How to Organize an Emergency Car Kit: What to Have in Your Vehicle at All Times
When you’re on the road, anything can happen. That’s why it’s important to always be prepared for an emergency. One of the most important things you can do is have a car kit stocked with essential items. This will help you get through any situation that comes up while you’re driving. Whether you’re stranded on the side of the road or need to fix a flat tire, these items will come in handy. So don’t wait – start packing your car kit today!
Why is it important to have a Car Emergency Kit?
There are all sorts of things that can go wrong while you’re driving. You could get a flat tire, run out of gas, or have a car accident. That’s why it’s important to always be prepared for an emergency. By having a car emergency kit stocked with essential items, you’ll be able to handle any situation that comes.
It’s important to consider the various weather conditions you might encounter while driving, too. If you live in a cold climate, make sure to pack warm blankets and clothing. If you’re driving in a hot area, bring along plenty of water and sunscreen.
No matter what the situation, these are some essential items for your car emergency kit that will help you stay safe and calm while you’re on the road.
What are the 10 most important items to put in your emergency car kit?
There are many possible things that you could need in an emergency. But if you’re trying to create a car emergency kit, it can be overwhelming to decide what things are the most important if you are on a budget.
Here are the top ten items that you should include in your emergency car kit:
- Jumper cables
- Rechargeable Car Jumper
- Road Flares
- Reflective Safety Vest
- Travel Air Compressor/ Tire Inflator
- First Aid kit
- Foldable Shovel
- Spare Tire
While these may be the 10 most important, it doesn’t mean that these are the only things you should have. You may want to add food, a flashlight, small games for the kids, and other items that would be specific to your needs.
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What should be in a car emergency kit?
Having a car emergency kit is something that you should do even if you don’t have a lot of money. It’s one of the most important things that you can have in your car, especially if you have a family. You also need to take into consideration the ages of the people that ride in your vehicle most often.
If you have kids, it’s also important to have things such as throw-up kits, activity kits, and diaper supplies if you have babies or toddlers. These items may not save lives, but they sure can save your sanity when you are in a pinch or have a roadside emergency.
If you were stranded in the middle of nowhere, think of what items you could possibly need in your car emergency kit. If your car breaks down, you may need something to pass the time so something as simple as a deck of cards can really help out in a stressful situation while you are waiting for help during a car breakdown.
Your own kit will be unique to you and your family. So you can use my blog post as a guide, make sure to add in your own supplies designed specifically for you.
I have looked at a lot of pre-made emergency kits and while some emergency kits are better than others, even the best roadside emergency kit doesn’t have it all. I’ve just determined that creating my own emergency kit is the best way for me.
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How to Organize your Car Emergency Kit
It’s important to have a plan for what you will do in case of an emergency. This includes being prepared with supplies in your vehicle.
Keeping all of your items organized is important because you don’t want to have to search through a pile of stuff when you’re in the middle of a car emergency.
Start out with a sturdy trunk organizer that can fit your roadside emergency kit supplies. This will help you keep things contained so they are not rolling all over your trunk. I was tired of wasting my money on flimsy trunk organizers so I scoured Amazon for a well-made, sturdy organizer and I am over the moon happy with the product that I chose.
If you are short on space, you can also use an organizer that attaches to your back seat. Because I have so many supplies in my roadside emergency kit, I have both. I use the bigger trunk organizer to house the larger items such as the blankets and air compressor and use the backseat organizer for smaller items. It even has a cooler to keep drinks cold if you want. The backseat organizer is also extremely durable and doesn’t crumple or fold in half when I put things in it. Things stay looking neat and tidy.
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Tools for your Car Emergency Kit
If you’ve ever been on a road trip and experienced car trouble, you know how important it is to have some basic tools on hand. Tools can mean the difference between you sitting on the side of the road for hours or making a possible quick fix! Don’t get stranded on your next road trip and make sure to be prepared with a roadside emergency kit.
Emergency Road Side Kit with Jumper Cables
One of the most important things you can have in your emergency car kit is jumper cables. If your car has a dead battery, you will be able to ask someone nearby if they can jump-start your car for you. It’s a bit inconvenient, but if you are in a pinch, you’ll probably always find someone willing to help.
