Prepping Your Car For Winter & The MAD Euro Bailout

by David Morris on December 1, 2011

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Winter is upon us, and along with winter comes cold, or at least cooler weather and greater consequences in the event that you have an emergency while in your car.

Whether it’s hitting an animal, getting a flat, running out of gas, a blizzard, mechanical issues, or something else, cold weather is a factor that can take any one of these situations from being minor annoyances to being a life or death situation.

I’m not going to go into the details of what you want to have in your car preparedness kits and/or first aid kits in general, but I am going to talk about some items to consider keeping in your car during the winter.

1. Hand, body, and/or foot warmers. I’m talking about the small pouches that simply heat up when exposed to air that you can put in your gloves, boots, or the big ones that you put in your coat or sleeping bag.  I never truly appreciated these until I found myself in a situation where my hands were too cold to start a fire.  Jumping up and down and running around may help warm up your hands, but the combination of activity and glove warmers do it a lot quicker.  The larger ones, called body warmers, are a much better option than using candles or other fuel based heaters in a car.  They’ll last 10-15 hours and you can put them inside of your clothing so that you absorb as much of the heat as possible.  While 100 hour candles don’t put out MUCH carbon monoxide, I would feel much more comfortable going to sleep in a car being warmed by a body warmer or a couple of hand warmers than a candle.

2. Blanket(s): I prefer wool, synthetic, or one that has one side that’s waterproof/water resistant. The waterproof/water resistant ones are normally sold as picnic blankets and they’re very handy for giving you a dry place to sit on wet grass, snow, or even pavement.

3. Emergency Reflective Blankets: You can use the inexpensive, compact, mylar ones, but SOL has some great alternatives that are quieter, more flexible, less likely to rip, and suitable for multiple people.

4. Trash bags: Trash bags are almost, but not quite as multi-faceted as duct tape.  In a winter survival situation, you can use them as a moisture barrier to keep you dry when sitting/laying on snow, you can melt snow in them on a sunny day (you will get a significant number of nasty chemicals in your water from the plastic that affect the taste and quality of the water.)  You can use them to make improvised rain/snow gear.  You can stuff them with leaves, crumpled paper, or other debris and have an improvised sleeping bag.  You can even boil water in plastic bags over indirect heat, although you’ve got the same chemical leaching problem that you’ve got with melting snow.

5. Warm clothes, coveralls, socks, gloves, hat, boots/shoes. This is especially important if you wear heels, dress shoes, drive to the gym in workout clothes, or ever find yourself leaving the house during a warm time of day and expect to come back at a cold time of day.  Remember, most people who die of hypothermia do so when the outside temperature is between 50-60. Why?  Because when it’s colder than that, people dress in warmer clothes.  When it’s in the 50s, people can stay active with relatively few clothes on but cool off quickly when their activity level drops off or the sun goes behind a cloud or down for the night.

6. A way to make warm drinks. This means having a fire source, liquid, and a container.  Here’s why, conceptually, this is so important.  Let’s say you have a gas camping stove and you’ve got 2 options…run it for 1 minute close to your body with your hands as close to it as possible to get warmed up or run it for 1 minute to heat up a cup of water that you’ll hold in your hands and put into your body.  Heating, holding, and drinking warm water will convert a much higher percentage of the fuel to perceived and actual body warmth than simply warming yourself by the fire for a minute.

What kind of drinks should you use?  Drinks that are semi-sweet will give you the calories you need to keep your body warm.  Try to get or make drink mixes that use complex sugars like raw honey, maple syrup, agave, or fructose.  Try to avoid table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, refined honey, and artificial sweeteners.  Why?  Complex sweeteners will break down slower and are less likely to cause an insulin response that will cause a roller-coaster of blood sugar levels.

