Be Prepared: Emergency Car Kit {20 Must-Haves}

Roadside Emergency Kits

road warrior emergency roadside kit for car

Prepackaged Roadside Emergency Kits vary greatly in price and comprehensiveness. You can usually find one that fits your budget and your needs though.

Here are some prepackaged car emergency kits to consider: 


You might be able to save some money by assembling your own car emergency kit! And even if you purchase a prepackaged kit, you will probably want to beef it up with some additional items. First, you want to make sure you have the basic essentials such as water, food, and warmth.

20 Things You Need in an Emergency Car Kit:

emergency drinking water

1. Water. Drinkable water is important. Water is also useful for washing wounds and for sanitation. Water can be helpful if your car overheats. Because of the limited space in cars, the water must be stored in small packages.

datrex emergency food bar

2. Food. It is difficult to keep food in your car because it is exposed to extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. Protein bars or high calorie food bars or MRE bars are a good choices.

emergency mylar thermal blankets

3. Warmth. There are several options: 6 to 20 hour warm packs, wool blankets, emergency bags, and emergency blankets. Emergency blankets and bags are lightweight, compact and inexpensive.

4. Charged cell phone. This item will probably be with you anyway, but it may make the difference between getting help fast or not. Make sure your phone is charged every time you get into your car and it doesn’t hurt to keep a phone charger in your car too.

johnson and johnson first aid kit

5. First-aid kit. As well as an assortment of Band-Aids, it should include adhesive tape, gauze pads, pain reliever, antiseptic wipes, antiseptic cream or ointment, and anything particular to you or your family. You may also want to include tissues, toilet paper, safety pins and ace bandages.

6. Fire ExtinguisherIt should be rated for Class B and Class C fires by the  NFPA. Class B fires are those that involve flammable or combustible liquids, such as gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene. Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment such as switches, panel boxes and batteries.

7. Tire gauge. Use the tire gauge to periodically check the air pressure in your spare tire. A lot of people ignore it until they have a flat, and then discover the spare is flat too.

8. Tire sealantA quick, inexpensive way to repair many flats without having to change the tire.

9. Jumper cablesThey should be at least 10 feet in length and coated with at least 8-gauge rubber. Depending on your circumstances, you might also want to consider a portable Jump Starter. My husband has a portable Jump Starter with Built-in Air Compressor that he keeps in his truck.

dorcy led waterproof flashlight

10. Flashlight. Be sure to keep charged batteries in the flashlight too. The Innovative LED Lights have a much higher battery life than conventional flashlights. It is best if you can include a waterproof light. Other lights that could be useful in your auto emergency kit are light sticksemergency candles with a wide base and waterproof matches.

11. Gloves.

12. Rags.

13. Duct tape. Handy for all sorts of situations! Carry at least 10 feet of it.

14. Tow strap or tow ropeIt should be strong enough to tow 6,000 pounds.


15. Multi-purpose tool. A multi-purpose knife provides many different tools for you to work with in a time of need. A Samurai survival tool provides a hatchet, hammer, and pry tool all-in-one. You might also consider an Escape tool, which has a seat belt cutter and window breaker.

16. Reflective warning triangles. While many prepackaged emergency kits contain one warning triangle, it is suggested that you have 3 that are placed 50 feet apart to warn oncoming traffic.

17. Rain poncho. Even an inexpensive plastic poncho is better than nothing when changing a tire in the pouring rain.

18. Cat litter. It works as well as sand beneath the tires for traction and weighs less.

19. Windshield ice scraper.

aaa sport utility snow shovel

20. Shovel. A compact shovel may come in handy if you get stuck in the snow or mud.

Make sure that the tools that came with your car are in place too, like the car jack!

Thanks for the ideas, Emergency Essentials and Bankrate.

What do you think? What else would you add?


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