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37 Important Things You Need to Pack for a Winter Road Trip [Printable Packing List]

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Shell, in which I was compensated. All opinions are my own.

For us, holidays are about family. Whether it’s traveling “back home” to visit Paul’s family in Edmonton or hosting Christmas at our home with my mom. For many, the holidays are a busy time for travel. The winter holidays can be especially tricky if you’re driving to visit family. Here are 37 things you don’t want to forget to pack for your winter road trip. Plus, I’ve made a winter road trip packing list to help you remember everything!

Winter Road Trip Essentials

If you’re driving in winter weather conditions, you need to be ready to handle possible serious situations. We’ve traveled up to Edmonton, over mountain passes, and thankfully haven’t needed any emergency supplies. However, we still pack them just in case. Be sure to know your route, destination, and head out with a full tank of gas (we’ll be using Shell and our Fuel Rewards Program to save on gas during our drive). Even if you’re having great weather where you are, you could have mountain passes or winter conditions on your drive.

winter road trip packing list

Don’t forget to pack these road trip essentials for winter road trips this holiday season! © Stuffed Suitcase

Winter Car Safety

The first priority for packing for a winter road trip should be what you might need to take care of your car in winter weather. Before you leave it’s important to have your standard car maintenance and check up done. Fluid levels and tires are important to check. If you don’t live in a winter climate, be sure to tell your mechanic if you’re heading into winter conditions so they can make sure your car is ready.

  • Battery Pack / Jumper Cables
    • I actually prefer a battery pack since you might have trouble finding someone to jump you depending on where you stop and where your battery dies. But definitely pack at least a set of jumper cables.
  • Ice Scraper
    • You need to keep those windows clean if you’re staying overnight in winter conditions. These also work well for getting snow pack off of tire wells.
  • Shovel / Sand
    • These are helpers in case you do find yourself stuck. We normally pack a cheap bag of kitty litter instead of sand. Of course, perhaps it pays to watch a youtube video before you leave so you know what steps to take to actually get unstuck.
  • Flashlight & Flares
    • If you do end up with car troubles once night has fallen you’re going to want a flashlight and flares. The flares alert others to your stranded car, and a flashlight lets you to work on fixing the issue.
  • De-icer Windshield Fluid
    • This is something we often forget to take care of since we live in Seattle where it’s not necessarily needed. However when you’re driving in winter conditions you’re going to need de-icer.
  • Spare Tire
    • Be sure to make sure that you have a spare tire, and that it’s still in working condition!
  • Hot Packs
    • If you are stuck or stranded you need to do what you can to stay warm. Hot packs are easy to pack and can help you stay a bit warmer until you can be rescued.
  • Pocket Knife / Multi-tool
    • You never know when you’ll need a pocket knife or even a screwdriver. It’s a good idea to keep one of these handy in case you need to fix something. A roll of duct tape is a good extra to pack too.
  • Tire Chains
    • If you will be driving over mountain passes or on snowy roads, tire chains are a must. Sometimes they’re a requirement for travel on certain roads.

Car Supplies

To keep you comfortable during your car ride, there are a few things you should pack along for the ride. Many of these ideas are found on my Road Trip Essentials post.

  • Kleenex
  • Wet Wipes
  • Paper Towels
  • Deodorizer
  • First Aid Kit
  • Hand Sanitizer

Driving Items

  • Driver’s License
  • Insurance Card
    • Be sure your insurance is current, and that you have your current card in your car before you leave.
  • Membership Cards
    • Don’t forget to pack your membership and discount cards. Get on board with Shell and the Fuel Rewards Program before you leave for gas savings while you drive. They’re currently running an Instant Gold Status promotion that gives everyone who signs up Gold Status, meaning 5¢ off per gallon (up to 20 gallons) at participating Shell gas stations. You’ll automatically keep Gold Status for 6 months after signing up and after that you just need to fill up an average of twice a month to keep it. Be sure to fill your gas tank often when driving in the winter.
  • Road Map
    • There are two reasons why we still like to take road trips with paper maps. We actually keep a current road atlas in the car for every trip. It’s never good to rely totally on electronic navigation. And sometimes paper maps are way better for identifying landmarks you might be passing. Kids will also love following along on your trip.
  • Wallet / Credit & Cash
    • Be sure to pack cash and credit cards. Credit cards are great for buying gas, and cash might be needed at some small towns or roadside stops.
  • GPS device
    • While paper road maps are great for getting a good overall look at where you’re going, GPS devices have perks too. Our absolute favorite feature is the estimated driving time. It’s nice to see when you’ll be arriving to each stop. Phones work fine for this, but if you’re crossing the border into Canada a GPS is best since you probably won’t have data.

Staying Warm

Again, just in case you do get stuck, you should have warm clothing items packed.

  • Blankets
    • These are great for staying warm. Mylar camping blankets are great and take up little space.
  • Gloves / Hats / Scarves
  • Boots


You definitely need to pack food and water for your winter road trip. Again, hopefully you won’t have any problems, but just in case you do, you want to be prepared.

  • Snacks
    • Make sure you pack some nutritious snacks along with all those junk-food road trip snacks. Protein bars are also a good idea if you do find yourself stuck for a while.
  • Water
    • It’s always a good idea to keep water on hand when driving. Large plastic gallon jugs of water are easy to pack.
  • Reusable Water Bottles
    • We like to try to be eco-conscience when on our road trips so we pack reusable water bottles.

