.
  • Water and long-lasting food.  They’re always good things to carry, particularly on long trips. Think granola and protein bars; bottled water will usually last for six months before it needs to be replaced.
  • Items for handling a flat tire.  Some kits come with an aerosol can of tire sealant that can temporarily fix a tread puncture. Be aware that these products may not work well in extreme cold weather (check the directions), nor are they intended for large punctures or tires with sidewall damage. Our tip here is to use a spare tire if one is available, or call roadside assistance for a tow.

Lifeline AAA Premium Winter Safety Kit

Price paid: $49.97 This is the smallest kit we purchased. Despite its tidy dimensions, the soft case includes many of the things we recommend, including a flashlight and batteries, an ice scraper, a light strobe, an emergency whistle, candles and a fire starter, and basic first-aid supplies.

Photo: Consumer Reports Photo: Consumer Reports

A quality metal folding shovel is included; it seems tough enough to dig out of hard-packed snow. (Some other kits have a plastic shovel that’s better suited to soft snow.) Another nice touch: The kit comes with fleece gloves, a hat, and a scarf. There are no battery booster cables with this kit, but a AAA membership brochure for roadside assistance is included.

CR’s take:  This is a good basic kit with many essentials. The compact size is good for cars of all sizes. Prices vary, but we found it at lowes.com for the lowest price.

Ultimate Winter Car Emergency Kit

Price paid: $64.95 This basic kit has most of the winter-driving essentials. Included are battery booster cables, a tow rope, a flashlight (batteries included), candles with matches, a collapsible shovel, an ice scraper, a blanket, gloves, and hand wipes.

Photo: John Powers/Consumer Reports Photo: John Powers/Consumer Reports

The gear is packaged in a carry case with a nonskid bottom, two zippered compartments, and storage pockets. It won’t take up much room in a car because it’s sized like a bowling ball bag. It comes with a safety manual that offers good tips on winter driving and what to do in case of an accident or a flat, or if you’re stranded. Since we first evaluated this kit, the manufacturer increased the roadside-assistance program to three years, and raised the price.

CR’s take:  This kit is a good choice, but add your own first-aid kit and a triangle reflector. We found it at  survival-supply.com .

All-in-One Winter Roadside Kit

Price paid: $69.95 The large bag would suggest that the kit comes with more stuff than some of the smaller kits, but most of the space in the duffle bag is eaten up by a big portable snow shovel with a sturdy handle, suitable for most snow conditions.

Included are a tow strap, an ice scraper with a protective sleeve, battery cables, a flashlight and batteries, a light stick, a reflective triangle, a high-visibility highway blanket, a rain poncho, hand warmers, work gloves, a first-aid kit, a distress flag, a space blanket, a reflective vest, a utility knife, and a can of tire sealant. Although it wasn’t listed on the website, ours came with a versatile 14-in-1 pocket tool.

CR’s take:  This kit has a good mix of quality supplies to support winter driving, and the duffle bag has room to add more supplies. We found it at  survival-supply.com .

Winter Cross Country Kit

Price paid: $79.95  An expanded version of the Winter Car Emergency Kit, this one adds a triangle reflector, a first-aid kit, tire sealant, and some tools. However, it lacks hand warmers and an ice scraper.

We like that the kit has a rain poncho and a reflective vest. A plastic bag with bandages, gauze, and alcohol wipes constitutes a very basic first-aid kit. You may want to pack additional medical supplies. The soft carrying case is well-designed, with integrated reflectors and compartments and pockets to keep things well-organized. There is ample space in the bag to add more equipment. Like with the Winter Car Emergency Kit, you can register for a roadside assistance program (one year of coverage, covering up to three incidents), and there is a safety manual with good tips on winter driving. It also has a nonskid bottom to prevent the bag from sliding around in your car.

CR’s take:  It’s almost complete for tackling most winter driving situations, but add your own ice scraper and hand warmers. We found it at  survival-supply.com . 

All-in-One Car Emergency Kit

Price paid: $85.95 Think of this as an all-season assistance kit, loaded with useful gear for year-round emergencies, but it’s clearly not assembled specifically for winter driving. There is no ice scraper, snow shovel, hand warmers, or the like.

