Anyone who lives in an area prone to snow will know how important it is to have a shovel and ice scraper in the car. Thing is, those two tools might not be enough to dig you out of a properly tricky situation. The solution might lie in the Spare-Me, a compact five-in-one tool designed to help drivers get moving again.
It looks simple, but the Spare-Me promises to punch above its weight. The bottom of the unit functions as a shovel in close quarters, and it has an edge that can be used like a snow scraper. Both those things are useful, but they're not exactly novel. The Spare-Me is also designed to help out when you're bogged in the snow or stuck on a slippery surface.
The unit is wedge-shaped to slide in underneath a wheel, with small teeth on both sides for better traction when trying to pull out of slippery spots. According to the tool's creator, initial prototypes only had teeth on the top, which caused it to slip out when the wheels started turning. Subsequent versions have teeth on both sides, to stop it from flying out.
Thanks to a hole in the end of the handle, you can slip your tire wrench in for some extra leverage, and the end of the unit can be used to lift a spare tire off the ground. All small things, but small things that make a big difference, and could be enough to justify a purchase.
At 18.5 in (47 cm) long and 5 in (12.7 cm) wide at its base, the Spare-Me is compact enough to chuck in the trunk and forget about until you need it. It's made of glass-filled nylon resin, comes in Safety Orange or black and costs US$19.99.
To see it in action as a shovel and traction device, check out the short video below.