# 9 Surveillance Tips for the Winter Season…And the lesson I learned.

I want to mention a couple of things before I get into my seasonal topic of winter preparation.  The first thing I want to bring to your attention is the database poll on the sidebar.  Many new investigators (and veteran) want to know what the best database resource is.   Every so often I will read a question from a new agency owner in regards to which one has the most available and current information.  I know many investigators that subscribe to several services.  I personally have always been fond of IRB Search.  I am not however fond of the $15.00 charge each month whether I use the service or not.  When I was working as a supervisor for a nationwide investigation company years ago we used IRB and Lexus Nexus. There are many agency owners out there with much more insight than myself regarding services, so I thought a poll would be an easy way for investigators to see what other agency owners are using or recommending.  So with that said, I want to thank you in advance for participating.

Cold Weather Preparation

I found myself surprisingly unprepared for a surveillance recently.  Don’t get me wrong, I had all the needed equipment to document the subject (which I did). I wasn’t prepared for the unexpected, however.  The heater stopped working in my vehicle which made life a bit difficult during surveillance.  A coat wasn’t enough to keep me warm with temperatures at 18 degrees.   I was pretty mad at myself for not being prepared for something like that.  Since the case I was working was 3 hours away from home, I had to make a stop at Wal-Mart for my supplies.  I picked up an electric blanket, beanie, and gloves.  The following day I was a happy camper.

As private investigators, we need to be prepared for anything.  I have met investigators over the years that carry fishing poles, basketballs, footballs, folding chairs, etc.. in their vehicles to be prepared and blend into any situation.  But as prepared as I am for those situations I wasn’t prepared for unexpected weather conditions.  So the aforementioned situation got me to thinking about what I would do if I was stranded or broke down in the middle of nowhere during the winter.

1.)    Blanket

2.)    Two different coats. Not only to keep warm, but to change your appearance in cold weather areas

3.)    Beanie—Change of appearance and keep your head warm

4.)    Change of clothes—You never know when you might have to stay the night away from home.

5.)    Water – keep hydrated

6.)    First Aid box

Be Prepared

7.)    Matches or a Lighter

8.)    Back up food—Power bars, granola bars or anything you like that will last awhile in your vehicle.

9.)     Tire Chains- You never know when you might need them

10.)    Jumper cables

11.)    A backup power pack with cables to jump your own car. (Let me tell you I have used this more than I would like to admit)

12.)    The last thing on the list is what YOU think would be useful items for investigators to keep in their vehicles.  Comment on this post as to what you think would be good for other investigators to consider having in their vehicles in the winter.

I would make a video on vehicle supplies but I found one on Youtube worth sharing.  They are pretty detailed as to what the use.  It was created by the Horsemen Investigations team at http://www.horsemeninc.com/.  They are a California based company so some of the tips might be aimed towards summer weather but it is worth taking a look at.

And this video I found incredibly amusing.


Don’t forget to comment on something you keep in your vehicle during the winter surveillance season.


  1. Discovered your site yesterday and already clicked through most of your posts. Some great ideas and advice on here. I am a newish PI, about 6 months in. I used my window shades constantly in summer as my state doesnt allow tinting of any kind on the front drivers side and passenger windows or windshield. I got my front windows done at 35% anyway which is practically useless if It’s not overcast or I’m not in the shade. I also have a small car so i can’t sit in the back. My question is, won’t window shades be conspicuous in the winter time? The whole point of window shades is to keep heat out right?

    • Hi Christina,

      Make sure to check out the videos as well as the posts. As for the shades, yes people buy those to block the sun. But for us it blocks the people in front of us from seeing us video tape. I live in Washington state and I have them with me everyday and will use them regardless of the weather. If you sitting in the front seat with no driver window tint and you aren’t gonna sit in the back, then you are going to have a tough time. Your best friend will be a front window shade.