What’s In YOUR Emergency Essentials Car Kit?

Emergency essentials car kits include things like food, water, and first aid items.

Are you prepared to spend the night in your car or head off on a long hike in the event of an accident or breakdown (or worse)? There are several things that should be in everyone’s emergency essentials car kit. After you read this article, check out your vehicle – do you have what you need?

Why Do You Need an Emergency Essentials Car Kit?

Even when you don’t drive far, you should make it a practice to have emergency gear with you at all times. There are a variety of reasons you might be stranded with only what you have in your car:

These are just a few reasons and examples of why you need an emergency essentials car kit. Are you convinced? Good! Keep reading.

Emergency essentials car kits include things like food, water, and first aid items.


What Should Be In Your Emergency Essentials Car Kit?

There are many different lists you can find about what should be in your emergency essentials car kit. It’s important to change your kit by season, too.

Regardless of season and environment, you want your emergency essentials car kit to cover all the basics:

  • Water (have some water in your vehicle, as well as a way to purify water that you acquire)
  • Food (Keep food in the car that the heat or cold do not affect it. Also be sure to change it out regularly)
  • Shelter (ways to stay warm in winter, cool in summer, and protect yourself from environmental threats like frostbite, sunburn, or heat illness)
  • Signaling and communication (you need a way to let rescuers know where you are or to call for help)
  • Health (first aid supplies for injuries – minor to major, essential medications, allergy pills, etc.)
  • Navigation (if you have to set out on foot, you may not be able to rely on GPS – you’ll need a compass and a paper map)

Everyone’s Needs Are Different

When creating your kit, think of the needs specific to your family. For example, you might have a family member with life-threatening allergies and thus require an EpiPen. You may have small children who are too little to walk for long distances. How will you transport them? With a stroller or a backpack?

Also, consider your environment. Are you in a place where blizzards are likely? Or are you in a desert, where water sources are few and far between?

Consider These Tools

You may also want to add some tools to your kit.

You don’t have to be a mechanic to handle a few minor issues and make it to the nearest service station.

A combo jack and tire inflator hooked up to a car

Remember Personal Safety, Too

If you find yourself stranded on the side of the road, it’s important to think about your personal safety. This can make you a target for criminals, particularly in an isolated area. Be prepared to protect yourself.

Depending on the rules where you live, being armed is a good idea. Go here to learn more about the rules for transporting firearms in different states. If you can’t have a gun where you are, look into other self-defense items and learn how to use them effectively. There are all sorts of tactical camp shovels out there – the classic is the Spetznaz from Cold Steel. Having a shovel in your car seems perfectly reasonable, but these can easily double as an impact weapon or an edged weapon.

What’s in your Emergency Essentials Car Kit?

Are you stocking your vehicle so it’s ready for an emergency? What items have you included that we didn’t mention here? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

What\'s In YOUR Emergency Essentials Car Kit?

Don't Miss Out!

Join the thousands of people who rely on Mind4Survival preparedness advice by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

  • Practical preparedness information
  • Zero Spam
  • < 0.25% of people unsubscribe
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Ash Duncan

Ash Duncan and family live on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where they enjoy hiking with their dogs, spending time outdoors, and watching apocalyptic movies.

Free Download with Brain Header
Start Prepping Header
SHTF Prepping Header
Gear Reviews Header

Join Mind4Survival!

Stay informed by joining the Mind4Survival! 100% Secure! 0% Spam!

Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Follow Us!

Affiliate Disclosure

Mind4Survival is a free, reader-supported information resource. If you make a purchase through our link, we may, at no cost to you, receive an affiliate commission.


  1. Carol L on December 11, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    Basically, I have probably more than I really need. I have a Jeep Wrangler with only a drivers seat. (I used to deliver mail and removed them for that purpose).

    I carry everything needed to basically “camp”. Shelter (tent), wool sleeping bag, propane cookstove, propane heater (Mr Heater Buddy), lanterns (the LED ones, solar). Food, water, tarps, portable toilet plus pop up tent for using, camping shower, cooking utensils and cookware.

    Vehicle tools: jump starters, tire inflators, several types of flares, the old fashioned ones, the break light sticks, battery magnetic flashers that go on the outside to allow someone to see if I’m stranded or go down a ditch (Plus, I have the aftermarket flashing rooftop light), extra fluids for tranny, engine, brakes, etc., non clumping cat litter, plus snow “boots” (easier to put on than tire chains) rope, tow rope and tow bolts.

    Solar generator with solar panel, emergency radio, shovel, Atlas style maps of Oregon and California (two states I visit regularly).

    I carry a battery portable DVD player, and a few DVD’s, books, paper and writing items, cards, a laptop used mostly for travel,

    I also have a pellet pistol, stun gun, military knife, pepper spray and air horn.

    I have “curtains” made from emergency blankets that hook to the ceiling for privacy, winter clothing including good hiking boots (waterproof)……

    Also items for my cat: cage, bed, litterbox, food, blankets to cover cage for stress,

    And I’ve probably missed some things…..

    Mostly I stocked the jeep for a trip over the Cascades in late winter… I didn’t need any of it, the trip went fine, but had I gotten stuck in the blizzard conditions, (The day before I left, they closed I-5 down from Ashland to Redding due to blizzard conditions) I might very well have needed all or some of these items.

    • Brian Duff on December 13, 2023 at 9:39 am

      That sounds like a great set up to me! Good job! ~Brian

Leave a Comment