Evacuating your home 101, Box 2 – The Car kit

Box # 2 – The Car Kit

Container: Duffel bag, tool box, lock box

Family in a car loaded with luggage on top.

Are we there yet?

 (If you jumped into this series on this post, you’ll want to head back to the beginning so it makes sense.  The first post in the series can be found here, then follow the links for the rest of the series.)

This is the collection of tools and supplies that you normally keep with your vehicle at all times, (you do keep a car kit in your car don’t you?) It’s primary purpose is to maintain the vehicle and facilitate travel.  the only cause for leaving without it is if you leave without the car — in which case you probably won’t need what is in it.  A secret here is that the more you have in your Car kit, the less you have to load during an evacuation.

Some suggestions for your Car Kit


  • Breaker bar, ½” drive, 18″ handle, for stubborn wheel lugs
  • locking lug nut key (for that pesky locking nut, if applicable.   usually found in the glove box if no one has messed with it,)
  • Socket, six point, ½” drive, to fit wheel lugs
  • Jumper cables, heavy gauge
  • Duct tape
  • Plywood square for jack platform, ¾” thick, one foot square, (ask your favorite wood worker  or DIY neighbor, they probably have a scrap they could cut to 12″ x 12″ for you for a plate of cookies)
  • Work Gloves, leather (a must, these protect hands from injury, you’ll need your hands during an evacuation)
  • Foam kneeling pad or carpet square (you can usually find these for a dollar or two at the local dollar discount store, especially in the spring.)
  • Knife, or multi-tool
  • Tire gauge
  • Tire Inflator like fix-a-flat
  • Extra fuses
  • Flashlight or lantern (and batteries), hands free so you  can work with 2 hands
  • Ice scraper
  • Rags and paper towels (old t-shirts work great for this)
  • Tow rope or chain
  • 2 quarts of oil
  • 1 gallon of antifreeze


  • scissor jack , long handle or
  • 12 ton low profile, hydraulic bottle jack , (this makes lifting huge stuff so easy and it’s under $30 bucks.)
  • screwdrivers, common and Phillips
  • Combination wrenches, 10 thru 19mm
  • Ratchet, 3/8″  and 1/4 ” drive
  • Sockets, 3/8″  and 1/4 ” drive, metric
  • Pliers, common & channel lock
  • Hammer, large ball peen hammer or drilling hammer, (I’ve seen AAA road side assistance drivers do wonders with a ball peen hammer, I wonder what they actually do with it, but it makes the car start)
  • Wrench, adjustable
  • Vise Grips
  • traction grates


Even if you don’t know what to do with these, a kind passer-by might have the knowledge, but not the tools to be able to help you out.

  • Combination wrenches, ¼ thru 7/8
  • Extension, 3/8″ drive, 3″
  • Sockets, 3/8″ drive, SAE
  • Extension, ¼” drive, 3″
  • Sockets, ¼” drive, SAE
  • Small hacksaw
  • Adapter, ½ to 3/8″ drive
  • Hex keys, metric and SAE
  • Pry bar, large
  • Pliers, needle nose
  • Pliers, wire cutters
  • Small hammer
  • Impact driver
  • Large common screwdriver
  • Torx drivers

Personal safety

  • Cell phone and car charger
  • $100 in small bills hidden in a safe place
  • Firearm (check local laws)
  • flares (use with GREAT caution, my DH works with these every day and reports they are temperamental and can cause severe burns, the LED versions would be a safer option)
  • First aid kit
  • Rain poncho, bright color (or camo if you don’t want to be visible)
  • Plastic tarp
  • Fire extinguisher (make sure it’s multi-purpose dry chemical rated, including electrical fires, rechargeable is also a plus)

If you have gasoline cans, take them full if you can, but even empty they have value, since they may later help you resupply.  As a matter of safety, once a can has had gas in it, ground it before uncapping and while filling.   Most cans are vented, deliberately or inadvertently, and can explode if the vapors are subjected to static electricity.  One way to generate a powerful static electric charge is to drip any liquid, or pour any non-conducting liquid, into an ungrounded container.  The fumes keep these containers from riding in the car with you.

The Car kit can be multiple containers.  The main reasons for having it in a container of some sort is to keep it organized and to protect it from heat and theft. You probably already have many of the items listed above,  If they are in your vehicle, Great!, but if not, gather them together into a suitable container and put them in the car.  Your local hardware store will have most of these items or you can do some arm-chair shopping with the links above.


* The links on this page are for your convenience and are affiliate links (except for one), if you end up purchasing, I am paid a small percentage of the sale. You price remains the same, and in some cases is discounted when purchasing through affiliate links.

Here is a pdf version of the list above to print and take with you to your local store.


Coming Next Box #3 –  The Nuclear kit.  Subscribe by email to be the first to hear what box # 3 is…don’t worry, it’s free and easy and you can unsubscribe at any time, I don’t know why you’d ever want to do that but you can 🙂



  1. Clachelle Jensen says:

    hi Andrea! Great blog you have going here! 🙂

    • ready1 says:

      Aww thanks for saying. I’m glad you like it. 🙂

  2. Kathy says:

    My dad sent us off to college with a small roll of textured wire that was exactly the width of the tire and about 18″ long. After many years of getting free of icy issues, he finally told me what they are – it is the metal mesh builders use for attaching stucco to walls. He cut it into strips and put it in our cars. It’s really cheap and you could cut it up and share with family and friends. It’s also nice that if you finally get your car going, you can leave it behind in the ice and slush.

  3. Rebecca Tobiasson says:

    Andrea- Thank you for putting something together that is complete, easy to follow, and doesn’t take an excessive amount of time, study or research to do. For the first time I don’t feel overwhelmed by the process

    • ready1 says:

      I’m so glad it’s helpful, that is my goal.

  4. Donna says:

    Since my car is a 5 passenger car, I keep 5’s in a backpack. 5 whistles, mylar blankets, notebooks with pencils, water bottles, ear plugs, umbrellas,snacks,etc. There is also a seatbelt cutter/flashlight/window breaker which is kept in the center console for if it’s ever needed. I used to keep 2 life jackets & rope for pulling someone in,if neccessary.

  5. Alisa says:

    I would also recommend putting a pair of sneakers or something that covers the entire foot (like a knock-off of Toms or something else really simple) and socks for each family member. Just in case you do have to hoof it and all you could find at the time of evacuation was flip flops. I learned this the hard way when my car broke down on the side of the road on my way to work and it was 30 degrees and I was wearing heels :/

    • ready1 says:

      Alisa, That’s a painful lesson to learn for sure. A trip to the local thrift store would work well for this. The shoes are mostly broken in and wouldn’t break the bank. I had thought about this for myself but putting kids shoes in as well is a great idea. Mine live in flip-flops in the summer and having to hoof it for any distance would be miserable and dangerous. Thanks for sharing your lesson.

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