By August 21, 2012 Read More →

EDC Car Kits

LP-795-smallWe have recently been discussing what EDC means, EDC KeyRings, and 72 Hour BOB’s are.  In this article, we will be discussing what an EDC car kit means to us and to you.  We will also go over a few items that you should always have in your car and hopefully give some new ideas and perspective on the what and why’s of these items.

Now I have a small challenge for you!  Go out to your car and pull all the items out of your car. (Trunk too!) Then separate them into two piles.  The first pile being items you could use in an emergency/survival situation, and the second pile for items you can’t.  Are you beginning to realize that you might not be carrying items that you should be?  If you do have a lot of items that can help you or your family in a bad situation then hooray for you!!  Great job!!

Some basic items everyone should already have :

  • First Aid Kit(s): I personally prefer my pre made kit, but some people would rather buy one.  The choice is yours.
  • Tire repair kit: This might include; air inflate and sealant , fix a flat, tire iron, tire jack, gloves, and spare tire.
  • Air Compressor
  • Jumper Cables
  • Water: At least a gallon.  We keep 3 gallons in our trunk.
  • Window Scraper: For ice/Snow
  • Tools: Screw drivers, oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, adjustable wrench, slip joint pliers, Allen wrench set, tow line.
  • Serpentine Belts
  • Radiator Hose


Some things that you may not have thought of:

  • Salt:Rock Salt is commonly used to melt snow and ice.  In our winter EDC car kit, we have a rubber made container full of rock salt.  There have been times when I was leaving work and there was ice in the parking lot (it slopes upwards to get out) and I can not get traction to drive off the lot.  This is the perfect time to have this in your vehicle.  As we all know, the winter can be dangerous and you never know when you might slide off the road, due to ice, and rock salt comes in very handy to be able to get going again.  How many of us have a hard time walking on ice to get to the door from your car?  This is another perfect example of a good time to have rock salt in your trunk.  It is much cheaper to have the salt then fall and end up in the emergency room.
  • Emergency Items: Road flares, small or fold up shovel
  • Tire Chains: If you live in an area where these are necessary.
  • Seat Belt cutter: I leave mine in my glove box and I also have one on my key chain.
  • Tin Cans & Tea Light Candles: These can be used if the snow/ice packs up around your tires and you do not have rock salt. Put the candle in the tin can and set it on either side of the tire to melt the snow/ice. (the can will get hot) If worse comes to worse, it can also be used as a heat source.

The following items I would recommend having in a sturdy backpack.  Most of these items are going to be in a 72 hour bug out bag, and, in fact, it is a 72 hour set up for your car.  For individual items, please have one for each family member, i.e. poncho, water bottle, space blanket etc.

Food and Water:

  • Water purification tablets
  • Filtration water bottle for each family member
  • Several gallons of water or emergency water pouches
  • Food/energy bars, powdered soups, camping meals, nuts, jerky or any other snack that will not go bad for a while in the trunk. Make sure to change these items out often to make sure.

Shelter and Element Protection:

tube tent

tube tent

Communications and Lighting:

Other items:

mess kit

mess kit

  • Emergency whistle
  • Work gloves
  • Survival Guide/ First Aid book
  • Multipurpose tool/Swiss army knife
  • Duct tape
  • Deck of cards, note pad, pencils/pens, List of phone numbers
  • Signal Mirror
  • Pocket Stove
  • Hygiene items: wet wipes, toilet paper, deodorant, toothbrush/paste, diapers if you have small kids.  (I buy travel size items for my 72 hour kits)
  • Pre-Paid calling phone & card/ emergency cash
  • 3 days of prescribed medication
  • Compass/ local street map and state map
  • Mess kit/utensils
  • Walking shoes/socks

The important thing to remember is to plan for anything because anything can happen in/to your car.  You can break down on the highway and get help quickly or you can break down on a dirt road somewhere and end up walking 10-20 miles before you find civilization again.  Being prepared is always the best thing you can do for you and your family, so just do it. It will make you feel more secure knowing you have taken all the measures possible to get you home in an emergency.

