Getting around safely in your adventure rig and arriving at your intended trailhead, mountain pass, or ski resort without incident requires a bit of preparation and seasonal maintenance. Work your way through this checklist on your own or with the help of industry professionals.
Perform Basic Maintenance
Test your battery and check your wiper blades and windshield washer fluid. Now is a good time to get any windshield chips fixed before they crack and spread. Check all of your vehicle’s other vital fluids or take it to a shop for an oil change, tune-up, and coolant and brake check. Replace the bulbs on any headlights and any other lights that are out.
Check your tire tread depth (or have a tire tech check) and if they are nearing the end of their functional life, consider a new set of all-season or winter-specific snow tires. If you’re not confident driving in snow, many tire experts recommend getting snow tires. While studded snow tires are typically not necessary for all-wheel-drive vehicles, they may be a good option for two-wheel-drive cars and trucks.
Dial in Your Vehicle Recovery Kit
If an epic powder day turns into a parking lot disaster, being prepared will allow you to extract yourself or others from unplowed snow or ice. Pack these recovery gear essentials to be ready for the worst.
- A snow shovel (full-sized is best, but even an avalanche shovel will be a welcome tool when you need it).
- Chains or snow socks (fabric covers that go over your tires to create traction) for your vehicle.
- A solid tow strap made specifically for towing.
- Maxtrax or some other kind of recovery boards or rubber traction mats to help you get unstuck from snow.
- Jumper cables for the inescapable time when you or someone else has a battery that’s given up.
- Extra windshield wiper fluid. Inevitably an ice storm or blizzard is going to hit that day you or someone else uses the last drop of ice-melting windshield fluid. And don’t forget an ice-scraper tool.
Pack an Emergency Supply Kit
If you end up stuck in deep snow or stranded along the side of the road, these items may make all the difference between a comfortable delay and a miserable ordeal.
- Extra drinking water and food.
- Blankets, sleeping bags and hand warmers.
- Extra jackets and warm clothing.
- First-aid kit to be ready for any minor injuries.
- Flashlight/headlamp with extra batteries.
- A backpack to put your food, water, and other emergency gear inside in case you have to walk to find help.
- Road flares.
- A good book.