7. Camping shovel or fixed shovel. Carrying a fixed shovel has saved my bacon (or at least saved me from a long, cold walk) more than once when I found myself high-centered trying to drive through a fresh snowdrift during or shortly after a blizzard.  Speed and aggression are vital in this situation, as you’ve got an incredibly short window between when your vehicle starts compressing the snow, it melts, and starts to re-freeze…perfectly forming to the contours of the bottom of your vehicle.  In situations like this, a long, sturdy handle not only makes the job quicker, it is also a significant safety factor since it can allow you to keep your arms out from under your vehicle.

Of course, there are less extreme reasons to have a shovel with you…excavating to make changing a tire simpler, digging a hole for a fire, as a defensive tool, scooping gravel/rocks under or in front of your tire if stuck.

8. A STURDY snow scraper & brush. This isn’t much of an issue if you’re not in snow/ice country, but if you do run into ice and snow, the bigger and stronger your scraper and brush, the easier life will be.

9. At LEAST a half tank of gas at all times. There’s nothing like the sinking feeling of running out of gas and realizing that the only reason it happened was because of a series of bad choices to postpone filling up…except for running out of gas when it’s freezing cold outside.  The combination of no fuel and cold weather is another case where a simple inconvenience can quickly turn into a survival situation.

10.  ScrewAFlatEasy (SAFE): This is somewhat gagety and gimicky, but it’s also very functional, useful, and something that I keep in our cars.  There are two different products from ScrewAFlatEasy that I recommend:  First, they’ve got a FAST tire puncture repair product.  You simply take a special screw that’s included with the kit, dip it in a vulcanizing solution, screw it in the puncture hole and your puncture is fixed.  The next step is to use a can of air (included) to re-inflate your tire.  If you want, the next thing you can do is use their tire pressure equalizer tube.  This is simply a tube that you connect to both a fully inflated tire and an under inflated tire to transfer air from the inflated tire to the low tire.

You can also carry salt, sand, kitty liter, or a number of other items with you to help with ice and snow.  Because of the effect that cold weather has on batteries, we make sure our battery jump packs are charged up and in our cars when the temperatures get below freezing.

What other winter-specific items do you carry in your vehicles?  Please share your thoughts by commenting below.

Is bailing out the Euro MAD?

Tyler Durden over at has written quite a bit this year about how continual bailouts are creating a Mutually Assured Destruction scenario, and this week the bailout of the Euro was just one more step in that direction.

The concept of mutually assured destruction was widely popularized during the cold war when they US and the Soviet Union had so many nuclear weapons pointed at each other that both sides knew that launching a single one would escalate to the point where both sides were completely destroyed.

At the same time as we were putting a system of physical mutually assured destruction into place, we were simultaneously putting a system of economic mutually assured destruction into place with Breton Woods in 1944.  Breton Woods was a HUGE nail in the coffin of a US Dollar backed by gold, as well as the start of the International Monetary Fund/World Bank.  In short, Breton Woods put a framework into effect that would intertwine the world’s economies to the point that future economic failures would be global rather than national/regional.

There are several nefarious components to Breton Woods, but the MAD one was that countries wouldn’t be able to attack each other without hurting themselves economically.

Fast forward to late November, 2011.  The European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and the central banks of Canada, Japan and Switzerland all agreed to open up “bilateral liquidity swaps” as needed through February of 2013 where they agree to loan each other money at below market rates.  One way to look at this is that the agreement will continually pump money from the healthiest central banks to the sickest ones.  There’s a slim chance that this will help make the sickest central banks more healthy.  More than likely, unless ALL of the countries involved agree to cut entitlement spending and balance their budgets by spending less than they take in, the measure will just serve to spread the sickness in their economies to the other central banks and ensure mutual destruction.

What will this destruction look like?  When will it happen?  All we can do is guess.  Markets are not rational…as shown by the flight to US Dollars on Wednesday and the DJIA going up 490 points.  Americans are lucky right now because, regardless of how sick our economy is, other economies are more sick and their citizens, corporations, and even governments are fleeing to US Dollars for relative safety.

