Building Your Emergency Car Kit

If you haven’t done it already, building an emergency car kit should be on your list of things to do in the next week or so. Especially now that winter weather is upon most of us. I’m not talking about a maintenance kit, with tools and important fluids (although also very necessary). What I’m referring to is packing enough food, water, and other gear to keep your family alive for several days. If you ever find yourself stuck on the side of the road due to weather, a flat tire, or worse, you’ll have a little more peace of mind knowing you have essential supplies to get you through.

What Is An Emergency Car Kit?
A car kit is different from a Bug Out Bag in that it is meant to stay in your vehicle at all times. The contents generally assume you will be sitting tight until help arrives. If you are preparing for an EMP scenario, or are otherwise concerned about being able to make it back home in an event of an emergency, you should include supplies for trekking it on foot. A ‘Get Home Bag’ requires different gear, so right now I’m just going to mainly focus on what you need to pack to survive a few days in your car.

If your regular commute requires you to drive more than an hour from home, I would definitely recommend that you add get-home gear to the list I’ll be sharing. My husband drives a lot, so I have adapted his emergency car kit to be something that he could also load up on his back for a hike home. This includes a tarp, tent, and sleeping bag in case he won’t make it before dark.

What Should I Include?
An emergency car kit can be as simple or as elaborate as you prefer. You can go with bare bones basics, or you can choose to add some comfort items in there as well. What you pack is determined by what your immediate needs would be if you were stranded in your car for several days.

I recommend that you pack enough for worst case scenario. If you’re single, but sometimes you carpool with another individual, you might as well pack enough supplies for two. There are six of us in my family, so I have to plan enough supplies for each and every one of us. It is particularly essential that you carry at least 3 days worth of food and water for as many people as could possibly be in your vehicle at any given time. If you are caught shorthanded, you will likely be sharing your own food and water with whoever is with you, severely decreasing your personal rations.

There is one main question you need to ask yourself when considering what to include in your kit:

“What would I/my family need in order to survive for three days with no outside help?”
You’ll need to consider every aspect of survival:

Food
Water
Heat
First Aid/Meds
Hygiene/Sanitation
Light
Safety
Communication
Let’s go through these categories one at a time. I’ll share with you what I’ve packed for my own family. You can determine how much of it you would need. (continue reading)

About the author

Andrew J.

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