My Basic Bad Weather Survival Kits
The Basic Winter Vehicle Kit
It seems like every winter there are news stories of people getting stranded in bad weather while driving around the UK.
Very few ask themselves this critical question: Do I really need to go out at all?
I have written many articles about how to prepare your home for a power cuts or natural or man-made emergencies, Now I want to look at how to be prepared for an emergency when traveling in your vehicle.
Keeping warm and safe
Warmth, of course, is a major concern in a cold climate and bad weather emergencies.
Since you’ll be in your vehicle, you’ll have that as protection against the elements. but extra clothing (preferably wool), some blankets, and a sleeping bag will keep you warm if you are overnight or longer.
You should keep these items in a black bag in the boot, or better still like me in a plastic storage box.
I recommend wool clothing because it sheds moisture, just in case you have to leave your car during wet or snowy weather. It’s no fun being stranded and cold, and hypothermia is a real danger in cold weather.
If you do run your car engine to operate the car heater, be sure you aren’t breathing in carbon monoxide fumes from the exhaust.
In a snow emergency, you must make certain that the car’s exhaust pipe is not clogged with snow, and be sure the exhaust is not being sucked into the car through an open window in the back of the vehicle.
Opening a front window a bit will help admit fresh air into the passenger compartment. You can’t smell carbon monoxide, so don’t rely on your nose.
Once you’ve ensured you and your family will be warm during a car emergency situation, you need to ensure you’ll have enough food and drinking water.
I realize that not everyone lives near a camping or sporting goods shop stocked with all kinds of really great fold-up and lightweight camping equipment.
But don’t worry as substitutes for many of the specialized camping equipment and freeze-dried foods you will need can be found in most supermarkets, if you know what to look for.
The two biggest complaints I hear from people when it comes to buying emergency supplies are the high cost for items they may never actually use and the need to replace out-of-date food that was never eaten.
Yes, those tasty freeze-dried, ready-to-eat meals from most camping stores are expensive, and yes, many may never actually be used.
But that is also true of buying a fire extinguisher, as you don’t intend to ever actually use it either, but it’s a real life saver if you do.
To address these high-cost concerns and the difficulty to locate camping stores that stock hard-to-find survival equipment, I decided to assemble a 10-day emergency food supply by shopping only at local supermarkets this is very cheap insurance if you travel through areas where you would not want to be stranded, and you will not be that much out of pocket if you have to occasionally replace items that have reached their expiration date.
Drinking water supply
A person can actually live many days without any food, but your body must have drinking water. This is easy to solve by tossing a few plastic gallons of bottled water in the boot.
Food and drink mixes
When it comes to stored emergency food, you want meals that are easy to prepare, use little or no cooking equipment, and tastes good.
Since you could be injured or trapped, you want to keep it very simple. So please keep your emergency preps in the car passenger area with you as you may not be able to get to the boot.
There are many drink mixes and dehydrated food packs that are inexpensive and can be found supermarkets, although they are not actually advertised or sold as emergency or camping supplies.
Check out self heating meals too.
You may also want a few things to eat that do not require any hot water or cooking. Several small sealed packages of beef jerky and trail mix and high energy bars are a good choice. However, avoid any foods or snacks that contain ingredients like chocolate, which can melt when stored in a heated car trunk.
Heating foods and drinks
You can use a mini camping gas cooker or a home-made emergency heater of the type made from an empty tin with a toilet roll squeezed inside it, check my site for details.
You need only one or two cups of water at a time, so you will not need to hold a large pan full of water over a fire for very long.
Your saucepan or metal cup will most likely also serve as your “plate” to eat from after preparing a dehydrated food meal.
I think it’s really nice to have some paper plates and paper towels which store forever if kept dry.
Most dehydrated food packaging uses strong Mylar or plastic coated aluminum-foil construction, and some brands may even allow adding the hot water right into the pouch.
You must carefully cut off the top and support the pouch on a solid surface to prevent it tipping over. You need to be very careful while pouring in boiling hot water or you may scald yourself.
Most pre-packaged meals require the water to be extremely hot, so you may need to stir the mixture and let slightly cool for a few minutes before eating.
Since you can heat only one cup of water at a time, you may want to prepare your meal first. You can then refill the cup with water after eating to make hot water for coffee, tea, or hot cocoa to sip as you try to relax while waiting for the storm to end or rescuers to arrive.
Non-food items needed
Your emergency food pack will need a few items you should already have around the house that you can re-use.
These include some eating utensils and a really good pocket knife or small kitchen knife. I also suggest taking OTC pain killers, and any medication you are taking which should get you through most minor medical emergencies.
If you really want comfort you can also include travel-size packages of toothpaste, shampoo, hand lotion, toilet tissue, bar soap, hand sanitizer, some first-aid supplies, and a disposable razor. It is your pack after all.
While you are putting your emergency pack together, save up all those free packets of salt, pepper, and condiments you get at fast food outlets as these will also come in handy for emergencies.
If you don’t have a spare torch/flashlight, purchase one of the new small LED-type torch/flashlights that use three AAA-size batteries. These torch/flashlights are small and very bright, and will operate weeks on these tiny batteries.
A length of paracord and a tarp are very handy for many emergencies. And finally, don’t forget that roll of duct tape.
an extended power cut. You and your family need to be prepared to
do this for at least 72 hours (you may already have some of these items in your Family
Emergency Bug-Out Bag).
no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water.
rolls and a supply of non-prescription drugs
radio, Torch and extra batteries
portable container or a bank safety deposit box including:
everyone knows where to find it.
hearing aids and batteries for family members with special needs, such as
children and elderly or disabled persons, as well as in your Bug-Out-Bag.
food for service animal(s), plus other special equipment you might need.
such as pacemakers.
at a neighbour’s home, school or your workplace.
to reach it quickly if there is a fire.
most boarding facilities will not accept pets without proof of current
medication and to restock any items you may have borrowed.