18 Car Bug Out Bag Essentials

bug out bag

The ugly truth is that vehicle breakdowns do happen and they don’t always strike in a busy, well-lighted, cloudless, warm spot with flawless cell phone reception and a tow truck close at hand. A car bug out bag can ease the pain and reduce the hassle of such breakdowns. AAA records indicate that each year, one in three motorists encounters a roadside breakdown or some other incident that prevents normal vehicle operation, such as a dead battery, mechanical problems or a flat tire. Just because your car appears to be in good shape, there’s no guarantee problems won’t arise. A car bug out bag is one of those things that you don’t think much about until it is too late. Then you will regret you don’t have one with you.

There are a number of preassembled car bug out bags on the market ranging in price from $18 to $150.00. Typing “car bug out bag” into a search engine will reveal a large number of retail kits. You can save some money by assembling your own car bug out bag. Even if you purchase a preassembled kit, you will probably want to beef it up with some additional items. Following is a car bug out bag list, with the essentials you will want to include.

Solar cell phone charger

Making sure you have the ability to use your phone could make difference between getting help fast and maybe not getting help at all.


First aid kit

As well as an assortment of Band-Aids, it should include adhesive tape, gauze pads, aspirin, antiseptic wipes, antiseptic cream or ointment, and anything particular to you or your family.

Fire extinguisher

It should be rated for Class B and Class C fires by the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA. The NFPA says Class B fires are those that involve flammable or combustible liquids, such as gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene. Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment such as switches, panel boxes and batteries.



Three reflective warning triangles

While many prepackaged emergency kits contain one warning triangle, we suggest you have three that are placed 50 feet apart to warn oncoming traffic.

 bug out bag

Foam tire sealant

A quick, inexpensive way to repair many flats without changing the tire.

Jumper cables

They should be at least 10 feet in length and coated with at least 8-gauge rubber.

Flashlight with extra batteries

The flashlight should be waterproof.

car bug out bag


To protect your hands from the cold or heat and to prevent from getting cuts.


If you try to get the car running yourself, you will need these to clean up with.

Duct tape

It is the universal fix all solution. Carry at least 10 feet of it.

Tow strap or tow rope

It should be strong enough to tow 6,000 pounds.


Multipurpose utility tool

This can be something like a Swiss Army Knife.

Rain poncho

Even an inexpensive plastic poncho is better than nothing when changing a tire in the pouring rain.

Drinking water

A minimum of 16 ounces per person per day.  Make sure you have at least 3 days worth.

emergency water

Emergency food rations

A food bar with a minimum of 1200 calories per day per person.  You can buy individual 400 calorie bars or one 1200 bar that is divided into 3 sections – 400 calories per meal.


Warm blanket

You will need it to keep warm in the winter.

Snow shovel

You can buy collapsible snow shovels that will fit easy into the trunk of your car.

Cat litter

It works as well as sand beneath the tires for traction and weighs less.

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