Summer Car Emergency Kit List

Our executive assistant, Grace, is our go-to resource when it comes to being ready for emergencies. She is experienced in the art of preparedness and compiled her must-have car survival kit list to help with your summer travel plans based on her own emergency experience out in the middle of nowhere West Texas...

A few years back, our family was traveling out of state on our way to visit family in Utah.  Our oldest daughter was 16 years old at the time and had just gotten her drivers license.  We were out in the middle of nowhere West Texas, long stretch of nothing, when I suggested we let her drive for a while.

About an hour into her driving, we blew a tire (speed limit in nowhere west Texas is 85mph).  To say we were all scared sh*tless was an understatement; however, not only did this child hold a suburban on the road, she managed to keep us from flipping over because we had a heavy top load (roof top carrier holding all of our bags).  By the time we stopped, we were facing oncoming traffic on IH10.  Thankfully, there were semi trucks who saw what was going on and they blocked traffic from coming up on us while the whole ordeal took place.

With 3 kids under the age of 16 years old in hot west Texas, all we needed was a hose clamp to make it to the next town after changing our shredded tire.  When the tire shredded, the pieces hit a fluid line that made it so we could not drive the car.  My husband was able to splice the line and cut out the bad section and fit the ends back together, but we had no way to make it stay in place that wouldn’t melt off because of the proximity to the engine block.  We asked a DPS officer who stopped to check on us if he had any hose clamps, or if he could drive to the next town and get us the supplies we needed.  He did not and couldn’t drive my husband to the next town, but as soon as he was in cell range, he called us a tow truck.  We had 8 hours to rethink our auto emergency kit while we waited for a tow truck.  Zip ties and hose clamps were a most definite add-in!

Learn from our mistake!  Here are my top picks for long-distance car survival kits.


Sturdy bag or plastic container to hold items.  I like to use a clear container I can see inside.  But if you want something that will be easier to carry around, duffel bagsflyer's kits, and field packs are your best bet.

Toiletries & Medical

Toilet paper

TIP:  remove the cardboard piece to make it flatten

Hand sanitizer or bar of soap

Baby wipes

Feminine hygiene products

Box of tissues

Dental hygiene items

Toothpaste, tooth brush, floss

Chap stick

Sun block

Bug spray

Over the counter and extra prescription medication

Food, Drinks & Utensils


Water filter, purification tablets, etc.


Freeze dried meals

Granola bars



Dried meat (jerky)

Fruit (dehydrated/canned or fruit cups)

Hard candy

Can opener 

Plastic utensils


Clorox wipes

Paper towels

Plastic grocery bags (about 5, stuff 4 into one)

Big sturdy trash bags

Tool Bag

Small tool bag

Zip ties

Hose clamps

Duct tape

Flashlight (change batteries regularly, store separately so they don’t explode in your flashlight)

Multi-tool knife

Work gloves


Light sticks

First Aid Kit

Prepacked or select your own assortment of bandages, gauze, and antibiotic ointment


Deck of cards

Small toys for kids

Travel size games




Small notebook



Tarp blanket

Walking shoes


Emergency radio

Map (cell service not reliable in some places!)

Money (cash and coins)

Firearm (find out rules for each state you are traveling in)

Emergency phone numbers (in case your phone dies) 

Jumper cables or portable battery charger

Remember, this is not a complete list.  There will be things you will add or take off according to your needs.  The Survival Mom also has great vehicle emergency kit list on her website with a printer friendly version that breaks the supplies down for you.

Safe travels, and have a great summer exploring with your family!