What you do get is the customary battery booster cables, a tow rope, a flashlight and batteries, a space blanket, work gloves, a poncho, and a first-aid kit. A portable air compressor can be useful for topping off your tires, and there is a tire sealant can to temporarily fix a punctured tire. A multipurpose fire extinguisher can be used to put out small fires before they get out of hand. We like the inclusion of a large reflective triangle, a 12-hour chemical light stick, and a distress flag. Bonus points for its duct tape and utility knife. Three bags of potable water are included. It all comes in an average-sized backpack. In addition, the kit has been updated since we last purchased it to include personal protective equipment, including a pair of vinyl or nitrile gloves, one face mask, and a packet of hand sanitizer.

CR’s take:  This is a good general-purpose emergency kit, but complete it with an ice scraper, hand warmers, and other winter-driving supplies. We found it at  survival-supply.com .

A well-stocked emergency kit can help you and your passengers face unexpected challenges. You can’t prepare for every possibility, but kits like these can help drivers solve problems, reach out for assistance, and keep occupants safe. We suggest always carrying  a tire-pressure gauge for routinely checking your tires and a water bottle filled with extra windshield-wiper fluid.  

Winter Driving Tips

There are more than 2,000 crashes in wintery conditions. On the " Consumer 101 " TV show, Consumer Reports’ expert Jen Stockberger offers essential tips to help get you where you’re going safely.

When you shop through retailer links on our site, we may earn affiliate commissions. 100% of the fees we collect are used to support our nonprofit mission. Learn more .

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7 Best At-Home Gel Nail Kits of 2024, Tested by Beauty Experts

A perfectly glossy mani you can DIY at home.

a table full of various items

We've been independently researching and testing products for over 120 years. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our review process.

Pro 45 Starter Kit

Best Overall

Red carpet manicure pro 45 starter kit.

Salon Gel Polish Manicure Starter Kit

Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Manicure Starter Kit

1-Step DIY Glossy Gel Manicure Kit

BEST FOR TRAVEL

Le mini macaron 1-step diy glossy gel manicure kit.

Luckily, gel manis are no longer a salon-exclusive luxury thanks to at-home gel nail kits that let you DIY your own mani in the comfort of your home. To find the best gel nail kits, our pros in the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty, Health & Sustainability Lab started by vetting the most popular products on the market, only considering those with clear ingredient labels that follow the FDA’s Cosmetic Labeling Requirements . All of our picks below are compliant with these requirements.

Then, we tested eight at-home gel nail kits and reviewed each product's packaging, including ingredient and warning labels, giving preference to products that clearly advise avoiding skin contact to prevent irritation caused by methacrylates (a known allergen and skin sensitizer included in every gel polish). We've designated which products lack these warnings below.

Editor's Note : Traditional UV gel nail polishes use methacrylate polymerization technology to obtain the long lasting, chip-resistant coating. While the 2005 Cosmetic Ingredient Review Report ruled methacrylates “safe as used in nail enhancements products when skin contact is avoided,” the study concluded that these ingredients are known to be skin sensitizers, so skin contact should be avoided.

We love the professional-looking results this Red Carpet Manicure kit gives. N ot only does the polish in this kit stay on nails, it's also fast and easy to apply . "The detailed instructions are very helpful and the products that come in the kit are easy to use and seem to be good quality," an Amazon shopper reported. "I've done two manicures now and they've lasted me a whole two weeks (and could have lasted longer)."

Reviewers say it's perfect for beginners, too, since "it has everything you need," including polish essentials (such as base and top coats plus nail color), nail prep must-haves (like cuticle oil and cleanser) and tools (like nail wipes, wood pushers, cuticle stick, buffing strips and nail file), plus remover and foil wraps for when it's time to take off your manicure .

Take note that reviewers do warn that the color pictured may not be the one you get in the box, but still say the well-stocked kit is worth the coin. Our Beauty Lab found that the label does not clearly state to avoid skin contact, so use with care.