The benefit to having a pre-bought emergency roadside kit is that it usually comes with jumper cables. Some kits also come with a tow strap, flares, and a reflective vest. This is a great kit to have if you are stranded on the side of the road. Because a dead battery is never convenient.
In my personal opinion though…I would highly recommend a Rechargeable Car Jumper over just jumper cables. It’s more convenient in remote emergency situations. Read below to find out why.
Air Compressor / Tire Inflator
If you get a flat tire, it will most likely be in an inconvenient place, like in the middle of nowhere. A flat tire can also ruin your day if you are on a time crunch.
An air compressor is a great way to fix a flat tire without waiting for help. It plugs into the cigarette lighter and fills up the tire in minutes. This is a lifesaver if you get stranded and don’t have the resources to ask for help from someone else or move your car to a more convenient place.
Rechargeable Car Jumper
While jumper cables are definitely the more cost-effective option, I highly recommend a rechargeable car jumper. I can’t even tell you how many times this thing has gotten me out of a pinch where it wasn’t convenient at all to have someone help me jump-start my car.
The best part is that it doubles as a power bank and can charge tons of other things such as your phone, tablet, jump start your boat, or tons of other things! It can also be used as a flashlight!
Road Flares or Glow Sticks
If you are working on your car during a breakdown, it can be really scary to try and work on it without the fear of being run over. It’s worth it to take precautionary measures to make sure that your vehicle is seen by other drivers. That’s why rechargeable road flares (have flashing lights) or traditional road flares are a must!
If you are ever in a situation where you have to change a tire on the side of the road, it’s going to be really hard to do so without some light. Make sure that you have a flashlight with you at all times (or your phone with a flashlight app).
Because you may be working with sharp objects or chemicals, it’s important to have a good pair of work gloves. They can also come in handy if you need to change out a tire and don’t want to get your hands dirty.
If you have ever gotten your car stuck in the mud or the snow, you know that a shovel can really come in handy to help get your tires unstuck. But nobody has room to keep a full shovel in their trunk all the time. That’s why I love to have a foldable shovel that’s easy to store but expands for easy use. You can also buy traction mats to help with traction aid if you are stuck!
If your car ever breaks down and you need to be towed, a tow rope will come in handy. Make sure to get one that’s long enough for the type of car you have. Many roadside emergency kits come with a tow rope or a tow strap.
If you are ever in a car accident or have to change a tire on the side of the road, it’s important to be visible to oncoming traffic. A reflective safety vest will do just that. Make sure to wear it when you are outside of your car during an emergency. Thankfully they pack small so they won’t take up much room in your roadside emergency kit.
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Personal Items for your Car Emergency Kit
While it’s necessary to have tools in your roadside emergency kit, it’s also important to have personal items. This is especially important if you are traveling with children. And while some of these items may not be essential to survival, they may be essential to maintaining your sanity in an emergency situation. Especially with thirsty, hungry, bored kids!
First Aid Kit
This may go without saying, but having a first aid kit is one of those must-have items in your roadside emergency kit. Whether you are dealing with minor injuries from an accident at the park, or injuries sustained in an accident, a first aid kit can really come in handy. Antiseptic wipes (to clean your hands before cleaning a wound), gauze pads, band aids, and other first-aid items can really help when you’re in a pinch.
If you’re traveling with children, consider packing a few extra items in your first aid kit specifically for them. Things like adhesive bandages in fun shapes and colors, over-the-counter pain relief medication, children’s ibuprofen or acetaminophen, and Benadryl can help to make them feel more comfortable and safe.
There are many price points when it comes to first aid kits for an emergency situation, but if you are on a budget, it’s better to have a small first aid kit than no first aid kit for those minor injuries.
I wanted to invest in a first aid kit that would hold up for decades so I didn’t have to worry about re-buying or restocking it as often. My first aid kit is from MyMedic and I am over-the-moon happy with the quality and organization of this first aid kit. I took the organization a bit further and put some things in these clear plastic containers, but what do expect from an organizer? Lol.
