Disasters usually occur with little or no warning. Though the focus of this site is on “bugging in,” it’s still wise to have a vehicle survival kit or a bug out bag in case you’re stranded on the way home or forced to evacuate the area.
I recommend purchasing a sturdy backpack, gathering the items in the list below and keeping them in your trunk. Make adjustments based on your personal needs. Much of the equipment will depend on what type of vehicle you own. You should also learn to change a tire, change the oil, jump start a car, and replace fluids, belts and hoses.
Fire, Heat and Light
- Emergency Candles
- Fire Sticks – These light even after being submerged in water.
- Hand Crank Flashlight
- Light Sticks – These are really cheap in the months after Halloween.
- Spark-Lite Fire Starter – The official fire starter of the U.S. Military.
- Blankets – Heatsheets are affordable and very convenient.
- Change of clothes
- Coats – When it’s only a little cold outside, you can use these instead of the vehicle’s heater and save fuel.
- Sleeping Bags – In case you can’t reach your destination before nightfall.
- Socks – Much more important than you might think.
- Spare Shoes/Boots
- Tube Tent – Only eight bucks.
- Batteries – For flashlights or cell phones.
- Compass – Military Style Lensatic Marching Compass With Pouch is the most affordable option.
- Emergency Food Bars
- Emergency Whistle – The 5 in 1 Survival Whistle is only $5.
- First Aid Kit – There are a lot of first aid kits to choose from on amazon.com.
- Folding Shovel
- Food – Anything with a very long shelf life (canned food, MRE’s, etc.). You’ll still need to rotate it.
- Maps – Check your local department store. Get an atlas of your country and a detailed map of the local area.
- Metal Cup – Emergency Zone makes a great Stainless Steel Sierra Cup that is perfect for boiling water.
- Mini Rescue Signal Mirror
- Multi-Tool – Again, lots to choose from.
- Tissues/Napkins – For cleaning spills or use as fire tinder.
- Toilet Paper.
- Water – A gallon a day per person for 3 days.
- Water Purification Tablets
- Wire Saw – The Commando Wire Saw cuts through wood and plastic.
(How much of this you decide to get might depend on the condition of your vehicle.)
- Brake Fluid
- Extra Belts
- Ice Scraper
- Jumper Cables
- Lug Wrench
- Magic Tank (in case you run out of gas)
- Ratchet Set
- Replacement Bulbs
- Spare Tire
- Transmission Fluid
- Windshield Washer Fluid
One final note of warning: Don’t let your gas tank get below half full. If the disaster is major enough or there are mass evacuations, gas stations will probably be closed. Also, make sure to change your oil every 3 months or 3000 miles (although as one commenter pointed out, you should check your owner’s manual to see if your car is different).