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Here’s What You Should Pack In a Car Emergency Kit

broken down car emergency snow
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Having an emergency kit in your car is a must for all drivers. Even if you’re not planning a road trip that spans across the country, having an emergency kit can help you get out of a dicey situation. Your car can break down at any time, and those breakdowns usually happen at the most inconvenient time. Along the side of the highway on a 100-degree day or in the middle of nowhere when it just starts to snow, no one plans to have a breakdown. Sometimes, a crash also can land you in a similar situation as being in a breakdown.

Whether you’re planning to be prepared for a road trip or just want to have some DIY emergency essentials so you can make your own car emergency kit, we’ve compiled a list of things you need to always keep in your car.

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Satellite Phone: Garmin inReach Explorer+ Satellite Communicator

Garmin inReach Explorer Satellite Communicator

While we’ve all become very dependent on our smartphones, there are a few areas in the United States where you’ll lose cellphone reception. When that happens, you’re going to need a satellite phone to call or text someone. The Garmin inReach Explorer+ may be overkill, as it allows users to reach out to anyone around the globe. Sending messages to other inReach devices, cellphones, or social media accounts is all possible with the Garmin. Being a fairly small unit, the Garmin inReach Explorer+ easily will fit in a little nook in your trunk or cargo area.

Battery-Powered Jump Starter: ToughTested Pocket Jump Starter and Power Bank

ToughTested Jump Starter

If you regularly drive in heavily-populated areas, having a dead battery isn’t too much of an inconvenience. While you may be stranded on the side of the road or in a parking lot for hours, someone will eventually get to you to jump your car. Unfortunately, if you’re in a more isolated area, finding someone to help you jump your car can be impossible.

The ToughTested Phoenix can get you out of a sticky situation by being a portable jump starter. All you have to do is attach the included jump cables to your vehicle, look for a green light, and start your car. Jump starting a car can be scary, but ToughTested’s Phoenix displays a green light to let you know you’ve hooked up everything properly.

In case you’re stranded because of a flat tire, this unit can be used as a tire inflator. Furthermore, it can also charge your phone, helping reduce the amount of clutter in your trunk.

Portable Generator: Jackery Generator Explorer 240 Portable Power Station

Jackery Generator Explorer 240 Portable Power Station

More and more people are bringing large, power-hungry accessories on a road trip. From laptops and smartphones to handheld gaming devices, you’re going to need a serious device to charge all of your equipment. That’s where something like the Jackery Generator Explorer 240 Portable Power Station becomes a necessity.

The Explorer 240 battery station can supply 240 watt-hours to any device that’s plugged in. For phones, you’re looking at being able to charge those 15 times. Or, if you’ve brought a 32-inch along, you’ll be able to watch a show for three hours. From fridges to tablets, this generator can charge them all. When the time comes to charge the generator, it can be plugged into your car’s DC port, a random plug at Starbucks, or a solar panel.

Traction Mats: MaxTrax MKII Traction Mats

MaxTrax MKII Traction Mats

If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, it’s a good idea to keep something in your trunk or cargo area that can help you if you get stuck. While cat litter, rocks, and sand can work in a pinch, having something more dependable is a good idea. Even rugged 4×4 tires and specific winter tires can fail to provide traction in wintery conditions.

The MK11 Traction Mats from MaxTrax are a must if you’re planning to hit the road in winter. The engineering-grade nylon mats are lightweight and easy to use. Once you find that your car is stuck in snow, all you have to do is wedge the mats underneath the tires and lightly accelerate. After that, all of the work is left up to the Traction Mats. The large cleats on the MaxTrax stick to the tread in your tires and whatever’s underneath your car to get you unstuck.

Each unit weighs just 8 pounds and are 45 inches long. So, they should be able to fit in a lot of trunks and cargo areas. They’re also stackable. Thanks to their design, they’ll be able to give your car traction in sand, mud, or snow.

Extra Clothing: Patagonia Men’s Untracked Jacket

Patagonia Men's Untracked Jacket

While it’s always a good idea to pack a few extra T-shirts and shorts in your car for summer trips, having an extra jacket for winter is far more important. If you get stranded during winter and your car won’t start, temperatures will plummet quickly.

Having a blanket and a waterproof jacket, like Patagonia’s Untracked Jacket, in your trunk for cold weather is a lifesaver. The Untracked Jacket is the brand’s warmest snow jacket that’s also waterproof. The jacket has a three-layer construction and features 92% of recycled nylon Gore-Tex fabric to make it handle all types of weather and keep you warm. Get the jacket in a bright color, and it will allow help to easily spot you in bad weather.

Water: LifeSaver Liberty Water Bottle

LifeSaver Liberty Water

It’s not practical to carry a Costco-size case of water in your trunk at all times. Even we know that. But in emergency situations, clean water is a must, though it can be incredibly difficult to find. Instead of having to carry loads of water, the Liberty Water Bottle from LifeSaver, will help you get clean driving water from the dirtiest of sources.

This insulated water bottle has two modes to provide you with clean water. The first method involves unscrewing the bottom and scooping up 400 milliliters of water. After that, two pumps on the bottom of the bottle force water through the internal filter, cleaning it and making it ready to drink. The second method involves using the 5-foot scavenger hose and pumping water into another water bottle. LifeSaver claims the Liberty Water Bottle filters out viruses, bacteria, and cysts.

Food: Good To-Go Dehydrated Food

Good To-Go Dehydrated Food Pad Thai

Just because humans can live without food for three weeks doesn’t mean you should put that knowledge to the test. Ready-made meals such as dehydrated meals are better than ever and last longer than before, too. So keeping a few bags of food in your trunk is a no-brainer. Additionally, if you’re the kind of person that enjoys hiking or going on backpacking trips, these are great for that, too.

Good To-Go dehydrated food is created by professional chef Jennifer Scism. The packaged foods are preservative-free and low in sodium, so you won’t have that feeling of needing to chug gallons of water after eating one of the meals. Available in both single servings and multiple packs, the food packs are easy to store in the trunk. Various flavors like Pad Thai, Cuban Rice Bowl, Thai Curry, and Chicken Pho are far better than the candy bar that you stuffed under your car’s seat two years ago and forgot about. All you need to do is pour some hot water into the bag and they’re ready to be eaten.

Best Emergency Kit: Uncharted Supply Co. Seventy2 Survival System

Uncharted Supply Co Seventy2 Survival System

If you’re being honest with yourself, putting a car emergency kit together takes a lot of thought, research, and time. Not to mention a fair amount of money. Instead of piecing everything together, purchasing something like Uncharted Supply’s already-made emergency kit and bug-out bag is far easier.

This emergency kit has a lot of what you’ll need for an emergency. The kit includes roughly 25 items that range from antibacterial wipes and duct tape to a magnesium alloy fire starter and a fixed blade knife. Working with survival experts, first responders, special forces operators, doctors, and mountain guides, Uncharted Supply’s kit has everything you need to survive 72 hours, which is how long it takes for 95% of emergency survival situations to be resolved.

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