Survival Buzz: 46 Must Have Items for Your Emergency Vehicle Kit

Print Friendly

As much as I like to think I have a handle on things, sometimes projects slip through the cracks. Case in point.  Since the big road trip to Arizona in late September, not once have I gone out to the Subaru and reviewed the contents of my car kit.  At the time of my journey I was certain that I had everything I needed in the event of a calamity along the way.  The journey, after all, was close to 1,500 miles.

Since then, life has happened.  We needed room to cart groceries and, in Shelly’s case, to transport 4 set of golf clubs along with 3 of his buddies.  Something had to give, but what?

46 Must Have Items for Your Emergency Vehicle Kit |Backdoor Survival

Today’s challenge is to take inventory of your vehicle’s emergency kit and supplies.  To get you started, here is a car kit submitted by long term reader, Elaine K.  I think it is a good one and am going back to check my own supplies to make sure that I am as prepared as she is.

Best Practices: 46 Items to Include in your Vehicle Emergency Kit

  1. Tow chains
  2. Jumper cables
  3. Spare tire
  4. Tire jack
  5. Fix-a-flat (I like this brand)
  6. Fire extinguisher
  7. Gasoline funnel
  8. Candles
  9. Flashlight
  10. Cigarette lighters
  11. Matches
  12. Flares
  13. Duct tape
  14. Disposable gloves
  15. Well-stocked first aid kit (here is one I put together myself)
  16. Well-stocked tool kit
  17. Solar blankets
  18. Wool blankets
  19. Warm socks
  20. Rain coat
  21. Cash (bills and coins)
  22. Winter hat
  23. Heavy gloves
  24. Heavy sleeping bag for winter, lighter sleeping bag for summer
  25. Paper
  26. Pen
  27. Whistle
  28. List of important phone numbers
  29. Can opener
  30. Knife
  31. Map
  32. Garbage bags in various sizes
  33. Paracord or rope
  34. Quart of oil
  35. Sewing kit
  36. Baby wipes
  37. Toilet paper
  38. Hand soap
  39. Comb
  40. Hair brush
  41. Tooth brush
  42. Change of clothes
  43. Various towels in Ziploc bags (women can use to urinate in if caught in traffic)
  44. Water
  45. Water filter (such as the Lifestraw)
  46. Edible nuts stored in raw honey

I don’t know about you, but I got some good ideas from this list.  And shame on me; for all of my foresight I did not have a fire extinguisher in my car.  Thanks, Elaine, for your valuable contribution to Backdoor Survival and to our preps!

News Flash!  Articles from Around the Web

The Canadian dollar is collapsing, and the sudden spike in food prices across the country are leaving citizens in a state of panic. Canada imports around 80% of its fresh fruits and vegetables. When the value of the Canadian dollar declines, prices for those goods soar, which most strongly affects lower income families.

These days, it is politically incorrect to point out cultural differences. Recent events in Europe have shown that it is unsafe to bury our heads in the sand about this topic. Thousands of immigrants from Muslim countries have descended on Europe claiming that they are seeking asylum. Meanwhile, European women are being raped by the hundreds. This article says that the rapes are not misunderstandings, as the mainstream media says. Apparently, these refugees are playing something they call “the rape game.”

Pay attention to the Zika virus. Formerly, the Zika virus was considered mild and nothing to worry about, but now there is a link between the virus and microcephaly, which means the babies are born with small heads and underdeveloped brains. The defect has risen 20 fold since the virus appeared in Brazil last May. It is spread by mosquitoes, and researchers are warning that this virus could spread to North America fairly easily.

Social Shares for this Coming Week

For your discernment, here are a few of the best prepping, survival, and homesteading articles from my colleagues in the Professional Prepared Bloggers Group.  I hope you enjoy and learn from them.


Do you use paper towels or have you chosen reusable options? Here are some tips to make the money-saving change.

Do you store these items in the refrigerator? You might be as surprised as I was to discover it is unnecessary to refrigerate these 14 items that may be taking up space in a crisper drawer.

As the stock market plummets further and further, it is time to shift prepping into high gear. Here are some tips to survive the stock market crash that looks inevitable.