LED light: Yes | Nail polish colors included : 1 | Claimed dry time: 45 seconds to three minutes

best gel nail polish kit

Beloved nail polish brand Sally Hansen's gel kit is budget-friendly, fast and efficient. The included LED light is compact but "super convenient, even though I was hesitant about getting a smaller lamp," one reviewer noted. "It's the perfect size," which makes this kit ideal for anyone who doesn't mind drying their nails one by one in exchange for a smaller footprint. The brand claims the three-step manicure kit lasts up to 10 manicures, which means this comes in at less than $5 per mirror-shine, glossy gel mani.

Heads up: This kit isn't as well-stocked as others on the market and only comes with one nail polish shade, so you won't have a ton of options. That said, it does come stocked with cleanser pads, base coat, top coat, gel polish remover, cuticle stick, buffer and an alcohol cleaning pad.

LED light: Yes | Nail polish colors included: 1 | Claimed dry time: 30 seconds

best gel nail kits

A pint-sized lamp and carry-on friendly polish removing wipes, mini nail file and micro cuticle stick make this adorable gel nail kit perfect for a mani on the go. Its macaron-shaped light is the smallest lamp of those we evaluated and claims to cure nails in 60 seconds (it automatically turns off after the cure time for each nail, making the process pretty foolproof). Of course, the tiny footprint means you'll have to cure each nail individually which may make for a more time-consuming mani.

The travel-friendly device is USB-powered, so you can plug it into a computer or a phone charging adapter for power. This set only comes with one nail polish (which matches the color of the included lamp). Without a base coat or a top coat, we still found just two coats of polish will do. "I love that you don't need base and top coats," said one reviewer. "The UV lamp is too cute for words. Not only that, it is very effective and cures gel polish and semi-cured strips very quickly."

LED light: Yes | Nail polish colors included : 1 | Claimed dry time: 60 seconds

best gel nail kit

CND Gel Basic Kit

Gel Basic Kit

This basic kit has exactly what you need and nothing else, making it perfect for DIY pros who may already have nail accessories. The muted neutral tones are on trend and reviewers feel that this brand "does not damage the nail," saying, "you can easily remove it." This kit is minimal with just a base coat, top coat and polish included, so it's best for anyone who already has a full nail kit at home.

If you're looking to expand your gel polish arsenal, though, our pros say this is your pick — there are tons of colors to choose from. It also comes with a lamp and various converters for different areas of the world, making this a great option for travel too. We wish application directions were included in the kit, and we also found that these formulas contain several ingredients that only have minimal health and safety data for use in cosmetics.

LED light: Yes | Nail polish colors included : 2 | Claimed dry time: Not listed

best gel nail polish kits

Gelish Pro Kit

Pro Kit

Gelish has a wide range of gel nail polish colors to choose from (more than 200!) , and this kit comes with everything you need to get started. The brand claims that the polish cures under the included LED lamp in 45 seconds and removes in under 10 minutes with the included artificial nail remover. This kit comes stocked with helpful extras, and reviewers say this is the ultimate beginner-friendly buy: "This kit had everything needed to apply gel polish at home," from base and top coats to cuticle oil and polish remover and more. "They even give you nail sticks with sand paper to smooth and prep the nails."

The kit comes with the full suite of Gelish must-haves, from its prep formulas pH Bond (which removes excess oils from the nail for a longer-lasting finish) and Foundation (an adhesive base coat that the brand claims protects the nail). It also comes with Top It Off, Gelish's high-shine top coat that the brand claims "will not dull, chip or peel," a cleanser to remove any lingering sticky residue and Nourish cuticle oil to finish it all off.

Reviewers swear "it looks like professional gels when applied," but "unlike salon polish, it is very easy to remove without damaging nails." The tradeoff, they say, is that this polish only lasts one to two weeks instead of three to four weeks, as some salon gel polish might. Some components of the kit contain ingredients that only have minimal health and safety data for use in cosmetics. We also wish that the light was a little larger.

LED light: Yes | Nail polish colors included: 2 | Claimed dry time: 45 seconds |

best gel nail kits

Dazzle Dry Mini Kit 4 Step System

Mini Kit 4 Step System

If you're on the hunt for a gel-like polish without the curing process, look no further than Dazzle Dry. Unlike any other nail polish, this four-step system goes on like regular polish but lasts as about long as gel, and it doesn't need a light to cure. "It's completely replaced gel polish for me," one of our editors shares. "And it really does completely dry in just five minutes. My nails feel so much healthier when I wear this instead of gel."

