Your Ideal Car Emergency Kit


We’re far too used to driving around and in between our towns and cities, expecting the emergency services or breakdown recovery to leap to our aid within minutes when disaster strikes. Most of the time our expectations are met, but sometimes a breakdown occurs at the least convenient time and place and we’re stuck waiting for hours, cold, hungry, thirsty and maybe even a little scared.

Here’s what you need to carry in your car to make that late night, remote breakdown just another part of your holiday…

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A charged mobile

Keep it plugged into the 12V socket while you drive so that it’ll have some charge no matter what. A functional phone can make all the difference when you’re in the boonies.

A waterproof poncho

If you need to change a tyre in lashing rain, you don’t want to get soaked and chilled. If you’re often in remote areas, then a customised tarp from Cunningham Covers is also a good thing to keep in your boot, as it could provide extra shelter.

A basic first aid kit

This should include plasters, tape, gauze, antiseptic wipes, hand gel and ointment, as well as any specific meds your family needs.

A fire extinguisher

Your fire extinguisher should be rated for flammable liquids and electrical fires. Keep it within easy reach and be prepared to stop and use it if you see someone else in trouble.

Three warning triangles

Most often, a car’s hazard kit has just one of these reflective triangles, but ideally you should have three, placed 50 feet apart, to warn oncoming drivers in plenty of time.

A tyre gauge

This is not just for your in-use tyres, it’s also for your spare. The spare should always be inflated to the right pressure as so many people have been caught out when they find their spare is flat as well!

Jumper cables

Ideally these should be 10 or more feet long and be coated with tough rubber.

A waterproof torch and batteries

You never know what you’ll need to do in the dark…


If it’s sub-zero and you need to change a tyre…


They always come in handy.

Duct tape

The engineer’s panacea! Its uses are almost limitless.

A tow rope

The rope or strap should be strong enough to move 6,000lb.

A utility tool

A decent quality one like a Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife is best.

Drinking water and high-calorie, high-protein food bars

Low blood sugar and thirst really are problematic.

A fleece blanket

Lightweight and warm, this can provide comfort and safety.

A snow shovel

If you’re in a region where there’s blizzards, this can be a lifesaver. Add an ice scraper, too.

Cat litter

A brilliant get-out-of-slush-or-mud trick. It’s lighter than sand.

You might be wondering where the spanners, screwdrivers and pliers are. These days, they’re not essentials as modern cars are too complex for these tools. Just make sure you can change a tyre, jump a battery ad keep yourself warm, dry and nourished while you hunker down.