You’re not a kid anymore. Unless you’re hitting the slopes, nailing drifts with a Sno-Cat or participating in an epic snowball fight with your wheezing middle-aged brothers, the frozen white stuff isn’t your friend — especially when you’re behind the wheel. Most of the time, snow desperately wants to inconvenience and delay you wherever you have to go; other times, it’s out to kill you. As you’ll be driving in the white stuff sooner or later, we’ve selected some of the best winter driving gear available.
True Temper Scratch Free Snow Brush
Most of us buy snow brushes as an afterthought — most likely a gas station purchase in the middle of a storm. There’s an alternative to tarnishing your brand new Range Rover with those rough bristles: True Temper’s Scratch Free Snow Brush, an EVA foam brush that doesn’t freeze or crack — and more importantly, it won’t scratch your car’s precious paintjob, all while sweeping the surface cleaner than any brush. The elliptical handle provides extra grip, and yes, there’s a robust scraper at the other to get the frozen stuff off.
Garant Nordic Car Shovel
If you can get through a bad winter without having to dig out your car while you’re away from home, then that’s a small victory. In the event that a blizzard nails you when you’re away from home, though, having a tough shovel at the ready makes all the difference. Garant’s Nordic Car Shovel is light, tough and will fit in your trunk if you’re not a hoarder. Its polycarbonate blade, at 8.5 x 12.5 inches, hauls big scoops of snow and won’t scratch your car, and the sturdy handle and shaft won’t break like a fragile telescoping shovel. All the better to fight the snow instead of being stuck in a lame hotel room for the night.
Griot’s Garage Compact Portable 900 AMP Jump Starter
Portable battery chargers are essential, but most of them use a standard lead acid battery — so unless you charge the charger regularly, you could be out of luck. Griot’s Garage’s 900 AMP Jump Starter makes use of an Absorbed Glass Mat battery that will hold its charge without deterioration, giving you up to 30 jump starts without a recharge. The heavy duty cables are 27 inches long, with full-size insulated clamps that secure the battery terminals with authority, which intuitively dock on the sides of the charger. It also comes with a built-in flashlight, battery meter and a charging port for your phone, computer, or tablet.
Husky Heavy Duty Car & SUV Liners
Sure, carpeted floor mats look great in your new car — but they won’t look great after a long winter absorbing water and trapping road salt and mud. Husky makes full sets of high-strength plastic liners for cars, trucks and SUVs, designed to fit the floor of your vehicle. They’re deep enough to take on all the muck caked onto your shoes this winter, along with water, oil, gas and battery acid, no matter how low the temperatures drop. They’re a cinch to install, made right here in the USA and more affordable than more advertised brands.
Cumbersome tire chains are for truckers, and they’re not even legal in most states. Other synthetic tire traction systems might be legal, but also tend to be difficult to install. The AutoSock presents a better solution. It’s made with synthetic, high-traction fibers and installs more like a tire cover than a chain system. They’re also self-centering so once you get going, the fitment handles itself — and AutoSock even provides a set of long-armed gloves so you don’t get filthy installing and removing them. They’re reusable, and you can even throw them in the washing machine. Just don’t try setting any speed records with them.
Warmen Nappa Leather and Cashmere Driving Gloves
Most winter gloves are either too thick, don’t have sufficient grip, or both. Warmen’s winter driving gloves are made specifically for both warmth and wheel control. The Nappa Leather is grippy, while the contrast stitching adds racy style. The cashmere lining is warm, but thin enough to keep tactility for steering wheel feel. The snap closure at the wrist prevents them from slipping off when you’re powering through that switchback.
Topo Designs Camp Blanket
It’s always smart to keep portable warmth in your car, in case things get truly bad. Topo Design’s big and bold Camp Blanket is made with 100 percent American wool, dyed a bright red with a subtle dark stripe and edging; it’s large enough to wrap yourself in and bright enough to flag down help.
Goal Zero Portable Torch 250
There’s never a good flashlight in the car when you need one, and if you’re lucky enough to remember to stash one in the glovebox, the batteries are likely dry on juice. Goal Zero is known for their portable power solutions, and their Torch 250 eliminates that problem. It comes with a 70-lumen floodlight, 180-lumen spotlight or a 48-hour low-power option. It also comes with a red emergency light when you’re in need of roadside help and safety. The 250 also has a USB port for charging your portable devices. The lithium battery charges fully in seven hours, and the hand crank will provide ten minutes of light per one minute of cranking effort; it’ll also take a solar charge if manual labor just isn’t in your contract.
VIAIR 90P Portable Compressor
Foot-powered portable air pumps are for chumps, and rarely are you near a gas station’s air compressor when you most need it. VIAIR’s 90P compressor easily stows away for those oft-needed inflations on the road. The 120 PSI max working pressure inflates tires quickly using power from your car’s 12-volt outlet, and the 12 feet of power cable is more than sufficient to get to every tire (unless you have a Hummer limo). In case you’re worried it won’t work in the cold, the VIAIR 90P can handle temps down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, your hands will probably give out first.