While the Everyday Carry for Men and Everyday Carry for Women lists differ quite a lot, the everyday carry items for the car are meant for everyone. Of course, weather conditions and trip length are the main factors that alter the list of items needed.
The top items the experts agree that everyone should carry in their vehicle are:
- Bag of cat litter/sand or traction boards
- Bottled water
- First aid kit
- Hand cleaner
- Jumper cables
- Road flares or a hazard/warning light of some sort
- Non-perishable food like energy bars
- Cold or hot weather apparel depending on the seasons
- Hi-vis safety vest for nighttime road emergencies
- Work gloves
- Towels for laying on when repairing a tire
- A quality flashlight
The suggestions via an email survey include the following items: A cell phone and charger, sunglasses, a windshield scraper for those who live in colder climates, and tissues, napkins, paper towel, and/or Kleenex. There are also many unique items that Everyday Carry feels are important to carry in your vehicle.
Other suggested items that were less common include items for the kids (e.g., books, diapers, toys, movies, etc.), a trash bag, recyclable grocery bags, hunting gear, dry cleaning, a gun, and a lint brush.
Be Prepared Like a Yooper
Winning the top spot (there’s no prize, sorry) for being the most prepared and having the most unusual items in a vehicle is a man hailing proudly from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This Yooper always has the following items in his vehicle in addition to most of the items in both lists above.
- Food for two people for two to three days.
- Lantern. Not a flashlight, a lantern. A lantern can keep a person warm, too, while a flashlight can’t.
- Snow boots for two to three people. Wants everyone to be warm.
- Toilet paper. There aren’t a lot of options north of the Mackinac Bridge.
- Tie downs and canvas. Always prepared to carry home a deer or turkey if he hits one with the car.
He also doesn’t carry just one blanket but four or five blankets as well as several umbrellas, folding chairs, and hiking gear for a couple of people. Additionally, he keeps something that apparently goes in a gas tank if the wind is blowing so hard that snow gets inside the tank. (Did you even know this could happen?) Few people are this prepared for sure.
This Yooper, who has experienced extreme weather firsthand, provides a valuable lesson for everyone, a lesson that the experts also stress is better to learn from others than from personal experience.
Avoid being caught in the middle of nowhere when something goes wrong with your vehicle. Being unprepared can mean wasted time, a large towing bill, and possibly a very cold and hunger-filled night in a ditch.
Be at Least a Little Prepared
While carrying all the items suggested in this post are probably not practical for most people with regard to space, taking half of them will certainly go a long way in making an already unpleasant and sometimes downright uncomfortable situation go at least a little more smoothly.
There are also road and travel safety kits that include the essential items and don’t take up a lot of space. Take the time today to assess your readiness for a roadside emergency, so the everyday carry in your car sets you up for being at least a little prepared.
No, I am not prepared. I am going to work on being prepared for sure!
EDC for our two cars is something I really need to work on. The trick is finding the perfect balance between preparedness and available room.
Would love to see a few people respond with an image of their cars EDC items.
[…] See a related article Everyday Carry for the Car to find out how many people prepare and what experts recommend for vehicles in emergencies. Also […]
I have most of that top 10, but probably not the top 50! Didn’t know about the cat litter/sand bag – seems like an odd thing to carry with you (especially if you don’t have a cat), but then if it’s essential in a tight spot then fair enough!