Remember way back when when I started this series, posting about how to set up your commuter bag? Well, I didn’t forget about you! Granted, I didn’t plan to go so long in between posts on the topic, but here we are again at any rate. Hopefully you’re all walking around with a fully stocked commuter bag and have been prepared to face everyday emergencies where ever you are.
For those of you that own cars, you want to be just as prepared with your vehicle. If you break down on the side of the road, get stuck in a snow storm on Lake Shore Drive, or have to evacuate in an emergency, you’ll want a car that is stocked with a well-rounded supply of basics. You need to think of two sets of stuff for the car – stuff the car, and stuff for the people.
The stuff for the car is pretty simple -
- Motor oil
- Spare windshield wiper blades
- Tire patch kit
- Tire gauge
- Reflective warning triangles
- Windshield scraper
- Small shovel
- Paper map of your area. Because sometimes the internet is not an option.
And the supplies for the people is pretty straight-forward as well. Just think “commuter bag”, on a slightly larger scale. I absolutely love the Sterlite Stack & Carry containers for organization (not only do I use one in the car, I also use them for my sewing kit and camp kitchen gear, and husband uses one for his miniatures painting supplies).
One section is given over to small supplies for the car, one section is for first aid, and the third section is for food/emergency supplies.
The smaller car items listed above are stored in the “car section”, including the tire gauge and patch kit. Rounding out the kit are the following -
- Head lamp (great for repairs after dark if needed)
- Mini multi-tool
- Permanent marker
- Measuring tape (kind of more of a general reference item for gardening, or when we need to measure something we want to buy – just not a bad place to stick one, really)
- 2 glow sticks
- Mini flashlight (hand crank, so we don’t have to worry about battery replacement)
The first aid section has an assortment of basic supplies, not much different than what’s contained in our commuter bags -
- Pain reliever
- Band aids
- Butterfly closures (for deeper cuts that may need stitches later)
- Alcohol/disinfecting wipes
- Aloe vera or burn gel
- Ace bandage (If you sprain your ankle or have a bad knee, you’ll want one. Can also be used as a tourniquet in a pinch.)
- Baby wipes (Great for cleaning up without having to use water.)
- Maxi pads (Not just for the ladies – these are great for absorbing a lot of blood without getting sopping and saturated. They also take up a lot less room in your kit.)
- Pair of rubber gloves (In case you need to perform first aid on someone else – you can never be to careful around blood.)
- Cough drops
- Travel package of facial tissue (If you have a runny nose while you’re out, you’ll want some. Can also double as toilet paper in a pinch.)
- Mini bottle of sunscreen (because if you have to walk home in the blinding sun, the last think you want to do is get sunburned.)
- First aid card or mini booklet (Because in an emergency, your might draw a blank and forget how to do the Heimlich maneuver.)
- Few emergency blankets
- Few emergency ponchos
And the food section – not meant to keep anyone alive for an extended period of time, but as a decent energy boost and keeping a growling stomach at bay. It’s tricky to pack items that will withstand the frequent extreme temperature fluctuations of a car, so this is what we’ve landed on -
- Box of raisins
- Couple of packages of pop tarts.
- Bottled water
And while certainly not necessary from an emergency standpoint, we do have routinely have a few more items in the car that make even short trips more enjoyable with a small child (and in general, sparing the toys) -
- Small trash can that lives in the back seat floor board underneath the car seat. Corralling loose ends keeps the car tidy.
- Small assortment of children’s books.
- A coloring book and crayons (just don’t leave them in full sun so they melt).
- Few small hand toys, like Hot Wheels cars.
- A spare child’s hat (ball cap in summer and knit in winter) and gloves in the winter.
- A couple of towels to wipe up spills and clean up messes.
All of that pretty much fits in the seat pocket on the backside of the passenger seat, keeping everything out of the way yet still easily accessible. If you don’t have a built in seat pocket, so you can sew up a simple car organizer that does the trick just as well (and maybe even better).