Winter car survivial

A place to discuss special considerations involved prepping and reacting to a disaster with children, pets and other family concerns.

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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by ZomCon Sargeant » Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:55 pm

Living here in MinneSNOWta I keep a wool blanket, -25 below rated sleeping bag, extra winter hat and gloves, folding shovel, 25ft of utility rope, tool kit, jumper cables, spare tire, jack, tire patch repair kit, stainless steel cup, two packets of 3600 calorie mainstay emergency food rations, and my GHB in the trunk of my car.

Inside my GHB I keep eight mini Twix bars, one king size Snicker bar, 25 water purification tabs, bandanna, compass, Benchmade NimCub fixed blade, first aid kit, twelve 400mg Ibuprofen tabs, two glow sticks, a 60 Lumen LED flashlight, three bic lighters, fifty NATO grade wind/waterproof matches, Zippo fuel, Zippo hand warmer, two large size hand warmers,
ink pen, camo rain poncho, one tube of carmex, 50ft of paracord 550, and a Multi-tool.
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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by Outlaw80401 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:07 pm

Actually the car will cool below the ambient temperature outside. If you have to stay in your car a coffee tin (Not the plastic ones) a roll of toilet paper and a bottle of rubbing alcohol will create heat for a day or so. Best option is to take a rope and tie it to your car so you can find it and build a snow cave. Outside it can be -20 but in the snow cave it's still 32 degrees. Using your coffee tin candle you can get it to above 40. The one thing you never want to do is leave your car without a way to find it. In Colorado we have had many people break down in a blizzard, leave there car to look around and be found dead a few feet away because they could not find the car once it was out of site. Plus if someone should come across your vehicle you want a way for them to find your snow cave.
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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by angelofwar » Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:17 am

What outlaw said...it will get colder in the car than it will be outside. If you can't SAFELY heat the inside of the car, and think you may be "stuck" for a few (unknown number) days, your better off setting up a shelter outside the vehicle where you can build a real fire, etc. This may not be feasible with family, kids, etc., but with a real fire, you can get a snow cave/man made shelter a lot warmer than the inside of that car will ever get.

I keep my flares in a mil 7.62 can, along with some of those large smoke grenades (Mammoth Smoke) you can get at fire works stands, as an alternate signal method.

I also have my Inova 24/7 with magnetic mount in my console. I can set 10 gazillion modes, and attach it to the top or back of my vehicle. They are some of the most versitile tools you can have for $40. Plus the kits come with a head-band, so it can double as a headlamp.

Some good info in this thread though...gonna have to throw a canteen with steel cup in my vehicle kit now. Gonna grab a few more of the 7-gallon water jugs at wally world, so I can put one in my vehicle for cross-state/long road trips.
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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by KYZHunters » Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:43 am

coltm4 wrote:extra socks and boots are a must. also during winter I keep a larger shovel and some extra roof shingles (for traction) in case I get stuck. If you have kids make sure there are kid friendly snacks too.
ColtM4, the shingles sound like a great idea; have you had the opportunity to use them? I've got some leftovers and will use them the next time (possibly in the next 24-48 hours).
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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by Outlaw80401 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:16 am

Living in Colorado we get our share of heavy storms, but it's really mountain driving that gets people in trouble. So while everyone should carry an emergency kit in the car the biggest problem we see revolves around the vehicle not being prepared. I see so many people driving out of Costco in November with the $20 tires and them wondering why there car drives like dull ice skates.

And my all time fav is stopping to help the couple on the way to the ski resort. There Lexis SUV has broken down and when you pop the hood the battery looks like it's growing a science experiment.

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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by Williams99 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:47 am

Car survival kit for winter
Place every item that you have in your car from this must car survival kit for winter:
• Plastic blankets/sleeping bags
• Booster cables
• Compass
• Extra clothing (hats, mittens, scarves, etc.)
• First aid kit
• Flashlight with extra batteries
• Hi-calorie non-perishable food
• Knife
• Road maps
• Sack of sand ( or cat litter ) to create traction if car is stuck
• Shovel
• Took kit
• Tow rope
• Seal bottle with water
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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by jhumes » Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:37 am

A couple things I would add would be a bottle of ever clear (not for drinking) and a can with cotton in it.

