12 Essentials You Need to Keep In Your Car Emergency Kit

Post Updated Fall 2019: What To Put In Your Car Emergency Kit

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 to handle unexpected situations en route.

Building your own car emergency 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 before you go.

BEFORE YOUR TRIP…

***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, when you’re ready to make the drive, read on and have a car emergency kit stocked and in your trunk for those unexpected winter surprises.

12 Essentials You Need In Your Car Emergency Kit

(Winter Edition)

How Do Your Store Items In Your Car Emergency Kit?

It’s helpful to pack all these items in a small, clear plastic bin. Store in the trunk for easy access! Label it “car emergency kit” so that passengers recognize it easily as well.

 

1. Water Bottles + Power Snacks

Pack several water bottles and snacks to keep you energized if you get stuck in an unexpected place. Try buying them in bulk to save money!

Don’t want to use plastic? Purchase this reusable 5-gallon tub. Just make sure to fill it up before your trip and don’t leave sitting water in the trunk!

Our current favorite energy bars are from GoMacro. These vegan bars have all the essentials for a quick energy boost and come in tons of different flavors.

2. Jumper Cables

If you’ve been running the car battery too long and need an extra boost to get your car started again, jumper cables are essential to have in your car emergency kit.

You can also use them to give your neighbor a boost if they have trouble too! Make sure to get one with an extra-long cord to ensure you can handle a jump in any situation!

 

3. Hazard Triangle

If your car breaks down/gets stuck/other emergencies, a hazard triangle 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.

If you’re consistently driving on dark backcountry roads, you’ll absolutely need hazard triangles in your emergency kit for your car.

12 Essentials You Need For A Car Emergency Kit - TheMandagies.com

4. Extra Gloves And 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 essentials to keep you warm.

 

5. Blanket

It’s always good to have a blanket or an extra layer packed. Choose one that packs light (like this down-filled one from Rumpl) for easy storing.

 

6. Extra Phone Charger

Phones are definitely our main source of communication these days.

Make sure to keep your phone charged so you are able to reach help at any time.

Make sure to get a car converter that easily hooks up to a car’s AC Inverter (that “cigarette lighter” in the front). We have this one in our car and we use it every single time we travel- near OR far!

If you need a lighter one, check out this portable phone charger that can easily store in a backpack or coat pocket.

 

7. Pack A Small Shovel And Ice Scraper In Your Car Emergency Kit

This is important if you need to park your car somewhere snowy overnight.

An ice scraper can clear your windows fast. A lightweight and portable car 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.

12 Essentials You Need For A Car Emergency Kit - TheMandagies.com

 

8. Tire 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.

9. Tire Jack + Lug Wrench

Nothing is worse than a flat tire in the snow. Make sure to have the proper tools tucked away in your winter car emergency kit for quickly and efficiently changing a tire.

 

10. Hand Warmers

Hand wamers make working quickly and efficiently sooo much easier in cold weather.

Store a couple of these in your car at all times.

 

11. First Aid Kit

A first aid kit should really be #1 on this list. It’s an essential part of being prepared on the road, no matter the situation.

Pack a small one like this with all the essentials like band aids, cleaning agents, tweezers, gauze and more.

 

12. 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.

Bonus points if you can recharge it with your portable charger!

 

What do you keep in your car emergency kit? Let us know what you pack in the comments below!

Follow our Pacific Northwest board on Pinterest for more inspiration too!

 

READ MORE PNW TRAVEL:

The Ultimate PNW Bucket List

The Complete Olympic Peninsula Road Trip

20 Brilliant Car-Camping Hacks For Your Next Adventure

All The Stops On A Pacific Coast Road Trip

30 Necessary Road Trip Essentials

9 Lessons We Learned Living In A Van For 10 Days

 

How To Build A Car Emergency Kit: Winter Edition - TheMandagies.com

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3 thoughts on “12 Essentials You Need to Keep In Your Car Emergency Kit

  1. 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..

  2. I personally believe that an extremity is an unspeakable moment to look upon all the essentials that you should have been expecting. I think the most crucial thing that you can do is not to wait up to the eleventh hour to work out. And if the winter is in the air, then you can’t skip any servicing schedule. Because a small overlook can sometimes lead you an expensive hassle. In this specific context, I would like to say that apart from servicing the vehicle, you must keep the things like- a set of jumper cables, a flashlight, a full size spare tire, duct tape, electrical tape, spare fuses, fire extinguisher, an emergency signaling device, in the your vehicle’s trunk to remain safe when a minor inconvenience occurs on the snowy road surfaces.

    1. Hi Albert! Totally agree with you – safety is so important, especially when the weather is bad outside. I’m glad I covered a lot of those things in my list! Thanks for the additions. 🙂

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