As always, I hope this helps ya!!

Keepin It Spicy,

Jalapeno Gal

Please visit my store: Jalapeño Gal’s Survival Surplus

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About the Author:

Cari is an editor and author for American Preppers Network. Her family currently live in Georgia. Cari spends her free time gardening, canning, testing products for review, helping others prepare and going to the gym. She believes preparedness is about love and taking care of your family. Cari also has her own website where she shares all of her preparedness articles and her recipes for canning, dehydrating, juicing, basic cooking. To have a look and hopefully follow her: Click Here! Please Join My New Blog!

25 Comments on "EDC Car Kits"

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  1. Suburban says:

    Great list. Let me add some items, some obvious and maybe some not so.

    The car itself needs to be reliable. That means keeping up with the regular maintenance including oil and filter changes. My new car requires synthetic engine oil, but I ran synthetic even in my 14 year old vehicle because I wanted the lower engine wear you can get from the better synthetic lubricants (I use Amsoil). I also carry some oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze, and windshield washer fluid. You never know when you might need these, particularly the washer fluid in bad weather.

    Always have at least a half tank of gas. If you get stranded in cold weather you don’t want to have to choose between enough gas to get home and freezing because you can’t run the engine and heater.

    Communications. The common cell phone is one of the most valuable emergency tools you can have. A spare cell phone with no service, but with a cigarette lighter cord, tucked in the glove box can be used to reach 911 even if it can’t place any other calls. If you can, get a phone from a different major service provider than your regular cell phone. That way even if the cell sites for your normal carrier are down, you can still reach 911.

    Make sure you know how to send and receive txt messages on your cell phone. Often txt messages get through when voice phone calls can’t.

    I have a mobile ham radio in my car, and a handheld radio in my bag. Both radios can not only transmit on the ham radio frequencies, but can listen to the weather and emergency services channels (police, fire, ambulance) in my area. Even if the cell systems are down, I can still reach help via the ham radios.

    Have a way to recharge your cell phone from the car battery.

    A roll of paper towels sits right next to the roll of TP in my trunk. Rags and a clean fabric towel are very useful.

    My County puts out a great emergency handbook with all the local emergency phone numbers. It sits just inside the lid of my commercial office size first aid kit.

    Fire extinguisher. Get an ABC type.

    In my area this time of year flares are a major danger because everything is so dry. Emergency services begs everyone to get rid of the flares and use flashing lights and triangle reflectors instead.

    If your cell phone does not include a camera, get a cheap disposable camera to carry in case of accidents. You want to be able to document what happened.

    Thanks for all your posts!

    • Hi suburban,
      I have several of those listed already but i can’t believe I forgot the fire extinguisher!! Thank you so much! I could of swore I added it because I always have one in the trunk. One time, when my kids were still in car seats smoke came pouring in the dash and we were in a two door car. I was so scared. A guy came rushing over and lifted the hood and when he did it was like the flames exploded. It was all electrical is what I was told, but ever since then I make sure and have one.
      You made some very very good suggestions and I always look forward to your comments :)


    • Beth says:

      One note everyone should realize about canned “Fix a Flat” and other products like that which I learned the hard way. 1) The pressure in those cans is often too weak to actually inflate a tire, make it useless, and 2) Worst of all, once you try to use it and inject some of that sealant into your tire, it makes it so mechanics can’t professionally fix your flat and now you have to buy a whole new tire. Its a great idea in concept, but a waste of money in practice.

  2. 'Jesse Banke says:

    must suck to live in the north where there is snow, im lovin some less snow impacted area.

  3. When it snows..means less effort to look for water.. :-) Just away away from the yellow snow..

  4. Yes, much better to live in the Sunshine Belt these days.

  5. No fear of running short of water.

  6. always carry gear in your car

  7. why are all these “kits” in bright colors? So others can see them and take them from you? what? They should look more like an everyday colored backpack. They should blend in. They shouldn’t make you stand out in any way.

    • Excellent point. I am sure you could store your kit in any sort of bag or tote of your choosing. Most of the its I see are in red but look like a childs back pack or cooler so in my opinion its not that obvious. I personally, would never have one that advertised it as an emergency kit or first aid etc.


