Maybe it’s us binge-watching The Walking Dead, playing Fallout for hours or the stormy weather we’ve been having lately, but we’re suddenly obsessed with preparedness. Not the kind that has us building a survival cabin in the middle of nowhere with an underground bunker and enough food to survive the apocalypse (which btw, would you even want to?), but a simple emergency car kit to rule the road.
We’ll never forget the snowstorm of 2017 when hundred of Montrealers were stranded on the highway for 13 hours. Cold. Hungry. Scared…
We bought our first emergency kit that weekend.
Over the years we added some tried and true favourites to our kit, restocking items as necessary or switching seasonal essentials, curating a handy list of things once should always have on the road.
Non-perishable snacks (nothing’s good forever, so don’t forget to change them once in a while). We suggest nuts and dried fruits, high-energy protein bars, canned juices, ready-to-eat canned fruits, meats, etc…+ can opener
A must-have, water can be tricky to store in a car. If you buy plastic water bottles (which we really hate doing), leaving them in a hot car is a major no-no. Sunlight and heat weaken the plastic and allow harmful chemicals to leak into the water. Make sure you store your liquids in freeze-proof containers as well.
Booster devices like our Boostmi Splash always a good idea to have, especially during our winters. Whether you’re car breaks down, or you need to lend a hand to a stranded motorist.
Don’t assume your new car has a spare in the trunk, sometimes it’s just a tire repair kit and the worse possible time to find out is in your time of need. Make sure you always have a spare one AND the tools to install it. It’s also a good idea to brush up on how to change your tires every once in a while.
Other than for vehicle towing, the rope has endless possibilities in case of an emergency. You can use it to secure materials (like a beat in bumper), assemble something, or even as a tourniquet in case of an injury.
A no-brainer to have on hand, make sure you refill it every few months.
In case you need to attract attention to yourself.
You’ll want survival blankets made out of metalized polyethylene materials (mylar/ thermal) that reflect heat back to you. We like the Thermal Bivvy SOL for road and camping trips, but as an emergency car kit back up you can’t go wrong with a more budget-friendly version.
Stay safe on the side of the road when your car breaks down or you need to pull over for an emergency. Flares or lights are best to attract attention and warn others to slow down, but a good alternative is a reflective foldable triangle. We strongly recommend getting a safety vest with a reflective yellow stripe as well.
It’s important to keep tabs on your air tires to ensure your safety on the road.
A small candle provides a surprising amount of warmth in your car. If you’re just starting your kit you can use tealights in a tin can, or you can splurge on survival candles that can last up to 36 hours.
Is there anything duct tape can’t fix? This little must-have is indispensable for temporary fix-its (like a broken side mirror).
The night can get really dark, especially in the middle of nowhere. Flashlights can be used to navigate in the great outdoors, but also to signal for help.
Weird but super-useful to have, kitty litter is great for traction. If you’re ever stuck in the snow, sprinkle a bit of it under the tires. Or you can purchase an actual traction mat if you’re feeling fancy.
More of a seasonal necessity, we suggest having this 3-in-1 shovel-scraper-brush handy in case of winter driving. In case of an expected snowstorm, keep it home, in case you need to chisel your way into your car (yes, that happens).
Not Google Maps. Not Waze. A good old fashion, CURRENT, map of the area for when your phone battery is dead or your GPS is not working. And unless you know how to follow the Northern star, having a compass handy is also a good idea.
As an added precaution, we like to keep emergency contact information, a small cash stash and hygiene items in our kit as well. In addition, we have seasonal essentials we change out every few months like extra warm layers, hats and mittens in winter, sunblock, bug spray, cap and tick kit in summer etc.
Have fun on the road and remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry!