Winter survival

Discussion in 'Equipment & Survival Kits' started by NaeKid, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    I have lived in Canada my whole life. I have driven many of the roads through winter storms, snow to the bottom of my bumper, been stuck in places that the average person would not even attempt to visit ...

    I carry a winter survival kit with me.

    In it I have candles, a small portable camp-stove, blankets, gas-line antifreeze, gloves (mechanix gloves, felt gloves, leather gloves, work gloves), touque, first-aid supplies (basic automotive grade kit), non-freezing liquids (booze), tow-ropes, hooks, air-compressor, tire-sealant, jumper cables and a few other things that I can't think of off the top of my head.

    What kinds of goodies do you carry for winter driving survival in case of accident, sliding off of road, getting trapped in snow-storm or otherwise not being able to continue your journey?
  2. northernontario

    northernontario Well-Known Member

    Sometimes I throw in traction aids (like those unfolding metal units you can place under your tires), but I've never used them before.

    A hatchet has come in handy... breaking up ice under a section of the car that it's high-centered on.

    A spare tow-strap... cause two is better than one. And one is always a 'recovery' strap (Erickson recovery straps... and the difference between recovery and tow strap)... couple hooks and couplers if you need to use a hook on the end. They're nice because they are...
    -stretch 10-15% under load

    The stretch allows you to 'slingshot' a stuck vehicle out. The tow vehicle can build some momentum rather than trying to pull from a dead stop. Just be careful you don't rip weak tow points off of cars. Since you're in Canada... look for these at Princess Auto... they go on sale.

    Another good one... spare lug nuts/bolts (be sure they match the rims you're running... ball seat vs. cone seat vs. other). Cause you never know when one might go missing, or you drop one in the snow.

    Shovel... small, wood handle, metal blade. Fits perfectly in the trunk or back seat.

    Full size spare... if you can carry one, a full size spare.

  3. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    I have half-a-dozen of the "sling-shot" snatch-straps (2", 3" and 4" wide) for recovery. Tow points on front and rear of all my Jeeps. The problem is - many others have no tow-points at all. So, to help others (or, if I need help), I find using the "hook-style" tow-straps and hooking them into the oval hole on the side of the frame (in the wheel-well area) works well on most cars and trucks.

    I have a set of V-grip chains that get tossed in for longer trips.

    I didn't think of spare lug-nuts - I'll get a new set and put them onto my Jeep and put the old ones in my under-hood catch-all. Thanks!
  4. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

    About the same as you,
    I carry propane torch and gas bottle or two,
    Highway flairs,
    Large coffee can with smaller cans, high energy foods, candles, ect. inside.

    Never go anywhere with out long, heavy duty tow strap, cables or chains and the usual stuff, heavy sleeping bag, dry cloths, winter boots, gloves & older, but serviceable heavy jacket in case I have to walk or get out to hook up for a pull out...

    For spare lugs, I just glue them in the rim of the spare, they twist right loose when you get on them with the lug wrench, and they don't get misplaced that way!
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Amateur Radio call sign KM4GDU

    I have a set of 4 tire chains to fit my 35" tires on my jeep.

    so with the Power lock front diff and detroit locker in the rear getting stuck does not happen much.
    tow Strap
  6. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    How do you find the PowerLock in the front of your Jeep in the snow on the highway?

    I will "enjoy" my first winter with an Aussie Locker in the front and the factory posi in the rear of my Jeep. I have always had a posi in all my vehicles, my first "real" locker.
  7. fritz_monroe

    fritz_monroe Member

    We don't get a lot of snow, but have ice storms. Along with a bunch of the stuff already mentioned, I also have a Folgers can full of rock salt. A trenching tool and a snow shovel who's handle and blade detatch. I also always have an extra surplus wool blanket that I've vacuum sealed. Takes up half the space.
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Amateur Radio call sign KM4GDU

    It is great. it is a very strong Limited slip Diff. I would not use a lockright or detroit in the front for on road driving in the snow
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
  9. ke4sky

    ke4sky ke4sky

    Wool Works When Wet - I owe my life to Filson

    When I lived in the north country, besides the coffee can survival heater discussed elsewhere, I carried in the car two heavy wool blankets, two pairs of heavy boiled wool felt boot socks, a bulky wool sweater, anorak, mittens, Navy watch cap, snowshoes, axe, shovel, bow saw and railroad flares. The railroad flares enable you to get a fire going even with wet wood. This is really handy when you fall through the ice fishing, as I did in 1985. I owe my life to wearing wool and being taught by an old Finlander how to roll in the snow to absorb the water if you go into the drink, then get your muscles working to generate heat and get a fire going. This blog entry has experiments undertaken in Sweden above the arctic circle.

    Natural/Wilderness living skills - Welcome to my Blog: Submersion through ice at -30 degrees
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
  10. AgentFlounder

    AgentFlounder fan of analysis

    While I haven't lived in the wintery north like you, we have had a few blizzards. Not long after I moved up here, I experienced my first and that was in 97. It was a wake up call so I did more to get prepared.

