Car Roadside Emergency Kit

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first aid kit

Sometimes it takes an adverse situation before people put together an emergency kit for their car.  Before you rush out and purchase everything to make your emergency roadside kit, nail down the basic essentials.  

Basic Local Roadside Emergency Kit

  • Cell phone.  Most of carry one.  If you have more than 1 bar, you can get help.
  • Cash.  Getting rarer every day.  Keep a hundred bucks on you at all times.  
  • Credit card.  If you have a major breakdown, you can buy your way out of trouble.
  • AAA or auto club membership.  Nothing beats having a tow truck change your flat tire or retrieve locked keys.
  • Bottled water.  I carry water everywhere in stainless steel water bottles.
  • Snacks.  Buy a box of high calorie/high quality energy bars at Costco, Walmart, or Amazon.
  • Flashlights.  Super cheap.  Sold everywhere.

If most of your driving is local, your kit should include basic items like blankets, energy bars, medical kit, and flash light, and portable jump starter.

If you are on an extended family vacation traveling in remote areas, then you are going to need an elaborate emergency kit that will include reflective warning triangles, LED flares, high amperage jumper cables, tool kit, and some sort of recovery kit to get you out of a bad situation if you get stuck in the mud or wet grass.  

10 Items That Should Be In Your Emergency Roadside Kit

  1. Charged cell phone and cell phone charger.
  2. Portable battery power station with jumper cables.  Most of us have tried starting out vehicles and heard the dreaded “click, click, click” sound of a nearly dead battery. Cheap portable batteries with jumper cables like the Stanley Portable Jump Starter are readily available.  Most have USB charger stations for your electronics.
  3. Bring plenty of energy bars and snacks with a long shelf life.  I buy Kind Bars, raw almonds, and dried fruit at Costco.  Additionally, we store several cans of sardines packed in olive oil.
  4. First aid kit.  Amazon sells a large variety with bandages, gauze, antiseptic ointments, and pain killers.  Click here learn more about car emergency first aid kits.
  5. Reflective roadside warning triangles and LED flares.  Having proper illumination for an emergency roadside repair will save your life.  A fluorescent green refectorized safety vest works great if you are moving around.
  6. Duct Tape.  This stuff works great for repairing broken stuff.  While not permanent, it works great for temporary fixes.
  7. Flashlights.  I keep several medium size Dorcy LED flashlights and 1 solar powered Luci Light.
  8. Sealed 1 gallon water jugs and portable Sawyer mini water filter.  Sawyer Point One Squeeze is my go to travel water filter. One of this filters enough water to keep you and your family alive.  Another alternative is folding gravity fed water filters.
  9. Basic tool set with adjustable wrenches, sockets, screw drivers, and knife.
  10. Tow strap.  I never realized how useful a tow strap is until I towed my stranded buddy off the freeway with a 10,000 pound strength from Harbor Freight.  This is part of my basic recovery kit.  Hook this unit to a secure tow point on your vehicle and waive down the next 4×4 that comes your way to get towed out.