Tech & Entertainment

  • Cell Phone
  • Portable Battery Packs
    • If something does happen to your car, you want to make sure you have enough battery life on your phone to get help.
  • DVD Player / Tablet
  • Holiday Music Playlist
    • There are so many fun holiday songs, make a playlist of your favorites. Singing along to fun music can help make the miles go by quicker!
  • Holiday Books
    • Your local library is a great spot to find some holiday books to pack along for the ride.
  • Coloring / Writing Supplies
  • Travel Games
  • Charging Cables / USB Plug
    • If you have multiple devices that you’ll need to charge, be sure to pack enough cables. Also consider a USB plug for your car 12V outlet, and a multiport DC plug.

I’ve created a printable winter road trip packing list to help you make sure you don’t forget any of the important things you’ll need.

And don’t forget, it is the season of giving! After you sign up for the Fuel Rewards Program, you will instantly earn 25¢/gal (up to 20 gallons) for every friend that signs with your specific referral link and uses the program. There’s no limit to how many friends you invite or how many times you earn, so spread a little savings cheer this holiday season!

Click on image to download my printable winter road trip packing list © Stuffed Suitcase

Of course, don’t forget all your other vacation necessities, like clothes and a toothbrush! You can use my Customizable Packing List Spreadsheet or Packing List Template Printable to help you with that.
Don't forget these winter road trip essentials when you're heading out for your holiday vacation - winter travel packing tips #roadtrip

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shell. The opinions and text are all mine.
*Restrictions apply. To qualify for the Gold/Silver Status offers, you must be a Fuel Rewards® member and swipe your Fuel Rewards® card or enter your Alt ID when you fuel at a participating Shell station. With Gold Status, you will receive 5¢/gal in Fuel Rewards® savings on every fill-up. The 5¢/gal reward for Gold Status will be combined with other rewards in your Fuel Rewards® account. If you are an existing Fuel Rewards® member, you will receive Gold Status from 6/5/2017 through 12/31/17, the “Existing Member Introductory Period”. If you are a new Fuel Rewards® member, you will receive Gold Status for the initial month you join through the last day of the month, 6 full calendar months later, the “New Member Introductory Period”. The last 3 months of the Existing Member Introductory Period or the New Member Introductory Period (collectively the “Introductory Period”) is the “Qualification Period”. You will retain your Gold Status during the Qualification Period, but you must make 6 qualifying fuel purchases to qualify for Gold Status for the next 3 months, the “Benefit Period”. During the Benefit Period, you must continue to make 6 qualifying fuel purchases to maintain your Gold Status for the next 3-month Benefit Period. A qualifying fuel purchase is any fuel purchase at a participating Shell station in which you swipe your Fuel Rewards® card or enter your Alt ID and fill up with at least 5-gallons of any grade of fuel. For example, if you are a new Fuel Rewards® member and register on 6/15/2017, you will receive Gold Status through the New Member Introductory Period (i.e., 12/31/2017). You will need to fill up with at least 5 gallons of fuel at least 6 times during the Qualification Period (i.e., 10/1/2017 and 12/31/2017) to maintain Gold Status during the Benefit Period (i.e., from 1/1/2018 to 3/31/2018). Thereafter, if you continue to fill up with at least 5 gallons of fuel at least 6 times during the successive 3 consecutive month Benefit Periods, you will retain your Gold Status. If you do not maintain your Gold Status, you will receive Silver Status. With Silver Status, you will receive 3¢/gal in Fuel Rewards® savings. The 3¢/gal reward for Silver Status will be combined with other rewards in your Fuel Rewards® account. Redeem Fuel Rewards® savings with your Fuel Rewards® card or Alt ID at participating Shell stations. Fuel Rewards® savings are limited to 20 gallons of fuel per purchase, per vehicle, or fraud limits placed by Shell and/or limits placed on your financial card by your financial institution, each of which may be lower. Fuel Rewards® savings must be redeemed in a single transaction. Once you begin to dispense fuel using your Fuel Rewards® savings, you must dispense to the 20-gallon limit or you forfeit any remaining discounted gallons of fuel. For example, if you only pump fifteen (15) gallons of fuel, you would abandon the remaining five (5) gallons of discounted fuel. If you have a rewards balance greater than the current per-gallon price of fuel, the price will roll down to the maximum capability of the fuel equipment, and your remaining rewards will be saved for a future fuel purchase. Dispenser may require a price of up to 10.9¢/gal. It may not be possible to combine multiple discounts and/or rewards in a single transaction. For purchases of $75 or more, please go inside to pay. Unbranded diesel and alternative fuels may not be eligible. The Fuel Rewards® program is owned and operated by Excentus Corporation. Offer may be modified or discontinued at any time without notice. Not valid where prohibited by law. Please see for complete Fuel Rewards® program details and Terms and Conditions. Other restrictions may apply. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. To learn more, visit or call (888) 603-0473.

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  1. Oh my goodness! This page is truly so so helpful and very very cute and sweet! Thank you really so much for creating and making such an amazing page! That really is so sweet that you would like to be so helpful!Thank you again!


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