I know, you’re thinking “Dude, unless you’re driving naked why would you need to pack clothes. You’re already wearing clothes!” True, but think of the circumstances…maybe youre on your way to/from the office Christmas party..you’re in your nice slacks, dorky sweater, loafers, and a too-light coat…after all, you only were going to be outside for the time it took to go from the parking lot to the restaurant. Annnnnnd..Murphy happens: you get stuck and you’re out there trying to shovel your stuck vehicle out while youre wearing loafers, thin socks, slacks, a light jacket, and probably no hat and gloves. Owie. Or you tried to shovel your way out of your situation..now your shoes and socks are soaked, pants are wet, and youre missing a glove. Wouldn’t dry clean clothes feel good right about now?
So: pack extra clothes. You’re smart, you know what you need. But, if not, imagine this: you’re dropped naked into an abandoned car in the middle of winter. What do you need? Footwear, warm socks, long underwear, winter undershirt, long pants, heavyweight shirt, coat, gloves, scarf, hat..at least. You might add extra socks and extra mitts to swap out as they get wet.
I pack a complete change of clothes, plus winter coat, plus ‘accoutrements’ (scarf, hat, mitts). Everything that can, gets vacuum sealed. This serves two purposes: it keeps everything dry and clean, and it helps to keep things compact to fit in the Box O’ Gear. If you have them, and I highly recommend these, pack a set of insulated Carhart bibs. Wear these under your heavy coat you will not know cold. Theyre bulky, so they don’t fit in my Box O’ Gear, but I just roll ’em up and throw ’em in the back. I have worn them while working in -15 weather and they kept my legs, thighs, and abdomen just toasty as can be.
Don’t just go to your closet and pull out some old clothes and throw them in your vehicle. Use some common sense and think about the circumstances you’ll be using those clothes under. Don’t pull out those old hunting boots with the torn eyelets, the wool pants that ‘shrank’ in the waistline, and the mittens grandma knitted for you. You’re in a car trying not to freeze to death…wear clothes that fit, are well made, and made for cold weather. Good boots, wool socks, polypro undergarments, heavy shirt, heavy coat, thick hat, several pairs of warm liners for your mitts, etc. Vacuum seal as much of it as you can to save space.
Wool, polypro, whatever…just make sure you’ve got a couple layers. And while I always recommend staying with the vehicle, it’s a good idea to pack clothing as if you weren’t going to stay with the vehicle.
I’ve no desire to freeze to death or lose some fingers/toes to frostbite. I pack the warmest clothes I can find and then I add one or two extra pieces ‘just in case’. It’s a bit of work fitting all that in the Box O’ Gear but on some late night on the side of the road when it’s blowing -10 (much like it is outside right now) that little bit of extra might mean the difference between an uncomfortable nights sleep and physical therapy for the nubs where my fingers used to be.