Car Survival

Car Survival:Items Needed In Your Vehicle

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It’s a great day for a reminder about car survival and the things you need in your vehicle as you prepare for the unexpected. Of course, we all have different items we may need, but these are the bare necessities to survive in your car, for various reasons.

Yesterday my husband and I drove into town and when we got back on the freeway to return home we could see the backup on the freeway for what seemed like miles. It was too late to change our minds to take the back road to our home. We could see that the freeway was backed up on both sides of the freeway. Dang!

Car Survival:Items Needed In Your Vehicle

There was road construction going on, but we could tell something else much bigger was the culprit on the road today. It’s so crazy because we had three lanes merging into two lanes. We are polite drivers and this awesome semi-trucker kept letting cars in and we decided it was now his turn to move to the lane we all had to merge into.

We were all inching along so it’s not like we could hurry up to get home. You can probably picture the guy or gal who speeds along the emergency lane to pass all of us. I said to Mark, “Well they can’t be going to the hospital because it’s in the opposite direction.”

What normally took us 15 minutes to get home took a little over an hour. It wasn’t that bad for us. We had stainless steel water bottles filled and emergency bags stored in the back if we needed them for say three hours or more if we were at a standstill on the freeway.

We have traveled to California when there has been an accident or some kind of incident on the freeway and the traffic flow has literally stopped. You can probably picture this because it may have happened to you.

Our cars are stopped with the engines off and turned on only to warm or cool us a bit depending on the weather. This is another reason I always have to have my gas tank at a very minimum of half full.

Have you been stuck on the highway with icy roads or snow-packed ones? It sure seems like we have had some brutal weather the last few years. Please be safe while driving.

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Car Survival Kits

I have a 2009 Honda CRV that these fit in really tight and securely in the back of the car. I felt I had to put a RED American Red Cross type symbol so people looking in the back of my car realize I do not have DeWalt tools in that center unit. I bought Husky brand bags for each side and filled them with everything I could possibly fit in them.

With the First Aid Kit in the center, I can grab it quickly when I need to provide supplies to those who may be hurt. I used to have one small ammo can with first aid supplies, and I realized it was way too small for my liking.

Car Survival

Inside The First Aid Kit

This picture shows the first aid “stuff” on the top shelf of the DeWalt toolbox. I have a medical book, bandages, mylar blankets, etc. at the bottom of the box. I have more first aid supplies throughout my car as well.

Car Survival-Items Needed In Your Vehicle

Blue Cans

I love having some Blue Cans filled with water because I can store them up to 145-150 degrees. Yes, they will freeze so remove them when you are in a location where freezing can become an issue, you don’t want water all over inside your car. The cheapest place to purchase Blue Cans is on Brownell’s Website.

The food I store in my car is from Thrive Life, they are pouch size and you can eat the food directly out of the bags. You can still buy the pouches, they are called Snackies now. Several of them have a really long shelf-life.  Thrive Live Jodi (Food Storage Made Easy)

Car Survival

Emergency Toilet

This is just a #10 can with baby wipes, 4-gallon baggies, tissues, and hand sanitizer. I always have a roll of toilet paper or two in the car. You use the 4-gallon bags to dispose of the waste material. You may want to look at some BIO BLUE or Biffy Bags

Car Survival

Car Survival:

  1. 4 cans of water ( I chose these because they have a 50-year shelf life-hot or cold).  Yes, they are a little pricey, but I buy everything slowly. I do not want plastic bottles in my car where I live with 110-115 degree weather in the summer. Blue Can – Premium Emergency Drinking Water The best place to buy them is on this website.  Brownells Blue Cans
  2. Can opener, to open water or anything else, if needed.
  3. Lemon packets to flavor the water, if needed.
  4. Pet food and dishes for them.
  5. Snacks, like granola bars.
  6. Names and phone numbers of who to contact in an emergency. Contact Printable by Linda
  7. Pictures of family and pets (two sets each). One for the emergency first responders and one for you.
  8. Battery/crank-powered portable radio/extra batteries.
  9. Flashlight/preferably one with solar/crank/LED –  I prefer the Goal Zero solar flashlight/crank. 
  10. Compass and maps; not everyone has GPS in their car and on phones.
  11. Can of motor oil.
  12. Fire  Extinguisher (5-pound ABC type).
  13. Flares and/or orange cones: Victor 22-5-00238-8 Collapsible Sports Safety Cone
  14. Jumper cables: Cartman Booster Cable 4 Gauge x 20Ft in carrying Bag UL Listed (4AWG x 20Ft)
  15. Rags/paper towels
  16. Shovel
  17. Pocket knife, scissors
  18. Tire gauge
  19. Toolbox
  20. Window scraper for ice
  21. Tow Rope
  22. Duct Tape
  23. Bungee cords: Erickson 06845 Black 36″ Industrial Bungey Cord, (Pack of 4)
  24. Waterproof matches: UCO Stormproof Match Kit with Waterproof Case, 25 Stormproof Matches and 3 Strikers – Orange
  25. Blankets
  26. Jackets /sweaters
  27. Emergency cash: approximately $50.00 in small bills
  28. First Aid Kit: AAA 85 Piece Commuter First Aid Kit
  29. Baby Wipes
  30. Hand Sanitizer
  31. Paper, scissors/pens/pencils (no crayons-they melt)
  32. The emergency toilet, see below
  33. Extra pair of shoes to change into if you need to walk very far for help. Flip flops may not be comfortable walking long distances.
  34. A low-cost tire plugging kit and a hand pump or a battery-operated compressor unit.
  35. A portable folding solar panel that puts out a minimum of 18 volts and 30 watts. If you get one that also has a USB port or two it can charge your electronics and vehicle battery.   
  36. Cash, small bills for emergencies
  37. Whistles, hats, umbrella, heavy gloves
  38. Hand warmers/ponchos
  39. Extra blankets
  40. Diapers, latex-free gloves, baby wipes
  41. N-95 masks
  42. Spray bottle with window washer
  43. 0ne-gallon of coolant
  44. Car Window Break Tool
  45. Thank you, Todd S.: A 12-volt air compressor, work gloves,  a tire plug set (buy them cheaply at Walmart), emergency repair tape – self-fusing silicone tape
  46. Thank you Todd W.: Tarps. A 5×7 and 8×10. Lay the 5×7 on the ground while the larger tarp provides cover for changing a tire in the rain/mud. Of course, they’re so useful for basic shelter if you had to exit your car to hoof it.
  47. Spare tire and jack that goes with the car
  48. Tow Rope
  49. Duct tape and bungee cords
  50.  Change of clothes and good walking shoes with wool socks.
  51. Simon: cable and zip ties
  52. Paladin: an extra pair of eyeglasses
  53. V.L.I would add a small backpack in case you have to walk somewhere to get help and need to carry a few things (food/water/flashlight) with you.
  54. Folding Shovel
  55. Space Soap
  56. Portable Shower
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More Tips