    • They are brightly colored so that YOU can find them. They are working off the assumption that people don’t run drills, and will not be calm in an emergency. If it is dark they want you to be able to see the bag and what is inside it. Other people recommend having things with bright tape or a natural bright color so that your brain will recognize it better during stress. When you are stressed your brain goes from multitasking master to a one trick pony. You rely on major muscle memory and bright shiny objects catching your attention.
      I understand the paranoia that someone will recognize what you have, and will thusly try to take it. But, if you are injured and unable to direct someone to a first aid it then it is useless. Its a fine line to walk between someone being able to work from your kit and your kit being so personalized and camouflaged that you are the only one who can use it.

  8. Those are car kits, for urban use. In an urban environment, camouflage is going to make you stand out more than a typical color. On that note, they could be more subdued.

  9. wow this is the first time i have been here :)

  10. there are other colors other than camo. I wasn’t even thinking of camo. I’m just saying that they don’t have to be so bright a color to stand out like that. They can be gray,brown,green,tan, whatever. I’ve made my own and it’s not camo. It’s gray and I live and drive in the mountains and country the majority of the time.

  11. My car kits are in day-glo orange float boxes. Of course, they can’t be seen from outside the vehicle, but trust me, at night it helps to have clearly labelled containers you can spot at 50 yards.

  12. RAYAKE says:

    WE have all on your list plus a few other thing’s,,in back of the truck we have a mattress,,4 pillow’s,,2 sleeping bag’s,,4 wool blanket’s,,covered by a shell.. truck is set up for a trailor that we got cheap,,in it we keep 60 gallon’s gas,,100 gallon’s water,,food for 1 year,,we keep a GPS and lap top with updated map’s of travel on back road’s in the truck and jeep,both with CB radio’s,,2 way radio’s also,,atlas’s,,all the extra 1st aid kit’s,,blanket’s,,dog food,,all kind’s soap,,paper product’s,towel’s,,bleech,you will find out that there are a lot of thing’s you will need to set up at your bugout place,,,make sure you STAY off the interstate/hihway’se only back road’s..make sure your bugout place is set up for a LONG time stay,,with a good water supply,,and all you will need to protect yourself with,,seed’s,,hand plow,ECT..good watch dog’s,,some cat’s wll come in handy for field mice,,YOU can never be too well prepairedor safe..a good short wave radio,,genarateor is a must for long take’s time and money to get set up the way we are,,SO take it slow and easy…best wishes,,,,RAY

  13. So I have a question-
    keeping water and medication in your car is legitimate advice.
    But I live in Texas. We have two seasons: summer and not summer. Summer means it easily is in the upper 90’s to 100’s outside, which means it is tons warmer in the car. Water may survive, as in it will still be H2O, but containers that can survive the heat are hard to come by.
    The same risk with medications in your car during the summer. Those medications have a storage range that will gaurentee the pill’s active ingredient still works. You can’t leave medication in the car during the summer and expect it to be ok. Always check the range of temps for storage, and remember that your car will easily get 20 degrees hotter than the outside temperature during spring, summer, and even fall.

    • RTGold_TX says:

      Finding a container that will withstand TX heat for water is easy enough.  Check your local Surplus stores for the military surplus 5gal water cans.  damn near indestructible plastic, tan, with a wide fill mouth and a smaller pour spout.  If they’ll survive the TX summer heat inside an APC, they manage the trunk of  your car just fine.  The blue jugs at Walmart work well too.  The water will be warm and brackish when you need it, but it will be water and potable.

  14. That is a great list of supplies except for one thing. The segment concerning a tire repair kit and fix a flat (also known as a can tire rot) is lacking one thing. A very useful item and very compact and afordable. The thing that is missing is a air compressor. You can only use fix a flat once and only if the leak is small enough for it to repair. Plus it will only place a minimal about of air in the tire. A small 12volt compressor can keep you going a lot longer. That is the only thing I observed to be missing. otherwise it is an excellent supply to have.