Prepare Your Family for Survival: Tip #1

As you may know, my friend Linda Loosli recently published a book titled Prepare Your Family For Survival.  I wrote about it in the article 11 Ways to Prepare Your Family for Survival.  Lucky for us, I have been given exclusive permission to share some of the top tips from Linda’s books.  Is that cool or what?

Today I begin with Tip #1.  This tip comes from Part 1, Chapter 1 “When the Lights Go Out – Water First and Foremost “.

Tip:   Find out where the water intake valve is located in your home and be sure to show everyone in your family where it is. Label it in some way, so that it’s easy to identify in the future. When local water or sewage lines break, shut the valve off to prevent contaminated water from entering your house.

Tip: Never drink floodwater, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though you can use a purifier to cleanse water from lakes, streams or your backyard pool, it may not be able to remove all the poisonous contaminants from floodwater.

Current Backdoor Survival Giveaways

Prepper Book Festival 10: Pandemic Preparedness Guide + Giveaway

With all giveaways, winners are notified by email and have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate will be selected.  Once selected, the names of winners are also displayed in the Rafflecopter on the original giveaway article.  This usually happens on the Friday following the end of the giveaway.

Lately, winners have not been checking in and I have had to select alternates.  What a shame!  Please do check you email or the original article to see if you are a winner.

The Final Word

Elaine’s list of emergency preps for vehicles was a reminder that to all of us that circumstances change.  Often, they do not change by much but when they do, it is time to revisit our preps and make adjustments.  I just wish there was some magic reminder bell that would help me remember these things.

Many household chores, such as changing smoke alarm batteries, are timed to the change in daylight savings time.  Others are timed to the first of the month or the first of the calendar quarter.  So much to do and so little time; that is the prepper’s lament!

Do you have a favorite list of preps you would like to share?  If so, please do contact me via email.  I would love to hear from you.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

Bargain Bin:  Here are a pick of items related to today’s Survival Buzz.

Slime Quick Spare Tire Inflator:  All spare tire fix-its are not created equal.  Or so I learned.  Apparently some types coat the inside of the tire with some sort of goo that eliminates the tire from being repaired the proper way.  So, after consulting with the Subaru dealer and reading a lot of review, this is what I settled on.  Truly, you should always have a can of this or something similar in your car.

UltraFire Mini Cree LED FlashlightFAVORITE!  At the time of this writing, this one is only $3.00 with free shipping.  It is super mini sized, bright and waterproof.  Plus, it uses a single, standard AA sized battery.  You already know that I own a number of these.

mini Cree_0         

Grabber Outdoors Original Space Brand All Weather Blanket:  I was interested in a re-usable emergency blanket so I purchased one of these based upon the excellent reviews.  This space blanket is definitely “heavy duty” compared to the cheapies (not that they don’t have their place because they do).

Windstorm Safety Whistle:  When being heard is a matter of safety or even life and death, you want a whistle that is not only loud but can be heard for a long distance.  This particular whistle is not the cheapest one out there but I have proven to myself that this particular whistle can be heard a long distance away and above howling wind and other competing sounds.

Pocket Survival Kit 002

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter:  The LifeStraw contains no chemicals, no batteries and no moving parts to wear out. It features a a high flow rate and weighs only 2 oz. It works quickly, taking roughly 3-5 seconds of sucking to start the flow of water through the filter. It’s ultra-light and inexpensive but effective.  There is also the LifeStraw Family that will purify up to 12 liters per hour.

Prepare Your Family for Survival: How to Be Ready for Any Emergency or Disaster Situation:  In Prepare Your Family for Survival,  learn the basics of water and food storage – where to start and what to work toward for serious preparation – as well as 72-hour kits and evacuation plans. This book includes numerous helpful guides to follow not only before an emergency, but during an emergency as well.


Shop Emergency Essentials Sales for Fantastic Deals!