What can you do?  In short…prepare.  The simplest and most powerful thing you can do is to stock up on the items that you regularly use.  Buy as much as your budget, space, and expiration dates allow.  Remember, when you buy the things you already use, you can always consume what you’ve stored instead of buying more when you need money.  Many people have taken my advice and buy extra food, vitamins, paper products, and other consumables from January through November.  When December rolls around, they go to their storage instead of going to the store and spend the money they would have spent on supplies on Christmas gifts.  It’s a little late to put that strategy into practice this year, but it’s definitely something that you can start doing when January rolls around.

What else can you do?  Consider one of my courses.  Click on one of the following links for more information:  The Urban Survival Course that focuses on preparing for riding out disasters based on the reality of living in populated areas, the preparedness course that’s designed to give you step by step instructions on getting prepared for disasters lasting up to and beyond 40 days.  Two other options you should consider are my monthly print newsletter, the and

Until next week, God bless and stay safe!

David Morris




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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Vote -1 Vote +1craig francis
December 2, 2011 at 8:31 am

David I suggest that you check Silver Doctors. they have a real need for your material. We SD people are silver stackers but the average reader is pretty clueless about the real elements of prepping.


Vote -1 Vote +1Kevin
December 2, 2011 at 8:54 am

SOL? What, or who, is that?


Vote -1 Vote +1DRP
December 3, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I agree with you. So many people use acronyms that it reaching epidemic proportions. It seems that every business has its own acronyms and they expect that everyone knows them. Bull. I really dislike them. DRP


Vote -1 Vote +1Vic Monzon
December 2, 2011 at 9:03 am

Typically outstanding advice, David.

As a graduate of your SurviveInPlace guide, I have my 72 hr Get Out (GO) bag always in my small AWD SUV. My fuel gauge rarely sees less than 1/2. I have been stocking my preferred canned/dry foods and rotating. I stock water, water containers, and multiple types of water purification.

Since I recruited you to FrontSight, I hope we can coordinate for a class. 🙂
Working my way thru Target Focused Training materials and hope on catch a class.

On your advice, diversified into gold/silver (5%) which is of course also an excellent “Get out of Dodge” (GOOD) means to move assets/barter… Which has appreciated 70%
Where would I be without your sage insights 🙂

Thanks, my friend. I hope we can meet.

Vic (Cdr USN, retired) Prepper.


Vote -1 Vote +1sherab
December 2, 2011 at 9:12 am

The way this situation presents itself to me is: the so called economic crisis originated in the US. The bailing out of banks and real estate investment institutions was done by the US-government and the Federal Bank. Subsequently this crisis spread. The monetary system of the western world shows serious faults. The real experts in the finance sector are profiting immensely from the actual situation. The people who are losing money and security are NOT experts. Neither are the polititians who try desperately to make believe they can do something to cure this mess. In decades past the ground was laid for this by deficit spending of the governments and now that the s.h…t has hit the fan, nobody wants be responsible.
It doesn´t matter if you try and save your own situation by investing in gold or silver or any other commodity, you can´t eat gold or drink silver.
I am now preparing my garden to grow some foodstuff in case there is a shortage, I only hope it is not too late.


Vote -1 Vote +1James
December 2, 2011 at 9:33 am

Most probably already have one, but if you don’t, make sure to get and keep in car a cellphone charger for your phone. I still remember the story years ago of a woman in N. Dakota or Wisconsin who drove off the road in a white out snow storm and was then buried in a drift. She was found a few days later by tracking her cellphone signal.


Vote -1 Vote +1DAJ
December 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

James, It was NE South Dakota.


Vote -1 Vote +1Robert McCullah
December 2, 2011 at 9:40 am

Couldn’t agree more, David. This whole entitlement attitude by both the 1%ers AND the
Democrats, is doing nothing but hurting the working class people. Why is there no uproar
for the latest round of spending? Is it because we’re swapping Euros for Dollars, instead of just giving dollars away?


