Last month, I shared the contents of my personal EDC (every day carry) bag which I take everywhere with me. Today I am going to show you what I keep in my car to fill in some of my preparedness gaps- my car EDC, if you will. (This post contains affliliate links for products I actually own and use, and feel good recommending. Clicking & buying using an affiliate link gives me a small commission but doesn’t change the price for you. Not all links are affiliate links. Thanks!)
Let’s start with the trunk, shall we?
This is pretty much what the trunk of my car always looks like. As you can see, I have a few things there, but there is still plenty of room for other cargo. Here’s what you see: 1. Emergency Car Kit (I’ll share the contents below), 2. Water bottles- kept together in a graham cracker box. Yes, I know, it’s classy. 😉 That box is the perfect size, and it keeps the bottles from rolling all over the car. It works. 3. Snow scraper/ brush– an essential for me since I live in the mountain west. 4. Rope– so many applications, from survival, to camping, to lugging home your Christmas tree or that piece of furniture from IKEA that you were so sure would fit, but didn’t. Yeah- been there. 5. My car emergency kit family add-on items (I will show this in more detail as well), and 6. a small towel and a couple blankets- also important with our very cold winters, but super helpful even for picnics, kid’s potty training accidents etc. I will definitely add a couple more in there as the weather is getting cooler.
Bet you couldn’t wait to see the water bottles in the graham cracker box, right? Right? 😉
Moving swiftly along… let’s take a closer look at that emergency car kit.
I purchased this emergency kit at Costco a few years ago, but you can find the same one on Amazon, here. It comes with a small air compressor, jumper cables, bungee cord, duct tape, cable ties, tire gauge, screw driver, utility knife, LED headlamp, extra batteries, window mount triangle, and a first aid kit. Not bad- it’s got the basics covered. However, I wanted to add some things in that I consider essential!
1. LifeStraw– I would suggest keeping at least one, but possibly more LifeStraws in your car. If you were stranded in a desolate area and you needed water, you could use this filtering straw to drink out of a puddle on the ground, and you’d be fine. Pretty cool, huh? 2. Miscellaneous items including tissue, pen, hair tie, cough drops, hand sanitizer, etc. 3. Shout wipes– I have kids, plus I’ve been known to drop my lunch in my lap, so, ’nuff said. 4. Tide packet- I don’t know that this is truly essential, but I have wanted to wash clothes out in a hotel sink when we were on the road, and this would make that possible. 5. Lighter, 6. tea light, 7. compressed towel (for hygiene), 8. tinder– these items are for light and warmth in a survival or camping situation. It’s pretty easy to store a lighter and start a fire with that, as opposed to matches, for many people. 9. Mylar blanket aka space blanket– again, for warmth in an emergency situation or health crisis. These blankets reflect your body heat back to you, and while not soft or comfortable, they can be used in combination with other blankets and they’re pretty effective. I often stock up on these at the dollar store. 10. poncho– I also get these occasionally from the dollar store. 11. extra screwdriver– yes, we have used ours, and we were glad to have it. 12. Tire gauge- this was already included in the kit, I accidentally pictured it here. 13. A few commonly needed OTC meds like pain relievers and digestive aids, and 14. a kitchen- sized trash bag- so many uses, not the least of which is to be used during carsickness.
In addition to what’s in the car emergency kit, I carry a small plastic bin that’s more of a family clothing emergency kit. 😉 I use this stuff somewhat frequently. I suggest carrying some kind of small container like this that meets the needs of individual family members. Since I have small kids, this reflects the needs of my family- i.e. potty training, carsickness, etc. If you have older kids, babies, elderly family members, or if there are specific health problems, you should tailor this kit to meet those specific needs. In my kit, you will see 1. Lots of easy, nutrient dense snacks like granola and protein bars, fruit leather, and jerky, 2. Extra straws, forks, napkins, hand wipes, etc., 3. extra shirt (child sized), 4. Extra underpants (again, child sized), 5. zip top bag (so many uses), 6. Extra training pants, 7. Spare baby clothing including a hat, 8. blanket, and onesie, 9. Socks.
Moving toward the front of the car- here’s the back seat. The reason I show this is not because it’s pretty or fancy- these are just basic booster seats for my elementary school aged kids- but I really like the seat protector pads. These pads have saved me tons of work cleaning (have I mentioned that I must have the most carsick prone kids ever? I have seriously cleaned up so much vomit out of my cars- yuck.) and these pads just wipe right off. They also have storage pockets that hang down, and are useful for road trips and such, but really, I just have them because it makes cleaning up their seats so much easier.
In the middle seat, I keep a 1. seat organizer stocked with 2. Flannel burp rags (my baby doesn’t need them any more, but they are awesome for cleaning spills, and are also big enough that clean ones can be used as a mini- blanket for the baby, or rolled for a neck pillow), 3. Diapers and wipes (I would carry wipes even if I didn’t have kids. So useful.) 4. Emergency snacks (I am realizing how much importance my family puts on snacks. Haha.), 5. an umbrella, and 6. a road atlas book, which is important to have in case you ever couldn’t use your GPS or smartphone to navigate.
My baby is in a rear- facing car seat, so we love having a mirror that we can see each other in. And since the foot space is available, we stow a diaper bag that is full of baby essentials, and always stays in the car, and a diaper clutch, which for me is much more portable and practical when I’m on- the- go.
We keep the diaper bag stocked at all times with diapers and wipes, 1. snacks, 2. hand sanitizer, 3. extra blankets and clothing, 4. an ergobaby or moby- type wrap for carrying the baby (I have multiple wraps, this one always stays in the car), and 5. when I was breastfeeding, I kept extra nursing pads and lanolin cream.
This lined diaper clutch was really simple to make and it fits 4-5 diapers and a small case of wipes. I do not carry a diaper bag everywhere with me. It just does not fit my lifestyle, and my baby is old enough that it just isn’t necessary. I can fit everything we need in this clutch and my personal EDC bag.
Underneath the diaper bag, we have access to 1. a full size box of kleenex, 2. a box of trash bags (bought on a road trip, long story, but it was useful enough that we just left them in the car.), 3. an auto fire extinguisher, and a winshield sunshade (not labeled).
Last, but not least, in the front seat. I keep 1. extra medications, 2. chapstick and eyedrops, 3. a power converter for our phone chargers, 4. extra phone charging cables, 5. a pocket sized set of scriptures, 6. flashlights (link is for different flashlights than pictured, but we have a set and we like them), 7. yah, more snacks, 8. another power converter that can be used with a standard plug (we’ve used this with our mattress pump when we go car camping), 9. this knife (use your best judgement on this and don’t leave in a place super- accessible to small children.), 10. a CPR mask with valve, 11. Extra AA batteries, and 12. more hand sanitizer.
Here is my recommendation for preparing, whether it is for your car, your home, or your purse- think about what is most important to you, and your family on a typical day and go from there. In an emergency situation, you will have physical needs of warmth, safety, shelter, food, and health. You may have emotional and spiritual needs arising from stress and grief. Think about the things that give your family comfort in all of those ways, and make sure you address those needs in your preparations.
Be happy, prepared, and safe!