You welcome winter driving like you welcome a root canal without novocaine. It’s just something you’re going to have to deal with, and most of the time it won’t pretty. And though you certainly can’t control the guy who thinks his 4×4 means he can drive like the abominable idiot, you can at least ready yourself for most situations on the cold, heartless road. As the Boy Scout motto says, “Be prepared”. That’s a wise way to approach winter’s worst, one reflected by this kit of essentials.


Elma Touchscreen Driving Gloves


Driving with your ski gloves is probably a bad idea for multiple reasons. Thinner is better when driving, but you still need warmth during the blustery months. Elma Touchscreen Driving Gloves are made with soft Nappa leather and lined with warm fleece for your tender, winter-averse fingers. They also provide touchscreen control for easy use of your car’s infotainment system and your smart phone (when you’re not moving, smart guy).

Tod’s Winter Gommino Suede Lace-up Ankle Boots


You can’t always (or shouldn’t, ever) hoof it in bad weather in a pair of tassel loafers, but your huge snow boots make heel-toeing impossible. Tod’s Winter Gommino boots are a welcome find. With a water-resistant brushed suede upper in appropriate ankle height, they look as good as they perform. The grippy pebble outsole gives you good winter traction, and the rounded heel makes sure that you’re ready to drive anytime, anywhere. Plus, they wouldn’t look out of place as a great desert boot.

Clore JNC660 “Jump-N-Carry” 12-Volt Jump Starter


For those moments when no one’s there to help, you’re well served by a portable jump starter. The JNC660 provides big starting power in the form of 1,700 peak amps and 425 cranking amps. It plugs into your AC outlet to charge and automatically cuts off current when it’s fully charged. The heavy-duty cable and clamps make good power transfer and connection possible, and the unit weighs in at a very manageable 18 pounds, so it won’t completely throw off your driving dynamics.

AAA Lifeline Aluminum Snow Shovel


Winter sometimes calls for manual labor — especially when your car is stuck. A garden shovel won’t work and a full-sized snow shovel in your trunk is as cumbersome as a chaperoned date. The AAA Lifeline Aluminum snow shovel is compact, tough and moves snow out of the way posthaste. It extends from 25 inches to 32 in a jiffy and can even break down into three pieces for easy trunk storage. Now, you’ve been doing those shoulder workouts, right?

The Spare Kit Company Flat Tire Changing Kit


The Spare Kit Company’s Tire Changing Kit has everything you need to be safe, quick and thorough. The included 3-ton scissor jack provides one-button ease of use and powers up via your 12V DC car outlet; the 12V impact wrench that’ll take off those tough lug nuts (and makes you sound like a pro, at the same time). They were even kind enough to include a magnetic light, a reflective warning triangle, wheel chocks, safety gloves and nifty battery clips to power the jack and impact wrench in case your 12V outlet fails you. Now, all you have to do is remember where you put that wheel lock key. Uhh…

Thule K-Summit Tire Chains


Who says the apocalypse can’t happen during the colder months? We fully expect to be surprised, and so should you. Then, it just might be time to break out the tire chains, and certainly not the old school kind that make installation tantamount to rolling a boulder uphill. Thule’s K-Summit Tire Chains are just about the most advanced you can find today. Their ratchet system makes the chains near-brainless to install, and the tensioning springs ensure the chains work on various tire sizes for passenger cars. Thule even makes sure your precious alloy wheels are protected from damage and scratching during installation and operation, and they’re also warrantied for a full five years. And, for some weird reason, none of their marketing mentions that they make your car look truly intimidating.

AAA 73 Piece Premium Excursion Road Kit


The tool box that works for your home repairs won’t necessarily work for your car. Trust us, we’ve done it (to our everlasting shame). AAA’s 73-piece emergency road kit has just about everything you need, short of a helo-lift out of harm’s way. 10-foot jumper cables provide ample length; LED flashlight, 250-psi air compressor and warning triangle ensure that you can get your tires back up to full capacity in no time; The emergency whistle, roll of duct tape, 45-piece first aid kit and poncho are for when you find yourself truly screwed. Whimpering cry for help not included.

MRE (Meals, Ready to Eat) 6 Pack


We hope you never end up in a wintry mess worse than a Monday morning traffic snarl where you need to eat something more than a breakfast burrito and cold coffee. If you find yourself there, have food on hand. Most emergency meals require boiling water to get them going. These civilian versions of military MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat) come with their own instant heat packs, require no boiling water and provide 600+ calories per meal for when you need sustenance and sodium. Six included meals each include an “entree” (no Beef Wellington, pal), dessert, and an electrolyte-replenishing drink. Just be smart enough not to consider them dinner at the office.

Kat’s Engine Block Heater


This magnetic heat wizard is far more versatile than your standard engine block heater/blanket. Potent magnets makes it good for oil pans, engine blocks, battery compartments or intake manifolds. Plug it in and slowly warm the part of your car that needs it most to make cold startups a thing of the past and reduce wear and tear on your vehicle. It also works great for other non-vehicular cold-weather needs like frozen locks, pipes and gutters. It does not work on a frozen pork roast, so get that out of your head.

MPI All Weather Emergency Survival Blanket


Those flimsy mylar blankets that fold up smaller than a pack of Tic Tacs take a doctoral degree to use effectively and tear easier than wet tissue paper. MPI’s All Weather version is head and shoulders above the rest, making use of material developed by MPI for space missions. Not only does it help you retain most of your radiated body heat, it also protects you from the elements should you need to venture outside and ties down when needed via integrated grommets. The 5×7-foot blanket is big enough to wrap around your body and also comes with a reflective edge for good nighttime visibility should you need to flag someone down for help. Better than using your Kris Kringle boxers you got from Grandma.