For over 25 years Emergency Essentials has been providing the highest quality preparedness products at great prices.  Plus, each month they feature sales that quite honestly are fantastic.  This month note the great sale prices two of my favorites, the Mobile Washer (Hand Operated Washing Machine) now only $14.95 and the Tote-able Toilet Seat and Lid, now only $11.79.



Need something from Amazon (and who doesn’t)? I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here. You still get great Amazon service and the price is the same, no matter what.

Amazon has a feature called Shop Amazon – Most Wished For Items. This is an easy tool for finding products that people are ‘wishing” for and in this way you know what the top products are.  All you need to do is select the category from the left hand side of the screen.

The Amazon Top Most Wished For and Best Selling Outdoor Items
Emergency Preparedness Items from
Shop Amazon Tactical – Great Selection of Optics, Knives, Cases, Equipment
Amazon Gift Cards

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!


Essential Oils: Deal of the Week

Each week I update a special page with the Spark Naturals item of the week?  You can find it here:  Essential Oils from Spark Naturals – Weekly Deals. Every once in awhile there will be free shipping or a free gift offered as well as a product discount.  And then sometimes, it is simple a huge discount.

Spark Naturals Weekly Sales | Backdoor Survival

And remember, you can always use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL for an additional 10% off your entire SN order.  When it comes to saving money, every little bit helps.


Survival Buzz: 46 Must Have Items for Your Emergency Vehicle Kit — 26 Comments

  1. I use Walmart heavy, see through plastic back packs. Will hold a lot. When I am on the road, I have a good first aide kit in the trunk. When I am at home, it is in the driveway. A person can bleach white older sheets and tourniquet or pressure bandage. The largers sizes can be tied over head to protect ears or over the nose in case of severe dust (volcano or sand storm). And the larger ones can be used as a sling. Just a more reasonable method of stocking your car kit.

  2. I saw glasses in the photo, but, not on the list. I buy the $8-10 pair at the discount stores. 1 pair? Try 3 pair, in hard containers, in most big boxes or bags. The first time you need them and don’t have them, you will not be happy. And, these are great barter items.

  3. Wow, I have most of the items on the list in my car, including food and water for my pets. They have their own BOB with extra leashes and a dog run cable. I also drive a Subaru and there are many compartment to stash smaller items. I also have a CB, this may work better than a cell phone if things go TEOTWAWKI.

  4. Great Survival Buzz with so much interesting and helpful info. I was so happy to learn about the web news article you mentioned in which people are FINALLY coming to terms with the fact that being politically correct will not save your life or keep a woman from being raped when threatened by those who respect only one authority: Extreme Islam.

  5. There are several things I would recommend you might want to add to your list. These include:

    1. A folding shovel (also known as an entrenching tool) – Helps you dig out when you get stuck or used when building shelter
    2. Heavy duty wire cutters or bolt cutters (if they are not already in your well-stocked toolkit!) – Used to cut through fencing that you may have to drive through
    3. A folding saw – Cut kindling, firewood, shelter posts, etc.
    4. Chemical glo-sticks – Good substitute for flares and flashlights
    5. Poncho – Rain protection, shelter (more utility than a rain jacket)
    6. Silcock – Used for faucets on commercial buildings that have no faucet handle
    7. Headlamp – Keeps your hands free while focusing light on the work area
    8. Emergency radio with NOAA weather stations – The ones with hand cranks give you another way to power them up when batteries run low
    9. Spare batteries for flashlights, headlamp, radio, etc.
    10. Waterproof tinder or cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly – Without this, you’ll have a heck of a time starting a fire in the rain.
    11. Gas siphon pump – Let’s you easily transfer gas from a can or other vehicle into yours.
    12. Self-defense item – Handgun, pepper spray, taser, etc. – I realize a knife can be used for this, but you don’t want your assailant that close.
    13. Small backpack – Something to carry all, or at least part, of this stuff in if you have to abandon your vehicle

    The Gerber Sport Utility Kit is a great way to get a folding shovel, folding saw, wire cutters, muti-tool, and flashlight all in a nice carry bag. I would also recommend a SOL Breathable Emergency Bivy Sack, in lieu of a sleeping bag. They are smaller, lighter, and waterproof, so you can use them in the rain or on wet ground.

