15 Items Your Roadside Emergency Kit Should Have

How much time do Americans spending driving in their cars every year? On average, close to 300 hours. 

And in those 300 hours, A LOT can happen.  Breaking down is so common that a lot of people have a vehicle roadside emergency kit that can get them out of a jam if needed.

If you're looking to put your own SOL roadside emergency kit together, here are the items that have saved my butt the most.

1. Jumper Cables

On any given day you can go through a parking lot of a mall or grocery store and find at least one person with a dead battery. Jumper cables can get a dead battery up and running in a matter of minutes (as long as you have a running engine to leech off of).

2. Tire Repair Kit

Flats. Eventually, we'll all have those tires that James Bond has.  The kind that can fix themselves or stay inflated even after bullet holes rip through them.  Until that day comes, you need to fix your flats the old fashion way. A tire kit or fix-a-flat will save your rim until you can get your tire replaced. 

3. Reflective Gear

Traffic cones, triangles, or even a reflective vest should be part of your kit. Being broken down on the side of a highway where no one can see you is terrifying. A distracted driver can plow into you and not even realize it until it's too late.

4. Portable Jump Starter

Jumper cables are great but you have to rely on someone else to show up and pop their hood.  A portable jumper can charge your battery if you're alone. It can also charge a dead cell phone battery. 

5. First Aid Supplies

You will want to have basic bandages and wound treatment supplies on hand. Not just for you, but you should be prepared if you come across an accident as well. Having first aid supplies in your car is a must even if you don't have a road side kit.

6. Tow Rope

Growing up in Colorado, there was always someone who ended up in a ditch. Save the day with a tow rope. This could also be used to remove a stalled vehicle or large debris out of the road.

7. Folding Shovel

A folding shovel is good for clearing a path for a stuck vehicle or digging a fire pit or potty hole if you end up getting stranded over night.

8. Tie Downs

Go on any highway and you'll see someone losing their cargo because they didn't tie it down properly. You never know when you'll need to haul something, and when you do, you should do it right.

9. Flair

A road flair is a step up from reflective gear and they work in the worst weather conditions.

10. Fire Starter

If you have to wait a long time for help to arrive, you may need to setup a camp to stay warm. You can also cauterize wounds if needed. Learn how to use a fire flint, and make sure you add one to your kit.

11. Food

MREs, power bars, and beef jerky can sustain you if you're SOL without a way home. It's also a good way to keep your kids quiet if they're complaining about being hungry.

12. Tools

Get yourself a multitool and a wrench. Your multitool should have a screwdriver that can handle adjustments on hoses, while a crescent wrench can tighten up those heavy duty bolts. A folding knife is important for cutting seat belts and breaking out windows if needed.

13. Flashlight

 A flashlight or headlamp is crucial for an emergency road kit. Trying to change a tire in the dark is no picnic. Most Tactical Flashlights have a strobe function as well that can be used to signal for help.

14. Candles

If you're stranded in the winter and you need to spend the night in your car, a few small candles can pump out a little bit of heat. Staying warm over night is crucial.

15. Sleeping Bag or Extra Clothes

Again, if you need to hunker down for the night you will need to be bundled up. While a sleeping bag is optional, extra clothes are a must.

Final thoughts

SHTF Travel Kits are a lot like bug out bags in how you prepare them. Where you live will dictate what items are "must haves" and which ones aren't. 

What's in your roadside emergency kit?


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