How To Put Together A Vehicle Survival Kit
Have you been thinking lately that maybe you need a vehicle survival kit? If a disaster hits the road you are traveling on, you may want a few of the items listed below in your car or truck.
Everyone is different, but I hope this list gets you started. If you think of some ideas, I will add them to my list to help others. Let’s help the world be prepared for that unforeseen emergency on the freeway, back roads, or highways.
Dangerous road conditions can happen with little or no advance notice. There is something about being relaxed knowing I always have the “stuff” I may need in case of an emergency.
I just barely changed out a few smaller bags and purchased this DeWalt toolkit. I decided I better put a “Red Cross” on the top of the middle container indicating this is my first aid kit. Plus, I didn’t want someone to break a window thinking I had some awesome tools in the toolkit.
This makes it so much easier so I can grab it if I’m on the road or at a picnic with family or friends. The bag on the left has items for my car and the bag on the far right has water, food, and snacks.
I have water bottles tucked everywhere in my little Honda CRV. You can pack a lot more than you might think in a vehicle survival kit in a very small car.
Vehicle Survival Kit
Ones, fives, tens, and 20 dollar bills. You may find a situation where the banks are closed or the ATMs don’t work due to a power outage. Better safe than sorry, a debit or credit card may not work anywhere.
If you are unconscious, having a paper with your important contact information would be great. I have this download that maybe will help you. Be sure and have pictures of you and your pets in case you are separated in a huge car pile-up. Emergency Contact Information
Food and Hydrating Needs
- Water: I pack more water than anything else. My favorite water for the car is Blue Cans because they store up to 145-150 degrees. It lasts for 50 years, I love this, store a case a month. I suggest packing at least 4-gallons per person per day. If you can only pack one gallon per person per day, then do it. Try and pack enough water for three days at the very minimum.
- Food/Snacks: I put packages of freeze-dried food that we can eat right out of the container. I do not put nuts of any kind because they will go rancid in the heat where I live. I also have cans of chili, ravioli, and beef stew I can eat cold if needed. Rotate as needed.
- Tin foiled packets of tuna and chicken with crackers or just individual cracker packets. Thank you, Wendy.
- Refried beans, soups, and canned meats, thank you, Michelle
- Datrex bars and Datrex Water Packets, thank you, Cameron.
- Water purification or filter tablets: I prefer these bottles: Sports Berkey Bottles
- Paper, cups, paper towels, or napkins.
- Can opener: you can always use a can opener.
- Pet needs: will be water, food dishes, leashes, cans, or bags of food. If you have a copy of the pet’s immunizations in your kit, you’ll be glad you have them. Update as needed.
First Aid Kit
- Put together a first aid kit with as many of the things you use in your home as possible. Rotate as needed. Here is my First Aid Kit article with a printable list.
- N-95 Masks.
- Books, colored pencils (crayons melt), scissors, plain paper, or coloring books. Decks of cards and small board games that will fit nicely in a bag. If the car is parked on the highway for hours, please be prepared to entertain the little ones. Plus, who doesn’t love a card or board game?
Vehicle Survival Kit Toolkit
- Fire extinguisher.
- Battery jumper cables.
- Ice scraper.
- Folding shovel.
- Car Jack.
- Flashlights, batteries that you must rotate because of the heat or get a hand crank one. Solar is even better when choosing a good flashlight.
- Multi-use tool.
- Waterproof matches.
- Tire plug set.
- Work gloves.
- Self-fusing silicone tape.
- 12-volt air compressor.
- Battery jump box. Battery Jump Box
- Ponchos, first aid kits, flares, sturdy knife, waterproof matches, paracord.
- Pack a tent or some kind of shelter to keep you warm or cool from the weather.
- Extra shoes, socks, clothing, and jackets.
- Hand Warmers.
- Hats with a brim may keep you cool as well as warm.
- Ponchos, this way our hands are free.
- Backpack, we may need one to walk a distance to get help.
- Small tent for privacy.
- Toilet paper.
- Portable toilet.
- Menstrual needs.
- Hand sanitizer.
- Baby wipes.
- Disposable diapers.
- Toothpaste and toothbrushes.
- Extra underwear.
- Sunscreen lotion or cream.
Now, please remember you don’t have to go out and buy everything on this list. Purchase one item at a time according to your budget. By the end of the year, just think about what you will have in your car. This kit will give you peace of mind, I promise.
Once you have your own vehicle survival kit complete, you can relax knowing you are prepared for the unexpected. You may not want to have all these items on short trips to the store. But they are great to go visit friends or family, but versions of this kit should certainly go with you when on a trip in your car. May God bless this world, Linda
A car with an emergency triangle: AdobeStock_211630355 by Naypong
36 thoughts on “How To Put Together A Vehicle Survival Kit”
I was glad you included the tire plug kit! I might suggest for anyone who hasn’t ever used one to practice on an old tire, as it needs to be done pretty fast so as to not lose more air. Then fix a flat can be used to inflate. I’ve done this in my travels quite a few times. For easy traveling food, I’ve started carrying the relatively new foil packets of tuna and chicken. I like to have individual cracker packets, like what you get when you buy soup at convenience stores. They seem to have a long shelf life even when in a hot or cold car. Now, as I actually use items from my car ‘food kit’ (a plastic bin) on a regular basis in my travels I constantly look for easy use/carry items. I might also suggest throwing in an empty extra backpack in case a person needs to walk a distance, so can put in your blue cans of water, etc.
