21 Things You Need in a Winter Truck Survival Kit


winter truck survival kit

With winter fast approaching, how prepared are you?

Do you have all the essential gear, safety items, accessories and gadgets on board to help you out in the event of a breakdown, spin out, or if you become stranded in snow?

Whether you ‘re driving a pickup truck, or a commercial long-haul truck, it pays to be ready just in case something should go wrong.

Having a winter truck survival kit on board your ride could be the difference between life and death.

That might sound dramatic, but I genuinely believe the winter truck accessories below could be amongst the best investments you make this year.

In no particular order, here’s everything that I recommend you carry in your truck winter survival kit so that you can cope with all eventualities on the snow and ice.

21 Winter Truck Accessories You Can’t Afford to be Without

#1: Cell Phone Charger

One of the first things you will have to do is call for help, and you won’t be doing that if your cell phone is dead.

Cold weather isn’t going to help as when temperatures drop, cell phone batteries become less efficient. In fact, in below freezing temperatures, cell phone batteries will only last 50% of the time as compared to being used at room temperature.

The best choice here would be a universal charger that can be plugged straight into the cigarette lighter in your truck such as the Anker Car USB charger.

But what can you do if your truck’s battery is dead?

Thankfully there is a solution which is the Midland Emergency Crank Radio.

It comes with a USB port, so you can hook your phone up, and give it some much needed juice with a few twists of the crank arm.

#2: Road Flares or Signals

It’s also going to be key to have some way in which you can attract attention to your potential plight, so you can be rescued as quickly as possible.

You can try to flag down any other passing motorists or tie a brightly colored piece of cloth to your side mirrors to act as a help signal.

If you are out in the middle of nowhere and there is no sign of any traffic coming your way, or the snow is creating visibility problems, then road flares can be a great signal.

They are cheap too and will show up in the harshest of weather conditions.

#3: Blankets, Gloves & Hat

If you’re stuck in the snow for a prolonged period of time then you will need to keep warm and preserve body heat, so always have a pair of thermal gloves, hat, and some thick socks on hand.

I would also recommend that you carry a blanket in your winter survival kit too. It’s an essential winter truck accessory you won’t regret buying.

A standard woollen blanket can work, but in really cold temperatures when you don’t know help will be coming, I’d go with an all-weather reflective emergency blanket.

The Tact Bivvy (view on Amazon) acts as sleeping bag too, and is made from a heat reflective later to help keep body heat in – you will keep warm for longer versus a traditional blanket.

#4: Snow Shovel

If you get stuck in snow, then you might be able to get yourself free with a little digging. Another thing to also consider that a truck covered in snow is going to be way more difficult for rescue teams to find.

I also advise that you make sure that there is no snow at the rear of your truck’s tailpipe. It will need to be kept clear if you want to run the engine intermittently to keep yourself warm.

The best type of shovel for a pickup or truck winter survival kit is one that is sturdy enough to be able to dig through hard packed snow.

This military grade shovel is just perfect for the job in hand.

#5: Flashlight

If you can’t see what you’re doing or find your way, then life is going to become very difficult once night falls.

You might have to change a tire, signal for help, or try to find a route to civilization.

There are a couple of choices here. You could opt for a cheap LED tactical flashlight, or something that can be charged from the truck.

But honestly, it’s best to have a crank operated flashlight (that also can take batteries by the way) to cover for all eventualities.

There are plenty on Amazon, but my preference is the cheaper PrimalCamp flashlight – it’s very sturdy and the crank power lasts a long time.

#6: First Aid Kit

If you do lose control of your truck on an icy road then you might have some minor injuries that need a quick patch-up – and heaven forbid anything more serious than that.

Buy a basic First Aid Kit on Amazon which includes plasters, bandages, antiseptic creams and pain relievers, and you might be able to treat lower grade injuries until help arrives.

#7: Grit or Sand

If you hit an icy patch your truck’s wheels might not be able to get the traction you need to get out of that slippery patch of road.

By keeping a plastic container or sand, grit, or dirt on board, you can throw it under your tires and hopefully be out of there in no time at all.

#8: Traction Mats

If sand or grit doesn’t work, and it won’t always, then your next best bet is to use traction mats.

Sand might work once, but what happens once you’ve used it all up or you’re in a really icy patch?

Buy some cheap traction mats which you can easily store in your truck’s winter survival kit or throw them into the back of the bed.

The ones I recommend, and which also come with fantastic reviews would be the Subzero GripTrax products on Amazon.

#9: High Energy Snacks

You never know how long it will take for help to arrive, which is why it’s essential to have a selection of snacks in your truck’s winter survival kit.

The best things to pack are non-perishable foods that won’t get old and moldy.

My preference here would be for snacks like trail mix and high energy snack bars. 

#10: Water

When it’s cold, your body plays a mean little trick on you to make you think you don’t actually need to drink as much water. This couldn’t be further from the truth!

In order to keep your body temperature from dropping too far, it’s essential that you keep hydrated – and don’t just take my word for it.

