> TEOTWAWKI Blog: The importance of car kits...



The importance of car kits...

Earlier this week I spoke with a guy from the U.K. who'd been in the middle of the recent flooding. He'd been out of town, and left at about 4pm in the afternoon to head home. The trip, he says, usually takes him about an hour.

He didn't get home until 10a.m. the next day.

His story reminded me of the need to put together a small get-home-bag (GHB) in the trunk of my car. Travelling leaves you vulnerable--you're away from the safety of your home, you've only got what you bring along. Sure, usually you can just head over to a restaurant or local Wally Mart and pick up something if you need it...but what if the stores are closed? What if your car breaks down 50 miles from the nearest store?

I used to keep my BOB in the trunk of my car, but have moved it elsewhere. I have a few things in my trunk now; water, folding shovel, some basic car repair stuff, but it doesn't cut it. I need more.

When putting together a "trunk bag", one thing to keep in mind is size. You will need your trunk space; in a big SUV, this might not be a big problem, but in a compact car, it could be. No matter how much crap you put in your trunk, you still want to have your stuff on hand. That cross country trip or two hour drive to the airpot may be when you need it most...cars have lots of usused space where things could be stored; under seats, in the spare tire "compartment", inside those back-of-seat "magazine" pouches, etc. If you know your mechanics (not my strong point), you can open up the interior, under the upholstery, weld compartments onto the frame, etc.

What to bring? Well, there's the obvious--water, food. Cars experience big temperature shifts throughout the year, from summer to winter, so heat sensitive foods like MRE's won't last too long. Lifeboat rations have five year shelf life, and are not effected by heat. Datrex is my favorite, Mainstay and SOS are two other brands. They are basically a block of hard "cookie" to provide calories in a survival situation. You can chuck them somewhere in your car and forget about then.

Another idea is to keep a small supply of powerbars, cliff bars, beef jerky, trail mixetc. on hand to eat in a pinch. If you're starved, it can keep you out of a McD's--saves you the cash you'd spend there and helps keep the gut in check. Problem is keeping the snacks constantly stocked as you munch on them.

Water is much more important than food, though. Carry as much water as is reasonable, especially if you live in the desert. There are small water boxes and pouches that store well. The pouches can easily be slipped and hidden in nooks and crannies. If you live in an area with readily available water (plentiful rivers, creeks, lakes), a water filter or purification tabs may go far...and make sure to carry a nalgene or canteen to dump the water in. I've seen small "survival" straw-filters on the market--these could fit in any tiny spot; a glove compartment or the bottom of a seatback pouch.

First Aid Kit is a no-brainer. Have something to match your level of knowledge/skill.

Flashlight is another good one; I'd put a plug in here for a headlamp--if you need to change a flat, work on the engine, etc., you'll have both hands free.

A shovel is great, especially if you go four wheeling. I have a small, collapsible snow shovel for the winter and a folding "e-tool" shovel that I keep in there all the time. If you have space, a full-size shovel is better than a folder--you've got longer reach, better durabilty, etc. E-tools are great and all, but they're a compromise.

Finally, I'll put a plug in for a good pair of boots. This is the one thing I really need to add in; I've cursed not having boots pushing cars up snowy hills. If had to walk 10 miles from my car, I'd much rather it be an old, broken in, beater pair of hiking boots than dress shoes.

There's lots, lots more, but I'll cut my rambling at that. I'll post pictures, reports, and reviews as I put together my trunk kit in the future. Let us know what system you've got worked out, what works for you, etc. by leaving a comment.