From an old Sam Cooke song performed by the Kingston Trio… “Way out West they got a name for rain and wind and fire. The rain is Tess, the fire is Joe and they call the wind Mariah.” Hmmm… There’s no name for snow? On today’s morning walk, the mountains whispered to me. It was eerily quiet in an unusual way… no scurrying animals and no chirping birds. Even the trees were whispering among themselves. The time for preparing for winter is upon us.
Have you even thought about it? Do you know where your snow scraper is? Or are you just planning on using a credit card? Are you still jumping in your truck wearing little more than a t-shirt and shorts? It will snow and it will be 15 degrees below zero one night soon. It’s been a while, but I remember waking up to three feet of snow on Thanksgiving day! Every couple of years, or maybe four or five, I rerun this advice on putting together an emergency bag for your winter vehicle. Believe it or not, after the last time I wrote this article, a woman came up to me and thanked me for “saving her life.” She took my advice and a matter of days later she got stuck about a mile from her home in Echo Hills. She grabbed her emergency bag, suited up, and walked home in relative comfort.
The main purpose of using an emergency bag is to make sure that everything you will need is all in one place and stays in your car all winter long—even when it is a bright sunny day when you leave the house.
So, I am talking about a pretty large and sturdy duffle bag that can get tossed around without getting damaged. Make use of all that old winter clothing that you were going to just throw away. That way you won’t be tempted to raid the bag with the intention of putting it back together. Besides, when you need the bag, it won’t be a pretty situation.
The winter clothing in your bag wants to be everything to keep you warm and dry under the worst conditions… winter gloves, a knit hat, a down jacket, long winter pants and a sweater for starters. Multiple items wouldn’t hurt either. Like a knit hat and a balaclava. Baggy clothes with lots of zippers are also a good idea since getting dressed in the confines of a vehicle is not easy.
I said a large bag! You also want to throw in a couple of water bottles, some long lasting food, an old sleeping bag, tire chains and jumper cables.
Now you can venture out without being afraid—confident that you can handle whatever comes your way. Worst case, you could even spend the night at 15 below, curled up in your down sleeping bag waiting for help.
A grizzled old Alaskan once said… “There is no bad weather, just bad preparedness.”