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Winter car survivial

Post by El Solis » Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:36 am

I follow simple is better. I have all the necessaries (tools, clothes, etc) but one thing I always carry which hasn't been listed is the jet boil system. Super easy and efficient at boiling water. That's all you really need for a few days, warm water. If there's snow around you are set (this is in addition to sleeping bags/hat/etc)

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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by Spook1961 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:51 pm

A couple more items for consideration:

*Feminine hygiene products (Murphys Law is alive and well).
*Tootsie roll pops. It's the fastest way to quiet a cranky kiddo.
*Wet wipes
*Storm Whistle
*Buff (lightweight, keeps your head & neck warm)

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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by 2005RedTJ » Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:16 am

I've seen the toilet paper idea on other threads. In a nutshell, you pull the cardboard out of the middle of the roll, stuff the roll inside a metal coffee can, pour a bottle of rubbing alcohol over the toilet paper and light it. Supposed to burn for a very long time.

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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by Brotherbadger » Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:56 am

Living in the Upper Midwest, being stuck in a car in a snowstorm for over 24 hours is a real possibility for me. I am married, but no kids, so my prep is mostly for me and my wife. In my car i keep a winter time prep of:

*A candle in a metal coffee can(changing this, i'll explain below)
Sleeping bag rated to -20 F
Several large fleece throw blankets(incase others are in the car)
2 pair of Wool socks
2 pair of winter gloves
Two wool winter caps
10 handwarmers
two gallons of water
two cups
Several snack bars

These are in addition to my normal trunk stuff of:
Jack
Jumper Cables
Toilet paper
folding shovel
Extra set of clothing
baseball bat(not really self defense, just something i've always kept in my trunk since HS)
Spare Tire
Boots
First aid kit
tow rope
Flashlight
Tire Repair kit
Kitty Litter(traction)

*as for the Candle, i'm changing that i as i hadn't heard of the toilet paper roll heating setup before reading this thread(seems to work much more effiently).
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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by EBuff75 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:55 am

You might want to try out the toilet paper / paint can thing yourself before relying on it. My results weren't good when I tried it a few years ago - only about 2 hrs before it burned out. Now there may be variation to that, depending on what type of toilet paper, how much alcohol you put in it, etc., but I decided it wasn't for me.

Oh, and don't forget to toss some playing cards or something else to pass the time in your car. Nothing worse than being warm, fed and sheltered for a few days with absolutely nothing to do... :crazy:

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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by JayceSlayn » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:33 pm

I can kind of see where people get the idea that cars will be colder than outside from, but unless there is some sort of vapor-compression refrigeration cycle going on with how the wind interacts with your car or something, the car cannot cool below the ambient temperature outside, there is no thermodynamic driving force for that.

The car may rapidly cool to the ambient temperature outside, because cars are not all that well insulated with lots of single-pane glass windows everywhere and usually not a lot of insulation for the body panels. The car will also act as a thermal sink and will stay cooler than ambient temperature while the temperature is again warming outside, but by the same way that it cools quickly, it will heat up fairly soon again too. As soon as the sun starts shining, because of the greenhouse effect glass has, the car will almost always be warmer than ambient conditions (especially if your interior is relatively dark-colored, as the reflectivity of snow is very good).

Snow caves can stay warmer than outside temperatures because snow actually has a lot of dead air space in it, and acts as a good insulator. It can be colder than freezing inside a snow cave too, but if the cave is relatively sealed up with a person inside, it will probably be near 32 degrees F, as the phase transformation from snow (ice) to water maintains that temperature while your body heat attempts to melt it.

The biggest reasons you want to stay in your car are: (1) it makes a big target for people to find and rescue you, (2) it is a ready-made fairly wind-proof shelter, and (3) it already has pretty much everything you brought with you to survive with (whether you planned ahead and stocked it or not). If it is significantly below freezing outside, a snow cave might keep the air around you warmer than staying in your car, but it requires you to get out and construct one first, which brings with it a new host of potential problems.

