Now that we are closing out one of the worst years in recent memory, it's probably a good idea to make sure our winter preparedness is up to snuff. That is, at least until the ball drops on New Year's Eve because 2020 seems like it's going to go out kicking and screaming. The winter travel season is here, and it's best to have some supplemental pack in your vehicle just in case you get stranded out there on the road. A couple of good points to remember before we get into kit setup: Keep up on the maintenance of your vehicle(don't wait until the steel is showing to change out your tires if at all possible); the aid kit in your survival kit is separate from the Vehicle First aid kit; 1 gallon of water on hand; packing blanket; having chains/ tow strap/road flares/engine starter or jumper cables all in working condition and accessible.
First and foremost, you need to answer a few questions so that you're not turning your vehicle into a home 2. There is such a thing as carrying TOO MUCH. We want you to think through the problem, so it will be vitally important to make your own assessment based on your unique situations.
Where are you geographically?
Does the climate in your region dip below freezing, or does it remain cold and wet but above the freezing point?
Urban or Rural environment?
How long do you generally travel daily, is it just to and from work, or are you regularly taking trips that would require days to travel if by foot?
Do you generally travel alone, or do you have children with you?
Author Situation: Single male, living in an urban area of the Pacific Northwest. When not flying for work, all commuting is within 10 miles of home.
Winter Supplemental Bag
Vertx Commuter sling bag secured in vehicle with Pacsafe 85 Steel mesh:
Fire starting kit: 8-10 Vaseline cotton balls in a plastic bag stored in Altoids tin, steel wool, lighter, waterproof matches, Ferro rod & steel(all this fits in a sandwich bag)
Waterproof military Poncho (Surplus)
Waterproof bib overalls (Dick's Sporting goods)
Wool Beanie and extra earmuffs
Cold Weather gloves
One extra pair of heavy-duty winter weight wool blend long socks
Paper map in 1 gallon clear Ziploc bag
1-liter steel single wall container
2x 20' lengths of 550/parachute cord
Two snickers marathon bars and 3-4 endurance gels
This kit is light and suffices for everything now in the winter months. Additionally, there is always an extra pair of heavy-duty hiking socks and a pair of Gore-tex boots in the vehicle, and a cold weather, waterproof jacket in the car for inclement weather. This setup is for the author alone.
Critical factor analyses: If traveling much further distances, it would be wise to supplement a cold-weather sleeping bag, sleeping pad, additional water, and food. One's boots and outerwear must be tailored to the harshest of the weather being traversed. The load-outs need to be tailored to the individual's ability to carry for, however, many days of walking or rather how many days it would take for storm crews to find you in your stranded vehicle. It's always best to stay in the car and let people know where you're going and when you should arrive. Thankfully 2020 is coming to a close, but don't let it bite you on the way out. Stay prepared and think before you act.