An emergency car kit is smart because most of us spend a good deal of time with our vehicles.  They are typically with us (or close by) most anytime we leave home.  As such, it is a good idea to keep emergency supplies in our vehicles.  If we aren’t at home, we will likely be where our vehicle is.

Emergency Car Kit

Is an Emergency Car Kit Really Necessary?

I keep our main 72 hour kit go-bag in our van.  So for a long time, I rationalized that I had everything I needed in there and didn’t really need a separate car kit.

But, a few years ago, my blog readers began asking about my car kit. So, I gave it more thought.  In doing so I actually came up with quite a few situations that I was completely unprepared for: some small, some far more serious.  In fact there are some “emergencies” that are really only possible when you are in your car (getting stranded?) As a result, I’ve re-vamped our car kit and I’d like to show you what I’ve done.


What I did not include:

I have taken into consideration the fact that I normally have our full 72 hour kit go-bag in the car.  There are things in that kit (like clothes, blankets, basic meds, hygiene items like toothbrushes & soap etc.).  As such, I have not included those in my car kit.

I also have not included but the most basic shelter type items.  In most cases, I believe I could use my car as my shelter.  Plus, I have basic shelter items in my 72 hour kit go-bag.


What I’ve prepared for:

I categorized my preparations into 3 separate categories and I’ll go over each individually.

1.  Small everyday “emergencies” such as:

  • Someone needs a band aid
  • A newly potty trained child needs to go to the bathroom and there isn’t one anywhere near
  • My hair is driving me nuts and I need a hair tie
  • I’ve got a headache
  • Etc. Etc. Etc.

2.  We are stranded for any number of reasons:

  • The car breaks down
  • We get stuck in bad weather

3.  We have need to walk some distance because:

  • The car breaks down and we need to walk to the nearest town
  • There is a natural disaster of sorts and help is not coming for some time.

I need to note that I feel a situation where the entire family would need to walk a distance would likely be pretty rare.  Even if there was a disaster, we may still be able to (slowly) drive our car to the nearest town.  If we breakdown outside of town, we’d likely call a tow truck.  If forced to walk to town for any reason, either my husband our myself would walk into town; the other would stay behind with all the kids.  I think in most situations, we would be able to better survive in our car then out in the elements.  But since I know it may be possible that we would be forced to “evacuate” our car, I’ve included a few provisions in case this happens.  You may feel differently.


Alright, now let’s look at each category in a bit more detail:


1.  Small Everyday Emergencies:

  • A few bandages and alcohol wipes and Neosporin
  • Childrens Ibuprofen
  • Adult Tylenol and Ibuprofen
  • Feminine needs
  • 2 water bottles (my two girls are ADDICTED to water: it creates mini-emergencies all the time)
  • Sippy cups (for young kids)
  • Lotion
  • An empty water bottle and collapsible funnel (gross, but necessary when you have 3 kids that are out of diapers, but still can’t “hold” it for that long!  We’ve had quite a few issues with this…one was while driving around the airport waiting to pick up my mom.  There was no parking…no way I could run all 4 kids into the bathroom by myself….)
  • Hand Sanitizer (see above, plus oh so many more things my kids seem to get into)
  • Sunscreen
  • Empty Gallon Ziplocs (think soiled clothes or stinky diapers)
  • Small Flashlight (LOVE these: we own way too many to count)
  • A bag of random small stuff (chapstick, hair ties, pens, a safety pin and rubberband)
  • Tissues
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Napkins
  • Crackers
  • Cash (not pictured, I forgot to include it in the picture)
  • Cell Charger

Here it all is:


I put it all in this bucket (except for the napkins which went in the glove compartment):


And put it between the two front seats:


2.  If we are stranded:

I also have additional suggestions of items you may want to consider if you are stranded during a winter storm: Winter Car Kit

Here it all is:


I put it in this tub:


and put it in the back of the van with extra water, sheets for picnics and our main 72 hour go-bag kit:


I’ve also made a goal to keep shoes for everyone in the car.  I’ve always told myself this was unrealistic b/c I can’t afford to buy and extra pair of shoes for the kids each year to just sit in the car.  But, I finally realized, we can just store our gym shoes in the car instead of our closets.  When we take them off, they simply go back in the car instead of our closet.  We’ll see how it goes!  (-:

When we go on a road trip, I will take out everything but the tub and we will pack our stuff on top of it / around it.  That is why I chose that tub: b/c it is short and long which makes it easy to stack things on top of.  I know that would make it difficult to get to if we were stranded, but I’d rather deal with that stress than try to pack it on top of everything!

I’ve also included a few other things in different areas of the van.  We are lucky to have a lot of little cubbies / storage areas in our van (one reason why we bought it):


 3.  If we’ve got to leave the car:

I know that our full 72 hour kit go-bag is in the car too, but I wouldn’t want to carry that (it is HEAVY) unless I had to, so this bag just has what I think I may need to walk into town.

  • Crackers
  • 6 water bottles
  • Wipes and diapers (I keep the wipes I store in this bag in a ziploc inside their carrier.  Otherwise they dry out after just a few weeks.)
  • Granola bars
  • Feminine Needs
  • Pain killer
  • Heat packs
  • A small first aid kit
  • Whistle / compass
  • Crank flashlight / radio
  • Toilet paper
  • Garbage bags (to be used as ponchos if needed)

Here it all is:


And I put it in this bag:


Where to buy all this stuff?

  1. A lot of it you likely already have lying around the house!  Take a look…I bet you’ll find things you didn’t realize you had!
  2. You can also purchase a lot of it through the links above.  Anything in green is a link and you can click on the word to be taken to a place where you can purchase that product.
  3. Much of it can also be found at your local Target / Walmart.



Three different suggestions for an emergency car kit depending on the "emergency!