As for the coffee can with alcohol-soaked TP: I haven't seen one operate myself, but I don't see the burn time of a bottle of alcohol absorbed into a TP roll being over a few hours. The alcohol must have a high enough proof to burn by itself before it can be used in this sort of setup, so the only thing I can think the TP "wick" is doing is reduce the burning surface area a bit (if constructed in such a way that it actually does, and not the other way around), and retard fuel flow to the surface a small amount. A narrower can might burn longer on a given amount of fuel, because the burning surface area is decreased, and thus the rate of fuel consumption. The TP itself will also add to the "fuel" a little bit, because it is being consumed at the same time. It's probably not a bad way to extend the burn time of a bottle of alcohol, but I wouldn't expect it to last many times longer than burning a pool of alcohol itself. The higher proof of alcohol will increase the heating value per volume, because the alcohol is the constituent that is burning and releasing heat with the water just absorbing that heat, but it will also burn much faster...so I guess there might be some kind of optimization for an ideal alcohol mixture. The other option is to burn it in bursts rather than continuously, and that way you can set your own fuel consumption rate.
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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by Trippy » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:40 pm

EBuff75 wrote:...
Oh, and don't forget to toss some playing cards or something else to pass the time in your car. Nothing worse than being warm, fed and sheltered for a few days with absolutely nothing to do... :crazy:
I'm pretty sure thats why there is always a mini baby boom nine months after a blizzard.

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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by TacAir » Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:58 pm

Lots of interesting tips, but I'll pass on the flaming toilet paper in the can, thanks.

We carry cold weather gear in case we get caught between avalanches across the roadway. Sitting the car if fine, but my feet get so darn cold - standing on metal will do that as well.

So - I keep several pieces of cardboard in the back. If we stay in the car, one of us can lay down in the back (the rear seat folds) on top of the larger sections cardboard, using the wool blanket for extra warmth. Another section of cardboard (4 layers thick) that is sized for and goes on the floor mat. Keeps the heat in the feet.

Another section is large enough to go between my fat ass backside and the door - keeps the cold away as well.

Cardboard is cheap - it often can be had for the asking and cutting a few pieces to fit the trunk or cargo area takes little time. Having that extra insulation may make a huge difference one winter. Toss it in the Spring, and get some new for the next winter.

Good luck.
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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by grennels » Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:56 pm

TXwaterdog wrote:Every fall I add a couple of sweaters and a sleeping bag to the trunk of the car. I also add a sterno can and some hand warmers. That's about the full extent of it. I'm in central Texas and it rarely gets below 50 degrees here. Depending on your climate you might want to add a blanket or two as well. I have roadside assistance yet I still take these precautions just in case something unforeseen happens. I guess the best way to tell would be going on a camping trip! Go out and have some fun in the woods.


I was thinking about adding one of these to my winter car kit (my window defroster works fine but the GF keeps idling the car to warmup):

:arrow: http://www.amazon.com/Rally-7426-Auxili ... B002ATT0FU

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Check the amp draw on that thing. If the engine isn't running it will draw your battery down VERY quickly.
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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by grennels » Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:01 pm

Chantrea wrote: Here's what's in mine:
For every individual (in my minivan this means stuff for me, my hubby, and our 3 kids 9,8, and8):
hat, socks, gloves, extra pants, wool socks, 3 bottles of water, 6 non-perishable snacks. I also try to keep a pair of old boots for everyone in the trunk too, but depending on how fast my kids' feet are growing that year it's not always possible.

Shared supplies:
2 blankets, hand-crank radio (good for a sanity saver so you can tune in to the AM talk show that has all the freaked out driver-to-driver convo, but you can turn off your car to save battery/gas). A couple of washed out large-sized plastic fast food drink cups to use for pee cups. A box of gallon ziplock bags for other purposes. Chains for the car. A real ice scraper. A notebook with my cell phone contacts in it (just in case my cell phone dies). A box each of hotties/footies (chemical hand and foot warmers).

During the winter I do not all my gas tank to drop below 3/4 without refilling, and I don't allow my cell phone to drop below half charge.


subtract chains add a shovel several large candles a couple large steel coffee cans a couple of Goodwill overcoats and some rations and the above is about what I carry.


edit: and a couple of good books.



