Here in Salt Lake City, we’re pretty good at prepping our cars for harsh winter weather. We know to top up our fluids, get regular car washes to keep chemicals and salt from harming the undercarriage, and put on snow tires. Many of us even have emergency kits stocked with specialty winter gear.
While none of these are a bad idea, there are also three other seasons to contend with. To be truly prepared for all that life—and the road—throws at you, it’s a good idea to upgrade your emergency car kit to include all-weather and all-season items.
- Portable Charger/Power Pack: You might get stranded somewhere without cell service, but that doesn’t mean you want your battery to run out. Portable chargers are relatively inexpensive and allow you to charge your device no matter where you are or how long you’ll be stuck there.
- First Aid Kit: Everyone should have a well-stocked first aid kit in the trunk of their car. Bandages, painkillers, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary anti-allergens (especially those related to mosquitos, bees, and pollen) are just the start of what you might wish to include.
- Water/Food Supplies: Bottles of water are a must-have (especially in warmer weather), and it doesn’t hurt to have a few protein bars on hand, as well. Although you’ll need to rotate these supplies as expiration dates come and go, you’ll appreciate having snacks nearby—especially if there are kids in your car when you break down.
- Fix-a-Flat (and Tire Changing Supplies): Not every flat tire needs a complete change. Many times, using a can of foam tire sealant will get you back on the road and to your destination as quickly as possible. They’re small and portable, too.
- Jumper Cables: Jumper cables are like first aid kits, in that everyone on the road should carry them at all times.
- Blankets/Rain Poncho/Weather Prep: Although you can rotate these supplies depending on the weather, you can also carry year-round gear that doesn’t require you to regularly restock. Reflective blankets are great for staying warm in winter or creating shade in summer, rain ponchos and/or umbrellas keep you dry in the spring, and sunblock and/or a sunhat will make a summer breakdown more bearable.
- Shovels and Scrapers: Chances are you won’t need a shovel or an ice scraper to get you out of a bind in summer, but these are definitely winter must-haves. If you travel on roads that aren’t regularly plowed, you’ll also want to carry kitty litter or sand to help you get traction.
Ideally, you should also purchase a plastic bin to hold all of these items. With some careful packing, you can keep your entire emergency car kit in the bin and stow it in your trunk—only pulling it out for emergencies or for your seasonal check to make sure everything is stocked and in order!