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 these items 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.
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Fire, Heat and Light
1. Emergency Candles so you can see in the dark.
2. Fire Sticks – These light even after being submerged in water.
3. Hand Crank Flashlight – Never worry about the battery running out.
4. Light Sticks – These are really cheap in the months after Halloween.
5. Spark-Lite Fire Starter – The official fire starter of the U.S. Military.
6. Blankets – Heatsheets are affordable and very convenient.
7. Change of clothes in case you get wet or dirty.
8. Coats – When it’s only a little cold outside, you can use these instead of the heater and save fuel.
9. Gloves for working on car, building shelter, cold weather, etc.
10. Ponchos in case it rains.
11. Sleeping Bags – In case you can’t reach your destination before nightfall.
12. Socks – Much more important than you might think.
13. Spare Shoes in case yours get wet or damaged.
14. Tube Tent – Only eight bucks.
15. Umbrellas in case it’s raining.
17. Compass – Military Style Lensatic Marching Compass With Pouch is the most affordable option.
18. Emergency Food Bars in case you get hungry. The more protein, the better.
19. Emergency Whistle – The 5 in 1 Survival Whistle is only $5.
21. Folding Shovel in case you have to dig something such as a cathole.
22. Food – Anything with a very long shelf life (canned food, MRE’s, etc.). You’ll still need to rotate it.
23. Maps – Check your local department store. Get an atlas of your country and a map of the local area.
24. Metal Cup – Emergency Zone makes a great Stainless Steel Sierra Cup that is perfect for boiling water.
25. Mini Rescue Mirror so you can signal for help.
26. Multi-Tool – Again, lots to choose from.
27. Tissues/Napkins – For cleaning spills or use as fire tinder.
28. Toilet Paper – Pretty self-explanatory.
29. Water – A gallon a day per person for 3 days.
31. 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.)
33. Brake Fluid
34. Extra Belts
39. Ice Scraper
41. Jumper Cables
42. Lug Wrench
43. Magic Tank (in case you run out of gas)
45. Ratchet Set
46. Replacement Bulbs
48. Spare Tire
49. Transmission Fluid
50. Windshield Washer Fluid
One 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, so you want to always have enough gas to last you for a while.
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).