This kit comes with nail prep, base coat, top coat and nail reviver. We love that it can be removed with acetone nail polish remover from the drugstore, rather than needing to soak off like traditional gel. Note that the consistency of this product is a little thicker than other polishes, so there's a bit of a learning curve to applying it just right.

LED light : No | Nail polish colors included : 1 | Claimed dry time: 5 minutes

Manucurist Green Flash Slim LED Gel Nail Polish Kit

Green Flash Slim LED Gel Nail Polish Kit

Finally, a peel-off option that doesn't require the harsh soaking and time associated with most gel manis. The Manucurist's formula doesn’t include the common methacrylates (which give the long-lasting finish found in traditional gel manicure kits), but instead claims to be made with up to 84% natural ingredients that make for a finish that's much easier to remove — without acetone.

We found that the resulting mani doesn't last as long as traditional gel manicures. "It started peeling way before the 10 days claimed," our tester said. However, she was impressed by how much easier the polish was to remove, thanks to the kit's included clips that keep the included dissolvent in place rather than clumsy foil wraps. A reviewer added, "you get all the benefits of gel without the nail damage or lengthy and messy removal. Lasts about a week for me, but since it’s so easy to remove and redo, not an issue at all."

One kit comes stocked with three color polishes, a base coat and top coat, a collapsible LED lamp and dissolvent — plus, those fan favorite clips to aid in removal. You can also choose between a 24-watt lamp for manicures in 30 minutes, or the brand's premium 36-watt lamp for 10 minutes faster drying.

LED light : Yes | Nail polish colors included : 3 | Claimed dry time: 20-30 minutes

How we test at-home gel nail polish kits

best gel nail kits

In the GH Beauty Lab, our Beauty Lab pros first assessed ingredient safety by checking eight popular options against the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) database , which classifies substances based on whether or not they may be carcinogenic, and California’s Proposition 65 Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 databases , which provide a list of substances that are known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. From there, we also reviewed, if available, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) safety assessments final reports for any ingredients that were red flags from our initial scan of the three databases.

After thorough review of eight gel nail kits currently on the market, we found the ones that will give you gorgeous results and that you can feel good using, knowing they've been thoroughly vetted for safety by our pros, based on available data to date.

What to look for when shopping for a gel nail kit

This is an image

While all types of at-home nail kits essentially pay for themselves after one or two uses, the options can range from professional quality to beginner-friendly. When shopping for one, "it should have everything you need in it, including the lamp, as kits should be used as a full set from the same brand for best results," advises Julie Kandalec , a celebrity manicurist and Julie K Nail Academy founder. Here's what else you should seek out for the best DIY gel manicure results:

✔️ Lamp : If you're just starting out and don't already have a lamp, be sure to check the kit contents to see if there's an LED or UV lamp included since that's needed to cure the polish.

✔️ Gel nail polish: Of course, your kit should come with at least one polish in a shade you like. We recommend buying any additional polishes from the same brand to ensure compatibility with the light from your kit as well.

✔️ Additional polishes: Some kits come with more than one color for versatility. We also like when a kit comes with both gel base and top coats for the longest-lasting DIY manicure.

✔️ Manicure accessories: Depending on what you have and what you need, look for useful extras like files, buffers, cuticle pushers, cuticle nippers, nail brushes or even nail art accessories and tools.

Are at-home gel nail kits safe?

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As long as you know what to look for and what to avoid , and you "don't peel off your gel," says Kandalec. We recommend that at a minimum, gel nail kits should contain packaging that meets FDA Cosmetic Labeling Requirements with a proper ingredient label on the primary packaging for the safety of the consumer. Here's what else to keep in mind when shopping:

shopping for gel nail polish kits

✔️ Purchase gel nail kits from reputable retailers and brands. Based on our analysis, we found that some products sold on third-party retailer sites posed a safety concern to consumers as they did not have proper ingredient labels on primary packaging, did not clearly state the name and place of business and/or had misspelled ingredients on the ingredient label, which does not meet FDA Cosmetic Labeling Requirements. We suggest purchasing UV gel manicure kits from trusted brands like the ones included above, and, when shopping at third-party retailers like Amazon, be sure to check that the item is being sold by a reputable storefront or a verified brand marketplace.  

