As preppers most of us have a Bug Out Bag. Most of us have a plan when the SHTF. But what happens if you are 100 miles from home and your Bug Out Bag when the SHTF? What do you have in you vehicle that will get you home? This article will discuss some of the most important things that you need to keep in your vehicle at all times in order to get home in a SHTF scenario, or to be able to survive help arrives if you have car trouble.
Waiting for help to arrive
If you have vehicle trouble and you decide to wait for help to arrive, you need certain things in your vehicle just in case it takes a little bit longer than you expect. Back in 2011 an Arizona State student survived on two candy bars and melted snow for 10 days after her car became stuck in the snow. 10 days! This is one of the reasons I prep. I don’t ever want to be in the news because of a story like this. So here is what I carry in my truck to keep me comfortable if I decide to wait on help to arrive.
The most important thing that I carry is water. While there are numerous world class rivers near where I live, the whole area is considered high desert and water can sometimes be difficult to find. I carry a 1 Quart Canteen and Datrex Emergency Water Packets. This gives me plenty of water for three days, without the need to fill any containers, treat any water or use my own body heat or a fire to melt snow.
Food is another important thing to keep in your vehicle, especially in the winter. Most of us know how much of morale boost you can get from some food in your stomach, but in the winter time food serves a much more important role in your survival, heat. Eating helps keep your internal furnace firing, which can literally save your life. The rescue teams in the Canadian Arctic recommend that you keep a can of dog food in your vehicle. They claim that most people eat their survival food too fast and don’t survive very long because their body can’t generate enough heat. The dog food, because it is less palatable, last longer and people eventually eat it to survive. I personally don’t ever want to eat dog food, so I have something that is somewhere between dog food and a candy bar, Datrex 3600 Emergency Food Bar. I would never substitute this for Christmas dinner, but I am sure it tastes much better than dog food. Two of these in the truck will keep my furnace firing for six days.
A comprehensive first aid kit should also be kept in your vehicle at all times. I keep a condensed version of my Prepper First Aid Kit in the truck at all times. This is vital if you are in an accident and can’t self rescue. In this kit you should have ways to stop bleeding, immobilize joints, and ways to treat pain and inflammation. Check out my article about first aid for more information.
The last category of items to keep in your vehicle if you are waiting for help to arrive can be called “survival”. This would include things like Wool Blanket, space blanket, Heat Packs, Flashlight, Whistle, Air Horn and Radio.
Vehicle Self Rescue
If you have a little bit of mechanical knowledge or are a bit of a do-it-yourselfer, then you can most likely rescue your vehicle yourself. This would avoid having to sit in your car for 10 days waiting on rescue like the student that was mentioned earlier. The most common reasons that people breakdown or get stranded are getting stuck in the snow or mud, battery issues, flat tires, and lost keys.
There a few things to keep in your vehicle to make sure that you can get out of most situations where your car is stuck. The easiest solution to most situations is being able to dig out your vehicle with a shovel. I keep a Black Diamond Shovel in the bed of my truck and have used it numerous times to dig out my truck when I have gotten stuck. Another item that is very important if you drive in wintry conditions are chains or the Trac-Grabber. These Trac-Grabbers are pretty neat, they seem to work much better than chains because you can put them on if you are stuck and they work equally well in mud or snow. A Heavy Duty Tow Strap is also a good item to have if there is another vehicle around to pull you out.
One of the worst feelings I have ever had was coming back to the truck after being in the back country and the engine wouldn’t start. It was the dreaded dead battery. Luckily, I always have a pair of jumper cables in the truck and there was another vehicle in the parking lot to jump start my truck. This isn’t always an option. Depending on where you live you could be miles from the next nearest vehicle. So what do you do? There is one option if you have jumper cables, but not another car, it is called the Alaskan Jump Start. Some folks have mentioned that they take a pair of jumper cables with one set of clamps attached to the battery and then they short the other set of clamps together for 20 seconds. This heats up the battery and allows it to supply more of its charge (although it also shortens its life). But be exceeding careful if you ever need to try this one—it’s a dangerous operation. Or, you could use a Portable Car Jump Starter. I keep one in both of our vehicles just in case and also because it will charge your cell phone many times over before running out of juice. What would be worse than having a dead battery in your car and cell phone? Well this product solves both issues.
Walking out when your vehicle is broken down is a decision you shouldn’t take lightly. Depending on where you are it could be a very long way to go, hazardous terrain, or unfamiliar terrain. If you decide to walk out, you will want to make sure you have a few essential items.
The most important thing you will want is a way to carry water. For this I use a Canteen. You will also need a pack of some kind to carry the rest of the items that I will list. I use A Molle Waist Pack. I like this because it is small, yet holds everything I need to be able to walk for an entire day, but any pack that you like will work. In this pack I keep Datrex 3600 Emergency Food Bar, Rain Poncho, The Friendly Swede Carabiner “Grenade” Survival Kit With Eye Knife, Pull with Needle, Wire, Tin Foil, Tinder, Fire Starter, Fishing Lines, Fishing Hooks, Weights, Swivels, Dobber Wrapped in 9 Feet of 500 Pound Paracord, Paracord Bracelet, Headlamp, first aid kit, Waterproof Matches, lighter, space blanket, SOG Folding Knife, small roll of duct tape, LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, Gerber Multi-Tool, Potable Aqua, collapsible baton, N95 masks, and hand sanitzer.
I keep a few other items in my vehicle at all times as well. There is always a pair of work gloves and a pair of winter gloves with a hat in my glove box. and I keep a pair of boots with a pair of wool socks as well, and in the winter time I throw in an extra jacket. All of these items will help in a survival situation, with the boots and socks being especially important in a walk out situation. I hope that after reading this I won’t have to read about any of you in the news.