I’ve been pondering whether or not to post something like this for a while, but after coming down to earth with an almighty, and literal, bump this weekend I now have good reason.
|No chance of rescue; what’ll you do? I geared up and walked home.|
After finding ourselves a mile from home up a very icy lane and upside-down in a Land Rover, I was suddenly overcome with a smug relief that I’d packed a little bag of ‘essentials’, without which our predicament would have been far more dangerous.
Here are our top tips for essential gear to keep in the car in case you get stuck (I have NOT included car-related items like shovels, de-icer and spare gas).
1) Kendal Mint Cake
This is basically a long-lasting block of minty sugar which will give you a kick of energy, freshen dehydrated breath when you do eventually get rescued, and make you popular amongst your fellow strandees. If you’re cold, you burn more energy, so replace it with this stuff.
2) Emergency Foil Blanket
Folded down small, this takes up virtually no room, and yet could mean the difference between being chilly and getting hypothermia. If your car heater fails, or you need to walk to safety just wrap yourself in this to reflect heat back, keep rain or snow off you and make you look like an alien.
3) Wind up Light/Phone Charger
A torch is an essential item to warn other drivers of your presence, as well as light any potentially fixable problems in the dark. And having a wind-up/dynamo one means that when the cold drains the batteries on your favourite flashlight you’ll always have a back-up. If you invest in one which integrates a phone charger, you don’t get that gut-wrenching feeling as your battery dies half-way through calling for help.
Dirty hands from changing a tyre? Cut your head on something? Had to have a bushwee? A few wetwipes can be enormously useful.
5) Snow Grips for shoes
The chances are you won’t be wearing hiking boots or crampons when driving, so a pair of these studded slip-ons will make pushing cars or trekking to safety much easier and safer
6) A hat and gloves
OK, so you’re wearing your Space Alien blanket, but there’s no harm in sealing in a bit more warmth. I always stow a cheap, warm hat and gloves in the car in case I have to get out and push.
7) Duct Tape
Endlessly useful stuff. I found myself using it to affix my mobile number to my windscreen (which helped when a kindly farmer called my and offered the use of his tractor to upright the Land Rover), to fashion a warning sign for other traffic, and to hold by car battery upright (and disconnected for safety) when the car was on its side.
8) Chinagraph pencil
These are waxy pencils, a bit like crayons, that write on glass, paper, skin… whatever. Stashing a pen in your car is a great idea, but what happens if when you need it it’s run out?
9) A penknife
Useful to cut duct tape, saw down tree branches to make signs, scrape ice and open bottles of wine. Keep a small one in your car as part of an emergency kit (don’t keep it loose in the car to avoid police interest and losing it when you need it) and one day you’ll find a use for it.
10) 3 Bin liners
If you have to abandon your car, what’re you going to do with all of your stuff? Maps, survival essentials, gps, food etc. Carrying bags which scrunch up small is incredibly useful.