Winter Auto Kit

  By: Orion

  I’m constantly amazed at how many people around this area just jump into their automobiles, whether it be a car, truck, SUV, van, mini-van, 4X4 or 2wd, family in tow in –45o weather, totally unprepared for a breakdown. Some of these folks have lived ‘round here all their lives, KNOW it can get cold and miserable here in the winter, but don’t think anything can happen to them, or if it does, they’ll just call for help on their cell phones. That’s fine if help can get there right away, you have cellular service at that particular time and place and the battery in your cell phone is OK.

  Where I live in Alberta (kinda north central), the day can start out above the freezing mark and nosedive to well below that in a matter of a couple of hours. Highway conditions can go from bare and dry to icy in just a few minutes. An ice fog can roll in reducing visibility to nil. There are any number of things that can happen causing an accident or a mechanical breakdown.

  This is a list of what is carried in both our vehicles in the winter in the event of a breakdown or some other mishap. This kit is carried in the summer also, minus the winter clothes and boots. Jackets, hats and sturdy boots/shoes will suffice in the summer.


  1. 2 – emergency space blankets (the heavy duty type with the grommets) that my wife sewed liners onto opposite the reflective side. She used those cheap emergency blankets that you can get that are made of that synthetic mystery wool for the liners.      
  2. 2 – emergency candles (the ones with three wicks that come in a can).
  3. 1 - Coleman Survivalcat 800 btu propane heater with 2 16.4 oz. cylinders. (They come with a carrying case, stand, waterproof matches and 2 mylar space blankets).
  4. Strike anywhere matches in a waterproof box.
  5. 2 – Bic lighters.
  6. 2  gallon insulated jug of water (comes into the house at night in winter).
  7. Esbitt stove and trioxane tabs.
  8. 8 – hand and body heat packs (chemically activated type).
  9. Stainless steel pot for heating water.
  10. Instant soup mix, instant coffee, tea and kool-aid, power bars and beef jerky, stored in a Tupperware container.
  11. Heavy plastic mugs (5).
  12. Lexan fork/knife/spoon sets (5).
  13. D cell Maglite (6 D in truck, 5 D in van).
  14. 14” Gerber hatchet.
  15. Buck 110 folding knife.
  16. Tool kit.
  17. Spare fan belts.
  18. Oil, transmission fluid & brake fluid in 1 liter bottles, 1 of each.
  19. 1 – roll of duct tape.
  20. 1 – tube of Plumber’s Goop.
  21. Booster Cables
  22. 20 ft. tow strap
  23. 12v air compressor
  24. Fire extinguisher.
  25. Emergency flares.
  26. First aid kit.
  27. Heavy gloves.
  28. Cat litter in a plastic box.
  29. Small snow shovel.
  30. NATO folding shovel.


This all fits in a 45 liter Rubbermaid container with a snap-on lid in the van (except the cat litter and shovel). In the truck most of it is carried in a mortar box that fits under the rear seat (extended cab GMC). What doesn’t fit in the box fits behind the back seat. The first aid kit for the truck slides into a bracket that I devised for it that is mounted between the rails of the driver’s seat. The shovel is mounted to the inside of the pickup box and the cat litter is in a box in the back.

  We also carry a cell phone on trips.

Everyone brings a heavy winter coat, lined snow pants, wool toque, mitts and winter felt lined pack boots.

We also take our get home bags, plus our everyday carry.

  In the truck, because, when not in the office I’m usually working far out in the bush, (most of the time on my own) I also keep an old single-shot, 22 rifle and ammo.

  This may seem like a lot of stuff, but I’d sooner have it and not need it than the other way ‘round!