    Any severe snowstorm and I'll be in the Jeep (hopefully) which is usually equipped with goodies for four wheeling. So... there's a shovel on the roof rack, hi lift jack, at least 1 (maybe 2) spare tires. Inside I have CB and 2m, 70cm and 6m mobile radios. I have spare fluids, parts & tools for the Jeep (cuz heaven knows you need 'em with a Jeep!). The Jeep's equipped with an on board air compressor, too.

    I try to keep some milsurp wool blankets in the truck. Right now all I have is a space blanket, a southwestern blanket and a fleece blanket. Not real substantial, frankly. Recovery gear includes a winch and winch kit, gloves, snatch strap, chain, and -- at least last blizzard, a set of Lions Grip traction pads.

    On this latter bit I ran across them in a magazine or something. they did really well during the last major blizzards (3 back to back near Christmas -- 2006 I guess?) They got tore up real easily but only after helping unstick about a half dozen vehicles. I need to get another set.

    I tooled around in all the blizzards so far without chains (rear locker, front ARB locker, and mud tires ...and a shovel... seemed to work). Last blizzard I was a volunteer for FEAT in Denver to give rides to medical personnel and patients. Felt good to be able to used my preparedness to help others. Was also able to shovel/push/pull out a few vehicles during down times.

    What I don't have, but should: extra food and water. Chains would be nice. It probably wouldn't kill me to throw a sleeping bag in there too. All this primarily to be prepared for FEAT with the secondary benefit of not having to worry about being stuck at home (although we always have days worth of food on the shelves here).

    I have not gotten around to setting up my bag of gear for FEAT this year yet but last time it was gaiters, ski pants, my hiking boots, heavy gore text ski gloves, parka shell and fleece pullover, etc. I stayed nice and warm and dry the whole time despite having to shovel myself out several times. That along with clipboard & paperwork, city map, extra clothes, hot coffee (or chocolate, I can't remember which), etc. The experience and motivation to be prepared has been invaluable.

    The other thing I need to get on the ball with is equipping our other cars. Oh... all our cars have fire extinguishers and first aid kits year round.

    EDIT: I forgot to mention my favorite really bad weather hat is a Russian ushanka I got in Moscow (well, you can mail order them easily enough... but I was there and they had one so...) Since my wife makes fun of me when I wear it, I save it for the worst weather situations :D
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2008
  11. Jagtech

    Jagtech Electronic Tech

    Don't forget the all-important cell phone... and remember that any cell phone will call 911, even if its not paid up or subscribed.
    I, too, live in winter country, in western Canada, and always carry a cell phone with the car. And emerg roadside service, which is cheap insurance.
  12. Canadian

    Canadian Well-Known Member

    Always in the car: Lots of maps, compass, first aid kit, serrated knife, riot baton, nylon sling, chewing gum, chopsticks, auction writer (that paint that car lots write on windshields with) to write a message on the car if we walk away from it, slippers, a small shoulder bag, mini mag light, snow scraper.

    Other items added: Always based upon the destination. Every trip is different.

    If you need traction in snow pull out all your floor mats and lay them down in a row in front of your drive wheels. They provide enough traction to get it moving again.
  13. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

    I don't have a 4x4 because I'd rather not get the mileage that comes along with the extra drivetrain, so I always put on snowtires in October and leave them on until May. I keep a set of cable chains in the trunk, too. I realize that the odds of me not being able to make it home are probably a bit higher than if I had a 4x4, but I keep 3 days of MREs at work just in case. During the winter I keep a half tank at all times, which will get me roughly 160 miles minimum. Admittedly, I get slack in the summer and get down to a 1/4 tank regularly.

    My current car kit goes as follows:
    hurricane matches, waterproof matches, electrical tape, LED headlamp w/ spare batteries, compass/whistle/thermometer, state maps of Colorado, New Mexico & Wyoming (should probably toss in Utah, too), can of fix-a-flat, spare fuses, shower cap, 30' 550 cord, 20' 14ga insulated wire, 35' trip wire, Leatherman, magnesium firestarter, p-38 can opener, swiss army knife, iodine tablets, space bag, playing cards, survival cards, poncho, pen, candles (4 tea lights, 4 buddy burners), 5 minute epoxy, duct tape, wire saw, baseball cap w/ visor light, fleece jacket, goretex shell, emergency jumpstarter, 5qts water, 3 MREs w/ heaters (my own composition w/1700-1900 kcal each), gatoraide mix, pepper mace, .38 special, 2C cell maglight with LED bulb, fixed blade 7" knife, signal mirror, whistle, sewing kit, fish hooks, 5 hour energy drink, 100' 1/4" rope, 25' tow strap, gloves (fingerless wool w/ liners & heavy ski gloves), polypro long johns, polypro shirt, 4 cylume lightsticks, 2 sets of hand and toe warmers, balaclava, TP, wind/rain pants, goretex socks, bandana, and $60 cash.

