Your Car Emergency Kit: 100 Things You Should ALWAYS Keep in Your Car

Road Trip To Banff Canada With Car Emergency Kit Must-Haves.
Before hitting the road for a road trip, be prepare for an emergency. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

No matter who is driving you need to be prepared with an emergency kit. 

We all know who will be madder than a hornet on an August afternoon if the family gets stranded on the side of the highway without a proper emergency kit. I’ve driven across North America, and I know how to pack a car, especially supplies to help solve roadside misfortunes.

You know that feeling when pulling out of the driveway that you forgot something? Don’t get it on your next trip when you use this list for car emergency kit must-haves.

Related: Yes, You Can Buy A Car At Costco, And Here’s How to Get the Best Deal

Car Emergency Kit Must-Haves

You want to stay on schedule and arrive to your destination safely. Keeping your car in good working order helps prevent roadside emergencies.

Related: 9 of the Best 3 Row SUVs–From Luxury to Affordable

Red Window Breaker And Seatbelt Cutter For Emergencies

Car Safety hammer on Amazon $17, this window breaker and seatbelt cutter combo is an easy thing to buy and a critical tool when you need it.

What’s in your Glove Compartment?

Stock your glove compartment with items you need to keep within arms reach in case of any misadventures. It’s a great place to stash some key emergency kit items like:

  • AAA membership card, or other travel insurance card
  • Copies of registration and car insurance card
  • Car manual
  • Flashlight with fresh batteries ($17 on Amazon)
  • Window breaker and seat belt cutter, especially if you have small children in car seats
  • Matches or lighter
  • Car maintenance log
  • Multi-Purpose Tool, like Leatherman
  • Tire Gauge

Related: Best Podcasts to Listen to While Driving (Because We Love Multitasking)

A First Aid Kit Car Emergency Kit Must-Haves

A well-stocked first aid kit is a must for everyone in every car. Photo: Pixabay

First Aid Supplies

Life with kids is unpredictable. Scrapes and falls happen frequently so be prepared. Essential to any car emergency kit, I keep my first aid kit under the driver’s seat.

  • Assorted bandages
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Anti-bacterial gel
  • Pain reliever, adults and kids
  • Allergy medication, like Benadryl
  • Antacids
  • Eye Wash
  • Lip balm
  • Extra required medication
  • Tweezers

First Aid Kit on Amazon $33

Center Console or Arm Rest Compartment

Got a console? Load it up with these roadside essentials.

  • Wipes ($15 on Amazon)
  • Extra money, especially change for old-school parking meters.
  • Extra napkins or paper towels
  • Facial tissue
  • Extra sunglasses
  • Paper to write on
  • List of phone numbers to friends or family. Just in case the phone goes missing.
Car Packed With Emergency Kit Must-Haves

Make sure you can reach your emergency essentials when road tripping. Photo: Catherine Parker

In the Trunk or Back of the SUV

Grab a tote and pull together more supplies.

  • Old towel or blanket–never know when you have to rescue an animal.
  • Extra cords and cube for technology. In addition to the ones in use.
  • Extra pair of shoes, in case you break your flip-flops.
  • Disposable rain ponchos
  • Extra set of keys.

Personal Products

I grab a small zip-top bag and pack it with personal care products. Just in case I get stranded overnight unexpectedly.

  • Deodorant
  • Extra pair of underwear
  • Basic makeup, like mascara, powder, and lipgloss
  • Travel roll of toilet paper
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Contact holder + contact solution
  • *Lady* products
  • Travel toothbrush + paste
  • Dental floss or pics


Pack a few essentials for every day. Add some road trip snacks when headed out for a family trip.

 Related: Tips for choosing road trip snacks. 

A Girls Guide To Cars | Your Car Emergency Kit: 100 Things You Should Always Keep In Your Car - Kids Driving

Make sure your family is prepared for an emergency. Photo: Catherine Parker

Just For the Kids 

Keeping kids clean is nearly impossible so be prepared.

  • Extra outfits plus socks and underwear
  • Extra jacket or hoodie
  • Stroller for kids under 6
  • Sun hat for warmer weather
  • Beanie for cooler weather
  • Extra gloves – cheap ones ok
Baby Secure In A Britax Clicktight Advocate Arb Car Seat

Babies require their own list of emergency must-haves.  Photo: Nasreen Stump

Babies and Toddlers 

When my kids were little, I used my SUV like a giant diaper bag. Keep these items stored where you change your baby in the car.

  • Baby food and/or formula
  • Baby wipes
  • Extra diapers
  • Changing Pad
  • Bleach wipes
  • Extra clothes including shoes and socks
  • Disposable grocery bags for the dirties
  • Extra soothing object, like a pacifier
  • Extra toys
Spraying The Tires Clean After A Long Road Trip

When I wash my SUV of course I wear evening attire. Photo: Pixabay

Keeping the Family Car Clean

We all know that kids are messy so take a few minutes to wash the car regularly. Kids can help too.

Related: Tips for keeping your car clean–mile after mile.

Car Driving In Icy Winter Conditions

Are you prepared for winter driving? Photo: Catherine Parker

Winter Emergency Kit Must-Haves

Winter travel requires its own products if you live or travel in snow-prone areas. Your car’s roadside emergency kit might need to include things like:

  • State Website App for road closures and chain requirements
  • Ice scraper with brush
  • Can of de-icer
  • Chains or cables plus extra cash to have someone install them
  • Emergency blanket for heat retention
  • Extra food and water
  • Rubber gloves to protect hands when installing chains or removing snow and ice
  • Small packable shovel for snow removal

Related: Tips for winterizing your car. 

With all of this in your vehicle…you’ll be ready for anything!

We All Love A Good Road Trip. But Being Prepared Is The Key To Make It Successful. Here'S Our Ultimate List Of Car Emergency Kit Must-Haves For Your Trip.

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Catherine Parker has a passion for travel with only two states left in her quest of seeing all 50.... More about Catherine Parker