Prepping Tips: Basic Survival Gear for Your Car

Basic Survival Bag for Your Car

Who hasn’t heard of the bug-out bag? If you are even remotely serious about prepping, you must have one. Each family member should have a bug-out bag if they are strong enough to carry it. It’s a great concept you can use to create your car, Survival Bag or Backpack.

What happens if you are already on the road and disaster strikes? Most vehicles have storage or trunks that can hold all kinds of things needed to survive any potential disaster or weather event. Realistically though, we need all that space in our day-to-day lives, so having everything you want on hand for an emergency is not practical.

Prepare for the Unexpected

With that in mind, today, we will talk about that unexpected event that will make you glad you packed a basic car survival kit stored in your vehicle. A survival bag you hope you never have to use but will look to the sky with thanks if you find yourself in a position to need it!

Say you are driving down the road in the middle of nowhere when suddenly you hit a pothole that throws you off the road. Unfortunately, your cell phone was damaged in the car accident, and the last town you passed was 30 miles back.

It’s almost dark and pretty cold out already. You don’t see headlights coming at you from either direction. What do you do?

The first order of business is to check yourself out and ensure you don’t have any wounds that need attention. If you’re okay, get out of the car and see how extensive the damage is. For this example, you are stuck in a ditch, and your car won’t start — it’s a wreck.

As you’re walking around your car, you remember having a survival bag in your trunk. You immediately feel a rush of relief! You’ve now just solidified your survival. You’ll be able to make it home to your family after all!

Essentials to Have in Your Vehicle

This bag is in addition to the bug-out bag, which is likely stashed at home next to the door, though it has similar items. Here is a minor breakdown of the essentials:

  • A good knife is an essential tool. You should have one on your person at all times. You can cut, poke, slice, and even chop kindling with a decent sharp knife.
  • Food is very important to keep your energy where it needs to be to get through this event. You don’t want to be left in the dark with nothing to eat. Bring enough for at least a couple of days, but only eat what you need to because you don’t know when you’ll be rescued. Protein bars have a long shelf-life and take very little room while providing you the sustenance you’ll need.
  • Even more important than food is water. It won’t hurt to have several one-gallon jugs of water stashed in the back of your vehicle in addition to the bottles in your bag. Also, have a way to purify fresh water so you don’t get sick if you run out. In addition to the previous link, here’s a PDF from the CDC: How to Purify Drinking Water.
  • You should have at least two methods of starting a fire. Add a lighter, matches, and a scrap of magnesium to your car’s survival bag. You will also need some tinder to start a fire. Depending on where you are stuck, there may not be any dry material. A couple of old magazines or some of the kid’s coloring books in the car all of a sudden become handy! If worse goes to worst, you can always take it from your car. Manuals, carpet, or seat material may be flammable as a last resort.
  • A small first aid kit to dress any wounds you have now or may incur while you are stranded.
  • A flashlight with an extra set of batteries. Whether to signal for help or just to make your way in the dark — this is one tool you’ll be glad to have.
  • A map is a great idea just in case you need to see where the next town is. Check it to see if it is worthwhile for you to move or not — more on this in a bit.
  • Put a change of clothes, socks, pair of shoes, and a blanket in the back of your car. If you need to bundle up, or change your clothes because they get wet, or need a fresh set of shoes. Just make sure the shoes are comfy in case you’ve got to make a trek.

Should Stay or Leave?

So, do you stay, or do you find help? Most of the time, the best idea is to keep it in your car. But what do you do when you start to run out of food and water? What if it is freezing out or, as luck would have it, snowing?

All of these things factor into your survival plan. Each scenario is different, and each goes beyond the scope of this post. You know where you travel most and the environment — use that knowledge to create your kit. Mark your calendar at the change of each season to “seaonsalize” your car survival kit for the potential weather and temperatures that lie ahead.

Why not stop right now and create a list of the items you will gather for your car’s survival kit, then put your kit in your vehicle so it will be there if you need it? Then, even if you don’t have everything you need now, put your car survival backpack in your vehicle with what you have now, and then complete your list as soon as possible. Something is better than nothing.