I wasn’t really sure how tittle this blog post this morning, so with luck I will be able to explain it in more detail to you.  First, I am good for at least one flat tire a year in an area where I may or may not have cell coverage, love to go camping, but sometimes have the worst luck.  So, I like to be prepared.  I like to have all the tools at my disposal in the event that I hit a “Mini SHTF.”

Basically, what I am going to do here is outline what I think you should have in your vehicle if you are heading out on the road whether a business trip, a ride in the country, or you are getting the hell out of Dodge because there is a some sort of SHTF situation.  Today however, I am going to go over the minimum basics you should have in your trunk to help you get through most situations you may find yourself in with your vehicle, barring a major accident.  These preps will help you feel more comfortable, will be easy to use when the situation warrants it, and get you out of most mini SHTF situations.

First, I would like to talk about the basic car kit you should have in your trunk.  This should be the minimum kit you carry, and we will expand on it.  In a later post, we will go into additional preps that I think everyone should carry while on the road.

  • Jumper Cables – I think this goes without saying that you need jumper cables in your vehicle.  If not to help someone else, to help yourself, when you leave the mall and realize you have accidentally left your lights on, and the battery in your car is now dead.  Click here to learn how to use jumper cables safely.
  • Tow Rope – This rope has two hooks on either end of it, so that if you slide off the road into a ditch in the winer, or someone else does, you can get out with little effort or calling the tow truck.  It takes up little space, and is relatively inexpensive.  Learn how to use a tow rope here.
  • First Aid Kit – I think this goes without saying.  Every vehicle should have a first aid kit, as well as some additions of your own to customize it for the particular needs of you and your family.
  • Blanket – You never know when you will be crawling around underneath your car or have the need to stay warm if your car breaks down somewhere at night or in the winter.  Layer up and stay warm.   I keep a 30 degree sleeping bag in the back of my truck at all times that doubles for a blanket.  Worst case scenario, I can slip into it and zip it up around me to help keep me warm.
  • VestBy vest, I am talking about a cheap fluorescent orange or green one that you can throw on so that people coming around turns and corners can see you a split second or two faster than they normally would.  Y
  • Flares Nothing says there is an impending emergency ahead than flares.  Keep a few of these in the trunk of your car.  Not only are they good for signaling in the event of a breakdown or accident.  They are good for signalling if your in a ditch off the side of the road or over an embankment.  They are inexpensive, and can be purchased at almost all automotive stores.
  • Light/Glow Sticks – A great addition to your kit for a couple of reasons.  First, if you keep a flashlight in the car, but never change the batteries, and find out they are dead when you need them, these light/glow sticks are a great fail safe.  Second, they are a great way to save valuable battery power, and third, attach one to a string and swing it ins a circular motion and you have a great visual signalling device.
  • Flashlight – Under normal circumstances I would say run right out and get a Mag-light.  I have several, but there are many great LED options today that serve a dual purpose.  One, they are VERY bright, and two LEDs use VERY LITTLE battery power, so the batteries tend to last longer than a regular flashlight.
  • Emergency Poncho – You can get this relatively inexpensively at Walmart, Target, Dick’s, Sports Authority, etc.  Get one, hell, get two they are so small when packed and cheap.  Never know when you will get caught in a rain storm…
  • Emergency Blanket – The same thing applies for an Emergency Blanket that applies to the emergency poncho.  Get at least two.  They are reflective plastic, and when you wrap your body in own, it keeps in about 90% of your body heat.  Learn how to wrap yourself in an emergency blanket here.
  • Air Compressor – This may sound unusual, but if you find yourself in a situation where your tires need air, generally you can plug this into your cigarette lighter and fill your tires.  This would be especially helpful with the tire patch kit, which is the next item on our list.  Get one of these things, and keep it in your trunk.  They are small, can sit in the corner and do not take up much space.  Learn how to use a portable air compressor for your car here.
  • Tire Patch Kit – Run over a nail?  Something pierce a hole in your tire.  Now what.  Limp it to the service station, if there is one around.  Locate the hole, follow the instructions on your patch kit, use your air compressor, fill your tire with air, and get your but to the service station so they can verify the hole is patched correctly, and you can finish filling the tire with air and be on your way.  Think about how low your stress level will be knowing your were able to do this on the spot.  Get the instructions here.
  • Zip Ties – I don’t think I really need to explain this one.  There are a million uses for zip ties to help make your life more convenient at that moment.
  • Automotive Tool Kit with Tire GaugeBuy a good tire gauge.  Your gas mileage and your safety depend on the air in your tires.  They are the only part of the car touching the ground…  Just do it.  As for an automotive tool kit, you can pick one up at your local automotive store. You may never need it, but the day you do, and do not have the proper tool(s) you are going to be pissed.
  • Multi-Tool with a Knife – You cannot beat the utility of a multi-tool nor will you deny the benefits of a knife when you need it.  Keep it in the car, forget it is there until you need it.
  • Chilton Guide for your car – This will be a detailed technical manual about your car.  You should have it so that you can at the very least troubleshoot the problem with your car if you are having one.  If you are a mechanic, you already know these manuals are worth their weight in gold.
  • Water – I keep about 2 liters per person in the car on trips.   You never know how long you will be stranded if you are.

So, these are the bare minimums I would keep in your trunk in the event of an emergency.  I keep a bit more than this, but will get into that later.  Here are a few additional options you may want to look at as they could be advantageous for you:

  • Food – Power bars, oatmeal packages, freeze dried or dehydrated foods that you may like to have or need in an emergency situation.
  • Knife – You may want to keep a good knife in the trunk.  I highly recommend it.  You cannot beat the utility of a good knife.
  • Toilet Paper – Quite possibly one of the most overlooked items on an emergency list.  At least one full roll.
  • Hygiene Supplies – Antibacterial gel (60% alcohol and 40% aloe), not only is it a disinfectant, in a pinch, because of the alcohol will burn when lit, and will burn for a while, which helps to make a fire in a pinch as a fuel… I also keep nail clippers, and all the prescription and non prescription medications in the event I am stranded for a day or two so that I have them with me. Baby wipes are also a simple portable way of staying clean.  Use your own judgement with your hygienic supplies.  It is to help make you comfortable and help you in the psychology of the situation.
  • Lighter and waterproof matches – I think this goes without saying…

These are some of the options I would add, if I were you.  As well, these are just the BASICS.  In several following posts I will elaborate more on the first aid kit, hunting in a pinch, food, hygiene products, navigation, fire, and comfort supplies.  So I guess you can say this is part one of a seven part series…

Stay tuned…

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We’re a group of suburban preppers in the Northeast and live in the NYC suburbs that write The Suburban Survival Blog to talk about preparedness and self-reliance out there to help others prepare for what could be an uncertain future due to economic, weather, and other reasons.