Often we Americans forget how incorporated the automobile is into our lifestyle. We’re so used to driving everywhere, that we don’t even think about it. Yet our lives are built around the idea that we drive everywhere, particularly the suburban life. We readily accept spacing things out, because to us it is not even an inconvenience. But it would definitely be, without the vehicle.
And I’m holding my car set for survival. This is something that I have been doing for years. My car’s trunk is a fully stocked emergency closet, with a wide array of items that remain there all the time, so I’m ready for anything that might come.
When you think about it, odds are relatively good that you won’t be at home when a SHTF situation happens. You’re going to be at work, at school, or in any of a hundred other things that consume our time. Yet you can be just about sure your car won’t be far from wherever you are. It makes your vehicle a perfect place to store an assortment of emergency supplies, just for those moments you need it.
And what sorts of things are you supposed to carry in your car trunk? Well, that list can get a bit wide:
Related: The Prepper’s Emergency Car Kit
Get Home Bag
A get home bag is the starting point. It is a package for survival, with enough gear in it to make sure you can make it safely, no matter what.
It could involve doing so on foot when there is anything happening where the roads are blocked or the bridges down.
Speaking of bridges, if you’re working on the other side of the river from where you live, if the bridge is down, it may be hard to get home. Holding an inner tube in your car’s trunk might sound a little crazy, but if you have to cross the river and the bridge is down it will be handy.
I mix my Get Home Bag and my EDC pack, and my pack has plenty of other useful things in it, such as personal care products, paper clips and extra flashlight batteries. I’m trying to make it enough complete to take care of anything and everything that I may need, not only for SHTF, but the regular challenges that I face in my life.
One of My Most Used Items
Rain happens, just in case you didn’t notice it. How many times were you away from home when they began to pour? We always say we have to carry an umbrella with us, but that doesn’t mean we have to. Whether we have one umbrella, or we only have one, and it is never where we need it.
In both our cars, in the building, and in both the office of my wife and mine, I have umbrellas. That way, we always have one open, regardless of where we are. I keep a decent rain poncho in my car’s trunk. This is one of the things that are most used there.
Related: Prepping Your Car for Emergencies
Good Walking Shoes
When you’re dressing up in professional clothes at work, then you want to make sure you have some decent walking shoes in the car’s trunk. If you have to walk home from work, an old pair of tennis shoes or even loafers that you don’t even use any more would make things much easier.
Even in the summer you will still have a jacket, hat and gloves at your side. I change these with the seasons and make sure I still have something to use seasonally. I wear a hat in the summertime which provides good shade, while in the winter I have one which is better insulated.
I’m thinking of two different things when I say gloves in here. Clearly, if you live somewhere where it gets very cold you want to have some warm gloves or even mittens. So the other thing is to have some good work gloves, to cover your hands if you’re going to have to do anything like dig out your vehicle, whether it’s stuck or move a branch of the tree that lays across the lane.
I carry a pistol every day, but I don’t leave it in my car unless you count the knife that’s next to the seat.
Yet I carry an extra box of ammunition in the car, just in the event that I find myself in a firefight situation. Chances of that are slim, but with all the turmoil going on in the world, I’m not willing to take this chance.
I would recommend carrying a gun in your vehicle if you do not carry concealed and the laws in the state you live in allow it. So if you do, get it a lockbox and bolt it down into the trunk. So someone who tries to steal your weapon has to break into the trunk and then into the lockbox.
I always keep some food in my car, mainly high-energy foods and stuff like granola bars and jerky that will keep me going for a while. Although living for many days is possible without food, it is not pleasurable. Keeping some food in the car only makes it simpler if I’m trapped in it somewhere.
I guess it comes from owning old cars, but I’ve still got a few gallons of water in the trunk. It’s perfect for those occasions when the engine overheats, and when you overheat.
If you have some soap in your get home bag, after changing a tire or dealing with some other problem, you can wash your hands with water.
