For Best Price Hotels Click Below

Sponsored Links
Blacksmith courses and custom work.

Your Stories

Winter Survival Tips

Winter can be ferocious in Ontario. It is wise to be prepared in case you get stuck in your car. A few items stashed in the trunk could mean the difference between an uncomfortable stay and a fatal one or simply a few minutes of work and you are on your way again. The following list are of items I recommend that you have on hand in you vehicle at all times in the winter. You may think of others appropriate to your situation.

First and foremost tip is SLOW DOWN!

Slowing your speed and allowing more space between you and the next person on the road will keep you out of the ditch more than anything else.

Sleeping Bag or long coat.

The sleeping bag can double as a blanket for two people. A long coat will help with two people but the sleeping bag is more versatile.

Touque and Mitts.

Your head and ears are great radiators of heat. Keeping them covered will help keep the rest of your body warm. Mitts are far better than gloves to keep your hands warm, especially when you are not moving very much. Warmth is the issue here not fashion.

Collapsible shovel.

These shovels are usually designed to fold down and fit in your trunk. Moving a little snow may make the difference of spending hours stuck or getting under way in a few minutes.

Traction Bars.

This item has various names depending on the manufacturer. They are two metal or plastic pieces that have a heavy grid for tires to grab into on top and usually points that dig into snow or ice on the bottom. The idea is that if you don't have traction under the drive wheels you pace these grips as close to the wheel as possible in the direction that you wan't to go, and slowly rock the car back and forth until the tire catches on the grip. Then slowly drive as far as you can. You may have to repeat the process several times to get completely unstuck. I have used my pair countless times to get out of some minor situations, and some major situations. The metal ones are better and can be used as a crude shovel to scoop snow out. Once you are out of your slippery spot go back and get your traction bars. This does take time but the activity will keep you warm and if you are not stuck too bad (axel on the ground) there is a good chance you will get going without calling a tow truck.

Battery Booster.

These small portable power packs can boost your vehicle at least a couple of trys if you happen to leave the lights on. Car batteries do last a long time but eventually they need to be replaced. I have had occasion when my battery was not strong enough to start my car but would provide enough energy to allow the alternator to keep the engine running. The trick here is once you get it started don't turn it off unless you are sure of a boost. Learn how to use the battery boost before being stuck!


A few chocolate bars or granola bars tucked away will help. A bottle of water would help too if it isn't frozen. It is not a good idea to use your body heat to thaw a frozen bottle of water, as it uses up your reserves. Remember to take chocolate bars out after winter as you may have a mess come summer.

Candle with Matches or Lighter.

Candles are good and bad. When lit in an enclosed space they use up oxygen and produce carbon monoxide. Always have the candle secure and the window open a crack. The fresh air should come to you first then to the candle. The best candles are large base "survival candles" small taper candles do not last as long and can tip over creating a fire hazard. Matches or Lighter. If use up all your matches you are stuck. A lighter gives you many more lights. Matches also may become damp and not start. Remember a lighter will not work well in extreme cold. It is best to warm it a few minutes in an inside pocket.


This should be carried year round for emergencies. Check batteries regularly or get a shake light that needs no batteries.

Cell phone.

Many people carry cell phones with them all the time, and this is your best way of getting help easily. In the country there is no guarantee that your cell phone will have reception. You may still have to walk to the farmer's house a mile back on the the last road you turned off. A sobering thought if it is minus 20 C. It is a good idea to have a car adaptor for your phone if yours happens to be out of battery just when you need it.

Winter Tires.

Good winter tires on all four wheels makes a huge difference. I use to put winter tires only on the drive wheels but final put them on the other wheels as well. The difference is night and day. It is worth the expense to have all four winter tires. All seasons are not for true winter driving. See a tire expert for the best winter tire for you. 

Your travel story considered for inclusion on this site please email We reserve the right to edit for content.