    In addition, I’d carry a water filter bottle, in lieu of a LifeStraw. You want to be able to carry water with you, and these filter bottles have the filtration system built in. Not sure you really need to carry food, unless you’re traveling pretty far from home, in which case I would recommend lifeboat rations, as they will withstand heat better than other stored foods. If you’re storing all this in your trunk, it might get quite hot in the summer.

    Finally, the knife you carry should be fairly large, fixed-blade, rather than a small pocket folder. That way, with a beater stick or baton, you can actually use it to cut down larger trees. Better for self-defense, too.

  6. Add a small gas can to the list for just in case. We also have a gas siphon pump. In winter months we add a can of de-ice for door locks and windows. A container of kitty litter to aid in traction.

  7. This is a great list to start with and just like any other ‘kit’ needs adjusting for the users, the geographical area where you live, and just how far from your home you live. What I keep in my car depends on these things. Let’s take Gaye as an example. She’s told us she’s normally living on an island in the Pacific Northwest, her needs for traveling around that island are going to be different than when she goes off-island. The climate and season of the year also make a difference. Where she’s at now in the southwestern part of the US makes for a difference in what she carries. She may need to be more concerned about where and how to gather fuel should she need it for a fire than she would in the PNW.
    One thing which caught my eye was the heavy sleeping bag. In my travels around the western half of the US, heavy duty just didn’t enter into it. A light sleeping bag (in what is climate appropriate) along with the all-weather space blanket can do wonders plus if I have to leave the vehicle, it’s still light enough to carry.
    Water, I normally carry a gallon or two in any vehicle I drive. Traveling away from home more than 1 1/2 hours…I also have a collapsible 5 gallon container full (this has been needed several times while traveling). That fire extinguisher? Yep, have used that to help someone in need a few times also.
    Then, having all this in a vehicle is only good if you know how to use it. We have within us a thing called ‘muscle-memory’, this begins to work in situational events when you repeatedly use what you have in the vehicle. Just as any training requires repetition, so does any kit we have. For example, although I now have a foldable military shovel, my go to is my walking stick. With my stick, I can dig, I can also use is for defense and offense plus when walking it takes some weight off the legs and equalizes it to 3 instead of 2. My preference is for a pair of walking sticks but I like to have one hand free. Again, it’s about preference to the person, climate, geography, and let us not forget the size of the vehicle. 😉

  8. Good list, Elaine K!

    May I also suggest the following relatively compact items — minimum one set per occupant:

    -Mechanic’s gloves (in addition to items #14 and #23 in your list above);

    -Foam ear plugs (for sleeping beside the road or whatever);

    -Sleep mask (self-explanatory);

    -Snow goggles w/clear lenses (to be used — day and/or night — outside your vehicle in that blizzard that has you stranded);

    Also, carry a tarp (to lay on the snow when installing tire chains or changing a flat; also makes a great shelter if your vehicle should become uninhabitable).

    Above all, have the know-how to use your tools and other gear properly and effectively.

  9. What size car are you driving? If I put all that crap into my Honda Fit there would be no room left for anything else other than the driver. I’m 74 and doubt that long-term “survival” is any real option anyway. Thanks, but I’ll pass on this one.

      • I don’t. My wife drives a two door Honda, I drive a Toyota 4X2 with the extra fake back seat (not the four door model). We both keep most of the stuff on the list in each vehicle. Since we live in Hawaii we don’t need the cold weather stuff, and people on the Mainland wouldn’t need it in the summer. A small backpack carries much of it, and the rest goes in her trunk or in a plastic box in my back seat.

        Still, if you think it takes up too much space, eliminate whatever you want. The list in’t a command: it’s suggestions for things to consider. Water, food (we like Lifeboat Rations as they taste good and are packed for long life in hot/cold conditions), a first aid kit, jumper cables, a couple or three flashlights, a cable to charge your phone, a small blanket, duct tape, a few disposable ponchos and a few other things don’t really take up much room.

        PS: We keep a small gas can in each vehicle, but they are unused because we don’t want fumes. If we ever need to use one, we will then replace it with a new one.