Ummm - how does it get colder inside the car than it is outside? I want to patent this for AC purposes.
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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by Brotherbadger » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:14 am

JayceSlayn wrote:I
As for the coffee can with alcohol-soaked TP: I haven't seen one operate myself, but I don't see the burn time of a bottle of alcohol absorbed into a TP roll being over a few hours. The alcohol must have a high enough proof to burn by itself before it can be used in this sort of setup, so the only thing I can think the TP "wick" is doing is reduce the burning surface area a bit (if constructed in such a way that it actually does, and not the other way around), and retard fuel flow to the surface a small amount. A narrower can might burn longer on a given amount of fuel, because the burning surface area is decreased, and thus the rate of fuel consumption. The TP itself will also add to the "fuel" a little bit, because it is being consumed at the same time. It's probably not a bad way to extend the burn time of a bottle of alcohol, but I wouldn't expect it to last many times longer than burning a pool of alcohol itself. The higher proof of alcohol will increase the heating value per volume, because the alcohol is the constituent that is burning and releasing heat with the water just absorbing that heat, but it will also burn much faster...so I guess there might be some kind of optimization for an ideal alcohol mixture. The other option is to burn it in bursts rather than continuously, and that way you can set your own fuel consumption rate.
EBuff75 wrote:You might want to try out the toilet paper / paint can thing yourself before relying on it. My results weren't good when I tried it a few years ago - only about 2 hrs before it burned out. Now there may be variation to that, depending on what type of toilet paper, how much alcohol you put in it, etc., but I decided it wasn't for me.

Hmm....maybe i was a little too quick the draw there, thanks for the heads up guys. I'll definately try it out at some point this winter(The nerd in me loves running experiments :mrgreen: ), and see how it works. I will try to tweek it to see what the best ratio for time lit/generated heat would be. If it burns for 2 hours straight(arbitrary number), letting it burn for 10 minutes once an hour to keep the temp up could last for approx 12 hours? But would 10 minutes be long enough to heat up the car to a temp that is confortable? Ah, so many questions. can't wait to try it out. Couldn't hurt to add it to my kit(assuming the results are to my liking), in addition to the candle set up. Can never have too many heat options.

Also, great call on the cards. Probably throw a few books in there too. My wife and i are both bookworms, so getting lost in a book for several hours would help morale.
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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by williaty » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:59 am

JayceSlayn wrote:I can kind of see where people get the idea that cars will be colder than outside from, but unless there is some sort of vapor-compression refrigeration cycle going on with how the wind interacts with your car or something, the car cannot cool below the ambient temperature outside, there is no thermodynamic driving force for that.
That's actually not true. Then again, what everyone else is saying isn't true either. This is a topic near and dear to my heart because it involves keeping my telescope free of dew or frost (depending on temperature)!

It is true that heat only flows downhill, that is, from areas with higher temperature to areas of lower temperature, unless outside energy is added to the system to move around. Where this falls on its face is that humans are only really good at noticing and thinking about the conduction of heat. We're ok but not great at noticing and thinking about convection of heat. We are flat out craptastic at noticing and thinking about radiation of heat. Radiation is the method that allows objects to cool to below ambient temperatures under certain conditions.