✔️ Avoid skin contact when applying gel polish. Almost all of the ingredient labels on the gel nail kits we evaluated contained at least one methacrylate monomer, a known allergen. Consumers should avoid skin contact with these lacquers due to the sensitization potential. The good news is that any sensitization or contact dermatitis can be “resolved after removal ... or discontinuing work with gel manicures," according to a 2016 literature review in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology . If any redness or irritation develops on skin or near eyes after gel application, completely remove the lacquer from the nails immediately.

✔️ Use the correct light source with your nail kit and follow manufacturer instructions. If the incorrect light source is used or if the time allowed for curing is not sufficient, higher levels of the acrylate monomers (which are allergens) may remain on the nail which can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Use kits as directed, but as a rule of thumb, use them in a well-ventilated area and keep away from heat, sun, open flames and reach of children.

Is UV or LED light better for gel nails?

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Gel nail polishes are cured using UV or LED lamps and some gel nail polishes can even use both. While both are effective, according to the International Journal of Women's Dermatology , “ LED lamps accomplish photocuring more quickly because they emit a narrower spectrum of light .

However, UV lamps are less expensive and are therefore more routinely used in the photocuring process.” It is super important to use the proper light source for the corresponding nail polish, so use the lamp your kit comes with and closely follow usage directions.

While you may immediately think of skin damage when you hear "UV," damage to skin from UV exposure during gel manicures is basically a nonissue, according to new studies. “The risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer was 11 to 46 times lower than the risks of being exposed to natural midday sunlight,” according to a 2013 study in the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology .

A 2014 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association echoed these findings, saying the average UV-A energy exposure during a typical gel manicure is low enough to be unconcerning. If you're still worried, the American Academy of Dermatology says you can apply a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher before getting a gel manicure to your hands, or put on dark, opaque, fingerless gloves.

How to use a gel nail kit

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Every kit differs and may have slightly different directions, and you should be sure to follow your kit's instructions carefully to get the best results.

Following all the steps properly as recommended will also help prevent the polish prematurely lifting or peeling, explains Kandalec. Generally, here's what to do:

  • File and buff nails until you get the desired length and shape and clean up cuticles.
  • Use the included nail cleaner/prep or wipe nails with an alcohol pad to remove any natural oils and make sure there is no residue left on the nail.
  • Apply the base coat and cure under the lamp (typically for 30 to 60 seconds, but defer to your kit's instructions).
  • Apply two coats of your chosen color, curing for the recommended amount of time in between coats.
  • Finish with one layer of topcoat and cure again. If nails feel a little sticky or tacky, wipe with another alcohol pad.

Why trust Good Housekeeping?

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With a background in color cosmetic development, Danusia Wnek , a senior chemist in the Beauty, Health & Sustainability Lab, has spent years evaluating nail polishes and nail treatments in the Lab and with consumers. For this article, she authored a testing report that included the results of an in-depth review of gel nail polish kits' packaging, up-to-date ingredient safety review and provided usage suggestions and safety considerations for consumers.

This article was written and updated by Deputy Editor Jessica Teich , who has over 10 years of experience formally researching, testing and writing about beauty products. She regularly works with the GH Beauty Lab's scientists to write about the very best nail products on the market, according to their testing data. A lover of nail polish, gel and otherwise, she wrote this article based on the findings from Wnek's report and by gathering additional recommendations from prior Beauty Lab evaluations.

Beauty Assistant Catharine Malzahn formerly updated this article. She works closely with the Beauty Lab to help deliver fact-based, science-backed beauty coverage. Over the years, she has interviewed experts, written product reviews and tested hundreds of nail products including various polishes, formulas, art and more. You'll likely never see her without her nails done.

Headshot of Jessica Teich

Jessica (she/her) is a deputy editor at the Good Housekeeping Institute and a longtime product tester, reviewer, writer and editor of beauty and lifestyle content. She has over a decade of industry experience, previously as beauty editor at USA Today' s Reviewed where she launched the Beauty vertical and tested hundreds of products and has covered trends for publications like The Boston Globe and The New York Times. You can usually find her sorting through piles of beauty products — and testing the best ones on camera. 

