DIY Emergency Car Survival Kit List [Best Guide for 2023]

If you rely solely on your phone to get you through the next roadside emergency, you may be putting yourself in danger. Cell service isn’t guaranteed on a road trip, and even if you do have service, a phone won’t help you if you get stuck on the side of the road in a blizzard or heavy storm. 

It’s in these situations that having a roadside emergency kit in your car, SUV, or truck comes in handy. That is why we have prepared this list on how you can make the best car emergency survival kit.

Let’s dive straight in.

A good, sturdy shovel is a must-have item for any winter car kit. Often, a little efficient digging can help you get free quickly.

Even if you are unable to free your vehicle, a shovel will allow you to keep it from being completely buried under a snowdrift because it’s nearly impossible for a rescue team to find a vehicle that’s completely buried in snow.

Here are the best shovels for survival.

2. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

lifestraw water water

What good is finding water if you can’t drink it? You should always purify your water before you drink it whether it’s coming from your tap or from the snowbank where you’re stranded. A water filter is essential for an emergency car kit since you can’t survive very long without water.

The easiest way to purify water on the go is with a LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. Also, be sure to carry a water container so that you won’t have to make as many trips to the nearest water source.

Having an extra pair of these will also be a good idea, since it takes up so little space.

3. First Aid Kit

first aid kit items

First aid are necessary for your emergency supplies kit. Here is what we recommend you have in your first aid kit.

  • Adhesive bandages
  • Gauze tape
  • Cream with antibiotics
  • Alcohol wipes
  • An instant ice pack
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Any medicine you need to take
  • Vaseline

Here’s a more in-depth guide (including more aid supplies) on creating a medical kit.

4. Car Battery Jump A Starter

A car battery jump starter is an essential item to have in your emergency kit. It can easily help you get out of a jam if your vehicle’s batteries are dead or close to dying due to age, weather conditions, corrosion buildup, and more. 

The device works by connecting the two clamps on either end of it onto both terminals of the 12V battery on a flat surface, then plugging into any available power source for at least 10 minutes before starting up again with its own energy supply from built-in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries which will provide enough cranking amps when needed. 

This way, you won’t be stranded without assistance!

5. Non-Perishable Food

non perishable food for emergencies

In the cold, your body craves calories in any form, burning them at a faster rate to maintain core body temperature.

Cookies, crackers, nuts, dried fruit, plain chocolate bars, and jerky are all options. I like high-calorie bars because you only have to buy them once, and your food preparation is done.

Snickers bars and candy bars are delicious, but if you eat one that has been sitting in sub-zero temperatures for even a few hours, you’ll chip a tooth on the caramel. Consider adding powdered hot chocolate or another warm drink with a lot of calories if you can heat water over a makeshift stove or fire.

Here is a more in-depth list of survival foods you should have.

6. Communication

Few people are aware that “out-of-service” cell phones can still dial 911. Pull out that old flip phone or smartphone from the catch-all drawer and throw it in your kit.

You don’t have a spare phone? Get yourself a $20 pre-paid phone (with roaming) because $20 is cheap insurance. Although, if that isn’t available due to natural disasters or being in the middle of no where, keep a ham radio in your glove compartment. 

Here’s how to get your ham radio license, which really helps with communications when you don’t have service.

7. Flashlights/Lanterns

Electric Lamp and Hiking Equipment on Wooden Table.

Light is critical in most tasks that you will need to do. Without light, you will be left in the dark fumbling for your survival items and you will have a harder time trying to survive.

That is why flashlights or lanterns are very important items to include in your kit. Include a few battery-powered flashlights and even potentially some solar-powered and hand-crank flashlights or lanterns.

8. Batteries

Having a few extra batteries in your kit will allow you to power many functions such as lights, stoves, and more. 

We recommend solar powered battery packs in case you run out of batteries. Look for ones that have device charging capabilities, are durable, and come with other features such as a flashlight.

9. Fire Starters

Being able to make a fire in a survival scenario will benefit you greatly. With a fire starter, you will gain warmth, light, and you will be able to cook food. Not only that, products such as the BioLite Campstove allow you to charge your smartphone using the energy generated from fire.

If you do not currently know how to make a fire, here is a quick guide you should check out. Here is a review of some of the best stormproof matches.

Here’s another article on how to make a fire with duct tape. Fire is an essential element if you’re stranded for a long time, so you must have multiple methods of making fire.

10. Emergency Whistle

Emergency Whistle

Communication is key in any survival scenario. If you can attract attention to where you are stranded, it may save you from death. Emergency whistles do just that. They allow you to make noises that are able to be heard from up to half a mile away without having to strain or lose your voice.

11. Reflective Survival Blanket

Staying warm and avoiding hypothermia in a survival scenario will allow you to maintain your body heat through freezing nights. Reflective survival blankets allow you to trap your body heat and keep you warm enough to avoid freezing in cold weather.

12. Flat Tire Repair Kit

A car without a tire or two is pretty much useless for transportation. A flat tire in a blizzard or snowstorm is an even worse scenario. 

Having a flat tire repair kit will come in handy when your tire ruptures and you aren’t able to drive to the closest car repair station. The flat tire kit should have a tire inflator so you can fix your tire. You should also have a spare tire.

13. Survival Knife

A good quality fixed blade knife will allow you to do and create many things. It can come in handy in self-defense scenarios, and situations when you need to start a fire. Here is how to choose a survival knife that will fit your needs.

Take some time to learn how to use the items in your emergency survival kit

Take the time to become familiar with the items you’ve gathered and how to use them correctly before you actually find yourself in an emergency situation, because simply having them in your pack is completely useless if you don’t even know how to use them when disaster strikes.

After all, when the unexpected occurs, it is easy to become a nervous wreck. Finally, remember that the most important tool you have at your disposal is your own good, clear judgment.


You now know how to put together a car survival kit, but if you had to limit it to three items, these would almost certainly ensure your survival: a quality fixed blade knife, a decently sized water container, and a fire starter.  

You may not need a fire extinguisher, but be sure to have a decent car emergency kit with a couple dozen essential supplies.

Make sure to keep these items on hand at all times, with multiple redundancies in your get-home bag, bug-out bag, and 72-hour emergency kit.

If you enjoyed this article, I have also listed a few more survival articles below that you should check out.

Let me know if you found this post helpful in the comments below! Not everyone makes it this far, and if you have, please consider following us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Also, consider sharing this content and subscribing to get 255 free E-books.

1 thought on “DIY Emergency Car Survival Kit List [Best Guide for 2023]”

  1. This car emergency survival kit blog was just what I needed to be prepared for at all times. We live in Costa Rica, and you never know when disaster may strike.


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