by Todd Walker
Wouldn’t you hate to spend two nights in 20 below temps with 4 children between the ages of 3 and 10 … in your vehicle!?
This week, a couple did just that when their car overturned in the Nevada mountains. They stayed warm by heating rocks in a fire outside their stranded vehicle and placing them inside to stay warm. The couple used what they had available to keep their family from freezing to death.
We spend an awful lot of time in cars and trucks getting to and from work. Then there are those holiday road trips to grandma’s house. Unexpected things can happen on the road leaving you stranded or worse.
In my Everyday Carry post, I showed you what I carry daily and why. Now let’s take a look at the next level of away-from-home survival stuff – the junk in your trunk.
DRG and I don’t own vehicles with trunks. Our daily rides are SUV’s. That’s no excuse for not having basic emergency supplies stored in your ‘trunk.’
Your ride comes minimally equipped to get you home. We’ll cover these basics and add to your standard equipment list today.
Keep in mind that we’re not building a zombie apocalypse vehicle. We just trying to make it to our destination alive. Routine maintenance is more important than adding shiny zombie-slaying objects to your car or truck.
To increase your survival odds, pack this junk in your trunk:
Maintenance and Repair
Spare tire – Sounds obvious, right? Make sure your spare is properly inflated. If you can afford it, switch that donut spare to a standard sized spare tire for your make and model. Check the air pressure regularly on all your tires, including the spare.
Tire changing equipment – You need to know where your jack and tire iron is stored in your vehicle. They put them in crazy hiding places now. I upgraded to a 4-way lug wrench for my vehicle. The standard equipped lug wrenches are too short to apply the needed pressure to break nuts free that have been installed at the tire shop with impact drivers. You don’t want to jump up and down on a 10 inch lug wrench to break a nut free. Manual or electric tire inflator is nice to include. I’ve got a foot powered pump. Throw in a tire pressure gauge in your kit.
Fix-a-Flat – This is a down and dirty way to inflate and seal a dead tire in some cases. It only buys you enough mileage and time to properly repair your tire.
Jumper cables – Buy the best quality and longest booster cables you can afford. 8 and 6 gauge wire cables will set you back. I’m guessing that this item is my most used tool in my vehicle. Pack a cheap set. It’s better than nothing. I’ve got a cheap pair for my kit. DRG gets the good set.
Important phone numbers – Keep a written list in your glove box or wallet of people to help get you home in case your phone dies: towing company, insurance company, repair shop, family/real friends, AAA.
Repair manual – Roadside repairs aren’t always possible. Having a repair manual has helped me in the past. Keep one under your seat or glove box.
Tools – Unless you’ve got major motor-head skills, modern trucks and cars are built with complex systems most have no clue how to fix – including me!
My tool kit is bare minimum and cheap: ratchet set, screw drivers, flashlight/headlamp, pliers, hose clamps, multi-tool (not real useful on engines but had to add it as a prepper), adjustable wrench, and duct tape. You’re mechanic’s phone number is more important here.
A seat belt cutter in the middle console might come in handy if your ever upside down, strapped to your seat.
Emergency signaling – Road flares and reflective triangles. Typical road flares burn for 15 minutes and can be employed to build and fire in a pinch.
Tow strap – For pulling a stuck vehicle out of the ditch.
Map – Not on your smart phone either. A hardcopy map of your area or travel route.
Next Level Survival Junk
First aid – Tape, bandages, disinfectant wipes, pain relievers, and birthing equipment to deliver babies in the emergency lane. ;)
Fire – Lighter and tinder. Don’t forget your emergency flares for wet conditions.
Food – Healthy snacks that will satiate. In hotter climates, the challenge is to prevent spoilage. I handle this problem by carrying food items in my Get Home Bag which doesn’t stay in my vehicle but goes with me in controlled indoor temperatures at work or home.
Water – I pack a stainless steel water container. This allows me to purify water via boiling if ever necessary.
Ice scraper – Get creative with its use other than the original purpose.
Tissue – Small travel packs in the glove box.
Paper and pencil – If you have to abandon your vehicle, jot a quick not to Search and Rescue as to which direction you’re headed. Write a quick, updated last will and testament or note to your loved ones if it got to that point.
Rain gear – A rain coat and paints, USGI poncho, or a contractor grade trash bag works to keep rain and wind off your body.
Car phone charger – This is self-explanatory.
Blanket/Sleeping bag – I pack a military wool blanket with a camp ax rolled inside. The bed roll has a loop of rope folded into the core that doubles as backpack straps.
Extra clothes – In a dry bag, pack extra wool socks, polypropylene base layer, gloves, and a wool sweater. I have a pair of hiking boots in the back as well.
Tarp – This could be used for shelter if you have to abandon your vehicle. Also serves as a ground cover if you have to lay on the ground to fix something under your car. Paracord is already attached to all the eyelets on the tarp as tie outs.
Ammo and extra magazines – Self-defense, peace of mind, etc.
Get home bag – This bag accompanies me to work and gives additional resources and food.
Flashlight/headlamp – pack fresh batteries. I also have a new pair of LightSpecks reading glasses in the kit.
Knife – I have a spare throw-away fixed blade knife in my vehicle kit.
Since I don’t have an official ‘trunk,’ I house this junk in an old backpack and large ammo can. Small compartments hold the other gear and tools. The fire extinguisher is in the pouch behind the passenger’s seat for easy access.
I’ve seen others use plastic bins and other containers for their junk. I like the backpack. It allows me to grab and go if I need to hoof it.
Without an actual trunk to conceal my kit, I use the pull over cover in the back of my vehicle to hide my junk. If you drive a truck, use a tool box on the bed and cab space to house your junk.
Hopefully you’ll never need to use all this junk in your trunk. Better to have it and not need it.
What kind of junk is in your trunk? Sound off in the comments…
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