Essential items to keep in your car for winter

1/23/2023 | Hints and tips | Pavel Kreuziger | Reading time: 7 minutes
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Winter road trip may end up tragically - quite probably if you get into a skid at 120 km/h. But for less acute cases you can be prepared. And we will tell you how. In the following article you will find essential items you should keep in your car during winter. 

First aid kit and other essentials 

To have first aid kit in your vehicle is not only appropriate, but also compulsory. All year round. First aid kit content can be usually found on the box or in the leaflet. The basic items will be various bandages and plasters, gauze dressing, disposable gloves, scissors and isothermal foil. However, first aid kit is not the only thing you should have in your car.

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The advantage is that most first-aid kits contain everything that is compulsory by law. And it is of course adapted to real needs, although it naturally does not contain everything you might need during your trips. Therefore, it is advisable to have for example a fire extinguisher in the car, which is even mandatory in some countries. For example, in Poland.

There is no need to speculate about other mandatory equipment. Definitely do not forget hazard triangle, spare tyre, perhaps even adhesive kit. In the Czech Republic these items are compulsory so you should have them anyway. And if you have adhesive kit only, definitely equip your car with a portable compressor as well.

Other equipment is rather recommended, but may be useful because in winter it gets dark quite early. You should definitely put somewhere either emergency light sticks or flashight/headlamp ideally with strobe mode. They will help you to seek for help in emergency situations. 

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Winter also means more stress for your car battery, so make sure to pack the jumper cables, especially when you are going for a longer trip. You can also carry portable car battery charger which is much more expensive as well as you are losing the chance for that adventure when you need to stop another driver who will help you with his/her car. 

And if you still struggle, you can use towing rope which is also mandatory no matter whether is winter or summer. 

Car on a winter road.

Snow and ice  

Although this winter has not yet shown much power, ice and snow (especially in the mountains) can still arrive. Therefore you should include snow chains in your winter gear as well. They are mandatory in some mountain areas anyway.

However, unlike many others, this road sign does not end with the nearest crossroad. You can take off the chains only when you reach a similar road sign. So you should definitely carry snow chains in your vehicle during winter months. There is a risk of a relatively high fine in the some areas - moreover, in the event of an accident due to not using snow chains, the insurance company may refuse the insurance indemnity. Just to add – you can use snow chains only in specific areas for their use and max speed with them is 50 km/h.

In addition to snow chains we also recommend to carry small bag of sand, let´s say 10 kg. It can be helpful when you get stuck with your car. If you do not have bag of sand you can also use rubber car mats. Ideally your car would include foldable shovel, that will make work with snow and sand much more easier. 

Another winter essential is also ice scraper, ideally altogether with brush. The scrapers come with different endings for different surfaces. 

Warmth and enough of food 

In addition to the car, however, you have to take care of yourself and other members. Therefore, it is necessary to have something that would warm you up in the emergency situation. It is quite likely that if your car stops somewhere, it will be somewhere outside civilization. It is called Murphy´s law. And you will be ready for such situation. 

Either way, be also prepared for the situation that heating in your car may not work. Therefore pack extra clothes as well (for every member of your crew) and blankets. It is also important to eat sufficiently, to have enough of energy. Your trunk should therefore also include ready to eat food, which will provide enough of energy for all members of the crew.


Fortunately, in our conditions, tragedies caused by stucking in the winter landscape occur only rarely. It is also due to a relatively dense settlement. No matter where you go, it is always only few kilometres to the nearest site. Unless you are on the top of the mountains. However, you can always alleviate the consequences of any involuntary overnight stay by preparing for a similar unexpected situation. After all, fortune favors the prepared mind. 

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Pavel Kreuziger
Paul joined our team thanks to many years of writing about anything. However, topics such as outdoor and survival, he enjoys much more than the current focus. He loves nature since his childrens camps years, from which he smoothly moved to tramping and hiking. After years of sitting in front of the computer, he realised that the warm office does not make him a man, and started returning to the roots. We need to mention, that he also loves dogs.
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