Auto Survival Kits

Having auto survival kits in each of your cars does not necessarily mean that you are preparing against an all-out apocalyptic event, but it might mean the difference between life and death in an emergency. For example, you might have run off the road in a blizzard and with the snow piling up, a day or two might go by before anyone can work out where you are. Having a survival kit in the trunk of your car will meet your basic needs while you are waiting to be rescued.

Some Considerations

The main difficulty and great challenge with assembling auto kits is that the amount of space in your car determines the amount of stuff you can pack into it. This means that you need to think carefully about what is essential and how much you can store in your car. You should also plan against the worst-case scenarios, such as having no power in your car, poor weather conditions and possibly injuries to you or passengers. If these situations are true, the worst-case scenario could leave you stranded 48 hours or longer.



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Packing Effectively

With these considerations in mind, packing your auto survival kits should be fairly logical:

  • Water — In any survival situation, water is the key to avoiding illness and cognition difficulties due to dehydration. You should allow one gallon per person per day at a minimum and this should be stored in unopened containers as part of your kit.

  • Food — All food in your auto survival kits should be things that require no preparation, as you do not want to have packed a means of heating it in what could be a combustible situation after the accident. The provisions should include high-energy cereal bars, dried fruit or beef jerky. It should be high calorie and high protein food that will not spoil if it sits in the back of your car for months.

  • Warmth — You cannot rely on the fact that your car will be in a condition to offer you shelter from the elements or that you will be somewhere that offers you natural protection like rocks or trees. Thermal blankets pack up well or you could pack some extra thick jackets or sweaters to help retain the heat.
  • Medical kit — If you have been in an accident, you are likely to have suffered an injury that may require medical attention. While you will not be able to perform surgery or give yourself stitches, a travel medical kit with Band-Aids, surgical tape and antiseptic wipes will give you basic protection.

  • Getting attention — If you are in a situation where your car is broken down and you cannot move it, you will need to have some way of calling attention to yourself. Under no circumstances should you leave your car as it is easy to become disoriented and get lost. Your first port of call should be your cell phone, so you should carry a spare battery and a car charger. In some remote areas, however, you will not be able to get any cell signal, so you should pack a flare gun, a flashing road sign or something that will draw the attention of drivers or the emergency team who might be looking for you.


The trick with auto survival kits is to find all the necessary equipment in small packages so that they will fit into a box in the trunk of your car. You can buy them from companies online who make specific kits to fit in the trunks of different makes of car. As with any survival kit, you should check the contents once a month to make sure that everything works and that you know how to use it all.

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