        • PPS: I’ll bet a nickel there are plenty of people stuck in their cars in the NE today who wish they had all this stuff and a lot more. Especially more candles for heat, and a good snowmobile…

  10. Don’t forget the plastic liners from wine in a box. They can be used as a seat cushion, flotation device, etc. very handy and made out of a tough grade of plastic. Very handy.

  11. Here’s how a south american guvmint (Chile) views this problem:

    a fire extinguisher
    a safety triangle
    a spare tire
    a med kit

    and the latest: a reflective vest.

    The *stoopit* part of the vest is that it only needs to be IN the car (not in the trunk). And it MUST be saturn yellow. It can’t be any other colour. It can be draped over the driver’s seat or hanging on a clothes hook or in the glove box. There is no obligation whatsoever to actually WEAR it.

  12. Great information from the article and even more information from the comments. The list you provided will surely be used in my car. And I am so glad you tell us what car you have. I have a smaller vehicle and wasn’t sure if I could fit the list in my car but it worked great. Thank you so much!

  13. Ok I’m going to share two things I keep in my car at all times that would also be useful for survival. So far I use them several times a week and being prepared for day-to-day life is part of the Prepper Mindset we should all strive for.

    1. A foldable camping chair which I got from REI (quality)
    2. A lifeguard style straw sun hat, it looks almost Asian style in terms of how much it protects you from the sun

    As a parent of a kid who is really into sports we’re constantly going places where we are watching him play baseball games, practices, waiting to pick him up from camp, school, swim lessons, etc. having these two items sitting in my truck makes our day-to-day lives easier and much more comfortable than you can imagine.

    So why would these be important in a survival situation? The hat keeps the sun off your face and head thus making it possible to bare the heat or in cold environments can help retain some heat. It also has a para-cord styled strap one can use for other purposes.

    The chair you literally could sleep sitting in and it keeps you off the ground thus losing less body heat. If you are out in the middle of no where but you still have a comfortable seat to sit in then it gives you an edge.

    We also use the chair for pitching practice and if he can pitch the baseballs into the chair then we call it a strike. Did I mention the nice cup holder it has?

    P.S. If you happen to save someone else’s car from burning to the ground with your fire extinguisher that it is highly unlikely they will never replace it for you let alone barely thank you for your kindness. In their mind they are so overwhlemed by the situation (in a state of shock) that they will totally forget to do such things.

  14. Yesterday in my little corner of the world (PA), it was 101 degrees. I can’t even imagine how hot it was inside the car. Many of the items on this list will be crap after a few days like that.

    • Hi Michael, I just reviewed the list am wondering which items you are concerned about.

      I know that some items in a first aid kit need to be replaced fairly frequently, especially things like triple antibiotic ointment, and that some bandaids and elastic “Ace-type” bandages may break down as well. Alcohol pads should be fine, though I would replace them every year.

      Cigarette lighters might leak in extreme heat, so some matches make sense as back up.

      Water: We live in Hawaii and have had no problems with commercially bottled water in hot cars. I would be much more concerned about water freezing and rupturing bottles in the winter on the Mainland.

      The list contained nuts in honey, which I have never heard of before. Interesting idea. We keep lifeboat rations in our vehicles as they are designed to survive extreme heat and cold for 5 years, and they have a decent sugar cookie-like appeal.

      One of the comments includes pepper spray. I had a small one clipped to my visor for a year or so, then tried it. While there seemed to be liquid inside, there was no propellant. I suspect, but don’t know, that the heat had boiled it off. Still, I never noticed any smell, so who knows? I would be inclined to keep pepper spray in a purse or bag removed from the vehicle when not in use.

      Any specific concerns would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    • Then take those items out of the car and keep in your home or office during the heatwave. You’ll still have basics. As a fellow subscriber, I think it is more productive and courteous to offer a solution when stating a problem.

      Heat is a universal prepping problem. I keep water and food in a small backpack that I carry in and out of the house, stores, anywhere I go during the summer. It is heavy and inconvenient but getting stuck without water and food would be even more inconvenient.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.