There’s nothing quite like a road trip. You’ve got some friends together, and you’ve hit the road looking for adventure. But nothing puts a damper on the fun quite like an unexpected delay.

You could hit traffic, there could be an accident, the weather could turn, or you could experience mechanical problems. For these things, you should always be prepared. You never know how long you could be stranded on the side of the road, and so you want to have the necessities to make the time pass or to get you moving again.

That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the essentials to always have on hand in your car. Even if you never run into trouble on the road, being prepared could make a huge difference to someone else in need.



If your car should happen to break down, you’ll need a backpack to carry some things as you walk to get help. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just a large backpack or old suitcase will do. Additionally, it will do a great job at holding the other items on this list. Leave it in the trunk of your car for when you need it, and when the time comes; you’ll be glad you left it there.

Warm clothing


You might become stranded during the middle of winter, and so it’s important to have warm clothing like hats and gloves on hand. They’ll serve to keep you warm while you wait for things to get moving again. If you know you’ll be riding with multiple people, be sure to carry enough items for everyone. Make sure you bring gloves that allow your hands to move freely as you might have to do some on the spot repairs to your car and dexterity could become an issue.

Light sources

If you get stranded at night time, you’ll need matches, a lighter, and candles. A flashlight will also work great, so make sure also to pack a bunch of batteries, so it doesn’t die on you and become useless. Being able to see will be a great service when running around trying to fix the problem if you are having mechanical issues. Just be careful when you are using candles in and around your car.

First Aid Kit


Anything could happen, so it’s wise always to bring a first aid kit. Make sure it contains sanitizing wipes, antibiotic ointment, Band-aids, gauze and over the counter painkillers. The last thing you want is if someone in your car becomes injured and you have nothing to help with. Having a first aid kit will ensure that everyone stays happy and healthy during the ride, but if the injury is serious be sure to call 911.

Food and water

You never know how long you are going to be stuck on the side of the road and energy might become a problem. Keep yourself moving by ensuring that there is always non-perishable foods like granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit sealed in containers in your car. Having water is super important, after all, we can’t go without it. If it happens to be very hot while you’re stranded you won’t regret having water on hand.

Car supplies and tools


Depending on the circumstances, you might just have to work a little to get yourself moving again. If you get stuck in the snow, having a shovel on hand is a great idea. Also having a hammer, screwdriver, and wrench around is important because you might be able to fix your problem easily with these simple tools. It’s also a good idea to pack jumper cables, tape, and extra motor oil. Another item to keep on hand, in reach of the driver’s seat is an emergency escape tool, to break the windows and cut through seat belts should you become trapped in the car.

Heat sources


Because you never know what time of year you could become stranded, it’s a good idea to pack heat sources such as emergency mylar thermal blankets, and hand warmers. And for the rain, keep a rain poncho on hand. If you happen to get stuck when you’re out in your car during the winter and have to wait for help, you’ll be extremely glad you brought these items.

Visibility and communication tools

The first thing to do once you become stranded is to call for help. Keep your cell phone fully charged with a car charger. And while you’re waiting for help to arrive, you’ll need to stay visible; use road flares outside the car and LED light inside. Having a high visibility vest is great for making yourself visible to oncoming traffic. Being able to make contact with someone who can help is critical in an unplanned delay.

Relaxation tools

You might just have to sit and wait for someone to arrive. So make sure you have a book on hand to keep your mind occupied. If you have children riding in your car, perhaps bring some games, like cards, or paper and pencils. Planning for boredom is the best way to keep it at bay.

A full tank of gas

Always be sure that you leave for your destination with a full tank of gas. The last thing you want is to run out while traveling through unfamiliar territory. Also be sure to tell people when you leave and when you are expected to arrive.

Little things. 10 Lifesaving items you should never, ever remove from your car Accessed: January 26, 2017.

Youtube. Car survival kit Published: August 2, 2013. Accessed: January 26, 2017.

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