You never know when you might find yourself stranded in your car. Chances are, there will be many people passing by that will be more than happy to help you out with whatever you need. But, it’s still not a bad idea to have some supplies in your vehicle, just in case. The below items are prioritized in order of importance (work on the priority 1 items first and then move on to the priority 2 items), but customize your vehicle’s kit as you feel necessary. If you spend more time away from the city or traveling a lot of back-roads, you may want to include a few extra items. I probably go overboard in this department because I used to off-road with my Jeep and I always made sure I had everything I would ever need, right down to my satellite communication device. Add what you feel suits you best. Work on gettting a kit for each car you own.
Priority 1 Items:
I keep these items in a container in the trunk. Home Depot, lowes, and Harbor Freight have great such containers.
Jumper Cables or Jumper battery- Don’t rely on someone else having cables to give you a jump. I use mine more to give others a jump.
Glow sticks- Have several on hand.
Flashlight- Always have a flashlight in your vehicles, preferably in the glove compartment. I store the batteries outside the flashlight for longer storage life. I prefer a flashlight with a magnet or hook, incase you need it to work under the hood. I love this one: Amazon Link
Electrical tape- Many uses.
Tie down straps- At least a couple. These come more in handy for every day use, but always good to have on hand. I love the ratchet type straps.
Gloves- Always protect your hands. Never know when you’re going to be digging out or working on your vehicles.
Blankets- I always keep a couple in each vehicle. My wife and kids use these all the time, summer, winter, doesn't matter. They are a must in my vehicles.
Tire plug kit- Very simple to use and will fix most tire leaks. These may be temporary fixes, but they will get you to a place that can fix it. I've had to use them before.
First Aid Kit- A must. Do your own research and get something. I like the kits from www.mymedic.com. I have the "MyFAK" model in each of my vehicles, but "The Solo" would work as well.
Several trash bags- Many uses such as, well, a garbage bag. Larger trashbags work as a makeshift poncho.
Energy bars or high-energy snacks- Stores easy. Rotate periodically.
Energy drink mix- These come in powder form and store easy. I use Emergen-C.
Water- I always have a couple of gallons on hand. I've never had to use this during an emergency, but I’ve pulled them out many times when the kids were thirsty and we weren’t near water.
Extra roll of toilet paper- Never know. Remove the cardboard roll, flatten, and store in a Ziploc bag.
Diapers and wipes- A must if you have young children.
Pen and Paper- If you have to leave a message for someone.
Spare cash and change- As necessary.
Ice Scraper (depending on if you live in snowville)- Always good to have a spare hand held ice scraper. I’ve used mine more than once when I took mine primary scraper out for the summer and got caught off guard with an early snow. And those spare gloves came in handy in this situation as well.
Priority 2 Items:
Include as you feel necessary.
Tire Gauge- These are cheap. Throw one in.
Foldable Shovel- Dig out of the snow.
Portable Compressor- Maybe if you spend more time on less traveled roads.
Tow rope- Maybe if you have a vehicle capable of towing.
Headlamp- Keeps your hands free. Again, I store the batteries outside the flashlight for longer storage life.
Spare fuses- Blown fuses can leave you stranded. You can get a small container of spare fuses at any gas station. Maybe not as necessary for newer cars, but older cars blow fuses frequently.
Zip ties- Comes in handy.
Gorilla tape- Comes in handy.
Utility knife- Sharper than a pocket knife.
Small umbrella- Comes in handy more than you think.
Water filter- Straw form. This is a 'Just in Case' item. They are cheap and small, so why not. You never know.
Small Hand Towel- Clean your hands after changing that spare tire.
Hand Sanitizer or baby wipes- A must if you have kids.
Bottle of Ibuprofen or equivalent- Keep with First Aid Kit.
While I know I have my car kit in the trunk, there are a few items I make sure I keep in my center console or in the glove compartment, and these all come from experience. These all fall under Priority 1 items.
Pocket knife- I use this all the time.
Wipes- Again, all the time.
Kleenex- Yup, again, all the time.
A few bandaids- While the first aid kit is nearby, it's very convenient to have a few bandaids handy, especially if you have kids.
Flashlight- And again, all the time. I love this one: Amazon Link
A couple of Small garbage bags- Always good to have a garbage bag handy.
Gallon ziploc bags- I just learned the value of these the other day. AKA sick sacks. For me, these are now a must.
Seatbelt cutter/Glass breaker- I have one of these strapped to my visor. It's a must if you offroad, and now it's just a carry over that I still like to have. You never know. Amazon Link