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Winter Survival Kit

How to Make a Survival Kit in a Can

Here is how you can create a winter survival kit that will give you more winter driving safety and security. 

Winter Survival Kit

Below are directions for a winter survival kit that is so simple it fits in a coffee can.

We'll also tell you how to be totally prepared for any winter emergency that leaves you stranded. Don't be out in a Minnesota winter without some sort of survival gear.

Have you ever been stranded in a snowbound vehicle? We have and, after that experience, we made it a priority to have some basic supplies in each of our vehicles.

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Despite practicing your best winter driving safety skills, a sudden winter blizzard can create a life-threatening situation. Here are several ways to be prepared.

You can purchase survival kits that contain all you need to keep you safe while waiting for help to arrive.

You could also compile a stash of supplies from things you likely already have at home.

The basics can be as simple as what might fit inside a large coffee can.

Winter Survival Kit in a Coffee Can

Equip your vehicle with some basic winter survival gear. Here's what you'll need:

  • Large metal coffee can with 3 holes punched in the top that are equal distance apart. The other items will be stored inside the can.
  • 60-inch length of twine or heavy string, cut into 3 equal pieces. You will use this to suspend the can.
  • 3 large safety pins. You will tie the string to the safety pins and pin to the car roof interior so you can suspend the coffee can over the candle.
  • A 2" diameter (votive size) candle. Place the candle on the coffee can lid under the suspended can to melt snow.
  • 2 books of matches.
  • A pocket knife or pair of sharp scissors.
  • Several long strips of brightly colored cloth that you can tie to to the antenna or door handle to help searchers locate you.
  • Several packets of soup mix, hot chocolate mix, tea bags, bouillon cubes, etc. Mix into the melted snow to provide warmth and nutrition.
  • A plastic cup
  • A plastic spoon.
  • Several small packages of peanuts and fruit-flavored candy.
  • 1 pen light flashlight and batteries (keep separate until needed).
  • 1 pair of insulated socks and 1 pair of insulated gloves or glove liners that can fit in the can.
  • A sun shield blanket or 2 large green or black plastic leaf bags (to reflect body heat).

When your survival kit in a can is complete, place a stocking cap over the entire kit and stash it in the passenger compartment of your car. If you have a 3 pound coffee can, you will have room for additional items like band-aids, aspirin, a small radio, etc. If there is still room, add more of items you already have included or other items you feel might be necessary.

Survival Kit
AAA 66-Piece Severe Weather Road Kit

Beyond Basic Winter Survival Kit

To be well prepared for a longer winter emergency, or to provide for several people, it is wise to store a number of other items in your car.

  • Several sleeping bags or blankets and some warm clothing, such as parka, boots, long underwear, heavy socks, mittens, ski mask.
  • A heat source, such as a multiple wick candle can heater. Be sure to have matches to light your candle as some lighters don't work in cold weather.
  • A radio and large flashlight with extra batteries for both.
  • Food, including hard candy, jellybeans, raisins, nuts, candy bars, dehydrated fruit, and jerky.
  • Magazines or a book to read to help keep you awake.
  • Toilet tissue.
  • A whistle to signal for help.
  • Nylon rope.
  • Cell phone.


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