Camping & Survival

5 Items You Should Have in Your Car

In order to make the amount of time I spend in and around my truck more comfortable, I keep a few items tucked in the storage compartments to help me handle whatever situation might arise while I am trudging about. This may eventually require a part two. However, here is my pick for five items you probably should have in your vehicle.

Tactical Pen

smith and wesson tactical pen
This pen does more than just write.

I didn’t include paper because it seems there is always something to write on in my truck, be it a receipt, some junk mail, or a sheet of paper. Few items are as useful as a good pen. Mine seems to come in handy more often than I might think. I reach for my pen when jotting down directions, take notes during an unexpected and important call, even exchanging insurance information after a minor fender bender. Having a pen tucked in your glove box takes up near zero space so there is no reason not to have one of these lifesavers in your car. Make it a tactical pen and you are ready for anything.

Survival Blanket

Picture shows a man sitting on the back of his vehicle wrapped in an emergency blanket.
Emergency blankets are lightweight and take up minimal space.

With winter fast approaching the possibility of being stuck in cold weather is growing; there are few things more terrible than being cold. A space-saving survival blanket can make an unfortunate event much more comfortable while using a minimal amount of space. Another added benefit of the survival blanket is that it can double as a shelter in a pinch with the addition of a bit or cordage. With the cost of a survival blanket being around $6, it makes for a no-brainer, add-on item when placing an order for some ammo or maybe even a new stock.

First Aid Kit

Most of the vehicle-sized first aid kits are under $20—making them a great value and cheaper than a trip to urgent care.

Cuts and scrapes are a fact of life. Often, I am at the range and wind up scraping skin or cutting myself when loading something in the bed of the truck. My small first aid kit has come in handy many times, making me glad that I keep it well stocked. Most of the vehicle-sized first aid kits are under $20—making them a great value and much cheaper than a trip to urgent care for an infected wound. A first aid kit is also great for those with kids. We all know they are experts in banging themselves up, and you better be prepared to play Dr. Dad or Mom at a moment’s notice.


Streamlight Microstream AAA flashlight
If you have tried to change a flat tire at night on a remote highway without a good source of light, you know exactly why this is necessary have.

A flashlight is a must-have. Period. If you have tried to change a flat tire at night on a remote highway without a good source of light you know exactly why this is necessary. A small and bright flashlight can shed some light on whatever problem might be at hand making it much easier to tackle. There are several great options, but my choice will be the Streamlight Microstream because it uses the common AAA batteries. Not all of us want to spend the money on CR123A batteries making the AAA-powered light a solid choice for under $20.

Multi-Tool with File

Stainless steel Leatherman Wave multi tool with 17 tools
The Leatherman Wave multi-tool is a top seller.

A multi-tool such as the Leatherman can almost serve as an entire toolbox in a pinch. Not only do most of these multi-tools have a knife and pliers, some models include a file—an underestimated tool. The priciest item on this list is worth spending a bit more cash to ensure you get a great one. My choice here is the Leatherman Wave with 18 tools. Being able to pack 18 tools into a small package that holds tools including a saw, file, pliers, two knives, scissors, and screwdrivers made of high-quality steel—made in the USA—is an easy choice. Priced at under $100, it is a bit more than the other items, but when you need a tool like this, only quality will do.

Of course, there are more than just these five things one should keep in their vehicle all the time. What other essential items would you add to this list? Tell us in the comment section.

For more information on how to build an emergency vehicle kit, read the following posts:

About the Author:

Patrick Roberts

Since founding Firearm Rack in 2014 which evolved into Primer Peak in 2020, Patrick has been published by RECOIL, Ammoland, Gun Digest, The Firearm Blog, The Truth About Guns, Breach Bang Clear, Brownells, The Shooter's Log, and All Outdoor. When he isn't writing you can find him instructing handgun and AR-15 courses, training his dog Bear, or spending time with his son Liam. See what he is up to on his YouTube Channel, on Facebook, or on Instagram at @thepatrickroberts.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (12)

  1. I carry cables, road flares, paracord, small first aid kit and 2 Flashlights and of course a well equipped tool bag. My pistol , extra mag ,another flashlight and multi tool are in my EDC backpack that always goes in the car with me when I leave the house.

  2. I carry TWO systems in my VAN, as a “Must Have”. Because of my Health Problems. One, is the “Lifesaver 20000”. A “Jerry Can” size Forward Osmosis Potable Water Filtration System. It measures 18.5″ x 13.6″ x 6.9″ and can Filter ~5,283-Gallons of Water (20,000-Liters) at a rate of .52-gallons/minute or 2-liters/minute. Cost is ~$260.00 USD. The other is the Montek 150-Watt Solar Stirling Power Generation System. It measures 15.6″ x 12.4″ x 4.2″ and weighs just 12.8-pounds. Cost is ~$300.00 USD. As I said, for ME it’s a MUST. For you, Probably a LUXURY…

  3. An item I always carried when we lived up North was a G.I. folding shovel
    You never know when you may need to be able to dig out or add something for traction.
    Just happened last week in an older friends car — got stuck in a muddy field — with NOTHING in their car for resue, except a cell phone! AND it was down to half chatge on the battery and the car was on fumes so could not keep it running for heat! I called 911 — got a fantastic Sheriff deputy driving a 4WD Explorer that had LIGHTS, cuz we were 1/4 mile off the road with no lights! AAA came with great new tow truck and had us out in 10 minutes — after we had been stuck there for almost 2 hours with no coats!
    My friend needs to read this blog and follow it!

  4. Plus an empty Hi-Point .45 ACP Carbine with 4 loaded magazines to complement the 1911 that is loaded, cocked and locked.

    1. @ Phil S.

      M1911 Taylor Mk.1 (Pre-Ban) 28-round Snail Drum Magazines, will fit the .45ACP Hi-Point Carbine. With some “Slight” Tweeking of the Magazine…

  5. Got them all.

    Now lets add to it some food and drink, in the north warm clothes and a blanket, solid walking/hiking boots in case you have to walk, hat and jacket, a good knife, all packed in a solid, comfortable ruck.

  6. I would add blankets for the kids, and maybe even a change of cloths, for each kid. given your location, a folding shovel, and food for the kids. depending on the ages of the kids. Extra batteries for the flashlight,

  7. I do have a First Aid kit in my trunk. But I also have a pistol grip Mossberg 500 empty and locked with 40 rounds of 00 buck, along with four extra 13 round magazines of 45ACP for my EDC. Included is a flashlight, blanket and a good knife. I call it my get home kit.

  8. Don’t know about your list, but I carry a first aid Kit, blanket, flares, Ammo,a bottle of whisky, throw away cell phone and a spare Glock. Like they say what’s in your wallet (CAR)?

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