Hi Wendy, great comment, I’m adding your ideas right now. I LOVE them!!! Thank you, Linda
I think a small tent is good even for shelters. Set it up and at least you have some privacy from everything and everyone when you need a moment or twelve.
Hi Chris, great reminder, adding it now!!! I LOVE it! Thank you, Linda
Rain ponchos instead of umbrellas so your hands are free!
Hi Kathy, good one!!! Adding it!! I LOVE it! Thank you, Linda
Did you fit all of this in the Dewalt toolbox? Can you show pics of the inside like you did with the med kit?
Hi, Jen, I have a bag on the left that holds my tools I may need for the car. The middle DeWalt toolkit holds my first aid supplies. The bag on the right holds my food and some of my water. I will try and work on taking pictures. Great idea!
I carry instant rice- canned ground beef- mixed or single canned veg’S also home caned chicken- instant potatoes- store caned soups- veg’S-re-fryed beans- flour- yeast-salt-pepper and herb’s for making food taste better- for making bread ( have receives ) for bread, cookies , crackers. Learn to Make a solar oven 2card boarded boxes an aluminum foils and a piece of hard plastic the size of the top of your open box tape with dock tape. There are many websites that you can read that will tell you all the SIMPLE instructions on how to make and many that will teach you how to cook in them. YES you could build a fire , however there may be times you don’t want to be found to. (. Gangs. )
Hi Michele, wow you are really prepared to make meals! I love it! Great ideas! Thank you, Linda
We live in the desert of S Idaho, small town 50 miles from anywhere else. I’ve preached vehicle preparedness to grandkids but you know how they are in their teens. My 16 yr old granddaughter was heading this way when she was trapped on highway by a massive pile-up sprawled across all four lanes. The highway was shut down in both directions for hours & it was mid-August. She called but there was no way we could get to her. She finished her second bottle of water & was whining, “I’m dying out here”! Lesson learned. I tried to keep the “I told you so’s to a minimum.
Hi Linda, oh my gosh this is the best story about needing to be prepared. Wow, this is exactly why we must have “stuff” in our car. I have a purple duct tape right by my desk to remind me to keep my “I told you so to a minimum”. I hear you!! Linda
My Toyota Matrix has no extra space even where the spare tire is stored and just a few small compartments. I have little room for supplies unless I sacrifice my cargo space. I have to clean out the car every few months. I am educating myself on how to attach and install things (Car mods) and to see what can be purchased and utilized such as those organizers that hang on the seats. Trucks are easy, but cars you have to adopt a “DIY” approach.
So I can relate to your lack of space. When your car is small you have to think in terms of small spaces and forget large tool kits. Otherwise you might end up leaving supplies at home and then….. you risk not having the stuff when an emergency arises.
Hi, Frank, I always love your comments! You are so right, we can only carry only so much “stuff” in our cars. Hmmmm, maybe I better get one of those deals that hang from the back seat, great tip!! Linda
Great to have ready in event of flash flood!!
Hi, Kay, you are so right!!!! Linda
Compared to CA, the highways here are fantastic, just not nearly as many. If there is an accident, a backup is inevitable. Here, water is life. Store enough for a day or so. We’ve had to use it to cool off our overheating bodies. 110 degrees Farenheit will kill us old people after not too long. Also, nice soft toilet paper and a hand trowel are wonderful if you need them.
It’s amazing how long people will “hold it” due to modesty. Once, we were towing an empty horse trailer when our highway was closed When a gas tanker caught fire, MELTING 4 lanes of highway. 1 hour became 3 and my wife was desperate. Brushes aren’t just rare out here, they’re an event. Our horse trailer gave her the modesty she needed, and soon women from up and down the long traffic jam were approaching and asking to use “the facilities”, a roll of t.p. and an improvised milk jug. There were a few “Ewwws” but bladder pressure overcame their pickiness.
Also, travel with enough cash to pay for the extra gasoline you’ll need for long detours. All the vehicles were eventually shunted to a section of Old Route 66. The gas stations along that route hadn’t enough fuel for everyone to fill their tanks, so even though we had money for gas, we were rationed just enough to get to the next major city.
