You probably have an emergency kit in your car containing a tire inflator, jumper cables, a flashlight, and some tools. That’s great, but it’s not always enough. For instance, say you’re driving home from work in the snow and your car breaks down. You might have to wait hours for a tow truck. When you start to freeze, you’ll realize your emergency supplies are for your car – not you.
It’s important to keep an emergency kit in your car to fix minor vehicle issues. It’s equally important to have a supply kit for yourself. The best personal emergency kit consists of camping gear. Here’s why:
Breakdowns are unpredictable
Some breakdowns are expected, but most happen randomly. You never know when your car will break down, and it could happen anywhere under any circumstances. It might be sunny, or it could be windy, raining, snowing, or hailing.
Comfort is comfortable
Who wants to wait in the cold rain for a tow truck? Even in your car, it’s going to be cold. There’s no reason to make yourself uncomfortable. There’s no prize awarded to the person who remains the most miserable waiting for help to arrive. Tow trucks take a while to arrive under normal conditions. In severe weather, it could take much longer. There’s no need to suffer.
Instead of suffering, pack the following gear for independence and comfort in the face of any situation:
- A cookstove. A high-quality rocket stove or propane stove allows you to heat water for instant coffee while you wait for a tow truck. If it’s snowing, you probably won’t want to run across the street to McDonald’s. (Make sure your kit contains instant coffee, water, and a lighter).
- A real blanket. If you can’t imagine wrapping yourself in an emergency blanket that looks like a sheet of aluminum, pack a full-sized warm blanket. Don’t assume that if it’s snowing when your car breaks down, you’ll automatically be wearing warm clothes. Your vehicle might break down when you run to the store in shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of winter. A full-sized sherpa blanket will give you something comfortable and warm to wrap yourself in.
- Tarps. A tarp of any weight will protect your vehicle in case you’re stuck in the rain or snow and you’ve got holes in the roof. It’s common for cars in coastal cities to develop leaks from rust eating away at the roof. You might not notice a leak until it drips onto your head. Tossing a tarp over your car will keep you dry and prevent interior water damage.
- Bungee cords. There are countless uses for bungee cords, but the main reason to keep them in your car is to tie down tarps. Bungee cords are also good for closing the back doors of a cargo van (from the inside) without latching them shut.
- A tent. You’ll probably never have to pitch a tent on the side of the road, but it doesn’t hurt to carry a small tent if you’ve got the space.
- A coffee press (French press) and some of your favorite ground beans. The beans will probably be stale by the time you use them, but you’ll have a hot cup of delicious coffee at your fingertips.
- Camping chairs. Of all the camping gear you could pack, make a camping chair your priority. They’re small, they fold up, and fit easily in the trunk.
Imagine getting stuck in the middle of nowhere on a beautiful day and having to wait three hours for a mechanic to make repairs. With a camping chair, you can sit outside and enjoy the sunny day.
- A headlamp and some books. Once you’ve told everyone on social media that your car broke down, you might realize your battery is dying. Books are entertaining and don’t require batteries.
- A power bank. This should always be part of your emergency kit, but it will be a lifesaver if you need to charge your phone to call a tow truck. You can’t always count on using your car’s DC power port.
- Urination devices. If you’re female, be sure to pack a couple of urination devices. If you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere, or in harsh weather, you’ll be able to relieve yourself easily. Be sure to carry a plastic jar with a lid in case you need to remain in your vehicle.
Pack light and smart
You don’t need to pack all of these items. Choose the items that will make you the most comfortable during an unexpected breakdown and store them in your trunk.