by Lauren at Modern Self-Reliance
Like many New Englanders, I know the weather can change very quickly. Small light snowflakes can turn into whiteout conditions in short minutes, bringing the highway to a crawl. What supplies should you keep in your car? What if you get a flat tire, get stranded in a ditch or see a disabled car on the breakdown lane? I will outline the major components of my car's preparedness assets. I have car supplies, person supplies and some general good stuff to have supplies.
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These car specific items are general supplies for easy car maintenance and repair. However, you must also know how to change a tire or check the fluids. It does little good to have windshield wiper fluid if you don't know where it goes when you run out. (Also don't put summer windshield fluid in your car in the winter if it's not rated to go as cold as you expect. You will have to either must mix an anti-freezing agent into the fluid, or press the button a million times to remove the bad fluid and mix in winter hardy windshield fluid. Just a life tip.)
- spare tire
- tire pump
- tire wrench
- jumper cables (basic cables here)
- windshield wiper fluid
- 2 ice scrapers (1 big + 1 small)
- quart of oil
These person specific items will be tailored to the occupants of the car. I usually drive by myself, don't have children and am generally very cold. I have a complete spare set of cloths, including winter gear. Should the occasion arrive that I need to abandon my car and walk, I would have enough clothing to be warm enough to get to safety. Likewise, the clothes could also be a replacement for clothes that got wet. If you have kids or pets, they will also need clothing and gear as well.
- pair of jeans
- pair of boots + sneakers
- hat, scarf, mittens, gloves
- snow jacket
- snow pants
- shirt (long + short sleeve)
- underwear, socks
- diapers + wipes (if necessary)
- snow gear
- complete change of clothes (in current size)
- small stuffed animal (for morale)
Pets (thinking dogs here)
- Dog coat
- winter boots (make sure they are used to them)
- extra leash
- extra collar
- water bowl
- doggy bags
- dog backpack? (so they can carry their own gear if big enough)
The general items I keep in my car are something of an accumulative over time. These are items that I perhaps wanted at one point, and made time to add them to my car for the future. The blankets I have used many times for picnics, keeping muddy paws off the cushions, wrapping furniture for moving, and mopping up spills.
General Good Stuff
- 2 regular blankets (you can never have enough blankets, even small ones like these)
- 1 heated blanket (I love love mine!)
- sunscreen + bug spray
- knife (my favorite one)
- GPS ( + charger)
- phone charger
- Protein bars (my favorite non-melting ones)
- paper towels + wet wipes + tissues
- plastic bags (grocery bags)
- bag of rice (for wet electronics)
- sleeping bag (mine is similar to this one)
I also keep my 72-hr bag in my bar. I cover the 72-hr bag here but the idea is to keep everything you would need for 3 days in a backpack. I will highlight some elements I think especially important for the car.
- mylar emergency blankets
- fire items (lighters, candles, etc)
- Medical kit (band-aids, wipes, etc) (pre-assembled one)
- glowsticks + flashlight
- spare batteries
- hand crack radio
- water bottle* (my go-to bottle)
*keeping water long-term in the car is tricky as it gets really hot in the summer and plastic bottles can leach chemicals in the water but then freeze in the winter making it not good for drinking
In writing this post, I also found the flower bouquet from my sister's wedding 3.5 yeas ago as it was made from silk flowers, a tennis ball, frozen hand lotion, a small mirror, and a few parking lot ticket stubs. I would consider all these items...well, optional.
Is there something I missed? What do you keep in your car that you couldn't live without? Thanks for stopping by!
Hungry for more? Learn about ways to store water for today, tomorrow and next year: ----- Water Storage -----
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