Even those who fully understand the importance of having a bug out bag or a survival kit at home will question the need to have a survival kit in their vehicle at all times.
But the truth is that a vehicle emergency bag is absolutely essential.
Also known as a ‘get home bag,’ a vehicle emergency bag is designed to provide you with the tools and equipment you need to help survive should one of two things happen:
- You become stranded in your vehicle away from civilization (such as in a desert, in the midst of a blizzard, etc.)
- A major disaster strikes while you’re driving away from home and you’re forced to abandon your vehicle and work your way back home
This is why it’s important to have a backpack to carry your emergency survival items, so you can bring your items with you should you be forced to abandon the car and strike it out on foot.
But what goes into that bag? That’s what we’re going to talk about now.
Food and Water
First thing’s first, you’re going to need around a day’s supply of food and water in your vehicle at all times. You should be able to get by with 1-2 water bottles and 3 protein/energy bars.
While you’re at it, you would also be wise to bring along a portable personal water filter and iodine tablets so you can filter/purify more water that you come across.
A knife is a survival must, and for good reason: it’s one of the most versatile tools ever invented by man! The best knife to keep in your vehicle will be a tactical folding knife that can clip to the inside of your pocket. Even if you already carry a knife on you as part of your EDC, having a spare never hurts
Another survival tool must be a good flashlight, to help you see in darkness. Maglite makes high-quality flashlights that are so strong and durable that they can also be used as defensive clubs if need be.
Fire Starting Device
The ability to create fire is one of the most important skills that one can have when it comes to survival, and having the proper tools to do it is also essential. Keep at least one of the three in your vehicle emergency bag (or all three if you really want to be set):
- Matches (at least 20)
- Magnesium Flint Striker
Change of Clothes
Minimally, aim to keep at least a jacket or coat in your vehicle at all times so you’ll be prepared for colder weather. That being said, having a full set of extra clothes in your car (pants, shirt, underwear, socks, hat, etc.) would be the wisest.
Furthermore, something else that will be absolutely essential is a good pair of tactical shoes or boots (and socks). Should you be wearing flip-flops or sandals when disaster strikes, is that really the footwear that you want to be wearing when you need to work your way back home through a city filled with looters and mass rioters?
If you’re ever forced to sleep in your car overnight, blankets and sleeping bags will help make the experience far more comfortable (and warmer should it be freezing cold outside).
First Aid Kit
A basic first aid kit will make it much easier for you to treat injuries when you don’t have access to a doctor or another medical professional. Your first aid kit should also be kept separate from the rest of your survival items and in its own pouch or container for ease of organization.
Examples of things you’ll want in your first aid kit, at the bare minimum, include:
- Gauze Pads (varying sizes)
- Bandages (varying sizes)
- Prescription Medications
- Medical Tape
- Medical Tweezers
- Medical Scissors
- Alcohol Prep Pa
Pen and Paper
A simple small notebook with a couple of pens will be something that you’ll be glad you had.
Car Escape Tool
A car escape tool with both a glass breaker and seatbelt cutter should be kept within easy reach of the driver’s seat at all times.
You should always have a map of your country, state, and city in your car at all times. Also consider having a GPS device with spare batteries.
A small, compact shovel that can fold up and is easily portable will be another major plus.
Personal Hygiene Items
Personal hygiene is without question one of the most overlooked categories when it comes to survival and disaster preparedness, but it’s also vitally important. In your car, hand sanitizer, chapstick, soap, a mirror, toilet paper, and toothpaste/toothbrush are some examples of personal hygiene items that you will want to carry.
Go with the type that is solar powered/hand cranked over one that is battery powered.
At least one hundred feet of basic 550 lb paracord will do the trick.
Roll of Duct Tape
What can duct tape not fix?
Car Related Items
Even if you disagree with having a complete get home bag or survival kit in your car at all times, you should at the very least agree that it’s smart to have basic car related items in your vehicle at all times.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Jumper Cables
- Tire Inflation Canister
- Tire Pressure Reader
- Washer Fluid
- Oil (2-3 Quartz)
- Ice Scraper
- Snow shovel
- Basic Tool Kit (pliers, screwdriver, wrench, etc.)
- Towing Strap
And there you have it! Even if you only drive a compact sedan, you should be able to fit most if not all of those items into your car.
Having a vehicle emergency bag is all about being prepared for unexpected scenarios. Just ask yourself this question: if you find yourself stranded or in the midst of a major disaster and cut off from home, would you rather have each of these items we’ve covered or not?