My dad is planning a trip up to the north of Michigan, into Minnesota and then across the upper portion of the United States. He and my brother will be hitting ski resorts all the way until they get to California. It sounds like a great trip but the inner survivalist in me has some concerns about them tackling these roads in the middle of winter. In an effort to keep them safe I went ahead and composed this list of 10 items that they should have with them on their winter adventure.
1. Water - They need to have a supply of drinkable water. I would suggest having some water stored in the cab so it doesn't get frozen but also to have a couple of metal cups for heating ice or snow over a flame to make drinkable water. If they are concerned about the purity of this water source they should also carry a Lifestraw to drink the water and make sure it is bacteria free.
Fire - They need a way to keep warm if the vehicle were to get stuck or break down. I recommend having a metal coffee can with a big candle inside. This way they can have the flame safely in the vehicle. They will also need a source of flame like a Bic lighter or waterproof matches.
Food - They need to have plenty of food on hand. Things like beef jerky and trial mix are power packed and easy to carry. I would also recommend some pemmican bars but they are not the survivalists that I am and would probably have no idea what a pemmican bar is so jerky and trail mix will do.
Blankets and warm clothes - Given that they are skiing they will have plenty of winter gear, including gloves, jackets, covers for their pants, face masks, etc. Remember cotton kills. Cotton once wet will suck the heat from your body so you should avoid cotton clothing in the winter, wool or a poly-blend is best. They should also have some blankets to keep warm.
Cell phone - Of course they will have their phones but they also need a way to charge them. A vehicle charger is sufficient as long as you have a car battery to charge it. They should also have a solar or crank charger so that if the battery is dead and the sun is not shining they can still get a charge to call for help.
Light - They should have a quality flashlight with them and plenty of batteries!
Shovel and Sand - If stuck a shovel and sand may be just what they need to get unstuck. The shovel is obvious but sand can help weigh the back of a rear wheel drive vehicle down, giving you more traction. It can also be poured on the snow to help your tires get more traction.
Knife and multi-tool - Everyone should always carry a knife and multi-tool in an every day carry pack but especially when winter driving. The uses are numerous.
Extra battery, jumper cables, spare tire, jack and tools - They need to make sure they have the resources to handle any emergency. Wouldn't it be nice to have an extra battery if yours were to go dead? The problem would be instantly solved. Of course if there is help nearby the jumper cables would be useful but if not, the backup battery would be key. They should also have the tools to handle any tire issues. There is nothing worse than having a flat and a spare with no jack.
Toilet Paper - If they are stuck the reasons to have toilet paper are obvious. Given they are guys it may not seem like a necessity but if they are stranded for an extended time it may be more important than previously realized. It would also make a great source of flammable material to keep them warm.
If you can think of anything I missed please add it to the list. Wishing my dad and brother a very safe journey!