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Winter is objectively the least beautiful time of the year, especially for anyone who has to brave sleet and white driving conditions on top of the normal goop of their morning ride. The gifts listed here may not be enough to keep your vehicle from the river to grandma’s house, but they’ll bring a smile to any everyday driver on your vacation shopping list with reliable snow tools, useful heated accessories, and rugged cold-weather gear.
Motor Trend 923-BK black FlexTough contour liners
It’s bad enough that the underside of your vehicle is regularly drenched in ice slurry and road salt over the next few months, the interior of your vehicle shouldn’t suffer the same. Instead, this winter, replace your fancy factory-installed floor mats with some robust weather resistant rubber mats from Motor Trend (no, not that one, the other one). They cost $40, are custom made to fit most makes and models – and can be easily trimmed to a more precise fit with regular scissors.
Gorla Gear Universal Fit Waterproof Car Seat Cover
If only we had looked for snow on our boots – nope, it’s on our trouser legs, jacket shoulders, gloves and caps, which is why we can’t just rely on rubberized floor mats to carry the bits outside that we bring in the car with us. If you are looking for a seasonal seat cover solution, the Gorla Gear Black Premium Universal Fit is waterproof, stain resistant Car seat cover Neoprene Non-Slip Bucket Seat Dog & Kid Auto Protector Save Your Leather & Cloth Seats, Automotive, Van, Truck, SUV is basically an extra heavy duty towel that you drape from the headrest of your front seats to catch and collect frozen debris before it gets ground in your upholstery.
AstroAI ice scraper
Driving around with snow buildup on your windshield or rear windshield is not only a great way to get into a wreck, it’s also a highly punishable offense. So before you start your commute, take a moment to brush some snow out of your window. With the Astro AI 47.2-inch ice scraper in hand, you don’t even have to lean over the hood to get all the way through. It has a snow brush on one side and a squeegee on the other, so it will also be useful in the warmer, wetter months ahead.
FrostGuard Plus windshield cover
Do you know how to put a sunshade on the inside of your windshield to keep the hot summer sun out of your car while it’s parked? The FrostGuard Plus winter window cover is just the opposite. It sits on the outside of your windshield to collect and shed snow that would otherwise have to be chiseled away with a 47.2-inch ice scraper (for example). It’s designed to cover the windshield, wipers and side mirrors, while a pair of tough PVC tubes sewn into flaps along the edge can be closed into the doors to prevent wind or thieves from removing the cover.
Voile Telepack Mini Avalanche Shovel
Everyone wants a white Christmas until morning when you have to dig your car out of a brand new snowdrift. With a collapsed length of 24 inches, Voile’s Telepack Mini Avalanche Scoop is compact enough to fit in a backpack and sturdy enough for all kinds of emergency digging – whether that’s freeing a buried snowboarder or getting out of your sedan to get from the office to home, it’s up to you . The aluminum handle extends to nearly 36 inches, while the foot-wide shovel blade will quickly clear snow from around your tires and doors. Remember to lift with your legs and not to arch your back.
UCO stormproof match set
These are perfect stocking stuffers for everyone on your shopping list. Well, everyone but your only cousin everyone is rightfully concerned about – I mean there’s no way a lot of cats would “disappear” all of a sudden. The UCO stormproof match set is small enough to fit in a glove box, emergency kit or door pocket, holds 25 storm-resistant matches that can even ignite underwater, and three strikers. Think of it as $10 insurance against potentially freezing to death in a snow storm. Take it from me, a man who has one.
Orion 20 minute torch
Use them to warn oncoming traffic of a road hazard or to defend yourself against a pack of ravenous wolves with a penchant for human blood (like Liam Neeson!) – either way, you’ve got a full third hour to extricate yourself from the situation before you have to light another one of these highly visible road flares. Luckily, they come in six packs.
Tire traction mat
An old staple of the off-road community, traction mats for rubber tires are a great way to free a car from snow and mud, sand and ice, and a lot easier to store in your trunk than a 35 pound bag of kitty litter. Just place one close to each of your drive wheels to give your vehicle enough traction to get away from wherever you are and head for wherever you’re going.
ThruNite TC15 V2 2531 flashlight
Like the UCO competitions, the ThruNite TC15 flashlight is the perfect tool to forget you have until you need it. USB rechargeable and outputting over 2500 lumens with six brightness options, the TC15 can illuminate under the hood and flag passing motorists for help with equal ease. Plus, the power button is designed for use with gloves on, so your fingers won’t get cold when you turn it on.
USB-C hand warmers
During these cold winter months it is essential that we keep our fragile limbs sufficiently warm to prevent decay as soon as the spring thaw and decomposition set in. OCOOPA’s pocket-sized reusable hand warmers keeps your fingers warm at 95 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit, heats up in seconds and runs for as long as it takes to fully discharge the 5200 mAH USB battery.
As an army brat, I can personally attest to the superior heat retention properties of a mil-spec Woobie blanket – the constant shine of sweat that never drains, necessitating the use of a “leg towel” that your older brother rolls up into a rat tail and bites you until he “accidentally” stabs you right in the eye and then hey it’s a trip to the emergency room, as 1994 lets you know it works again. These sold by USGI Industries (despite the misleading company name) may not be a real military issue, but they are made of the same quilted nylon with polyester fill that I remember from a childhood I spent among them seeking protection from the ‘summers’ from San Francisco. Available in eight colors, the 62-by-82-inch poncho liner can be used for a variety of purposes, from standard blanket or ground cover to windbreak, sunscreen, and sling — even a makeshift sleeping bag.
Outin portable espresso machine
Most of the products discussed in this guide are designed to keep you alive during a snow emergency. The Outin mobile espresso machine is here to help you maintain your will to live through the promise of sweet, sugary caffeine. The $129 battery powered brewer can brew both hot and cold coffee from a Nespresso compatible pod or ground espresso, and does so in less than 5 minutes. Please do not use it during active driving.