Putting Together the Ultimate Car Survival Kit

When you’re driving long distances, anything can happen on the road. From a flat tire or stalled engine to a severe snowstorm or hail, these emergencies can be extremely stressful, and even dangerous. To survive during a crisis and avoid stranding on the roadside for hours, you must be prepared for all kinds of situations. That’s where a car survival kit comes in handy.

car survival kit
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Every single vehicle on the road should have a fully-equipped emergency survival kit. A car survival kit typically consists of different tools that will keep you safe during emergencies and help you get back on the road safely and quickly no matter where you are.

So, how would you put together this super handy kit? What are the essential items to include? Let’s find out:

First Things First

Before you start gathering items for your car survival kit, you need something to store all the items. I am sure you don’t want your tools and supplies to roll around in your trunk and make noise, or worse, get damaged. Whether you like a box, backpack, or duffel bag, choose a storage solution that could keep your survival kit items safe, secure, and organized.

Essential Car Survival Kit Items

1. Food and Water

Always stock your car survival kit with food and water because you never know how long you will be stranded in the middle of nowhere. A few options for emergency food include granola bars, energy bars, or ready to eat meals. Don’t forget extra bottled water to remain hydrated.

Food and water aren’t just essential to avoid starvation. Whenever you encounter any kind of emergency, even if it’s a flat tire in the middle of town, you need the energy to handle the situation. If you have taken quality food, you will remain calmer and will be able to think clearly in a stressful situation.

2. Car Tools

Some important survival kit items specifically for your vehicle include a jack, wheel wrench, hammer, screwdrivers, and pliers. Anything that will help you fix simple mechanical problems should be a part of your car survival kit. You can add extra fuses, a tire pressure gauge, a tire inflator can, and a tire sealant, as well.

3. General Tools

You should also include some general-purpose tools in your kit. Consider a dependable knife to cut through a cloth or a seatbelt or a multi-tool that you can use to repair other equipment!

4. First-Aid Kit

A small road accident or even a quick flat tire change can result in minor injuries. A first-aid set is a must for your car survival kit and should include:

  • Plenty of gauze and bandages
  • Cleanser for wounds
  • Tape
  • Pain-killers

You can purchase a first aid kit from the market or create your own. Just make sure all the items are waterproof.

5. Flashlight

Your car survival kit also needs a reliable flashlight. LED flashlights are the best choice because they last longer than other types such as incandescent bulb flashlights. Always pack spare batteries, as well.

6. Fire Extinguisher

A fire extinguisher is a life-saving piece of equipment to handle a serious car issue that may cause a fire. Fire extinguishers come in different types, so you need to choose one that’s most suitable for your needs. For example, I’d suggest keeping a class A extinguisher for cloth and wood along with a class B for flammable liquids like gasoline.

7. Gear to Keep Warm

If you happen to get stuck inside your car or get stranded in the middle of nowhere, chances are you’ll have to spend a night there. Staying warm is crucial in this case, especially in cold weather. Your best bet is to sleep in your car, but even then, you’ll need to keep yourself warm and comfortable. Carry an emergency sleeping bag that folds up small.

A space blanket is also a good alternative.

8. Extra Phone or Power Bank

Whenever you’re on the road, make sure you have a backup system to make emergency calls in case your phone dies. One idea is to keep an extra, fully charged old cell phone. Another useful piece of technology for your car survival kit is a high-capacity power bank. Just ensure that the power bank is charged.

9. Jumper Cables

Jumper cables or booster cables should be an essential part of your car survival kit. You can also purchase a portable lithium-ion battery to jump-start your vehicle. This compact battery can charge your phone and laptop, as well. Just like the power bank or spare phone, always keep this portable battery charged.

10. Flares

If you find yourself stranded in a remote area with no sign of civilization, you’ll need to draw attention toward yourself, so that someone can spot you. Equip your car survival kit with flares or triangle reflectors. Flares are not readily available in every market, so buy reflectors instead. You can also opt for LED flares.

Other Items to Consider

We’ve gone through ten essential car survival kit items, but there are a few other useful things you can consider adding as well.

  • Motor oil (a quart or more)
  • Coolant (a gallon)
  • Washer fluid and a spray bottle
  • Paper towels or rag
  • Ice scraper for snowy areas
  • Duct tape
  • Folding raincoat
  • Folding shovel
  • Waterproof matches or lighter
  • Paracord
  • Compass

Maintaining Your Car Survival Kit

Congratulations, you’ve put together an impressive, fully-organized survival kit. Now you need to make sure you maintain it well. Inspect your kit every six months, so you can:

  • Restock any items that are finished.
  • Replace expired items.
  • Pick out and replace any broken or worn-out tools.

Furthermore, create a checklist of all items, so you can confirm that everything is there before you head out on a trip. Always check if anything requires charging, such as your power bank or portable lithium-ion battery, especially before a long journey.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.