Trauma First-aid Kit
You never know whether you could get hurt or run over someone else who is. I’ve kept a first aid emergency kit in my car for as long as I’ve been driving.
There were also occasions when I was the first on an accident scene, even when the incident was nothing more than a kid falling off their bicycle.
I would at least start taking care of them by getting a decent first aid kit in my trunk, before the ambulance gets there.
When you are going to be carrying the trauma kit, of course, you need to know what to do with it. So take the time to watch some good videos of first aid on YouTube, or take Red Cross first-aid class.
A Great Tool to Have
This is a great tool and not too bad a weapon. I’ve got a machete attached to my BOB and I have one in my car’s trunk too. Mine has a blade on the back edge of a saw. Overall, a machete is more effective than a hatchet or has been used as a general survival weapon and will freak out anybody who tries to give you a difficult time.
If the S really does hit the fan, you might find that you need to do some scavenging. Although this can be a little messy on the ethical and legal issues, life comes first.
Getting a pry bar could allow you to get into somewhere that will provide you with vital supplies for survival, or even get into somewhere so you can get a rainy night’s sleep.
I’m tempted to swap my pry bar with an infringement tool that could act as a walking stick, but I’m concerned about it. Besides that, I’m not sure if it’d be a little bit overkill. I don’t want to end up bringing so much gear that it’s slowing me down.
A Godsend Tool
If your car gets stuck, a lightweight, collapsible shovel might be a godsend. I’ve had opportunities to dig a car out of the snow, the sand and the mud. Though it’s never enjoyable, it’s easier to leave the car there. The one I’ve got is a little big and heavy to bring in my BOB which is how it ended up in the car’s trunk.
Basic Mechanic’s Tools
I still have a set of tools in my car, so I can make repairs in case of emergency. You need essentially box-end wrenches, a socket kit, screwdrivers and a pair of pliers. For just that, you can do a lot of repairs.
Of course, you need to learn more than the tools, what to do with them. But even if you don’t, take them along. You never know who has the expertise that could come along, but doesn’t have the resources.
Holding a few extra quarters of grease, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid into the trunk is also a smart idea. While you can test those frequently, from time to time we all forget. Our cars have an awful propensity to confuse us when we do. Carrying along those few bottles will spoil our cars’ surprise.
A good flashlight is a nice thing to have in your vehicle, but a good headlamp is an even better thing to have. You get light that way, thus keeping both hands free.
I would recommend that you go for one that gives you a wide angle of light and not just a spotlight. I would also suggest you buy the best one you can find. You would like the extra light when you’re trying to repair something in the dark of night.
But those lights that are very bright appear to go through the batteries, so make sure you have extra batteries on hand. As neither lithium nor alkaline batteries handle heat well, test your batteries regularly. They can go wrong and you won’t even know.
While I was traveling a lot in Mexico I began to carry rolls of toilet paper and paper towels in the trunk of my car. You can’t always be sure to find TP in the bathroom, except though you do find a toilet to use. To have your own is clearly prudence. However, you can go just about anywhere you can find some privacy, if you have it.
I still bring the big, blue shop towels for paper towels. That started for repairs to emergency vehicles, but I find they’re great for a lot of things. They’re always great when I have to disinfect stuff, in the COVID-19 world we’re living in now.
Masks, Gloves & Booties
Finally, on this side of the COVID-19 pandemic onset, we can’t go anywhere, without being prepared to defend ourselves against infection. That’s what the paper towels disinfectant up there is for, and the masks, boots, and booties. I am one who still believes in wearing latex gloves in the grocery store, but I throw them away when I get out. Whether you are going to use disposable gloves or masks, you have to make sure that they are disposed of.
I buy Tyvek booties to put on my shoes too. As with the gloves, when I come out of the shop, that gives me something I can throw away. But if you find yourself caught in the mud and have your nice shoes on, they’re still useful.