Winter and Fall are beautiful seasons filled with an abundance of thrilling activities. From hiking through the changing leaves to sledding down remote hillsides, these back to back seasons are simply a blast. However, like most things in life, Fall and Winter have a dark side. Frigid weather and blasting winds can create quite hostile conditions that, without proper gear, can be extremely dangerous.
In most cases, you are probably only driving from your house to Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte or to the grocery store. Although, as adventurous as you all are, I know you’ll want to venture further and further out to find the perfect forest of amber and burgundy or that untouched hill of shimmering snowfall. All of that sounds amazing I know, but before you take that long unfamiliar drive into the forest, there are a few things we think you should bring, just in case.
Emergency Blanket and/or Jacket
Whether you are stranded or just plain cold, it never hurts to through in an extra warm jacket or blanket. Especially with families, kids are often under prepared and that extra coat will be perfect for them. You might just have to wait in your car for a while too and not want to waste gas blasting the heater. Either way, in any situation an extra jacket and/or blanket can be the perfect remedy.
First Aid Kit
Hopefully, this one is obvious and you already have one in your car. Regardless of the situation, a first aid kit is always useful to have. You might happen to scrape your finger and need a bandage or something worse. It always seems easier to get hurt in the winter when you are cold, stiff, and shivering. Maybe you are checking the engine out and your hand slips because you are so cold. Now you have a cut from some jagged piece of engine medal but luckily you remembered to bring a first aid kit. Or maybe you just happen to get a paper cut and just want to put a bandage on it. In any case, you should always have one of these in your car.
Flashlight w/Extra Batteries
Again, this is helpful for any season of the year. Get a flat at night? Use a flashlight. Dropped something under the seat? Use a flashlight. Trying to find your car in an unlit parking lot? USE A FLASHLIGHT. There are just so many different needs and uses for a flashlight, emergency or not. They are just so helpful, especially since the sun sets much earlier in the fall and winter. So just get one.
Simply put, if your car battery dies wherever you are, this is what you need. It’s a simple task of finding a good Samaritan to give you a jump and you are on your way.
This one’s a little more specific in its uses. For the most part, you probably won’t use it unless you get stuck in the snow. However, it could very well be used to dig a hole in the event of a bathroom emergency. Hopefully, you’ll only have to use it for snow, if at all.
Flairs, Matches, & Reflective Gear
These are all essentials in an emergency. The only time you really need to buy or have these are when you plan to go out to a fairly remote place that you haven’t been before. Another case would be if you know you have to go out in a large, dangerous storm. Matches, however, should always be in your car, especially in the winter. If you need to light a fire or signal, you basically have a flame on a stick. Oh and make sure to buy the waterproof ones. Other than that, you really don’t need to be carrying around flares on your trip to the grocery store or anything like that.
Basic Car Tools
You really should have these in your car year round. Basically, you should have a both types of screwdrivers (Phillips and Flathead), a ratchet set, an adjustable wrench, needle nose and regular pliers, wire cutters, a knife/razor, and last but not least, Duct Tape. It sounds like a lot but all of this could easily fit into a little bag or box in case of an emergency. Besides, Duct Tape is basically the temporary cure-all for cars, plus, it’s waterproof.
That’s it Really
As far as the basics go, that’s really all you need for the winter. Water and snacks should be carried year round as many things are. But overall, you should really use common sense when going out. Heading to the market? Don’t need to bring much other than your phone and wallet. Going off on a dirt road through the forest? Probably bring some extra supplies and survival gear if you get lost. In general though, stay safe, travel in numbers, and use your head. Happy adventures!
A: Ben Delamater