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Contents of "emergency winter break-down" bag?

Mom’s b-day is coming up, and I thought about getting her a breakdown kit for the winter. I was curious what you though ought to go in such a kit.

For the record, she’s not mechanically inclined (so the kit’s biased towards getting help vs. fixing things) and she does almost all of her driving from the 'burbs in towards the city. Also, I don’t see the need to get unnecessarially expensive here.

I came up with:

1. Blanket

2. Wool hat/mittnes/socks

3. “Throwaway” cellphone (with battery stored seperately)

4. Reflective triangle hazard thingies (as opposed to flares)

5. Chemical hand/foot warmers

6. Basic first-aid kit

Any other bright ideas (no sarcasm)?

My ideas are preventative,keeping the car in excellent mechanical condition and not driving at all when things are “crazy cold”, oh yeah flashlight, possibly meds (in case you are “over the bank” and can’t be rescued for days.)

Add an LED flashlight with lithium batteries. (I like the Fenix L1T or L2T, but these may be pricier than you want to go here.)

I’m not sure what you mean about storing the cellphone battery separately, but maybe you could just add one of those boosters that can recharge the cellphone battery from standard batteries (again using lithium batteries).

Maybe add a disposable camera in case she ever needs to take pictures of an accident scene.

For “emergency” food, a chocolate bar is a very good idea to add to the kit.

Just give me a cell phone.  You can't cover everything in a bad, but the cell phone covers almost everything.

I might be out of date or touch on this, but if you are talking about a pre-paid cell phone, read the fine print. When I looked at them, they expire if not renewed in something like 90 days. Cell phone is the most important and monthly rates are pretty cheap now. Also need to know who to call so to me a motor club membership is pretty important.

Good sugestions! I also carry a can of tire inflator in case I get a flat with my good clothes on or no place to change the tire. I also have a battery booster kit in a canvas bag in the trunk. With the recent cold spell (-22F) it came in handy when the battery was not sufficiently charged for a quick start. Also, always carry a rool of duct tape, and a pair of garden gloves.

A cell phone that works and an AAA membership is certainly desirable. My mother-in-law is 91, still drives and will rely on the auto club if anything goes wrong.

Good suggestions thus far. I would also add bottled water (2 containers)(my wife and I tested them in our freezer and they don’t burst when frozen). Include a couple of energy bars for food. A signaling mirror. Also a roll of electrical tape (great for patching a broken radiator hose or other things to get you to the next exit). A small fold up shovel (if you’re in snow country). I’ll post back if I can remember anything else–we have such a kit and it fits in a small duffel bag.

A candle and a can of sterno is a good idea also. the candle was a suggestion when I was at Grand Forks AFB, sterno from the locals. A votive type candle in glass would be good.

Another thing about those prepaid cell phones is they may not get the same reception that a normal cell phone gets. The prepaid phone I had, I’d have to drive about 5 miles from my house to get any kinda decent reception. My current phone, from Cingular/AT&T, gets pretty good reception just about everywhere

A regular cell phone even with out a carrier is effective. Isn’t it a federal law that the phone can still reach 911 even if no “carrier”?

Yeah,a mom gave her youngster (3 yr old or so) a inactive phone to play with,the kid called 911 hundreds of times,they caught her by promising to bring a Happy Meal, kid new her address.

If you add a can of “fix-a-flat” or one with another brand to the bag, try to find one with contents that aren’t flammable. They are out there, but make sure you read the label before you pay your money.

When my kids drove to the University, 35 miles one way, I put a military sleeping bag in the trunk when winter came. Also, a large jar of peanut butter. I realize the peanut butter might have got real stiff, but if they got cold they could chip at it.

They never needed it.

I know that this is true for the older analogue cell phones, but it might not apply to the current digital phones. Does anyone here know for sure?