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Here's how to stock your vehicle's emergency kit, BEFORE you get stranded

Monday, March 14th 2022, 12:00 pm - If you find yourself in need of help that may not come for a few hours, you'll want to be prepared.

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When even Vancouver got more than its fair share of snow so far this past winter, it’s safe to say that, if you’re driving in Canada, there’s always a chance you’ll end up stranded for a time on a snowy road or highway.

If that happens, help can be a while coming, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be helpless. Drivers are advised to keep an emergency kit in their vehicle to see them through. Aside from smaller, simpler items like non-perishable food, a whistle, notepad, pen, kitty litter, and washer fluid, here are our suggestions for what to include in your kit.

Yardworks Telescopic Trunk Snow Shovel

Yardworks shovel

Canadian Tire

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With a bit of exertion, you might simply be able to use a shovel to clear enough of the snow to get back underway. Even if not, you should still be mindful of how much snow is built up around your vehicle and clear a space around your exhaust pipe if you’re stranded. For that, we think the Yardworks Telescopic Trunk Snow Shovel is good value.

Why it made the list

  • Easily collapsible to fit neatly into your trunk
  • Study 11-inch poly blade
  • Rated 4.5 out of 5 by Canadian Tire users

SOL Survival Blanket

SOL blanket Atmosphere

Atmosphere

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Power outages are bad news when they happen in the middle of a Canadian winter. Even if you have a portable generator, you'll still want to include an emergency blanket in your home kit. The SOL Survival Blanket is rated for the backcountry, and reflects 90 per cent of your body's radiated heat when used properly.

Why it made the list

  • Shred and tear-resistant
  • Large enough for two people, and priced well enough for you to afford more than one for your survival kit
  • Rated 4.6 out of 5 by Atmosphere reviewers

Like what you see? Check out our Shop the Weather articles for more must-have product recommendations.


Emergency Heat and Light Survival Candle

Candle Car Kit Amazon 22-01-20

Amazon.ca

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Candles are another good source of heat as well as light, but when it comes to function, not all candles are created equal. This Emergency Heat and Light Survival Candle fits the bill perfectly, and you’ll want a set in your car.

Why it made the list

  • Comes in a two-pack, with a combined 80 hours of burn time, matches included
  • Made of non-toxic soy, making it safe for prolonged use in the confines of your car
  • Rated 4.6 out of 5 by Amazon users

ThorFire Solar Flashlight With Hand-Crank

Small crank flashlight Amazon 22-01-20

Amazon.ca

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If you need a light source that’s a bit more focused than a candle, this ThorFire Solar Flashlight With Hand-Crank will be your friend for a few hours. It has a solar charge option, but if you’re in a pinch you can use the hand crank to replenish the battery. At the very least, you won’t have to worry about packing AAAs.

Why it made the list

  • One minute of cranking will generate one hour of light, according to the manufacturer
  • Waterproof and submersible up to 45 feet (14 metres)
  • Rated 4.6 out of 5 on Amazon, based on more than 280 reviews

INIU Triple 3A High-Speed 10000mAh Phone Power Bank

Iniu power bar Amazon 21-01-19

Amazon

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It’s hard to do without your smartphone in this day and age. In a severe weather outbreak it's the first place severe weather warnings are delivered (via AlertReady), and lets you check on the situation as it evolves. But most of them have poor battery lives compared to the pre-smartphone age, so you'll definitely want a portable power bank for yours. We liked the INIU Triple 3A High-Speed 10000mAh Phone Power Bank best. It's lightweight, eminently portable, and priced well enough for you to include more than one in your emergency kit.

Why it made the list

  • 10,000 milliamp-hour charge capacity
  • Three USB-C ports, so you can charge three devices at once
  • Rated 4.6 out of 5, based on more than 1,500 Amazon user reviews

Motomaster 9,000-lb Tow Strap

Tow strap Canadian Tire

Canadian Tire

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Whether you’re hauling someone out of a snow bank, or being pulled out of one yourself, you’ll likely need a good tow rope. This one, the Motomaster 9,000-lb Tow Strap, is a good one to include in your kit.

Why it made the list

  • Intended for loads up to 3,000 pounds, with 9,000-pound break strength
  • Includes two zinc-plated, rust-resistant hooks
  • Rated 4.3 out of 5 by Canadian Tire users

EPAuto 6 Gauge x 16 Ft Heavy Duty Booster Jumper Cables

Jumper Cables Amazon 22-01-20

Amazon.ca

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A rundown battery isn’t just a winter hazard, so snow or shine, you’ll want some jumper cables in your kit. We picked these ones, the EPAuto 6 Gauge x 16 Ft Heavy Duty Booster Jumper Cables, not only because they’re a fine and sturdy example of the tool, but unlike most others we’ve seen, it comes with safety gloves.

Why it made the list

  • 16-foot length
  • Aside from safety gloves, includes storage bag for safe stowing in your trunk
  • Immensely popular among Amazon users, who rated it 4.6 out of 5 based on more than 5,800 reviews

Compact First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit 22-01-21

Amazon.ca

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Having a first aid kit in your car is a must regardless of what you think the weather’s going to be like. We recommend this Compact First Aid Kit for yours. Though its price tag is a little higher than others like it, it includes 228 items within its waterproof case, more than most others we reviewed.

Why it made the list

  • Includes scissors, which can be used to cut through a seatbelt
  • Compact, lightweight and waterproof case
  • Rated 4.6 out of 5 among Amazon users, based on more than 2,100 reviews

Amerex B500, 5lb ABC Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguisher 22-01-21

Amazon.ca

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As with any emergency kit, it’s better to have one and not need it, than need one and not have it. Nothing embodies that ethos like your standard fire extinguisher, and the Amerex B500, 5lb ABC Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher is a tried and true example. Be sure to monitor its charge regularly, and replace or recharge as needed.

Why it made the list

  • Sturdy design, with steel cylinders and all-metal valves
  • Easy to maintain and service
  • Rated 4.6 out of 5 on Amazon, based on 1,200 reviews

3 Pack ZivaTech LED Road Flares

LED road lights 22-01-21

Amazon.ca

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Whatever the reason your car is stopped on the highway, you’ll want to maximize your visibility for oncoming drivers. These ZivaTech LED Road Flares are a great way to do that: They’re sturdy, have multiple flash settings, and can be magnetically attached to your vehicle.

Why it made the list

  • Each includes multiple LED bulbs, with nighttime visibility up to 1.6 kilometres
  • Weather-resistant, shatterproof, and crushproof
  • Rated 4.5 out of 5 by Amazon users

Like what you see? Check out our Shop the Weather articles for more must-have product recommendations.


Our trusted Product Specialists recommend high-quality items that we think will enhance your experience with Canadian weather conditions. Prices and availability of items are accurate at the time of publication and are subject to change.

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