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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    Default Winter car survival kit

    I built this simple guy out of some stuff I had lying around after I saw the idea online. There are better alternatives, but this works alright. Good for a power outage or stranded in a storm or even to carry in cold conditions.

    If you buy everything new it'll prob. cost about 4-6 bucks a heater. They are refillable.



    Isopropyl is a good alternative to denatured. It could also be used for bandages, but I have access to large amounts of denatured, so that's what I went with.

    Empty cans are <$3 at home depot.





    I <3 Palox.



    (picture frame holder, cheap, any hardware store, small, works)



    can be reclosed leak tight with palm of hand, but use a rubber mallet for best shelf life.

    Don't just pry the lid off - you'll bend it and then it won't close right. Work around it.



    I think one will go on a shelf in the garage, the other in the trunk.

    The directions are good if I want to give them to people. Date them. They should last a long time (at least 3 years, probably more) on a shelf - the cans are coated on the inside (no rust) and are pretty air tight.



    Tested in a car with windows just cracked and a carbon monoxide tester: no fumes detected. Heats up fast. Choked down with lid half on top (will get hot) will conserve fuel and limit output.

    Once the fuel runs out (~4 hours full flame) the TP will burn, so don't leave it unattended inside a car. Easily extinguished with lid of can, and alcohol fires are easy to snuff out. TP baffle limits spillage but don't knock it over, you'll be unhappy.




    I carry a jumpstart battery pack (got used today, not on my car but good to know it works), jumper cables, folding shovel, moving blankets and a basic first aid...

    So what else could go into a winter emergency kit? Blankets bandages shovels?
    Last edited by Bamboo; 12-22-2010 at 05:31 PM.

  2. #2
    From the Undertow CuriousFeeling's Avatar
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    Blanket, shovel, snow/ice remover, flashlights, battery powered radio, weather radio, food that won't spoil, first aid kit, batteries, extra gloves/ coats , flares, cigarette lighter adapter for charging the cell phone, maps, car repair kit.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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  3. #3
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    a bag of cat litter is great for traction on ice, snow, and mud

    regular batteries are useless in the cold unless warmed up--lithium batteries are much better, but the flashlight must be lithium-compatible, or the bulb/LED will burn out quickly

    if you don't have a cool stove like bamboo posted, you're going to need a thick sleeping bag to keep warm while sitting still

    even a candle will help to warm the car some

    keep snow shoveled away from exhaust pipe if running engine to prevent exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide from backing up into car

    a metal pot (like a large coffee can) to melt snow or ice in using an alcohol stove and stand

    Extra fat-rich food is important because calories are needed for your body to produce heat.

    In major blizzards, many have died on interstates stranded in their cars despite being in sight of stores and houses. The snow was too deep to make it to the shelter, and no one was able to get through the deep snow to rescue them. Have two pieces of semi-sturdy, waterproof material which are approximately 10 x 36 inches which you can very securely strap to your feet just behind the toes to use as snowshoes. Evergreen branches will work too, if you can get to them somehow.

  4. #4
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Cool idea! I'd never heard of those, Bamboo. Here it could be a matter of life or death during a cold snap if your car quits on you.

  5. #5
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    *-* I love homemade gadgets!! *suscribed for quick reference..*
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  6. #6
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    After hearing this man describe his ordeal in vivid detail (including the horrendous thirst) I would add additional water to the list.
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  7. #7
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasilisa View Post
    After hearing this man describe his ordeal in vivid detail (including the horrendous thirst) I would add additional water to the list.
    Two weeks is a long time to be stranded! I don't think he would have survived more than a day if he didn't happen to have sleeping bag with him.

    In snow or ice, you're lucky enough to be surrounded by plenty of water. It can be melted with body heat in a container like a sandwich bag, pop can, or even a condom as long as you're warm enough yourself, but a metal container on a stove, candles, or heat from an engine is much better.

    Melting snow over a flame is tricky. If done quickly, the snow will just evaporate, and you'll just scorch the container. Start with about a cup of water. If you don't have that much water, put snow in your mouth to melt it, and then spit it into the container until you have about a half of a cup of water. Slowly add small amounts of snow. The more water you have, the more snow you can add.

    Lighters don't work well in the cold. Keeping them in a pocket or warming them in an armpit and shaking them frequently will get them working again. The childproof spring should be removed to make it easier for cold or wet fingers to operate. Waterproof wooden matches are a great backup. Test a few and practice to make sure you have an adequate surface to strike them on.

  8. #8
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    Right, but in his case he had nothing to melt it with, and was nearly gravely hypothermic himself.
    It is amazing that he endured it. More about the story here and here.
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  9. #9
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    That's cool.

    I have a warm coat in the trunk.

    Having some 20$ bills hidden somewhere might also be cool, emergency cash or something.

  10. #10
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasilisa View Post
    Right, but in his case he had nothing to melt it with, and was nearly gravely hypothermic himself.
    It is amazing that he endured it. More about the story here and here.
    It's admittedly speculation, but I think the real problem is that he either didn't think to melt snow, or that he didn't think he could do it for some reason. In the second CNN transcript link, he says that he had a small styrofoam cup and a jug of water. Placing the jug near (but not on) the warmed engine should have enabled melting some snow, and then keeping the jug inside his sleeping bag would have prevented it from freezing and probably even melted some snow. It doesn't sound like he was suffering from hypothermia because he was able to exit his vehicle, clear snow, and start the vehicle. Even in the early stages of hypothermia with uncontrolled shivering, this would have been possible but challenging. A related issue is that dehydration accelerates the onset of hypothermia.

    He was in a forested area. With more survival skills, he could have sustained a fire the entire time, or just ignited one every day to melt snow.

    He definitely did the right thing by staying in his vehicle. He also knew to avoid eating without adequate water.

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