While the weatherman is already promising inclement weather and record snow and ice storms, we at Bug Out Bag Academy have been reviewing our car emergency kit for whatever is still to come…
Now you may be thinking, “isn’t that what bug out bags are for – in case of emergencies?” And you would be absolutely right! But roadside emergency preparedness is special in that it goes far beyond your basic bug out bag needed for survival. (If you have yet to do so, you can download your free bug out bag list here.)
A car emergency kit can mean the difference between getting back on the road quickly, and being stranded for hours.
I’ll never forget my latest run-in with a broken down vehicle. It was evening time and I’d just driven home from working downtown in one of the worst snowstorms in recent memory. I’d just finished thawing out and was sitting down to dinner with my wife when I got a call.
It was a good buddy of mine…
He was stranded on the side of the highway with a flat after he’d spun out on some ice and popped a tire on the curb. And if that wasn’t bad enough, his spare was flat too! Fortunately I was able to come to his rescue that night, and I’m sure you have similar stories you could share as well.
But… if he’d had a few of these items listed below, that night could have turned out quite differently for him – and me. 🙂
If you or someone you know travels a lengthy distance or commutes on a daily basis, like our friend here, an emergency car kit can mean the difference between getting back on the road quickly, and being stranded for hours while you wait for help, oftentimes in dangerous conditions.
So keep reading, because today, we’re going to be covering how to build the Ultimate Car Emergency Kit to help get you out of all sorts of jams.
Keep in mind, if you take the time and attention to gather these items, they’ll be a great supplement to any bug out bag in your vehicle. Perfect for those instances when you’re out and about and you or someone you happen upon needs some roadside assistance.
So without further ado, here it is:
Car Emergency Kit “Must Haves”
(Edit: Some of these are pretty self explanatory, but after fielding a number of great questions about specific recommendations, we’ve included links below so you can easily look through them on Amazon to get a better idea of what we specifically look for. Of course, quite a few are dependent on the type of vehicle you own and the climate you are in etc., so always use discretion.)
- Durable canvas bag to store supplies
- No-spill gas can (2-5 gal.)
- Jumper cables (12-20’, be sure to get the right gauge for your vehicle)
- Battery powered jump starter
- Roadside flares/glowsticks (4, check out these reusable LED flares)
- Flat tire inflation canister (non-explosive)
- Spare tire and jack
- Spare car fuses
- First aid supplies kit
- Bottled water (2-3 gal.)
- Granola / energy bars
- Small tool kit (screwdrivers, pliers, vise grips, adjustable wrench, tire pressure gauge, etc.)
- Flashlight and extra batteries or flashlight that doesn’t need batteries
- Small, foldable shovel
- Car escape tool (incl. seatbelt cutter and window breaker)
- Road maps
- Extra gloves, boots, wool socks, stocking cap (for colder climates)
- Car fire extinguisher (ABC type) [Read our article on how important a car fire extinguisher can be here]
- Antifreeze (1 gal.)
- Two quarts of oil
- Roll of duct tape
- Paper towels / rags
- Washer fluid
- Pen and paper
- Multipurpose tool
- Seasonal supplies (rain gear, umbrella, ice scraper etc.)
- Hand-held GPS unit
- Towing strap or chain
- Sanitation (hand sanitizer, towelettes, small trash bags)
- Emergency car battery charger
- Solar battery charger
- Extra pair of shoes, gloves etc.
- Toiletries, soap, etc.
- Cell phone charger (left in car at all times)
- Battery powered and/or Hand crank radio
- Sleeping bag(s)
Now, sure there are a few companies that provide pre-assembled roadside emergency kits, and chances are they’ll help in a pinch. They’re certainly better than nothing at all… but like a bug out bag, nothing beats a custom-built kit, personalized for your specific needs.
Winter Car Emergency Kit Video Walkthrough
If you want to take a closer look at a custom-built kit, which I highly recommend you do. Be sure to check out my good friend, and well-respected Wilderness Survival Instructor, Craig Caudill as he walks you through his personal Winter Car Emergency Kit below.
Also, to help you get started, below we’ve compiled these items mentioned into a free Car Emergency Kit Checklist for you to use and share with those close to you. With a little bit of time and preparation, we can all be safer this winter. So grab your list and start creating your own today! Don’t be like my friend and get caught unprepared. Be safe out there!
Did we forget anything? Do you already have a car emergency kit? Let us know what you include in yours!
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