Thoughts on each of your topics:
Blanket, food, water, two-way radio (handheld CB), batteries, gloves, cell phone charger, jumper cables, first aid kit, recovery strap + points.
Carrying a bottle of washer fluid is great, sometimes a folding shovel is a good idea depending on where/what you're doing.
A good battery and clean terminals is most important. Cooling system with proper antifreeze mixture for your climate, and no more than 5 years between flushes. Recovery points front and rear. Start the season with new, quality wiper blades. I prefer the older style with metal frames - the thin-profile "aero" wipers tend not to hold up. Rain-X? Don't care for it on the windshield - it tends to make wipers more chattery especially in cold weather/icy conditions. However, all of the side windows are a good place for Rain-X to keep good visibility from sideways rain/snow. Fill the washer fluid with a low-temp mix. The "Rain-X" brand of washer fluid (the orange stuff) is REALLY high in methanol content which is hard on the finish, wiper rubber, and window/door seals. Not a fan.
Before getting stuck, practice shifting your transfer case, especially if you never have before. And test that your NV247 works in slippery conditions - gravel or grass parking lots are a good place to do a little testing - but be respectful - don't tear up someone's parking lot doing brodies. It's better to know if there's a problem before you wind up in a bad situation because your transfer case has been bad for a year and you didn't know it.
Information about the 4x4 Systems and how they work in Snow/Ice
A link to the different systems would help, but not ideal for the actual article. To be honest, street driving in the snow any of the systems will work will in their full-time/all-time mode given good tires. Tires will be more important than the specific system. Avoid P/T use for anything but getting un-stuck. Especially on plowed roads where you may alternate from sheer ice to dry pavement in the course of a block.
Driving tips for when you are actually out and about.
Go, Turn, Stop. PICK ONE. When available traction is low, make the most of it by not combining your actions. Accelerate gently, smoothly in a straight line. Coast around sharp corners. Brake in a straight line. Brake early!! Your Jeep will tend to accelerate much better than it will brake in the snow, and you are carrying a lot of mass. When ABS engages, your brake pedal will vibrate and rattle very strongly. Keep your foot down - pumping your brakes with ABS just lengthens stopping distances with no added control benefit. Don't brake while turning, and don't accelerate around a corner. This (and bad tires) is what gives SUV owners a bad name by getting stuck while drivers of Subarus and Audis zoom past laughing.
Stop lights are an enemy. Come up to them slowly and leave a lot of room between you and the car in front of you. This is a buffer in case you get rear-ended. You won't get any less damage from the offender, but you are less likely to get sandwiched in a multi-car pileup.
Above all, keep a level head. With Oversteer, steer into the skid. With understeer, lift off the throttle and maybe lightly brake to get traction back on the front wheels. Look at where you want
to go, not where you are going. You're much more likely to make it happen if you focus on your goal. And when you're dealing with rutted slushy roads, it will push you all over the road. Keep calm and ride it out.
What to do in an emergency if you get stuck or stranded.
1. Assess the situation. Every problem is going to be different and needs different handling.
2. Address injuries and life-threatening situations first. Then handle whatever needs to be handled. If you are stuck way out in the boonies, use your vehicle for shelter. If you're without cell coverage, use your radio at regular intervals but not so much that you kill the batteries. CB channel 9 is for emergencies. If you have a UHF, it's channel 16.
Special Equipment (snow chains, studded tires (illegal in most areas), snow tires)
Tires, tires, tires. Chains suck and you are very speed-limited or else they break and fly off.
Studded tires are not only noisy and accelerate road wear, but they also vastly reduce traction on dry and wet roads without a notable gain in snow/ice performance. Read up: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/...ay.jsp?ttid=94
Most studded tires on the market today are using antiquated tread patterns and compounds with studs added to give a semblance of winter performance. I've owned 6 sets of snow/winter tires, 2 studded and 4 non-studded sets. Without question the non-studded tires were better in every condition I threw at them. Even the cheap, $70 each Hankooks I used on my ZJ.
Snow Tires vs Highway/Mud/AT Tires
Some All-terrains and highway tires are branded with the Mountain & Snowflake
logo to indicate that they are tested and rated for Severe Snow Service. These tend to be the best choice for an all-terrain that needs to work in the snow - usually these have some of the features of a snow tire (like lug shape and siping) but use a firmer compound for year-round service. These will give good snow performance but lack the cold-weather hydrophobic tread compound that you would find on a dedicated winter tire. While a mountain/snowflake-branded tire will be good in snow, it is on ice and hard-packed street snow where the winter tire will really show it's advantage due to the optimized tread compound.
For a comparison of all-season vs winter tires, go here: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/...y.jsp?ttid=116
or here: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/...y.jsp?ttid=154
or here: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/...ay.jsp?ttid=81
to see an all-season vs winter comparo.
A set of good winter tires is frequently less than the cost of your insurance deductible and most certainly less expensive than repairing an accident or someone getting injured/killed.