Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter supplies

Now is the time of year, especially with the Christmas holiday approaching, that the local news paper or local news has a segments on what you should carry with you for traveling in inclement weather. Below is my list which is probably more complete and useful.

  • Blanket - one per person
  • Snacks - some chips, candy, jerky or other snacks like food that won't go bad in case you are stranded
  • 1 quart oil - doesn't everyone have one of these in their trunk
  • Jumper cables - You will need to know how to used these. Even if you don't need them for your self you can be the hero as it seems no one carries these anymore.
  • Warmers - The hand and foot warmers that heat up when they are exposed to air. These work great as I use them when hunting and am out side for weeks on end in the cold weather.
  • Hat
  • Mittens/gloves
  • Tow chain or tow rope - Yes I have one of these, if you get stuck hopefully a 4WD truck or 4WD SUV comes by and can help pull you out. Then I suggest giving the person some cash since they did stop and pull you out of the ditch. This is a lot cheaper than getting a tow truck to pull you out which charge like $75 to hook up your car. I have even helped pull people out of ditches a couple of weeks ago with my Jeep who got stuck.
  • A full tank of gas - It doesn't have to be full but keep it above half a tank. I see an awful lot of people who are stuck on the side of the road because they ran out of gas and now are walking to a gas station.
  • Some cash - Keep $40 or so in cash in your car in small bills. It is nice since things seem to get bad when you are out in the middle of no where with limited services and they don't take credit card. Often gas stations require a cash deposit to use a gas can as well.
  • Flash light with working batteries
  • Some basic tools - If you work on your own car you probably have a good idea of what the most used tools for it are. Typically this is a couple of screw drivers, and a handful of wrenches. I know BMW's have a little tool kit in the trunk that has this but I don't know if other vehicles do as well but I wouldn't be surprised if Mercedes do as well.
  • Tire chains - If you are getting into some deep unplowed snow this will make your car go like a tank. Being from Minnesota you would think that they would be common here but they aren't. Most people think they are banned in this state but they aren't according to MN Statute 169.72
  • Ice scrapper
  • Windshield washer fluid (the non freezing type)
  • Shovel - Those folding military/camping shovels work great for tossing in your trunk.
  • Flash light.
  • 40lbs sack of rock salt - Some people use kitty litter but I like rock salt better as it will provide traction like kitty litter but will also melt ice. Just get a 40lbs sack of the rock water softener salt. If you don't need it during the winter then you can go dump it in your water softener. If you have a rear wheel drive vehicle I would suggest two 40lbs sacks, one over each rear wheel. 
  • Some fire starters - In case you are stranded for a long time having a fire for warmth might be nice if you are off in the woods.
  • First aid kit
  • Something to drink - Everyone suggests water, but that just freezes, bottles of pop freeze at a much lower temperature so instead of having a frozen block of ice you might actually have something to drink. Don't have cans of pop as when they freeze they will just burst and then you have a sticky mess so get plastic bottles.

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