I also have emergency antibiotic supplies in my car for emergency situations where we may be deserted somewhere without access to medical help. The last thing I want is for a loved one to die from an infection because they didn’t have access to something as simple as antibiotics.
Use the code HANSEN10 for $10 off your order!
One of the most important things to have in your emergency kit is water. You can survive without food for up to three weeks, but you cannot survive without water for more than three days.
Make sure you have a few bottles of water in your kit at all times, and if possible, try and store some in the car itself. I store my water in the backseat organizer and I tell my kids that they can’t touch those waters so that we aren’t caught off-guard with no water without my knowledge.
So there are certain waters in my vehicle that my kids aren’t allowed to touch and other waters that they can.
Packable Down Blankets
Another important item to have in your kit is a packable down blanket. These blankets are lightweight and can be packed up easily, so they are perfect for emergencies.
I always keep a few of these in my car just in case I need it. They come in really handy if you get stranded somewhere or if you have to stay overnight in your car. And to be honest, I use my packable down blankest constantly for my kid’s games! These probably get used more than anything in my roadside emergency kit.
If you have a small car (or even if you don’t), you may want a blanket option that doesn’t take up as much space. Mylar Emergency blankets are a great option for this. They are thin (and they take up very little storage space!), but they will keep you warm in an emergency.
You could also opt-in for a mylar sleeping bag I also really love these Emergency Mylar Sleeping Bags.
They work great because you use your own body heat to warm yourself! Plus, they don’t cost very much and you can get them at most stores.
If it happens to be raining, you will want something to keep you and your clothes dry. Always keep a rain poncho in your roadside emergency kit. A rain poncho is a great option because it’s lightweight and takes up very little space in your car. A roadside emergency may happen during inclement weather.
Plus, they are really inexpensive so it’s not a big deal if you have to discard them after using them.
Shelf Stable Food
If you are stranded on the side of the road, you will want to have something to eat. Shelf-stable food is a great option because it doesn’t require any refrigeration. It’s also beneficial if you have foods with a five-year shelf life so you don’t have to worry about the food expiring too often.
Some examples of shelf-stable food include canned fruits and vegetables, dried fruits and nuts, granola bars, crackers, etc.
You could also consider purchasing The Survival Tabs. Each tab has over 200 calories and can keep your calories up for days in an emergency situation. These are great to keep in your vehicle at all times and their shelf life is 25 years! These are my favorite option of shelf-stable foods to keep in your vehicle. This is different than being prepared with snacks non-perishable snacks for road trips, this is more long-term sustainable food options.
Stranded drivers often have to call roadside assistance but that can often take quite a while for someone to arrive. That’s why purchasing small activity items for your emergency kits can be helpful. Because nobody likes to deal with hot, bored kids in the middle of the desert.
Simple activities like a deck of cards or scavenger hunt cards can really be helpful to keep in your vehicle.
Cell phone Charger
If your phone’s battery dies, then you may be in an even worse situation. That’s why it’s important to have a cell phone charger in your emergency kit in your vehicle.
You can buy an inexpensive car charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter or you could even just bring along your regular wall charger.
Just make sure that your phone battery is fully charged before you leave on any long trips!
While there are probably a few more items that you could include in your roadside emergency kit, these are some of the most important ones. Plus, you still need to have room in your vehicle for the everyday items that you use your trunk for all the time.
Make sure that you have all of these items in your car at all times, and you’ll be prepared for anything! If you’re ever stranded on the side of the road, don’t panic! With a well-stocked emergency kit, you can easily get yourself out of a roadside emergency or at least help pass the time while roadside assistance arrives.
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I must say,
I typically ignore blogs/posts, as well as links regarding anything important like survival. Typically because it’s either
A: Not well written
This was absolutely fantastic, very well written and thought out.
extremely informative in every way.
Thank you for putting links to everything you suggested that we get, that helped a million.
Great list! I’m putting together emergency car kits for my children for Christmas and your list was really helpful. You mentioned packable down blankets- do you have a link to the blankets you use in your car? Thanks for putting this together!
Yeah, sure! Here is the link (affiliate). https://amzn.to/3GafsVB