Headshot of Catharine Malzahn

Catharine (she/her) is the beauty assistant at Good Housekeeping , Woman’s Day and Prevention, working closely with the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab to write science-backed beauty content. She was previously an assistant beauty editor at Group Nine Media and returned to Hearst in 2022 after having held editorial internships at Harper’s Bazaar and CR Fashion Book. Catharine received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Headshot of Danusia Wnek

Danusia (she/her) is a senior chemist in the Beauty, Health and Sustainability Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute where she evaluates haircare, skincare, cosmetics and beauty tools. She holds a B.S. in chemistry from St. John’s University and a M.S. in pharmaceutical sciences with concentration in cosmetic science from the University of Cincinnati. Danusia has over 10 years of experience in the personal care industry including formulation, product development, claim evaluation and efficacy testing. 

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IMAGES

  1. Winter Survival Kit Tags Free Printable

    diy winter travel kit

  2. Snow Day Survival Kit: Homemade Holiday Inspiration

    diy winter travel kit

  3. How to Make a winter survival kit

    diy winter travel kit

  4. Winter Survival Kit

    diy winter travel kit

  5. 13 Things You Need in Your Winter Car Survival Kit

    diy winter travel kit

  6. DIY Travel Survival Kit #MyPureRelief

    diy winter travel kit

COMMENTS

  1. 13 Things You Need in Your Winter Car Survival Kit

    Make sure your car kit contains a small LED flashlight with fresh batteries. Flashlights are a godsend for changing flats, or to see under the hood to find any quick fixes. And once the sun sets, you'll want something to illuminate the interior of the cabin for writing down notes, phone numbers, etc. And in some cases, you can use the ...

  2. 33 Items To Build A DIY Winter Emergency Kit For Your Car

    This should be a staple in any car, any time of year. Pick a first aid kit that will satisfy you and your family's needs. Your first aid kit should include various size bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment, and wrap. All the things you may need if you cut your hand changing your spare tire.

  3. How To Build A Winter Car Emergency Kit Before The Cold Hits

    2. Windshield Scraper and Brush. In winter, you'll need a tool to remove snow and ice from your vehicle's roof and windshield. A good, heavy-duty scraper and brush with a long handle will save you a lot of time and effort. It will also make visibility easier, keeping it out of the ditch in the first place.

  4. Ultimate Winter Car Emergency Kit: Be Prepared for Cold Weather

    Having an emergency winter car kit isn't just a smart move; it could genuinely be a lifesaver when things get rough out there. Understanding Winter Travel Challenges Winter driving presents a medley of challenges: navigating through snow and ice, dealing with reduced visibility due to fog or blizzards, and the looming possibility of road ...

  5. DIY Winter Emergency Car Kit ~ FREE Printable PDF Checklist

    Winter Emergency Car Kit Supply List. Get a large tote that you can keep in your trunk for your emergency kit. Check the dates and supplies before each season, rotate supplies as needed. A Box of Small Trash Bags- you can use bags to cover your feet or hands to help protect from snow and trap body heat.

  6. How to build a winter emergency kit (and why you should)

    4. Keep your eye on the weather. Here is a selection of websites that will let you do just that. You might also want to make a note of a local weather station and news site: Weather.gov. Weather ...

  7. Essentials for a Winter Car Kit

    Food with a Long Shelf Life. Pack a few cans of easy-open beans, protein bars, a small unopened jar of peanut butter, and a bag of crackers. Bring along several bottles of water on the day of travel, but store these separately because they may freeze if left in your vehicle on cold days.

  8. 14 Essentials for Your Car's Winter Survival Kit

    Credit: Amazon. A portable jump starter is an essential part of your winter survival kit, and this one includes some bonus features. It's advertised as having 1600 amps of peak current, which can ...

  9. 21 Things You Need for a Winter Car Emergency Kit

    Winter gloves. Go with a waterproof, ultra-warm option. Knit cap or beanie. Prevent heat loss with an insulated cap, preferably waterproof. Socks. An extra pair of socks is never a bad idea, particularly if you aren't wearing weatherproof shoes during an emergency. Winter boots.

