Survival Kits

Car Must Haves

As restrictions lesson and our states begin opening up again, you will surely find yourself heading out and spending additional time in your vehicles. If you’re anything like me, the past twelve months have been filled with staying home and avoiding going out unless necessary. Now, as vaccines roll out there are many businesses back in full operation.

With this being said, getting from point A to point B may not seem as important to you as actually being out and about. But be sure you’re stopping to think if you’re car is stocked with a survival kit.

Any time you spend time in your vehicle, whether it’s 10 minutes, or 10 hours, you should have some basic necessities to help you out in case of an emergency


  1. Flashlight: You should always have a flashlight on you. Unless you can see in the dark, have a flashlight. You can’t always rely on your phone’s flashlight either – you never know when the battery will die. Have a flashlight as well as some extra batteries just in case.
  2. Granola Bars (or another snack): If you are stuck for several hours, you’ll be glad you have snacks. Pick something that’s high energy and won’t go bad easily. Granola, cereal, protein bars, etc. are the perfect items and can easily be thrown in the trunk or in a survival bag.
  3. Gas Can:  It would be a shame to find yourself without gas, and without a container to fill up in. Have an empty gas can in case of a situation where you will need to walk to purchase fuel.
  4. Jumper Cables: It would be silly for anyone to be driving around without jumper cables in their car. Not only can they help you, but they can help others too. Grab a pair.
  5. Oil: Running without oil, or without enough oil, can cause some major damage to your vehicle and to your wallet. Have extras just in case.
  6. Car Escape Tool (belt cutter, window breaker, etc.): You just never know what might happen. Being unprepared is never an option. Grab a car escape tool and throw it in your center console or your glove box.
  7. Seasonal Needs (umbrella, rain gear, ice scraper, shovel, gloves, etc.): Depending on where you live you may want to have a variety of items. As a Buffalo, New York native I was always sure I had an umbrella, a rain poncho, an ice scraper (I actually always had two), a de-icer for my locks, a mini shovel, and kitty litter (to help get tires unstuck from the snow). Now that I live in Texas, my needs have changed quite a bit. I’ve swapped out the ice scraper for a windshield sun blocker. I no longer need the de-icer, but I always carry extra sunscreen (in case I have to walk in the heat or sun), and I’ve added in a hat and some additional water.
  8. Pen and Paper: You probably have something to write on rolling around in your backseat, but be sure you have something you can write with as well. In case you need to leave a note on your vehicle while you leave it.
  9. Flat Tire Installation Canister: Getting a flat tire really sucks, and it sucks even more if you don’t have a spare (or don’t know how to change a tire) so having a flat installation canister is super helpful to get you to the nearest repair shop.
  10. Small Tool Kit: Always have tools on you. You don’t need your entire tool kit (not that that would be a bad thing) but you do need the essentials. A screwdriver, wrench, and socket set are just a few to keep handy.
  11. Bottled Water: If there’s one thing you always have in your car, make sure it’s water. You cannot survive without water. Buy a pack of bottled water, or a jug, and keep it in your trunk. It’s not going to go bad, and you’ll feel more secure knowing that in case of an emergency you will be able to stay hydrated.
  12. First Aid Kit (band-aids, hand sanitizer, etc.): A first aid kit is another one of those items that I feel like everyone, no matter what should have in their car survival kit. You don’t need to go all out, and you can even purchase kits that are prepacked. If you don’t want to spend that kind of money, then throw in some basics such as bandaids, antibiotic ointment, gauze, and gloves.
  13. Cell Phone Charger: Most of us have these in our cars anyway, but it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a cell phone charger (ideally one that connects to your car). I also keep a spare battery pack that is solar-powered in my vehicle as well.
  14. Duct Tape: Let’s be honest … what can’t duct tape do?
  15. Spare Tire and Jack: Even if you don’t know how to change a tire yourself, you should probably have a spare and a jack in your emergency car kit. Flagging someone down to help you swap out a flat might not be ideal (and please use caution if doing this) but what’s even less ideal is having a flat tire and no way to fix it.
  16. Washer Fluid: Ever run out of windshield washer fluid while driving on a snow and slush-covered street? I have. I was on the highway and ran out. Good thing I had extras in my trunk and was able to safely pull over and re-fill because without it, I definitely couldn’t see out of my windshield.
  17. Paper Towels or Rags: Messes happen. Often. Don’t get caught with spilled coffee and no paper towels. On a more serious note, if there is ever an emergency and you need to apply pressure to a wound to stop bleeding, you may be glad you have some towels or rags lying around.
  18. Blanket: Despite where you live, but especially if you live in a cold climate, you’re going to want a blanket. This can be accompanied by extra clothing if desired. I personally always keep a change of clothes and extra shoes in my vehicle.
  19. Important Phone Numbers: Imagine your car dies, and so does your phone. Now what? Have an actual list of important phone numbers, such as family, friends, and nearby mechanics/tow companies.

Car survival kits are super easy to assemble and relatively cheap. The time and effort that it takes to gather these items and stash them somewhere safe in your vehicle doesn’t even measure up to the sense of safety you’ll have in case of an emergency.

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