Hi Lynn, oh my gosh, you are so right about the cash for fuel. I love the story about your horse trailer, that’s a great scenario for people to read. Great comment!!!! Thank you, Linda
I, too, have a sedan-type vehicle. Where do you put the groceries, car tools, 1st aid kits, water, etc. when you need to put the groceries? Linda do you have to leave stuff out of the car when you go to the grocery store? I know you don’t go often because you “shop” at home! LOVE the idea of the back-of-seat organizers. People, let’s have pictures of how you store these items in your vehicles. Please tell us the type of car/truck you have and the number of people you haul. I want a Honda Odessy!!
Hi Joanne, oh my gosh I love your comment! I got the giggles! Mark went golfing the other day (we only have one car-Honda CRV) and three sets of golf clubs fit in the back. It was tight but they fit. I only have two in my family right now. I don’t buy large bulky items like a large family would purchase anymore. I do have to space out my toilet paper runs. I will say this, back in the day when our four girls lived at home we had a Suburban but if we all went to Costco space would have been limited. A Honda Odyssey sounds fabulous!!!
P.S. Mark did not remove the items shown in the picture. He put the golf clubs on top of them. Linda
under the “toolkit” category – need to add “battery jump box” – technology has overtaken the simple jumper cables >>> you can juice up that dead battery without another vehicle assist these days …
Hi Illini Warrior, oh my gosh, thanks for the reminder about the battery jump box! I had forgotten my daughter had one in her car because her car needed one at least once a week. I’m adding this right now!! Great tip! Thank you, Linda
Sturdy hanging storage/organizing pockets can be found in tack & feed stores. Try Jeffers or Schneiders for good prices. These are designed for stall or wall mount, but can be easily modified to hang from doors or the back of seats inside vehicles. They are much better made than items from the housewares section. These are made for use around livestock and will stand up to rough usage. These can be found on sale for about $25.
I originally bought a couple of these to mount on unused walls of our older travel trailer and give me more storage for shoes & clothes. I liked them so well that I got more for my truck. I have a couple of small ones to keep rain ponchos, flashlights, gloves etc out of the way but easily available when needed. I am planning to buy a couple more to install inside the camper shell of my pickup truck to store halters, lead ropes, dog gear, tools.
Small ammo boxes can hold maps, tools, first aid items. Harbor Freight recently had well made heavy duty plastic ammo boxes on sale for under $4. These are stout, have a good inner seal and a good latch. The ones we bought stack easily, slide under seats or even fit between seats. They are sturdy enough to withstand pretty rough handling, keep bugs and rain out of the contents and are light enough that us older folks can easily move them around.
Love your lists, Linda! Always gives me ideas on how to add another layer of safety to our home or vehicles. Thank you for your expertise!
Hi BDN, oh my gosh, I LOVE your comment!!! I’m all over this, I have got to go to our local tack and feed store!!! What a great idea!! I am going to add the first paragraph of your comment on my post!! I LOVE this! Thank you, Linda
As far as food goes in your car kit, does it ever smell like food in your car? I would be worried about the heat, though St. George gets hotter than Provo ;). Are canned foods still okay in the heat? How often do you rotate what’s in your car food supply?
Hi Sydnee, good question, no it does not. Everything I have in the car is contained in airtight containers. I rotate the food about every three months and monthly in the summer. Now, I typically do it right before we go on a road trip. The summers are brutal here, even our garage gets up to 100-110 degrees in the summer. My water in the BlueCans are great, I never worry about those because they can withstand temps to 145-150 degrees. I store them in an insulated bag. I would worry about the cans of food in the heat for sure. I store all my “food storage” in the house. I realize the food products in the heat will diminish the nutrients very quickly. They are stored in dark zipped up bags in the back of the car. I tend to add the cans when we are taking a road trip. Otherwise, I mainly have my freeze-dried 25-year shelf-life pouches that are ready to eat out of the bag in the bags shown in the picture. Thank you, Linda
I always keep the mainstay or datrex food bars in both our vehicles. They are vaccum sealed and hold up well to the extreme heat/cold in your vehicles. I also use the 4oz water pouches as they are not affected by freezing/heat inside vehicles. Then other things like ponchos, first aid kits, flares, sturdy knife, waterproof matches, paracord, etc.
Hi, Cameron, you have some ideas I need to add to the list, thank you!! I’m adding them right now. Great comment. Linda
When you put air in your tires, don’t forget the one in the trunk. It loses air too.
Wow! this is the awesome idea! I have always struggled with this. Thanks so much for sharing. I need some information for To Put Together A Vehicle Survival Kit and I’m glad I found your blog.
Hi Lillian, thanks so much for stopping by!! I need to take pictures of the contents of the first aid kit. I will post that later today. Linda
I have one of these on my keyring for emergency contact and details, my kids all have one too https://www. icemergency .com.au/
Hi Hayley, I will have to check that out, thanks for telling me about them. Linda
I now carry an emergency blanket bag. I carry one for each person. You can climb into the bags like a sleeping bag to maximize your body heat retention. I also keep at least one blanket to share with one other. They are small, and portable. I love your blog.
Hi Lori, did you make these emergency blanket bags or did you buy them? Great comment! I’m so glad you love my blog, you made my day!!! Linda