Final Word

Please share some of the other items you keep in your car survival kit and I will add them to my list. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected! May God Bless this World, Linda

Emergency Details

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  1. As important as the tools YOU need to know where to hook up YOUR vehicle IF someone stops to help pull you out. It’s the norm that I will help you or vice versus round here in the snow/mud but you are responsible for hooking up your own vehicle and therefore responsible for any damages incurred during the pull.

    1. Hi, Matt, wow you are so right. I take for granted people know where to hook up their vehicle to have it pulled out of the snow or mud. Thanks for this great comment, Matt! Linda

  2. Hi Linda,

    I recently purchased a Halo which is a small unit that will jump start a vehicle, charge electronics via USB ports, has an LED light and a 115 outlet for low wattage items. It can be recharged in the car or house outlet. There are other brands of these devices too. It might be considered pricey but it fits in the glove compartment. My husband complains about the space emergency supplies take up so I am ‘sneaking’ them in. Another item purchased was the up to the shoulder veterinary disposable gloves. These protect your shirt sleeves when changing a tire or putting on tire chains.

    1. Hi Ellen, oh my gosh, I want to get some of those veterinary disposable gloves!! What a great tip! I need to look into that Halo as well! I had to laugh over the sneaking in the emergency supplies! He will be so grateful down the road when you need them. Good job! Linda


  4. I Love the post but I have a problem I live in the state of Florida and it gets HOT inside of my car. I have tried snacks and water plus first aid kit and by the time I may need these items they are ruined from the heat. Any ideas would be appreciated. I own an SUV so I don’t have a trunk.

    1. Hi Debbie, I have a small SUV as well without a trunk as well. Heat is truly a problem with our preps. I would look for some kind of a bag or box (if there is one) that would protect your items from the heat. Maybe a small cooler? As far as food, some crackers have less oil or butter so they may keep longer. The problem with nuts is that they go rancid very quickly. I think your best bet is to find something that will keep your items at a temperature that is acceptable for heat. My garage gets up to 110 degrees in the summer and I’m sure 150 degrees outside. I haven’t had trouble with my items, maybe because they are in bags??? I rotate everything once a year. I’ll keep an eye open for something. Linda

  5. I appreciate your article and I follow much of your recommendations, but I’m finding (like many prep sites) gross exaggeration about supplies. For instance, I find it very hard to believe you keep a shovel in your CRV. With the limited space in that vehicle, one trip to Costco would result in 2/3 of your gear being removed. Maybe that list is for road trips but where are you storing your luggage. It’s nice to have the “what if gear,” but let’s get back to skills versus stuff and amazon links.

    1. Hi James, yes I do have a shovel that folds in my Honda CRV. I like to give my readers many options so they can decide as to what fits their budget and needs. As far as the Amazon links, if I don’t put the links I get emails asking where to buy them. I never remove my emergency bags in the back of my car when we travel with two dogs or go golfing. Linda

    2. Hey I’ve got way more in my SUV and it’s a bit bigger than her CRV just because you can’t picture it doesn’t mean it can’t be so.

      Stuff is important in this case. Not everyone has the skills to make a make shift shovel to dig themselves out of a rut.

      Hey Linda I believe, add a folding saw to the list please.

      Also a portable shower… if you can’t have that add some space soap. To clean up easily

  6. I would add a small backpack in case you have to walk somewhere to get help and need to carry a few things (food/water/flashlight) with you.

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