Snowblind: 12 Winter Driving Essentials

It’s happening, whether you like it or not. We’re not ones to overdo it with the pop culture references but winter is coming. In fact, there’s already snow in the forecast for the Northeast and the Northern Rockies and we haven’t even broke out of October yet. Let’s face it, it’s going to be a long, cold and icy winter for most of North America, so if you plan on facing this old man head-on, you better come prepared.

We notice during the colder months that out needs for transportation not only remain steady but actually increase (who’s going to want to commute on a bicycle in the snow?). So if you plan on spending your mornings, evenings and possibly weekends behind the wheel of an automobile, keeping the right winterized gear on hand could come in quite handy given an unfortunate series of events such as an unforeseen snowstorm, blocked roads or buried car thanks to your neighborhood snow plow. All of these situations are real and likely to occur in 90 percent of our country. So, it only makes sense to keep the proper equipment handy, as to help keep warm, dig yourself out, and keep the engine running on the coldest of mornings before hitting the road. Therefore, we put together a list of winter driving essentials that won’t take up all the available space in your trunk yet provide you with enough comfort and convenience to not call out on a snow day. Because answering the bell is part of life. So is kicking Old Man Winter in the teeth.

FlareAlert LED Beacon Road Flare

FlareAlert LED Beacon Road Flare

Whether you run out of gas, get a flat tire, or simply break down during a winter storm, letting other drivers and emergency vehicles on the road know in advance where you’re standing can prevent further inconveniences from coming to fruition. Road flares are a good way to accomplish this but strike flares can get dangerous. Instead opt for these LED Beacon Road Flares that are compact, durable and safe. They’re crush resistant up to 20,000 pounds, water resistant, and their magnetic base allows them to stick right onto your vehicle for enhanced visibility in an emergency situation.

Purchase: $15

Tru Temper Snow Brush and Scraper

Tru Temper Snow Brush and Scraper

Here’s the thing about snow. It accumulates. On everything. And under that layer of fluffy white powder more often than not is a thin sheet of ice. So when it a snowstorm rolls through overnight and you wake up to see your car looking more like the Pillsbury Doughboy, a premium snow brush and ice scraper can be a lifesaver. This brush from Tru Temper is 32 inches in length, hosts an EVA foam brush that won’t scratch your car, an ergonomic handle for ease of use, and of course an ice scraper at the opposing end.

Purchase: $18

People’s Choice Beef Jerky

People’s Choice Beef Jerky

The only thing worse than being stranded in your car during a winter storm is doing so while on an empty stomach. And what better food to keep on hand in case of an emergency than beef jerky. And just like any aged, cured and dried meat, jerky boasts a lengthy shelf life while unopened. People’s Choice is a great option, made from cuts of USDA Beef and aged with natural spices ranging from Sriracha to Garlic Ginger to Orange Honey Teriyaki. It won’t stop the snow from falling but certainly put you in a slightly better mood for the time being. Pick up a variety box for the whole family.

Purchase: $18

AAA 4004 Sport Utility Shovel

The unspoken heroes of winter have to be the plows, doing their best to clear the roads so the rest of us in our two-wheel sedans can attempt to get to work on time. But one of the perils of street parking is dealing with the inevitable snow berm these plows create in their wake, leaving your car partially buried in the white stuff. Luckily, you have this AAA aluminum Sport Utility Shovel to dig yourself out and get on with your day. It’s lightweight – weighing in a 1.3 pounds – adjusts from 25-inch to 32 inches and comes in a three-piece construction so it’s easily broken down and easy to store in the trunk of your car.

Purchase: $19

NiceEshop First Aid Kit

NiceEshop First Aid Kit

No matter what season we’re in, breakage is still a reality. It’s an inherent vice. Things happen, especially in the winter. So it only makes sense that the proper first aid kit is accessible and stocked at all times when venturing out in less than ideal weather. This kit, built out by NiceEshop, includes up to 13 emergency components that are suitable for all types of travel. From gauze to disinfectant to bandages, no scrap or cut is a match of this kit. Best of all, it’s small enough to fit in your backpack so it won’t take up any unnecessary room in your trunk.

