Local Life | All You Need

Wyoming Winter Driving

Essential things and bonus gear to have in your vehicle to make winter driving safer.

// By Bevin Wallace
Photo by Bradly J. Boner

Sure, you can toss any winter hat in your car, but why not make it something cheery, washable, and recycled, like the Cotopaxi Teca Fleece Beanie? $25, cotopaxi.com 

The Wyoming Department of Transportation lists tire chains as the first item motorists should have in their cars. Jumper cables are another must-have. 

A staple with ski town locals, Kinco’s 1927KW gloves are made from premium-grain pigskin and canvas with high-performance insulation. Their hardware store price makes them the perfect choice for a pair, that as Teton County Search and rescue volunteer Jen Reddy says, “live in the car.” $36, kinco.com 

A packable down jacket is a useful and cozy
addition to your winter kit. The Rocka&Rolla Packable Down Puffer Jacket comes with its own stuff sack and can be taken anywhere you need extra warmth. $169, rockarolla.com 

In case you don’t keep food in your car, stock up on nonperishables such as trail mix and energy bars. Kate’s Real Food Bars are locally owned, organic, and tasty. $30/case of 12, katesrealfood.com 

“I had stopped having a physical mapin my car,” Reddy says. “And then we were driving through Montana with no service, and I realized you need that paper map behind the seat.” The National Geographic Road Atlas 2024: Adventure Edition has a plastic cover to protect it from whatever else lurks behind your seat. $25, natgeomaps.com 

Make sure you have an insulated water bottle that won’t freeze. And water. The leak-proof Purist Founder 32oz. keeps water hot for 12 hours. $56, puristcollective.com 

“Have appropriate outdoor attire, especially winter boots,” Reddy says. “I really like Bogs.” The Whiteout Faded has a grippy sole and minus-58-degree comfort rating. It will keep cold, wet feet from adding to your problems if you get stuck. The men’s version is the Bozeman Trail. $160, bogsfootwear.com 

“In the winter I certainly have a shovel and a tow strap,” Reddy says. “If you get stuck, those are the things you’ll need.” The Voilé Telepro Avalanche Shovel has an extended telescoping handle that adds efficiency and reduces back strain. $72, voile.com 

Throw some HotHands in your glove compartment or console. They heat up to 118 degrees and stay warm for six hours. $25/case of 40, hothands.com 

If you do get in an accident or come upon one, the Fire Escape Multitool Carabiner from Outdoor Element could save a life. It features a seatbelt cutter, a window breaker, a fire-starting spark wheel, and two wrenches—all built into a 1.6-ounce carabiner. $27, outdoorelement.com 

Stranded motorists will be thankful for a warm blanket. The Rab Outpost 700 is a rectangular sleeping bag that can be unzipped to form a flat quilt. It’s hand-filled with ethically sourced 650-fill-power down. $325, rab.equipment 

The tiny, rechargeable Petzl Bindi Ultralight headlamp won’t take up any space in your glove compartment, but, when you need light, its 200 lumens of power are huge. $50, petzl.com 

You should have a first aid kit regardless of when and where you’re driving. We like the Mountain Explorer from Adventure Medical Kits because it includes supplies for trauma (CPR face shield, compression bandages) and major wound care (EMT shears, syringe, wound-closure strips) organized by injury in clearly labeled pockets. $70, adventuremedicalkits.com 

Having a spare pair of dry socks is never a bad idea. Minus 33 Mountain Heritage Wool Socks are made in New Hampshire with snowmobilers in mind, so you know they’re warm. $22, minus33.com 

This is by no means a complete list. WYDOT advises your vehicle be equipped with an ice scraper, snow brush, and windshield-washer fluid that’s mixed with anti-freeze. Find the Winter Wheeling in Wyoming brochure at dot.state.wy.us/home/travel/winter.html. JH

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