Road Trips: What You Must Always Have in Your Car from Road Trips: What You Must Always Have in Your Car

Road Trips: What You Must Always Have in Your Car

The weather on the road can quickly turn on you. Other drivers on the road can also present a danger. Don't ever get caught unprepared. It can save you and your passengers’ lives.

Spare tire and a tire inflater


An extra tire can save you hours waiting for help. You can drive up to 50 miles on a spare, enough to get you to a comfortable place where you can wait for help. At least have an emergency flat tire inflator canister if a spare takes too much space.

Tire sealant

Most newer cars don’t include spare tires anymore to save money manufacturing the vehicle. You can’t drive around with a flat tire, can you? But you also don’t want to be changing it with hundreds of cars flying by you at a speed of 55+ mph. This is where a sealant in a can comes in handy. Do some research and make sure the sealant is compatible with your specific tire type.

Jumper cables


How many times have you forgotten to turn the car lights off when you park and got home? Everybody needs a boost every now and then. Finding a car is easy but many people forget the jumper cables. You may also end up saving someone else’s day. That’s always a nice feeling.

Duct tape


Duct tape can do wonders. Use it to patch leaks until help gets to you. The radiator hose is probably cracked if your car starts overheating. Duct tape will fix that. It’s great to reattach parts of the car that have come loose as a result of hitting bumps and potholes. All of these solutions are temporary but will save you a lot of trouble on the road.

First aid kit


Bandages, antiseptic cream, hot and cold packs, sterile gauze pads, adhesive tape, tweezers, non-latex gloves, and breathing barrier – look for a kit that has all of these items. Add a hand sanitizer, bulb suction device for flushing wounds and a thermometer. Know how to properly use all of them (but hopefully you won’t have to).

Basic tool kit


Wrenches, screwdrivers, screwholders, pliers, tire pressure gauges – these are some of the basic you need if you have to do maintenance on your car. Make things easy for you and buy a tool kit that is always in the trunk, instead of having to remember to put every tool you may need in the car every time you leave the house.

Air pump


It’s not that expensive but having to pay for air feels wrong. Have your own air compressor in the car, just in case.



A flashlight or a headlamp is a crucial item to always have in your car. You can’t change a flat tire or install tire chains at night. It helps to be able to see when you are in an unfamiliar place. They are good for warning people of an accident, too. You can also use them for an SOS signal. Get a flashlight with a very bright bulb and make sure it’s charged.

Superfood snacks


Imagine you have an accident in the middle of nowhere with the kids in the back. You never know for sure how long you may be stranded out there. What if there is a storm and even rescue teams can’t reach you? You need food and water. The best snacks for these kinds of situations are high-calorie energy and protein

Magic Tank

This is emergency fuel, and is one of the best items you can have in your car. It basically extends the life of your car long enough to find help. Don’t take a chance of getting stuck. It’s a non-flammable and bio safe that is also safe to store in the car.

Siphon pump and gas can


One of the most common reasons people get stranded is because they run out of gas. Don’t put yourself in that situation. Always make sure your tank is at least half full and that you have a small not entirely full fuel container. A siphon pump can come be useful if there is no gas station nearby and a fellow driver offers you a hit from his or her tank.

Water bottles


A top priority on the road is to stay hydrated. Don’t buy gallons of water because they are too heavy and take up too much space. Instead, get a pack of small water bottles that you can put anywhere in the car. Make sure to carry a few extra refillable bottles just in case.

Traction mats

They are small, light, easy to store in car. They provide enough traction to get your car out of a slippery, snowy or muddy situation that otherwise may have to require a tow.

Small fire extinguisher


Cars catch fire. Pretty much everything in a vehicle is combustible – gasoline, diesel, batteries… Be the hero and have a small fire extinguisher in case you have to deal with sparks. Buy one that is rated for Class B and Class C fires by the National Fire Protection Association.



You can never go wrong with having extra cash with you. Unless you got lost hiking in the wilderness, everything you don’t have in your emergency bag and you need, you can buy. Bring cash because many places don’t take cards, have a minimum, or don’t have an ATM.



Emergency blankets – you probably know them as “space blankets” – don’t cost much. Stack the car with a few – at least one per passenger. Add a sleeping bag if you have space. Bring wool blankets, which are even warmer, as an alternative. They are best for moist conditions. It’s a good idea to have chemical heat packs to put under the blanket.

Cell phone charger


It’s getting colder outside. Low temperatures drain the life out of batteries a lot quicker. Always have a plug-in unit or a hand-crank charger in your vehicle. If your car battery dies, which is a realistic assumption especially in the winter, the charger won't work. Keep a portable charger and leave it there.

Paper towel and/or wet wipes


You always want to be able to clean yourself up. Using these is a quick and efficient option. You can also use them to clean parts of the car such as windshield, dashboard. Buy a travel pack and put in the glove compartment.

Change of clothes


Whether you are traveling with small kids or are simply eating while driving, accidental spills are bound to happen. Be prepared and have an extra shirt, pants, skirt or a sweater to change after the inevitable happens.

Weather radio


They cost about $13 but are priceless in terms of value. You can’t afford to only count on your car radio or phone because they can easily lose service depending on your location, especially in the wilderness. It’s crucial to know what kind of weather to expect on your way to your destination. You can never be too prepared.

Paper maps


Being old school can save your life. You can’t access Google Maps to see where you have to go if your phone is dead or has no service. You don’t want to take a chance because you may end up encountering a bear. You can also use printed road maps as a heat source if you stuff them under your jacket or blanket.



Women who like to wear high heels are likely going to drive in them. While this is OK for an accident-free ride, it’s incredibly inconvenient if you find yourself in a situation where you have to get out of the car and run for gas, for example. Keep a comfortable pair of shoes in case you may need them.