What are the essential winter every day carries?

by Wilfred Hirst February 16, 2016

If you live in a region with a temperate climate like me your daily carries will change drastically season-by-season. In this post I'm going to break down what I recommend you carry in your pockets and what you should store in your car.

In pocket essentials

Lip Balm / Chapstick:

Besides helping with chapped lips lip balm has a whole slue of other uses:
  • You can rub it on your face in extreme cold to prevent wind burn allowing your body to maintain heat. 
  • If you rub it on irritation spots on your foot you can stop / sooth blisters
  • It's a catalyst for fire. If you rub it on cotton balls or even pocket lint you'll save a lot of time starting a fire and spare your fingers from the cold!
My favorite lip balm, taste wise, is J&D's lip balm. Why? because it taste like bacon...
J Ds bacon lip balm

My favorite for functionality is Burt's Bees'. I really like the texture and the flavoring isn't bad either. 
burts bees lip balm


The handkerchief has not only is come back into style, it's also a vital carry for any man. The uses are almost endless but here's why I keep one in my pocket:
  • It's cold so you'll most likely have a runny noise. Don't use your hand like a pleb, take out that handkerchief and wipe that noise dry. 
  • You're caught in a wind tunnel downtown and didn't wear the proper jacket. Use that handkerchief to cover up your noise and neck. You don't want to stumble into your coffee meeting looking like you were just exploring the tundra with frozen snot coming down your face when you enter.
  • You go to a sad movie with your girlfriend because it was too cold to do anything else. She starts crying... Don't have her wiping her face with butter drenched napkins from the snack bar, grab your clean hankerchief and wipe those tears away. Chivalry is not dead.
My favorite handkerchief are:
Handkerchief USA - American made handkerchiefs with truly unique designs. 
handkerchief usa 
    Also, i really like the fabric and simplistic designs of  TSHU's handkerchiefs
    LUCILEs handkerchiefs

    Pocket knife:

    So much can be said for the pocket knife so I wont go into all the uses but what I do recommend for a winter pocket knife is that it does not have an all metal grip. A metal grip in winter is going to freeze your hand, which is never fun. 
    My favorite is the SPYDERO Paramilitary 2. It's slender enough to easily fit unobtrusively in a pocket and has a 14 mm round hole in the blade to help you open it with gloves on. 


    You're going to want a nice leather keychain for winter. Fumbling around to find your key while holding a metal keychain is no fun.
    One keychain that I really like is the Toothpick Key Fob from Leather Works Minnesota. Not only does it use beautiful leather, it also has a compartment for (you guessed it) toothpicks! Don't be that guy picking your teeth with your fingernails after a steak dinner, use a damn tooth pick. 
    Toothpick Key Fob
    Yes, I'm a bit biased because I make these, but it really is a great keychain for winter. The leather monkey fist ball is easy to grab in your pocket when wearing gloves and the magnet enables you to hold a mini light hands free against your car while digging out of snow. 

    Now that we have the pocket essentials taken care of, here are my recommendations for the car. 

    Things to stow in your car:

    Half-full water bottle
    (or half-empty for you pessimists out there)

    As you should know by now, water expands when it freezes, so your water bottles will crack if you fill them to the brim.
    Yes, even a Nalgene bottle will crack from the pressure. So make sure the bottles you keep in your have some room to expand. It's always wise to keep extra water in the car year round.
     cracked nalgene bottle from ice

    Jumper cables or jumper battery

    This is a given for anyone but I just wanted to mention that having the jumper battery is worth the extra money. What if no cars are around for to jump you?
    My favorite jumper battery is the Stanley JumpIt
    Stanley JumpIt

    Folding Shovel

    A folding shovel with pick was a lifesaver for me last winter up here in Boston.
    Snowed in car bostonThe plow trucks here are brutal and packed my car tight. Luckily, the shovel I used was small enough to fit in-between cars and I could rotate the head to fit the exact angle I needed to dig out. When I came across a thick piece of ice I just turned the shovel around and used the pick to easily break it apart. The shovel can fit under a seat easily or in a backpack.
    (As you can see here, digging this out was no walk in the park)

    Do yourself a favor and invest in a quality fold-able shovel. Don't waste money on a cheap $9.99 one from Walmart, it will break when you need it most. The one I have in my car right now is the Gerber e-tool.  
    gerber etool


    You've probably step in a puddle and soak your sock(s) before, not a great feeling. Keeping an extra pair in your backpack or car wont take up a lot of room and you'll be very thankful for having them when you're in need.
    My favorite socks come from Ministry of Supply. The Atlas Socks are super comfortable and warm. They say the fabric helps absorbs foot odor but to be honest, the socks smell just as bad as my other pairs. 
    Atlas Sock

    Small Tarp

    (You'll thank me if your window is smashed from falling ice like mine was last winter)


    It may sound overly precautions but its a fact that car windows are much more likely to break during the winter. And if you're unfortunate enough to have one break you'll experience a very unpleasant drive with an open window, especially if you're in a snowstorm. The tarp can fit under a floor matte or seat so it wont take up much room at all. Also, be sure to include some grab some duct tape too.
    Clear small tarpbroken window in boston 
    (As you can tell, last winter was brutal for my car...)
    All of these items can be stored in your car's truck or small duffle bag for easy access. 

    I'm curious to know what do you carry in the winter? Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

    Wilfred Hirst
    Wilfred Hirst


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