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The Winter Survival Kit for your Car (Bail Out Bag) – by John Knights

This is a great guest post, which was written by a guy called John Knights. John is a Senior Instructor with Land Rover Experience, certified to teach off road driving and winching to Land Rover and Lantra standards, he has travelled in 42 countries, represented Britain twice in off road competitions, and driven through 17 countries in his own Land Rover including visiting the Sahara twice.

Now here is what you need to include in your cars ‘Winter Survival Kit’

It is a rule in our house that any car which travels more than walking distance from home carries a “BOB” or “Bail Out Bag” I call it that mainly to wind up the wife, it is not a true survivalist 48 hour pack, but a comfort pack that will make life more bearable if you get stuck on the motorway in an unexpected traffic jam or breakdown.

I house this in a small shoulder bag or back pack, so if I have to leave the vehicle it can be carried with me:


Small first aid kit (including pain killers and anti histamines (car has a bigger first aid kit)

Small head lamp (car has both CR123 torches and headlamps)

Swiss army knife or multi-tool (locking blades can fall foul of UK law)

Disposable type poncho x2

Wayfayrer bag meals x4 (can be eaten cold or warmed on engine)

Wayfayrer Meatballs and Pasta

Wayfayrer Meatballs and Pasta

Kendal mint cake (doesn’t melt in the summer)

Sporks x2

Bottled water (4 small bottles rather than one big bottle –If you open a big bottle it may go off if unfinished and not replaced)

Pack of AA and AAA batteries

Baseball cap and sun oil.

Powerbank type phone charger (car has a 12v charger lead as well)

Some cash –notes and change.

Space blankets x2

Ultimate Survival Emergency Blanket

Ultimate Survival Emergency Blanket

Mechanix gloves

Fire lighting kit (lighter, fire steel, rubber inner tubing jelly soaked cotton wool)

Small roll of “gaffer” tape

This will see you through most break downs or motorway jams, but in the winter I add some extra gear.

The car gets small shovel (mine is cold steel spec forces) it already carries heavy duty tow rope/strop with shackles, hi visibility vests, large first aid kit, fire extinguisher ,tool kit, tyre inflation foam, 12v compressor, flashing battery powered strobe beacon (CR123 powered for long shelf life)

Gerber Knives Folding Shovel

Gerber Knives Folding Shovel

I either re-pack my BOB into a bigger bag, or put a second bag on board with the extra gear (re-packing gives me an excuse to check the dates on food/water/batteries)

Waterproof coat

Waterproof trousers

Waterproof boots

Warm hat and gloves -Mechanix insulated.

Mechanix FastFit Insulated Glove

Mechanix FastFit Insulated Glove

Bobster goggles.

Folding Laplander saw

Heavy duty plastic sheet (to crawl under vehicle on wet ground or make shelter)

This covers most of my bases for the type of winter commuting I do, if I travel in more remote places or the weather turned particularly bad I would supplement the above with:

Camping stove and cook set

Sleeping bag and survival bag

Small axe and Hultafors stainless craftmans knife (being stainless it is less prone to rust when left in the boot for long periods)

Hultafors Craftman's Knives in Double Holster

Hultafors Craftman’s Knives in Double Holster

This may all seem over the top, but Britain is particularly inept at dealing with snow, as a few hundred people found out in previous winters being stuck on motorways, because it is not the monster 4×4 you are driving that will cause the jam. It is the inept, unprepared motorist who has gotten stuck or crashed blocking the road that will render you stationary.

If you’d like to find out more about John please see his YouTube channel: or drop him and email to:


Note from Team HH:We couldn’t agree more. ‘Fortunte favoures the prepared’, and if you don’t have this stuff it’s sod’s law you will need it. As John summaises, many people will think you’re a bit mad, preparing and buying all this stuff, but most of it you will probably have in your house anyway, or at least can be picked up for not much money. Also when it comes down to it, would you rather be in a car with or without this stuff? The answer is pretty simple.

A Big thanks to John for writing this really useful article! We hope you found it as interesting as us. If you think you could write something similar, or share your knowledge or expertise with the tens of thousands of monthly readers then please drop us an email


7 thoughts on “The Winter Survival Kit for your Car (Bail Out Bag) – by John Knights

  1. Chris - 10:05 pm 02/11/15

    Has anyone out there tried wrapping several zip ties around wheels to act as makeshift snow chains. (through the wheel, then around the tyre, perpendicular to direction of travel, if that makes sense)

  2. James Brunning - 7:04 am 03/11/15

    Great article. John’s a friend of mine and has done all you claim while keeping a very modest attitude. Trust his advice!

  3. Anthony - 3:33 pm 03/11/15

    Got most of your bases covered,
    Just need a backup (cheap ) cell phone ( pay as you go, with credit, and batteries precharged and out of the phone)

    Not a B.O.B, more of a GHB (Get home bag))
    Maybe should be called a R.O.B ?
    (Ride out bag)

  4. Anthony - 3:43 pm 03/11/15

    I’m guessing most zip ties large enough for that would be made from nylon,
    nylon can become brittle if it moves too fast (more so when cold)

    So unless the plan was to crawl very slowly……

  5. Jo - 6:48 pm 14/11/15

    I’m guessing this is for Alaska but definately not the uk!

  6. […] It is a rule in our house that any car which travels more than walking distance from home carries a “BOB” or “Bail Out Bag” I call it that mainly to wind up the wife, it is not a true survivalist 48 hour pack, but a comfort pack that … Article by bail-out bag – Google Blog Search. Read entire story here. […]

  7. Brian - 1:19 pm 07/02/16

    If you already own a mountain shelter keep it in your car. Makes life a bit more bearable for the family if you are stuck next to the motorway in the tipping rain waiting for the breakdown truck.

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