Purchase: $31

Gerber Diesel Multi-Plier Tool

Gerber Diesel Multi-Plier Tool

Now while we’re under the assumption that you should always have a quality multitool nearby, no situation is more obvious or necessitates such a tool that winter driving. And if you’re going to invest in a pair that you trust, might as well go Gerber. This pair is designed for various military, hunting, survival and tactical situations so you know it’ll serve you well in and around the vehicle. It includes a set of needle nose pliers, a wire cutter, serrated knife blade, can opener, bottle opener, file, saw, scissors, small medium and large flat blade screwdrivers and a cross-point screwdriver. No task is too daunting for this handy tool.

Purchase: $51

Cobra Electronics JumPack Portable Power Pak

Cobra Electronics JumPack Portable Power Pak

Keep the power going even when you’re stranded with the Cobra Power Pak. It comes equipped with jumper cables in case your battery won’t start the car on those frigid mornings, as well a 2.1 Amp USB Port for rapid charging of portable and mobile devices. There’s also a built-in LED flashlight, S.O.S emergency light and the whole thing is powered by a 7500mAh Lithium-Cobalt Battery that holds a charge longer yet is smaller than your traditional jump starters.

Purchase: $75

Iron and Resin Bobber Glove

Iron & Resin Bobber Glove

Nothing like a pair of driving gloves to keep your hands toasty during those cold commutes. These gloves are made from abrasion-resistant buffalo hide making them durable as they come. So no matter if you’re working on the car alongside the highway or simply looking for a little extra grip on the steering wheel at night, these gloves will have your hands covered and protected throughout the season.

Purchase: $80

Zero Hour Relic XR Flashlight

Zero Hour Relic XR Flashlight

Because winter is the darkest time of year, odds are you’re going to need a flashlight after the sun sets in the late afternoon. So if you’re looking for a tactical flashlight that boasts significant power and reliability, this Zero Hour Relic is your best bet. It uses a lithium-ion battery producing over 3400mAh of power and hosts a variable control ring, tail-cap switch, and waterproof battery backup. It can also be used to recharge any mobile USB device, which makes the piece quite valuable when your phone is dying and the charger is back at home.

Purchase: $150

Thule 16mm Snow Chains

Thule 16mm Snow Chains

Tire chains, you’re going to need them. It’s just a matter of when. Especially when you plan on heading up to your favorite ski resort for some much-needed terrain time, if there’s any semblance of snow on the roads chains will be mandatory. So better come prepared regardless. These chains from Thule offer fast and easy installation and are backed by their 5-year warranty. They’re made from high-quality steel, host color coded assembly points, and dual-sided D-shaped links for enhanced traction and performance.

Purchase: $200

Bubba Rope

Bubba Rope

Snow and ice equate to getting stuck. This is simply a fact of life these days. So if it happens to you or someone you know this winter the Bubba Rope is sure to facilitate a quick and easy rescue. It’s a 7/8” x30’ recovery rope that boasts a breaking strength of 28,000 lbs made from high-quality nylon. It’s ideal for 4x4s, Jeeps and SUVs so it will certainly get that Honda Accord out from the snow in a jiffy.

Purchase: $277

Pendleton Grand Canyon Roll-Up Blanket

Pendleton Grand Canyon Roll-Up Blanket

If you’ve lived in either a blizzard-prone area or someplace where your state lacks the infrastructure to deal with heavy snow storms, you run the risk of getting stranded on the highway in the wrong circumstances. The key here in this situation is to keep warm. Seems obvious we know but you’d be surprised how many people don’t keep a roll-up wool blanket in their car just in case. This Pendleton Grand Canyon blanket is the perfect option, made in the USA from both wool and waxed cotton for superior weather resistance, rolls out to 54” x76”, and rolls up nice and neat into a compact design for easy storage.

Purchase: $299

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