Make Your Own Winter Survival Car Kit

Last winter, we didn’t put together a winter survival kit though we probably should have.  Most of our trips were into the mountains and we were staying for the weekend.  This meant that not only did we have all of our ski gear (gloves, hats, ski pants, jackets and more) but we also had enough snacks and water that we could probably live in our car for three or four days.  I wasn’t too worried about getting stuck somewhere because we had what we needed if an emergency happened.


This year, most of our mountain ski adventures are going to be day trips.  We will leave around 6am, ski for a few hours, and then drive back to Denver around 1 or 2 in the afternoon.  There is a good chance that we will encounter snow, heavy traffic and more.  I hadn’t even thought about making our winter survival car kit for our first winter season trip into the mountains last month but I was in a bit of a panic as we hit a big snowstorm.  It was pretty difficult to see while we were driving on the road and all I could think about was the fact that I was completely unprepared in case of an emergency.

As soon as we got home that afternoon (even though the afternoon ended up being gorgeous), I started researching winter survival kits for the car.  I found several that were pre-made and easy to purchase but they included a lot of things that we already carry in the car like jumper cables.  I didn’t want to spend money on what I didn’t need, so I put together my own kit.

What did I include in my winter survival car kit?

Mylar blankets

Window Cleaner – I want to note that our window cleaner is an important thing for me because our windshield gets so dirty that it is dangerous to continue driving even just to find a gas station.  We spent last week in the mountains and our window cleaner was frozen solid when I went to use it!  I need to do some research and find a cleaner that won’t freeze in my car!

Paper towels

Water bottles for each member of the family

Snacks for each member of the family


An old pair of gloves in case a tire needs to be changed

Kitty litter

Seatbelt cutter/window breaker (I keep this in the center console of my car)

I put all of these items in a box that stays in my car throughout the winter season.  In addition to the these items, I also have my homemade first aid kit that I always keep in my car.  In addition to the winter survival kit, I also have another bag that I throw in the car if we are going to be leaving the Denver metro area and heading into the mountains or somewhere else where we might encounter snow.

That bag includes:

A small shovel

A blanket

Window scraper

What is in your winter survival kit?




  1. 1
    Jennifer Parham says:

    This is great advice. You might try putting some of that window washer fluid that is a defroster in a spray bottle, it doesn’t freeze. Also your seatbelt cutter should be kept near the driver’s seat in case of emergency. It doesn’t do much good in the trunk. I keep mine in the door pocket of the driver’s side door. I used to keep a heavy duty sleeping bag in the trunk during the winter too.

    • 2

      Hi Jennifer! Thanks for pointing that out. I have my seatbelt cutter in the front seat. I don’t know why I listed it under the box contents. I will fix that in the post! I like the idea of the windshield fluid in a spray bottle. If we are going away for more than a day, I will sometimes throw the bottle in the car and we have it anyway. Great tips!

  2. 3
    Nicole Stanley says:

    Useful tips!!!A car breakdown in the dead of winter can be dangerous if help isn’t immediately available. This emergency car kit list includes all the items that is needed to keep warm and safe, one should also not to forgot to add the tools that is needed to dig car out of snow and ice.

    • 4

      Hi Nicole! I did mention that we keep kitty litter and a shovel in our car. I didn’t say that our ridiculously large scraper is always in the car. What are some other items that I should add to the list?

  3. 5

    A seat belt cutter/window breaker is a great idea! We lost one of our vehicles to fire in November so we’ve since added a fire extinguisher to our emergency kit. Something I never would have thought to add before but an item I wouldn’t want to be without from now on.