Vote -1 Vote +1David Morris
December 9, 2011 at 8:30 am

I’m not sure we’re defining terms the same way…

1%ers are the top 1% of income earners in the country. Some of them made their money by stealing and some made their money by providing exceptional value to a large number of people over an extended period of time. Bunching them together is intellectually dishonest and unproductive.

Furthermore, I would HOPE that a lot of people in the 99% would aspire to provide enough value to enough people to one day be in the top 1% of wage earners.

Finally, let’s say that we could do what Rosy suggests and use the guillitine on everyone who’s in the top 1% of wage earners (which, ironically, would include her). When we were done lopping off heads and re-assessed everyone who was left, there would STILL be a top 1%. There would always be a top 1%, no matter how many times the top 1% got thinned out.

The answer isn’t to pull down the top 1%, or to use that as a benchmark of good and evil. The answer is to enforce laws and make liberty and tools available to the 99% so that those who want to be in the 1% can provide enough value to get there.


Vote -1 Vote +1Jerry
December 2, 2011 at 10:54 am


Might be better to have an inside garden; I remember all too well how someone with a sweet tooth for turnips pulled all of my turnips up and made off with them while I was away-and that was done during good times. Times are not so good now…



Vote -1 Vote +1Sue Willems
December 2, 2011 at 11:08 am

We have granola bars, cookies, crackers, water always we take water when leaving house, but we have food as Steve gets cranky when hungry n I dont like being stranded with a cranky person, also a cell phone, even one that is no longer in service dials 911… we live in the middle of nowhere, its where the deer n the bear play!! But some food source, helps!


Vote -1 Vote +1libby
December 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I think one thing people have missed here is that the bee’s are still dying off. If there are no bess to pollinate crops all the gardens in the world won’t help, be prepared to hand polinate your crops which means less acerage and more work


Vote -1 Vote +1CMills
December 3, 2011 at 9:28 pm

How does one ‘hand pollinate’ crops? I’m seriously interested in finding out how this would be done.


Vote -1 Vote +1Hofffhack
December 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm

The way things are going, maybe we should keep 5 or 6,000 in singles to use as “Tinder!!!” by the time this bunch gets done, that is all paper money will be good for!
At the outset, though I have some Gold and Silver, initially, Barter in necessities will be far more fruitful. easily stored and transportable Food, WATER!!!! Fuel, ammo, batteries, disposable LIGHTERS (I have 1,000) Edged weapons, camping goods. Costco sells 2 paks of really good led motion lights that work for months on 2 AAA batteries, and can be mounted almost anywhere with some velcro, I have them for every window in my house that is vulnerable, and all approaches that have blind spots. 20 bucks for 2!!


Vote -1 Vote +1Robert L. Echola
December 2, 2011 at 2:50 pm

I always have in any vehicle that I am in a pair of SUNGLASSES or, in my case, FITOVERS. Fitovers, just for those that have no idea what I am talking about, are SUNGLASSES that fit over your prescription glasses. They are usually available at any good optometrist. The pair that I have cost about $50.00 about 10 YEARS ago. In a driving snowstorm you will be amazed at how well you can see with them on. I even use them when I’m driving, especially when I have some idiot behind me with his HIGH BEAMS ON.


Vote -1 Vote +1BigE
December 2, 2011 at 5:43 pm

also dont forget the simple things like jumper cables, coolant, oil, gloves, knife, water bottle, exc… Point being, remember the little things they may keep from even getting in to a survival situation


+2 Vote -1 Vote +1The Mongol
December 2, 2011 at 10:17 pm

If you keep cat litter in your car for traction, make sure it’s NOT clumping litter. Clumping litter gets slimy when wet and wil provide no traction.


