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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