So, we're pretty crap at noticing radiation of heat. About the best we can do is to turn our face to the sun and feel the warmth or hold our hands up to a fire while being far enough back to be well out of the hot air. Beyond that, we just don't notice it, so we tend to forget it happens. Everything that has thermal energy radiates it away. That is, unless the object is at 0K, it's kicking off infrared photons that are carrying heat away from it and towards something else. So you, sitting around, are showering your surrounding with heat via infrared radiation. The reason we don't get cold because of this is that our surroundings are also kicking off infrared photons and pinging us with them. So in normal conditions, say, setting in your house, the amount of heat you lose via radiation is mostly counteracted by the heat you're gaining via absorbing radiation from other things. Because things are at nearly the same temperature, there's no temperature gradient to drive large heat movement. When it's cloudy outside, this same process happens. We (and all objects) radiate heat, a lot of which is pointed at the sky (since it's about half a sphere above us most of the time). The clouds radiate somewhat less heat back at us (since they're usually much cooler than body temperature). However, take away the clouds and it's a totally different story. Now, we're still radiating heat up at the sky, but there's no clouds, only interstellar space. Interstellar space isn't very warm, so it's sending almost no infrared heat back at us at all. So now you have your body at about 310K and interstellar space at about 3K. That's a huge temperature gradient which produces a large net heatflow away from you and into space. This process happens to everything. The key factor is the emissivity of the object. Emissivity is basically a measure of how good something is at giving or receiving heat via radiation. Things with high emissivity will lose heat rapidly under these conditions. If they're losing heat to radiation faster than they're receiving heat from conduction/convection (aka their local environment), they'll cool off substantially below ambient temperature. Since each object has a different emissivity and a different rate of heat acceptance via conduction/convection, the temperature the object will stabilize at will range from ambient to well below. My telescope, for instance, will often end up about 10F below ambient air temperature.

So, bringing it back around to the car issue, yeah, the car is going to end up below ambient temperature. Exactly how far below is going to depend on color, surface finish, and what metal it's made of (not joking) because all of those things affect emissivity. Now, the thing to keep in mind is that just about everything else is ALSO going to cool in the same manner. So it may not be true that your car is going to cool faster than, say, the tarp you could shelter under. Though I haven't done experiments to prove it, my bet is that the interior of the car would stay warmer due to you heating the air inside of it and the cabin having less air exchange with the outside world than, say, a tent. An igloo, however, would be clearly superior because snow has low emissivity and actually rather good resistance to conduction.

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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by Skull_Hide » Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:57 am

Highly recommend a long tow rope or chain. If not for yourself for someone else oh maybe stuck. Went up on a snowed out logging road with friends and of course I was the only one with a tow chain and there were plenty of other people that got stuck on their way up. Also know the recovery points on your vehicle now and how you'll attach to them, instead of crawling on the snow trying to figure out how the hell you're going to do this.
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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by angelofwar » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:39 am

JayceSlayn wrote:I can kind of see where people get the idea that cars will be colder than outside from, but unless there is some sort of vapor-compression refrigeration cycle going on with how the wind interacts with your car or something, the car cannot cool below the ambient temperature outside, there is no thermodynamic driving force for that.
Are you in a temperature controlled room right now? Pick up a metal flashlight/pair of scissors, etc, and then pick up a wooden dowel.
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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by williaty » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:31 pm

angelofwar wrote:
JayceSlayn wrote:I can kind of see where people get the idea that cars will be colder than outside from, but unless there is some sort of vapor-compression refrigeration cycle going on with how the wind interacts with your car or something, the car cannot cool below the ambient temperature outside, there is no thermodynamic driving force for that.
Are you in a temperature controlled room right now? Pick up a metal flashlight/pair of scissors, etc, and then pick up a wooden dowel.
Indoors in a temperature controlled room, that has nothing to do with the temperature of the metal dropping below ambient. Assuming they've been there long enough to equalize to the room, the wood and the metal rod are going to be the same temperature (both at ambient). If the ambient temperature of the room is below your skin temperature, the metal will feel "colder" than the wood because, due to the metal being a more efficient conductor of heat, you're going to be losing heat into it faster. Your skin feels rate of heat loss, not temperature.

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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by Dawgboy » Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:58 pm

I have found a 1 quart metal paint can (Available from your local Paint company in new condition) filled 3/4 with Perlite works much better than TP or cotton as an alcohol burner. Also, it seals air tight, so you can leave it filled. Also, since it has a metal lid, it snuffs the fire out very well.
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Re: Winter car survivial

Post by Zoombee » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:41 pm

What about walking to and from and around the vehicle?
1. Spiked or studded shoes, or something that straps to the shoes. A spiked walking stick may also help.
2. Helmet, for falls, crashes, and warmth. Skateboard helmets protect more head and are warmer than bike helmets. Motorcycle helmets are much heavier, but may be worth the weight if crashes are a greater risk.
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