    In the winter I'll generally add a heavy jacket (N2B flight jacket) and my old sorels w/ wool socks.

    Obviously this is overkill for somebody just worried about sliding off the road, but my goal is to be adequately prepared so I could walk home from anywhere I'm likely to travel on a regular basis. My assumptions are I can travel 20mi./day, there's no roving zombie mobs, but obviously the taxis aren't running either or I'm stuck in the mountains. I also travel in the mountains a fair amount, so it just makes sense to be prepared to travel cross country. Besides the car related items, the remainder fits in my old firefighting line pack.
  14. AgentFlounder

    AgentFlounder fan of analysis

    I usually get 25-27 with the Subaru WRX. Not stellar but pretty decent for AWD and that kind of quickness.

    What's shower cap for? :confused:
  15. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

    My ex had one of those. Fun car and probably one of the most sensible fun cars out there for Colorado. I don't like the high center of gravity or mileage of SUVs (I saw a 1993 CSP report that showed that SUVs made up only 25% of the vehicles on the road, but were involved in 40% of the accidents on I-70), but admit that AWD would be nice once in a while. Still, when I was a deputy in Summit County we had only front wheel drive vehicles and I was never unable to respond to a call because of road conditions. AWD/4wd is a more a luxury than a necessity, IMHO, but I'm also content staying home the 1-3 days a year the roads are too bad for my little RSX (27-30 winter mpg, 29-33 summer mpg). Sure, it's not the ultimate survival machine, but it suits my needs and it's fun to drive.

    My next car, if there is a next car before we all stop driving, will be a used Prius/Civic or something else that gets 40+ mpg. I had a CRX when I was 19 and it got 50-55mpg (my record was 65mpg!). Why has mileage gone down in the last 20 years? There's not a single car made that gets that good of mileage anymore.

    The free hotel shower cap is standard in all my kits (bugout, car & bike). Silly as it may sound, they take up zero space, but hold in a remarkable amount of heat while keeping your head dry. While the poncho hood (or jacket hood) can do the same thing, they're really bad at taking out your periferal vision. Most of the time I get caught outdoors in T-storms it's when I'm on my bike, thus, putting the shower cap over my helmet keeps my head warm and dry but doesn't mess with my field of vision like it would if I had my poncho hood on. I also always have a disposable poncho with me since they take up no space in your camelbak and unless the weather is going to be bad, I like to travel light. They blow around really bad in the wind, so I usually take off my cycling jersey, put on the poncho, then put my shirt back on over it. Sure, it looks silly, but it stays out of my way and keeps me warm. ...Yep, I'm a freak... :cool:
  16. AgentFlounder

    AgentFlounder fan of analysis

    That's a good idea with the shower cap. That's what I thought it might be for but had to ask :D I agree, with the right vehicle you can get by fine with front wheel drive. Heck my wife drove the Volvo RWD car for years and did ok. It was a question of having the right tires... and some vehicles are better than others. My SE-R was really a pain to drive in the snow whatever tires I had. I never got stuck, but it was just annoying. Anyway, whatever works, I say. I think with mpg the demand for more power has eclipsed the demand for better mileage... so given that cars perform between ok and great and get ~ 30mpg I'd think they could easily make a small, less powerful one that gets 50mpg... but what do I know...
  17. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

    Well, my CRX had 58 bhp from the factory and only weighe 1700 pounds. The speed limit was 55, which probably helped some, since now that it's 75 on the highways, I'm usually doing 80. With a bike rack, bike, 200 bhp, and a 2600 pound car, I guess i should be happy my mileage is as good as it is.

    I bought the car in the midst of a divorce and wanted an ego-stroking go-fast car. Now I want something high mileage, but I'm in that tweener region where I get good enough mileage that even improving to 45mpg won't save me enough money to pay for the more expensive car unless gas tops $5.00/gallon. That's not going to happen for a while. Oil hit $40/barrel today.
  18. sea_going_dude

    sea_going_dude Active Member

    Lots of good ideas. Just remember that most sleeping bags will unzip all the way around so may be used as a good, warm, insulated blanket. Highway flares are good for starting fires anywhere and almost anytime. Already mentioned I think.

    Almost forgot windshield de-icer is great stuff. Unless ice is very heavy, just turn on wipers and spritze the de-icer on and watch the ice go away, no scrapping. super good stuff
  19. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    oil is $100/barrel & gas is $3.52/gallon (national average at the pump) today :eek:
  20. BillM

    BillM BillM

    If I travel in winter weather I usually carry a GI folding shovel, a propane one burner stove, a canteen and canteen cup , three MRE's , a book,Flashlight,space blanket, Micky Mouse boots, hat, gloves,coat, scarf,knife , lighter, cell phone, my med's and my water proof chaps.

    I can hang out for a while with this stuff.