How to Create an Emergency Car Kit

Create an Emergency Car Kit for your car to prevent being stranded without supplies during breakdowns or bad weather.

Create an Emergency Car Kit for your car to prevent being stranded without supplies during breakdowns or bad weather.

On the road again, and you’ve got a flat. No problem…you can fix it….can’t you?

Oh blast, there’s no spare. So now you call for help, but you have to wait for 3 hours until a tow truck can reach you in the remote area of Texas that you just happened to be in for this to happen (because it never happens right next to a tire repair store, does it?). Do you have some water for the sweltering heat? Do you have a blanket if it happens to be 18 degrees? Do you have a way to dress the wound you got when you tried to hack a fix for your tire without the proper tools?

If you had a handy-dandy emergency car kit in your car – you’d be well on the way to making yourself comfortable while you wait for help.

Create an Emergency Car Kit


Make sure you have enough water for you and any passengers you might have. We keep a large bottle of water for each of our family members, plus one.


Protein snacks, grain bars, dried fruit, canned items – anything not effected by storing outdoors. Make sure to rotate through the food often (we do it every month during the summer months for us).

Emergency Signaling

You need something to be able to signal people that you are in need of help. Whether it’s a roadside triangle, chem flares, LED flares, mirrored signaling devices, whistles, air horns or even cranking up your radio loudly if you can. This is a beacon we have in our cars and LOVE it. You can also go for an all-in-one kit.

Light & heat

Keep flashlights, area lighting, and  firestarters handy. We also keep a large heavy blanket (use it for sitting during festivals or picnics, to cover a picnic table, for shelter and for warmth) plus a couple of smaller lap blankets. Hand and feet warmers can be good to tuck into pockets, and are great if you are at soccer games and the weather turns chilly.


Charged Cell Phone, walkie talkies (these are only really good for short distances, but if you do decide to separate your party to find help, you can keep in touch. Range is reduced, significantly, in hilly or tree covered land) or a portable Ham radio. We also have extra charging cords plus a charge stick.  We keep these in the glove compartment.

 • Read more: Why we keep our old phones for emergencies.

First Aid Kit

A kit like this from AAA or an even bigger one like this is the easiest way to go. Create one for your own family by adding bandages, wraps, antiseptic/antibiotic creams, tourniquet (and knowledge on how to use it) and sunscreen.

• Read more: 10 First Aid Skills Every Parent Should Know


Purchase a ready-kit like this one from AAA or add to your own kit with items like a tire tool, tire gauge, spare tire (filled), foam tire sealant, jumper cables, tow strap, fire extinguisher, duct tape. You might also be helped by keeping a car charger kit handy for times when your battery is dead and you need a jump — and you don’t have to rely on the kindness of strangers.

• Read more: Keep your car filled with gas.


Blankets, individual emergency blankets and/or tarps. You can get tarps in the paint section of your local DIY store.


Ice scraper, de-icer, shovel, cat litter, chains, sun screens (did you know they can help keep in heat in the winter as well as sun out in the summer?


Change of clothes, extra shoes, gloves, things specific for your family like diapers and formula for babies (thanks skaggsmama for that reminder!), medicines that can store in the car (otherwise you should keep them in your everyday carry that goes in the car with you).


I keep 2 plastic tubs in the trunk with most of our items, but you can actually buy trunk specific organizers for your car. I prefer to have ones with lids, but these organizers make getting into your supplies easy (especially if you’re in an SUV). We also have some items tucked away in the glove compartment and have recently put 2 organizers on the backs of the front seats. The kids can store some personal items, plus emergency items they’ll need. We feel it’s important to have some items inside in case we’re trapped and can’t get into the trunk.

Traveling – we definitely beef up our supplies if we’re going to be on a car trip with extra water, etc.

It does seem like you’re going to fill your trunk to the brim, doesn’t it?  But be creative how you store items, use small travel sizes for things, and make things serve double duty if you have to. Some of these things you may already carry in your EDC bag.

Make this the weekend that you prepare your car for an emergency!

Create an Emergency Car Kit for your car to prevent being stranded without supplies during breakdowns or bad weather.

Create an Emergency Car Kit for your car to prevent being stranded without supplies during breakdowns or bad weather.

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Katy Willis is a writer, lifelong homesteader, and master herbalist, master gardener, and canine nutritionist. Katy is a preparedness expert and modern homesteader practicing everyday preparedness, sustainability, and a holistic lifestyle.

She knows how important it is to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, because you just never know what's coming. And preparedness helps you give your family the best chance to thrive in any situation.

Katy is passionate about living naturally, growing food, keeping livestock, foraging, and making and using herbal remedies. Katy is an experienced herbalist and a member of the CMA (Complementary Medical Association).

Her preparedness skills go beyond just being "ready", she's ready to survive the initial disaster, and thrive afterward, too. She grows 100% organic food on roughly 15 acres and raises goats, chickens, and ducks. She also lovingly tends her orchard, where she grows many different fruit trees. And, because she likes to know exactly what she's feeding her family, she's a seasoned from-scratch cook and gluten-free baker.

Katy teaches foraging and environmental education classes, too, including self-sufficient living, modern homesteading, seed saving, and organic vegetable gardening.

Katy helps others learn forgotten skills, including basic survival skills and self-reliance.

She's been published on sites such as MSN, Angi, Home Advisor, Family Handyman, Wealth of Geeks, Readers Digest, and more.

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