Keep this stuff in
your car for when
disaster strikes to get you by for a few days.
This stuff is convenient to have with you even for life's everyday
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You will probably be near your car when
disaster strikes. So keep
if these kits in the trunk of all your cars. It has what your family
needs to get by for a few days.
These kits will be used for small,
helpful purposes many times before you need them in a real emergency.
They provide emergency sweaters for the unprepared, emergency changes
of clothes, and the ability to stay overnight on a whim.
The kit shouldn't take up too much space
and should be portable away
from the car, so put it in a backpack or little suitcase. Some
people have a separate small backpack for everyone.
Remember that it could be hot or cold,
wet or dry. Pack accordingly.
FEMA says to plan on being cut off
for 3 days. This may be optimistic.
It could be a week or more.
Most people will face the
emergency of jumping in their car to help a friend or relative. Most of
them start the trip by driving an hour in the wrong direction to
spend an hour packing. And they forget essentials because they
packed in a hurry. Keep a
kit in the trunk of your car. You don't want to show up 3 hours late
with half of what you need.
- A zip kit (see separate document).
This is the most important item here.
- A change of hot weather clothing for everyone
- A change of cold weather clothing for everyone
- Everyone needs a compact squashable hat to keep their head warm,
keep the rain off, and protect against the sun
- Undergarments for 3 days for everyone
- Socks for 3 days for everyone
- Feminine hygiene supplies for 3 days for whoever needs them. Also
for whoever might mature enough to need them before you update the
- If anyone wears impractical shoes (like heels), they should have
a broken-in pair of walking shoes or boots. Put a pair in the kit and
buy a new pair to wear.
- A blanket. It is big, but worth it.
- A metalized mylar "space blanket" for everyone
- A roll of toilet paper, squashed flat to save space, in a
style). Baby wipes work better if you seal them to prevent dryout.
- A can opener (so you can buy food)
- Tableware, either steel or disposable
- A metal cup (small items can be packed inside of it). A tough
plastic cup is harder to clean, but works.
- Pens, pencils, post-its, and paper for all. Zip-lock the pens in
leaks. Zip-lock the paper separately against moisture. Be able to write
notes and make signs.
- A Swiss army knife, Leatherman tool, or other small multi-tool
- Sunblock (in a zip-lock to contain leaks)
- Baby supplies if you have a baby
- Several large ziplocks
- Earplugs in sealed packaging
- A list of the special needs stuff for the infants, elderly, and
disabled in your family. Include the preferred manufacturer and model
- Stuff to pass the time. Disasters mean lots of waiting around.
You might have a deck of cards, a ball, some compact games, etc.
- A noisy whistle for everyone with a lanyard to hang around the
neck. Anyone who gets separated should start blowing it. Everyone's
whistle should be exactly the same, so you can tell your family's
whistle by sound.
- Paper maps of your city, local area, and state/province. Your
navigation device might not be much use if you need this kit.
(your needs may vary)
If your kit is big enough to hold all
of this stuff, it is probably too big.
- Two ways to start a fire. Options include lighters, waterproof
- Knife & scissors
- String & tape
- Toothbrushes and floss (toothpaste is optional, it can leak
or get old quickly)
- Comb and mirror
- Disposable razor for the men
- Unscented deodorant (it will last longer if you double-seal an
- Work gloves for everyone
- A compact disposable rain poncho for everyone
- A few basic tools that you know how to use
- A small pot or skillet
- Some large trash bags (the uses are limited to your imagination)
- A small first-aid kit
- Sewing kit
- Unscented hand sanitizer / soap (zip-locked to protect everything
- Moisturizer, lotion, or Vasaline (zip-locked to protect
- Small Bible
- Photocopies of legal documents (passports, drivers licenses, etc)
and photos of everyone in a zip-lock
- Contact information for everyone you pay bills to
- Contact information for insurance companies
- Money, perhaps enough to buy a tank of gas
- It's a good idea to put a package of light sticks in the top of
your bag, but you will have to replace them after every summer.
Flashlights have more utility, but you don't know how the batteries
will react to sitting in the trunk for a year. See the warning below.
- A family photograph or a recent photo of everyone
- A thumb drive or CD with recent photos or everyone and all family
- An extra pair of glasses for everyone who wears them
- A power strip so everyone can charge their devices at once. You are
unlikely to have more than one outlet available.
Water notes: You should have
drinkable water in your car for you and for the
radiator. Swap it with fresh sealed containers every 6 months or less.
Food warning: Replace everything
annually. The trunk of a car is a
harsh environment. You won't want
to eat any food left there after the second summer. Hard candies will
leak sticky. Anything with a pull-tab will blow it's seal and leak.
Battery warning: The trunk of a car
is a harsh environment. Batteries
left in it won't last long. They will probably leak and ruin everything
Scented item warning: Anything with a
scent will eventually scent
everything else. The toothbrush will taste like the soap, and so forth.
Avoid scented items.
Annual warning: Check your kit every
year. Kids grow out of clothes,
babies need different supplies, and documents get out of date. Light
sticks only last a year in the trunk.
Zip-kit warning: This document
assumes there is a family zip-kit in the
bug-out bag (see
separate zip-kit document).
Everything in the zip-kit is a "must-have".