Many people dream of moving to a country so in this follow-up post for my white Christmas dream post I will write about winter essentials you will need. The first thing you absolutely need is a reliable car and some essential tools to make sure you won’t get stuck.
Moving to country
Yeah! You found your dream house in a country and you are all ready to move in. But are you really ready for winter drives and surprises? In town or city – there are a lot of things you never need to consider. For example, if your car breaks down you will probably get help within 30 minutes? Or less. But outside – you need to be ready in case something happens and in bad cases wait for several hours for help. So what will happen?
Winter essential nr 1
Winter tires! There are different rules around the world so check your local laws. In Estonia, we have mandatory winter tires time from 1st December until 1st March but are allowed from 15th October until 31st March. We are allowed to use studded or all-season tires, also are allowed snow chains. But again – check your local laws about this. If allowed you can also check and get snow chains.
All-season-tires – are convenient and hustle-free. you don’t need to check dates and plan ahead changing times. In my opinion, though these are only suitable if you live in a city, town, small town. You drive by roads that are regularly monitored and maintained correctly. Or you are a really good driver with great control over your car in any situation. But this is my opinion based on my personal experience* and it’s totally OK if you don’t.
*I have driven with both versions of winter tires
Studded tires are my first and only choice after moving out of town. I know a lot of people believe that these are sources of all evil and destroy roads, nature, air, etc. But during winter it is all about safety. And unless you are not on a pleasure trip – you need to get to your destination and by time. Studded tires have a better grip on ice and on snow with ice underneath. with all snow – there isn’t much difference.
Winter kind of sneaks up with night colds, so if you should drive early in the morning or late in the evening, there is a chance that roads are covered with ice or worse – black ice* long before winter tires are mandatory. So living in the country means you need to change them rather earlier than later. And with studded tires, you will at least have a chance to get control back on black ice.
*black ice is a very thin and slippery coat of ice, which is invisible on the road.
Winter essential nr 2
This one is essential even if you are not moving to the country because you won’t be able to see without it. Although in the city you can call a taxi or take a bus.
Snowbrush with Ice Scraper – this one is most used. Probably almost every day and several times. If it snows you will need it to the clean car windows before every ride.
While it seems a simple thing you need to be careful choosing it. You might be tempted to buy the cheapest, but this isn’t a good idea. You need to make sure the ice scraper is smooth and without sharp pins sticking out because – this will scratch your windshield permanently. And oh boy is those micro-scratches going to mess up your summer cruising in the sun.
Also, don’t forget snowbrushes – cheap ones are made with weird plastic-like material which collects snow in it – so it will be one big clump and then again … scratching danger. while micro-scratches won’t mess up cruising in sun but damn, that bodypaint looks a whole lot better without them. right?
Winter essential nr 3
Mini snow shovel – well because you might need to dig your car out or dig your way to the main road. If you are moving to the country the question isn’t if you need it, but when you need it.
If you live outside of the city – then there is no if, but when you need to dig yourself out. Just a matter of time.
The shovel should be small, so it won’t take up much space in the trunk. In case you need to put something else there, grocery bags for example. With cold weather, the temperature in the trunk is lower and it’s better for transporting goods home. I highly recommend with an extendable handle to save you some back pain.
For years I have been planning to buy a mini chainsaw also, but haven’t gotten to it. Mostly I miss it turning autumn and winter storm times – since there is a big change of fallen trees on the road. And since I live about 15 km away from main highways – it is a territory of doit yourself.
Winter essential nr 4
This one is actually a bundle of things. Living outside of town longer than your walking range means also preparing yourself for the unexpected. Anything can happen at any season actually but winters tend to be more dangerous. Firstly because snowy roads may turn out to be unrideable or you get in the accident. Or there is a tree fallen. Or something goes wrong with the car. Even brand new cars can break down. Winters are cold and the temperature may drop rapidly so this is why we have a wait-bundle in the car.
First and most important – blanket. If for some reason you can not keep your car running for heat or heating is broken. A blanket will help to keep you warm until help arrives.
Water and food
Secondly – water and some food. in case you have to wait there should be something on the car. this actually depends on how many people are usually riding with you. But I recommend having at least one bottle of water and some snacks in the car.
Third – flashlight. This one is useful for many cases. You may get a flat tire in the dark – it helps you see better and therefore you can get back on the road faster. Again, if you can’t keep the car running, you may need light for you or to signal passing drivers for help.
Fourth – always-always-always keep charged battery bank with you. You can’t call help if your phone dies. Plus newer flashlights are rechargeable by USB. The battery bank should be big enough to charge your phone at least 2 times. Check your phone specification for that. And if you need other devices also – count them also. Or the easy way – just buy the biggest you can afford. Mine is 20 000mAh. So it’s enough to charge mine and the whole family phones if needed.
All prepared for: moving to country
This post may seem harsh but the reality is that the farther you are from a city – the more you can rely only on yourself. Because you will never ever ever leave your side. You can have great, helpful, and supportive family and friends. But you are the closest one to help you. Always.
If roads are uncleaned – with a shovel you will have a chance to get home. It will take longer and be annoying but you won’t be stuck. And believe me, it is better to dig and drive 2 meters at a time than sit and wait by the road.
If the car slides into the deep snowy ditch – all you can do is wait for the other car. In one of the biggest snowstorms in Estonia, there were people stuck on the road for 6-8 hours. Be prepared and hopefully you will never need them!