Mountain climbers know this for a fact and spend as much time drinking as they do climbing at high altitude.

You can buy a small water bottle on Amazon, and then melt snow to drink.

Don’t eat snow unless it’s been melted, as this can lower your body temperature down to dangerous levels.

#11: Jumper Cables

Cold weather will play havoc with your pickup truck’s battery.

And there can be nothing more frustrating as digging the snow out from around your tires only to start the engine up and get nothing back.

By having some jump start cables on board you can quickly get back up and trucking with the help of passing motorist – if they are kind enough to stop that is!

#12: Battery Boost Jumper

If you can’t wait for a kind motorist to drive past and offer to help get you started again, then take control of the situation yourself with a battery boost jumper.

It will help to you get the engine started up again even in the coldest of weathers and won’t break the bank either.

One of the best and most affordable on the market right now is the Noco Genius on Amazon.

#13: Windshield Scraper & Brush

Once you’re ready to set off again, don’t be that guy who has to wait for minutes on end for the truck windows to completely defrost.

Save time with a windshield scraper, and preferably a long handled one which will let you get to those hard to reach places.

Once you’ve used this Mallory 2-in-1 scraper and brush combo you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

#14: Tire Chains

After you get out of that snow and ice you should take steps to ensure that you’re not going to lose traction again for the remainder of your journey.

Tire chains are a great option here. But be aware, in some US states they are bound by legislation, even being illegal in places such as the Midwest.

If you are able to fit them, then best to do it before you set off.

The Rupse Snow Tire Chains brand on Amazon are held in high regard, so go check those out.

#15: Small Tarpaulin

If you are going to be lying on the ground trying to fix up problems with your truck in the snow, then there’s only so much of that cold ground your body will take.

I would advise investing in a cheap and small tarp which you can then lay on the ground for when you’re digging out snow, laying down grit, or putting on your snow tire chains.

#16: Basic Tool Kit

Even if you aren’t mechanically minded, chances are someone who stops to help you will be – and that could be the difference between setting off quickly again or waiting for a breakdown service.

Look to buy a basic small tool box with the essentials such as pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers and other tools that can help patch up simple repair jobs. 

#17: Spare Tire, Jack and Lug Wrench

It goes without saying that you should always carry a spare tire and jack in your truck, but it’s even more important during winter months.

Make sure to regularly check the tire pressure on the spare so you can get the tire off quickly and easily before getting back to safety.

#18: Compass

Whist we all tend to heavily rely on GPS nowadays, but if you’re stranded with no power and your cell phone is out then that’s not going to help you.

A small pocket compass can help you to get re-orientated in the wilderness quickly, possibly giving you a route out of trouble.

#19: Tow Straps

Stuck, and stuck hard?

Having some tow straps in your truck could mean you can get out of a ditch without the need for an expensive breakdown recovery call out.

Just make sure that the vehicle who has offered to give you a pull is capable in taking your truck’s weight as you don’t want to put anybody else’s ride at risk.

For truck drivers I would recommend some heavy duty tow straps here, with these ones on Amazon being almost faultless according to recent online reviews.

#20: Collapsible Fuel Container

If you do run out of fuel in the winter and manage to get to the local gas station on foot, then nothing could be worse than them not having any gas cans in stock.

Be prepared for all eventualities and buy your own small one online.

#21: Entertainment

And finally, how about something to keep your and your passengers entertained?

Keeping your mind active and occupied will make the time pass far quicker.

I’d recommend a pack of playing cards if you have other people in the truck with you, and possibly a book if you are a solo driver.

Winter Truck Survival Tips 

And last but by no means least, here are some tips you should be aware of in case you and your truck do get stranded in the snow over winter.

Before You Set-Off

If it’s snowing heavily or bad weather has been forecast, then always ensure that you have a full tank of fuel.

It could be the difference between keeping your truck warm if you do end up having an accident on the ice.

Also make sure to tell a friend or family member where you are going and which route you will be driving on, including an estimated time of arrival.

After an Accident

First up, call 911 immediately giving them a clear indication on your exact location if you can ascertain it via GPS on your in-truck navigation or smartphone.

Also try to clearly explain to the emergency operators if there any concerns over passengers, and the types of problems you are having in the snow.

The operator will give you instructions on what to do, and in most cases will tell you to sit tight until help arrives on the scene.

If you do have to leave your truck, write down where you are going, your name, and cell phone number on a piece of paper and leave it to be clearly seen in the window.

Final Word

No matter where you live in the United States, bad weather such as snow and ice can play absolute havoc with the roadways.

Icy roads and deep snow can be unforgiving and are the main cause for drivers getting stranded in their trucks year on year.

The winter truck accessories listed above should all be part of your winter truck survival kit.

Having these items could be the difference between a tragedy and a happy ending.

Sorry to end on such a morose note, but every year there are news reports of people getting stranded in the snow in their truck or car, and the outcome not being a positive one.

Josh Henderson

Hi I'm Josh and I'm a huge pickup enthusiast. I started this website in 2018 in order to share all my projects and custom mod tips that I've done with my own Ford F-150.

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