Letter Re: Emergency Car Kit

The article by Z.M. was a good start for a car kit. I would recommend a few additional items.

  1. A set of road flares. These are multipurpose. Clearly they can be used for signaling. (I personally prefer them as a driver because they are more visible in my opinion than reflective triangles.) Additionally, they can be used to help start a fire in an emergency as well.
  2. Regarding food, two types of food may be helpful as very few foods are shelf stable in the high temperatures that the inside of a car can reach. I highly recommend Datrex Emergency Food bars, which are designed to be stored in life rafts and can be stored in high heat while having a 5-year shelf life. They also taste okay– similar to a shortbread cookie, though slightly chalkier. Granola and apples can last for a short while but should be rotated out to ensure their safety. The same is true for bottled water as it is possible for chemicals to leech into the water as it is stored in a hot environment. On the other hand in the cold winter weather be aware of expansion in the water bottles, and be sure they are at a level that will not explode if they freeze.
  3. Regarding the snow shovel, I have used aluminum shovels in the past but have had them bend on me when attempting to shovel heavy, icy snow. I would recommend a short steel transfer shovel such as these offered at the Home Depot or most other garden centers or hardware stores. I also highly recommend the D handle as it provides a much better grip during snowy weather.
  4. For a travel pillow I highly recommend the Indulgence Synthetic Alternative Travel Pillow from Bed Bath and Beyond for $10 or something similar. I combine this with the Travelon Cool Mesh Back Support System where the pillow will fit perfectly behind the support.
  5. Finally a 12v air compressor can be worth its weight in gold. If you have a tire with a slow leak, instead of needing to change it you can add air as needed. One of good value is from Harbor Freight. I would recommend the 12V 100 PSI High Volume Air compressor. I have used this frequently in the city, as there always seem to be nails in the road. This also goes on sale regularly, and you can then also use their 20% off coupon to bring down the price even further. Also, for tire care, you can get a patch kit. They are relatively inexpensive and are what the repair centers will generally use. Additionally, a set of vice grips to pull out the obstruction can be helpful as well.
  6. Spare fuses can be helpful and one of the best values is this 120 piece assortment from Amazon.
  7. Finally, I would also add a spare set of inexpensive windshield wipers. If yours deteriorate badly during a storm, having an additional set to be able to quickly put on may be the difference between being stranded and getting to safety.