12 Essentials You Need to Keep In Your Car Emergency Kit

During the holiday season, driving across the Cascade Mountains has become a “normal” routine for Berty and I. We regularly visit my family and friends back in Spokane, and when we aren’t home for the holidays, we are visiting HIS family in Indonesia! Going back and forth across the mountain pass, Berty and I have learned the necessary things to have in our car during these cold trips home. In this post, we’ve put together a Car Emergency Kit! Building your own car kit with everything you may need ensures a safe journey to wherever the holidays or snowy season takes you!  If you are holiday drivers like us, consider reading this post and gearing up!

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***Make sure your car can actually get across that mountain pass.***

That means checking all car fluids. How are your brakes? Do your headlights work? When was the last time your oil was changed? Here’s a link to winter specific car maintenance. All these questions are SUPER important to ask before you go, because getting stuck in a snowy pass with a broken car is actually the worst thing, ever. However, if you choose to risk it anyways, make sure you read on and have these things listed below in your car so you don’t, you know, die.

Here’s what you need in your car emergency kit:

(Winter Edition)


It’s helpful to pack all these items in a small, clear plastic bin. Store in the trunk for easy access!

  • water bottles + power snacks

    • Pack several water bottles and snacks to keep you energized if you get stuck in an unexpected place. Powerbars and protein drinks are our favorite and we keep our car stocked with them at all times.
  • jumper cables

    • If you’ve been running the car too long and need an extra boost to get your car started again, these are helpful to have. You can also use them to give your neighbor a boost if they have trouble too.
  • hazard triangle

    • If your car breaks down/gets stuck/other emergencies this will let other drivers know that 1.) you are in the area and please don’t hit me, and 2.) you are in some sort of trouble and can use some assistance. These are especially helpful in the dark because the reflective material will keep drivers aware of you on the road.
  • extra gloves, winter hat

    • If you need to work on your car in the freezing cold, it helps if you’ve got warm hands to work quickly. Keeping an extra pair of gloves (not mittens) and a hat will help you last longer outside. Additionally, if you are in a worst-case scenario and need to spend the night in your car, you’ve got things to keep you warm.
  • blanket

    • Again with the keeping warm idea; it’s always good to have a blanket. Especially if you have little passengers with you. It will keep them warm while you try to fix the problem.
  • multi-tool (like a swiss army knife)

  • shovel, ice scraper

    • This is important if you need to park your car somewhere snowy overnight. An ice scraper can clear your windows fast. A shovel can help you dig out your car in a snow storm, as well as shovel gravel under your wheels to get some traction on icy roads.
  • chains

    • Washington State Department of Transportation actually requires you to carry chains in your car from Nov 1 and April 1 on specified routes. Being prepared with chains in your car can help prevent accidents and keep roadways clear and safe for all drivers.
  • tire jack + lug wrench

  • hand warmers

    • Not necessary, but makes working quickly and efficiently sooo much easier.
  • first aid kit

    • A first aid kit is helpful all year long, actually.
  • flashlight (+extra batteries)

    • Breaking down in the middle of the night is pretty scary. Make sure to have a flashlight in your car in order to work on the problem, flag down help, and see your surroundings.

Lastly, what do you keep in your car emergency kit? Did we miss anything?



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Finally, thanks for reading as always!









1 Comment

  1. Reply


    February 20, 2017

    I love this list. I didn’t know about the chains so that’s good to know. I feel like I should have more of these things in our cars..