Vote -1 Vote +1CMills
December 3, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I currently have my trunk full with a gallon of water, water proof boots, blanket, survival sleeping bag, hand/body warmers, a sealed bucket of WISE dry food (just add water), a first aid kit and car kit with jumper cables. I also have a backpack with shovel, cooking stove, rope a nifty battery free cell phone charger (the crank type), and LED windup radio/flashlight. Although not great on the gas mileage, my car is weighted down well for traction. After reading this post I am thinking it wise to add a set of winter clothing and the tire repair kits you mentioned.


Vote -1 Vote +1Thinker
December 3, 2011 at 5:04 pm

A little one cup coiled water heater that normally runs on 110 Volts, plugs into my AC Traveler inverter. (Not a very efficient method, but the inverter is in my car all the time anyway for other things) This gives the hot water Dave mentioned above, assuming you still have battery power. Not elegant, but very cheap and takes up almost no space.


Vote -1 Vote +1Jim R
December 4, 2011 at 9:13 am

I have included in my pack a few of these:
– Foods that tolerate freeze/thaw cycles well: pop tarts and energy bars and fruit drink pouches. Plastic water bottles.
– A real good pair of weather resistant (no glove under $100 is truly water-proof in my experience) GLOVES. Preferrably with high cuffs or straps to tighten that aids in preventing snow/water/ice from chilling your paws.
– Some old floor mats from past vehicles I’ve owed. When I scrap an in-op/used vehicle to the junkyard after its useful life, I remove most of the fuses, light bulbs and floor mats since those items are frequently interchangeable from vehicle to vehicle. They are great to lay on to perform repairs and can be used under tires for traction. Also, if laid over your current issued floor mats, they will preserve them from winter slop that your drag in with your BOOTS! Also, turn your current mays upside-down before placing the replacement mats over them to keep them as clean as possible. Also- Rug remnants from installations can be custom trimmed to your specs and disposed of when soiled.
– A good LED headlamp with spare batteries.
– Pen/broad tip marker and paper capable of penning a note dictating the vehicles condition, your location/destination and possible contact instructions for recovery/drop off in the event you are rescued/separated from your vehicle. This should be taped on the INSIDE of the drivers side window.
-Tow cable. Auto parts stores sell these relatively cheap and they are great to pull a vehicle out of a ditch as long as all safety considerations are applied. BUT- don’t solve one problem and create another. Safety first! Wrap the cable/strap around a structural frame and not a plastic bumper or drive component or frail front end unit.
-Cell phone charger cable.
– I operate a Suburban and most of my mileage is short distances so wieght & space is not usually a problem. I have purchased a jump starter battery pack-comperssor for camping purposes (it doesn’t really have the desired volume I thought it would) and have used it at least 6 to 8 times in the past year to assist folks who have run down thier vehicles batteries and required a complete stranger to A) be willing to assist B) have the necessary EQ to help.
-If your state allows CCW…. ALWAYS carry your firearm. Buy a cheap lock box & cable for when you’re away from your vehicle to prevent theft.
– Whistle on a lanyard.
– Reading material .
– Quart of motor oil & anti-freeze and washer fluid.
– Let your family or friends know your departure time and expected arrival time as well as your anticipated route. DON”T TEXT WHILE DRIVING OR RISK BECOMING A STATISTIC!
– OPTIONAL- Cheap paper/tyvek painters overall that can serve as a barrier to the elements.
I hope these suggestion helps somebody fine-tune thier kits.
Also- importantly: if your vehicle is buried in a snow drift along a highway, stick a branch or any object in the snow-pack (behind the vehicle in the same direction of traffic flow) to warn plow operators from clipping your vehicle with their massive plow blades. They maybe fatigued from hours behind the wheel and need as much assistance from the travelling public as possible. I’ve plowed for 16 hr straight and know that towards the end of your shift, many things that mattered early on, don’t mean a darn now. All you’re thinking about is sleep…
Stay Warm & be safe
Merry Christmas
Jim Fom No Va


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