It happened to almost all of us. You’re driving along, listening to the radio, and then it happens, the car is impaired operationally. This is where your automobile EDC kit comes in handy!
Whether it’s a flat tire, a busted hose or one of those mysterious engine problems, that no layman could ever fix, it’s still bad news for you and your passengers.
To prevent further misery and danger of injury or loss of life, there are some essentials that should always be in your car for every trip or commute.
Automobile EDC Supplies List
This is a simple list of items, that you probably should have in your car, in case of an emergency. Different environments and regions will have different requirements, so customize as required to provide for your safety.
- Communications – You need to have a way to call for help in an emergency.
- Cell phone (cell phone charger is also a must)
- CB radio – Channel 9 is the emergency channel and is usually monitored by the State Police
- Mobile shortwave Radio
- Rand McNally Road Atlas – because GPS may fail and you could be lost, rerouted over unfamiliar roads or forced to take an alternate route to get home!
- Automobile Sun Shade – This can make the interior of your car very bearable on sunny, hot days. In the Winter you can lay it on the seat to use it as a sleeping pad, to reflect heat back to your cold body!
- First Aid Kit – In addition to the bandages and first aid cream, make sure to have some ibuprofen (Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Make sure to watch the dates and rotate it out when it’s getting to the end of its useable life cycle.
- Trash bags – a billion uses and really handy if someone is vomiting!
- Water – I am a big fan of water. If you break down in the summer, heat you can dehydrate very quickly. Even if you’ve used your cell phone to call for help, you could still be waiting for quite some time.
Buy a couple of cases of water each time they go on sale and toss one of those case in the trunk. This is handy because it can also keep you from stopping at Gas stations or convenience stores when you are thirsty. You should also have a canteen or nalgene water bottle and some water purification tables.
- Bandana – This is the multi-tool of the fabric world. You’ll need one or two.
- Flash light – Trust me, if you are going to break down, the odds are really good that it’ll be at night. Keep the batteries fresh. Flashlight’s that don’t need batteries would be a good backup light here. You can get one of those cheap crappy “shake lights” (better than nothing), but we recommend the Energizer Weatheready 3-LED Carabineer Rechargeable Crank Light, Red, and it appears from the Amazon reviews many other people also like it better than the shake lights too!
- Communications – You need to have a way to call for help in an emergency.
- Headlamp – Flashlights are great but try changing a tire in the dark with a flashlight. I know I’ve done this and there is no good way to point a traditional flashlight at the tire you are changing!
- Multi Tool – Get one, Leatherman or Gerber preferably. If not one of these manufacturers then verify the quality before you rely on it!
- Emergency blankets – I always keep a few mylar emergency blankets in my car. You’d think that most people, who drive in cold weather would dress appropriately, but that’s not always the case. I’ve actually stopped and given a spare mylar blankets to family’s who were waiting the help, they called, to arrive.
- Jumper cables – This is just obvious, but there is some statistic somewhere that says there are a certain number of people who don’t have jumper cables in their car. If you are one of them, please get some. Trust me.
- Spare Tire – again, another obvious one. )Hey you, the person with the flat tire in your trunk from your last flat. Yeah, the person still driving on the full size spare tire. Get that fixed and replace it). A full size spare is preferred, but just have a spare.
- Jack – That tire isn’t going to change itself. Make sure to have a jack capable of lifting your car to change a tire. This jack is only for changing tires. NEVER get under a jacked-up car when you are broken down!
- Tire Iron / Lug Wrench – to remove the lug nuts to change the tire, and to replace the lug nuts when complete.
- Flares – To let other cars know that there is a car sitting beside the road. No one wants to be rear ended by a car traveling at 60mph when you’re broken down!
- Tools – A couple of basic tools could be a game-changer. I once fixed a busted hose with a swiss army knife and an key chain adjustable wrench (I was able to cut off the split end and had enough slack to re-attach it).
- Socket set
- Adjustable wrench
- Duct tape!!! Gorilla Duct tape is strong stuff.
- Optional (but awesome to have) replacement belts for your engine
- Boots – many people drive in dress shoes or sneakers. If you have to walk, for a distance, this will make sense
- Gloves – Winter gloves and Work gloves. I don’t know how many times I’ve cut myself trying to fix something. Wear the work gloves if you are attempting any repairs. Wear the winter gloves if you have to move on to find help.
- Sleeping bag or blankets – you might be in your car longer than you think. I keep a 4 piece modular military sleep system in my car, but any sleeping bag will be better than none!
- Food – You might be in your car longer than you think. A couple energy bars or some cans of food might be awesome, even when eaten cold. If you have canned foods, you should add a can opener to your list. A couple of cans of spam would keep you alive for quite some time.
- Warm Clothes – stuff an extra pair of winter clothes in the back and ensure there is a warm jacket, gloves and stocking cap (WOOL!)
- Shovel – some type of digging device. You might be stuck in the snow, it could be mud. I used to keep a carry a military surplus folding shovel in my Auto EDC, but now I will always make sure to have a Cold Steel Shovel in my car or truck. I bought one for each of my vehicles and even keep one in the wife’s mini-van!
- Toilet paper – If you’re stuck long enough, nature will call, oh she will call. I suppose you could leverage your car’s collection of napkins, but my tushy prefers the gentle comfort of true toilet tissue.
This is a starting list for your Automobile EDC and should be the bare minimum of items that you ALWAYS carry in your car. All it takes is one breakdown to put you in a really bad situation, so get to work on your Automobile EDC kit!
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7 thoughts on “Vehicle EDC Supply List for Surprise Breakdowns in Nowhere”
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An atlas is a must for me. I get good natured flack for it but it gets a lot of use. On a recent family trip we had issues with GPS in the mountains around Chattanooga, TN, and the old school atlas got us to where we were going.
Change your oil to a synthetic blend or 100% synthetic. Will be easier to start you car, will handle heat better and save you $$$ in the long run.
for God’s sake get yourself some decent tire changing tools besides the OEM crap that comes with the vehicle …. hydraulic jack and a 18 inch breaker and lug nut matching deep socket at the very least ….
throw in some wood blocking, plastic tarp groundcloth, 12V plug in trouble work lite and all kinds of emergency warning devices
Oh aye, i recently watch San Andreas ( the film with the rock in ) and having a Hydraulic Jack can help in a few ways, the guy in the film used it to lift a collapsed concrete pillar off a car a slight bit.
Great list and adding some stuff to mine but don’t forget get OPSEC some form of security, pepper spray or a firearm, which can help when your alone on the side of the road.
Toilet paper, good thinking. On a long road trip in France, I really needed the toilet, we found some, and it had no toilet roll! That was not good lol.