May 27, 2017

Car Kit

When making any kit a good approach is to make sure you have the five basics covered; water, food, shelter, security and energy. There might be an item that could (or should) be in another group, and I am sure I missed an item or two.  There might also be items here that don’t make sense for you. Just use this as a guide for building the kit that meets your needs.

I carry a lot of gear in my car, mostly because my car is usually where I am. I store the gear in a GHB (Get Home Bag) and in a plastic storage bin.  Some of this gear is only in the care because of the GHB and it is not necessarily just for the car kit.


  • Metal coffee can (can be used to melt snow and to heat up water with candle, could also be used as a shovel if needed. You can also store food stuffs inside as to save space.)
  • Half full water container (half full to provide room for freezing)
  • Filtered sport water bottle
  • Water purification tablets (not photographed)


  • Bouillon cubes
  • Hard candy that won’t melt
  • Power bars
  • MRE
  • Emergency bar


  • Flares
  • Ice scraper
  • Small tool kit
  • Goggles (to keep rain or wind out of your eyes)
  • Wool blanket
  • 4-way tire iron (I won’t carry any other kind, this is a must IMHO)
  • Metal Folding Shovel
  • Tarp
  • Garbage bag(‘s)
  • Emergency blanket
  • Para cord (this is hard to see, but it’s a 100ft section in between the flares and the garbage bags)
  • Fix A Flat
  • Jumper Cables
  • Map (not photographed)
  • Jack (not photographed)
  • Shemagh (not photographed)


  • Flag rag (color should stand out, if you live in the south white may be good. In Minnesnowta white isn’t a good choice, so blaze orange it is.)
  • Heavy-Duty Leather Work Gloves
  • Safety Reflective Vest
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Emergency Hammer (there are many types, as long as it has the metal tip for breaking a window and the ability to cut through a seat belt, it should be fine. Try to find a place within reach of the driver’s seat to keep it; I keep mine in the door pocket.)
  • Glow sticks
  • Whistle (I have recently heard of this extremely loud whistle called Storm and Windstorm whistles, they claim it can be heard ½ a mile away. I’ll be getting a few of these at some point. Good for waking the kids when they over sleep haha)
  • Walking shoes (this is a must, especially for my women readers who wear fashionable shoes for work. Keep a pair of walking shoes in your car kit.)
  • First Aid kit
  • Poncho
  • 3M N95 mask (These have a respirator and will keep glasses from fogging up.)


  • Headlamp (great to keep the hands free, if you need to work under the hood or change a tire.)
  • Flashlight (I keep a shake light in my kit, no worrying if the batteries are good.
  • Candles (if you’re stranded and need to shelter in your car, a candle can heat up a small area relatively well, just make sure to crack a window now and again for fresh air.)
  • Lighter

What other items do you carry as a part of your car kit?

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  1. pepper spray, wire hanger, tire pressure gauge

  2. I have to ask, what is a shemagh? I carry a backpack to help carry water. Most everything else you have I don’t. I do carry candles to heat up the inside of my car.I guess I’ll have to add a few items soon. Thanks for the ideas.

    • Chris Ray says:

      A shemagh is an Arab style scarf often worn as a headdress. It has many other uses such as a scarf, or arm sling. It’s become a poplar price of tactical gear for many in our military.

  3. I was reading something the other day about an easy to make “heater” that can be constructed out of NEW one gallon paint can (you can get them at home improvement stores for about 4 bucks), a roll of toilet paper (TP) and a couple of bottles of rubbing alcohol (89 cents each?). I plan to construct a couple of these for the car kits.

    There are a couple of “how to” vids on youtube but basically, you just remove the cardboard roll from the roll of TP, stuff it in the can and secure the lid on it. Store it and the rubbing alcohol in a dry, waterproof container and when you need it, simply pop the lid off the can, pour the rubbing alcohol over the TP, allow it to saturate the TP thoroughly, then light it (in a SAFE place).

    The article recommended having a metal coffee can to sit the paint can in because the outside of the paint can naturally gets hot.
    It could be used to heat your car, boil water, etc, in a pinch.

    The article also stressed to use ONLY rubbing alcohol. It is flammable but not highly flammable(i.e. explosive)It burns cleaner and it doesn’t give off the amount of fumes that lighter fluid or lamp oil or other flammable liquid does.

    Of course, always use common sense precautions and light it outside the car and be careful not to tip it over, etc…the article suggested having a couple of extra rolls of TP and an extra bottle or two of Rubbing Alcohol in case you have an extended stay in you “not so luxury accommodations”.

  4. ***Edit***

    “It burns cleaner and it doesn’t give off the amount of fumes that lighter fluid or lamp oil or other flammable liquid does.”

    Even though this is true, please STILL make sure you have adequate ventilation when you use any heating device that burns some type of fuel.

    Carbon monoxide, which is given off when fuels (such as charcoal, lighter fluid, oil, propane, gasoline, kerosene, etc…)and gases are burned, is a silent, deadly killer.

    Please ALWAYS use caution to prevent sickness and/or death.

  5. Here’s the link to one of them. This isn’t the one I saw but it’s similar. Hope it helps !!

    Another tip that’s in this video: Pour off any extra alcohol OUTSIDE the vehicle or wherever you are BEFORE lighting.
    This video also suggests pouring the alcohol in the can and sealing it with the lid prior to storing it in your car. I personally would feel more comfortable keeping the rubbing alcohol in the bottle and just store all of the items in a small box or milk crate in the trunk.

    I guess it goes without saying, but when dealing with an open flame, especially in an enclosed area, let common sense be the rule.

  6. Would it be safe to store replacement batteries in your car kit? For the headlamp and such, not a car battery.

  7. Another excellent article. I’ve noticed that we cannot buy metal coffee cans in grocery stores anymore. (Coffee is now sold in plastic or cardboard containers.) But as Rob mentioned, one can go to a home improvement store & get a 1 gal empty paint can, although mine cost $5. But I’m leery of putting any food items in an empty paint can -just doesn’t seem safe to me. Another option is to use a plastic coffee container for the food items, or a plastic storage bin like u mentioned.

  8. I may have missed it, but how about a knife or two?

    • Chris Ray says:

      Good catch, I did mention that I always have a knife on me, but having one dedicated to the car is a good idea.

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