  10. DIY Winter Driving Vehicle Emergency Kit: Things You Need To ...

    DIY Winter Driving Vehicle Emergency Kit: Things You Need To Stay Safe When Winter Weather Turns BadI am not a fan of Winter, having spent too much time on t...

  11. Winter Survival Kit: 25 Items to Stock in Your Car

    First aid kit: A comprehensive kit to treat your injuries until help arrives. Flares/reflective flags: Alert other drivers of your disabled vehicle. Jumper cables: Cables allow you to jump-start your battery if it dies. Seatbelt cutter/glass breaker tool: Helps cut jammed seatbelts or break glass.

  12. Winter Emergency Kit: What to Keep in Your Car

    An emergency kit will help you handle most common situations that pop up during winter trips. Bad things happen, and being prepared for them is the best way to get back on the road quickly. Roadside emergency kits carry the necessary items to help you get back on the road quickly. You can either but a pre-assembled kit, or assemble your own.

  13. Winter Driving Kit: What to Include in a Do It Yourself Winter Road

    Tool kit: pliers, screwdrivers, wrenches/sockets (SAE-metric), hex/star key set, duct tape. Telescoping power wrench. For changing a flat, this power wrench is much easier than using a car wrench. Snatch block + 3/4" shackle. To use with tow strap and Come-Along. There you have it.

  14. Winter Emergency Car Kit: Carry This Gear for Cold-Weather Driving

    The Ten Below Winter Road Warrior Deluxe Emergency Kit ($160) has tools and other survival equipment. There are other budget options out there too, or you can make your own. At the minimum, carry ...

  15. Winter Travel Car Kit

    Your winter travel car kit can take the unexpected by storm As we prepared to travel for the holiday season, we thought it would be a good idea to review the items you might carry in your car while traveling this season. ... DIY Preparedness - Get Ready One Project at a Time says: February 1, 2016 at 8:39 am […] Emergency Car Kits and Winter ...

  16. 14 Crucial Items for Your Winter Travel Emergency Kit

    Rock salt or sand can work here, too. 11. Snow Shovel. If you're pulled over during a snow storm, you will need a shovel to keep your car visible to rescue teams. Make sure to keep your exhaust pipe and the area around your tail lights clear. Some snow shovels can be deconstructed or collapsed for easy storage. 12.

  17. Winter Car Emergency Kit

    In an emergency, in addition to a full tank of gas and fresh antifreeze, the National Safety Council recommends having these with you at all times: First-aid kit (band-aids, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, antiseptic cream, medical wrap). See a first-aid kit checklist. Extra Supplies for Frigid Weather.

  18. DIY Winter Emergency Kit for Your Car

    For my winter weather emergency kit for the car, I've added a blanket, water bottles, a few snacks, duct tape, mini tool kit, mini first aid kit, and a can of flat tire repair. Other helpful items would be a small shovel, hand warmers, or rain poncho.

  19. Winter Car Survival Kit: What to Pack

    Candles and Matches Yes, this might be the 21st century, but there are many reasons to pack a few candles, including light, heat, and melting snow for drinking water. Pack a few into a tin can with one end removed to use as a candle holder, and to scoop up snow to melt. Brightly Coloured Ribbon If your car gets stuck on the side of the road, or ...

  20. Building Your Car's Winter Emergency Kit

    you're in good hands®. select a product to get a quote. Select a Product. Keeping a winter car emergency kit could help save your life during Denver's cold winters. Here are some things to include.

  21. How to Make a Simple DIY Winter Emergency Car Kit

    Preparing for unpredictable winter road conditions is easy with a simple DIY winter emergency car kit. Winter weather can turn bad on a dime and it's important to have an emergency kit in case you get stranded—no matter where you live. Check out my top tips—number 9 is my favorite.

  22. Winter Car Emergency Kit

    Ultimate Winter Car Emergency Kit. Price paid: $64.95. This basic kit has most of the winter-driving essentials. Included are battery booster cables, a tow rope, a flashlight (batteries included ...

  23. 7 Best At-Home Gel Nail Kits of 2024, Tested

    A pint-sized lamp and carry-on friendly polish removing wipes, mini nail file and micro cuticle stick make this adorable gel nail kit perfect for a mani on the go.Its macaron-shaped light is the ...