If you are like me, my dad stressed the importance of being prepared. Here are the 10 things I keep in my truck at all times in a large plastic tub. My wife and boys and I often hike the mountains and have ventured cross-country many times from the Atlantic to Pacific on three to four-week long road trips. How can you stay prepared for a ride to the grocery store or a trip through the Desert Southwest?
1- A Tire Gauge
Making sure your tires are the correct pressure is a big safety issue. Make sure to check your tires when the weather changes. Also, keep one in the dash in case you think you might have a small leak. Every car needs this simple tool.
2- Jumper Cables
I can't tell you how many women have come up to me and said, "Sir, can you jump me off?" Be that guy or gal that can always come to the rescue of a friend who has a dead battery or the stranded stranger. It's ok if you need to Google how, so as not to have the battery blow up in your face.
3- A Roll of Toilet Paper & Paper Towels
For the kid or adult that spills or has a sudden nose bleed in 27 lanes of Atlanta traffic you never know when you need to have some tissue. This has saved me countless times from hiking to working to shopping with the kiddos. Let's be honest, sometimes you gotta go, and sometimes the kids do, too. In the woods or on the side of the road a roll of toilet paper is sometimes the staff of life.
4- A Blanket
Having a blanket in my truck has saved me tons of times when I needed to transport a piece of furniture or artwork. You can wrap anything fragile you need to place in the back of the truck bed or trunk. An old wool army blanket is the best to keep. It is strong, fire retardant and antibacterial. I live in the South so freezing to death in a snowstorm is not as likely as in the Mid-west but you can become stranded in the cold and a blanket can make the night safer and more comfortable should you be stranded for a long time. I also keep emergency foil blankets in my pack for just such an emergency.
5- Bungee Cords
You never know what you may need to tie down. This is a simple one, keep a couple bungees of different sizes to tie down a tarp or a piece of equipment. Once, in my case, a huge 150 year old French chandelier needed to be tied down going through Atlanta's high speed traffic.
6- Jack and Flat Tire Accessories
This is a no brainer! Most vehicles come with a jack standard but make sure you have it and know where you can find the jack. Even if you call AAA they will most likely ask you where it is located. Consider carrying some fix a flat and a battery operated tire inflator just in case you can't get a call out on your phone.
7- Plastic Baggies and/or Trash Bag
Plastic bags come in handy for a tailgate, picnic, dirty diapers and so many other accidents or spills. You can also use them in emergency situations in so many ways. I keep a box of both ziplock and garbage bags in my truck at all times.
8- First Aid Kit
My son was stung by a jelly fish while swimming at Edisto Beach State Park in South Carolina recently. I took him to my truck, and voila, I had ointment in my First Aid Kit to stop the sting. A friend has a headache shopping and there I have the Advil. A first aid kit is so important for minor injuries and problems but it could save yours or another victim's life during a car crash. I also carry wound stop with me for a large chest wound. Prayers, I never use that one.
9- Work Gloves
This item I keep at the ready in my truck console. They come in handy when I need to do yard work, move a large piece of furniture or work with something and I don't want to tear my hands to smithereens. Ladies you can get pink ones, too. I keep several pairs of Mechanic's Gloves with me, one in the garden shed, one in my truck and one in my hiking bag.
10- A Flash Light
The car quits, the battery goes dead, how do you see at night? How do you signal help? Always keep a flash light or two with you. If you are handy and can work on the car you may need to see. They also come in handy for many tasks, and by having one or three in your vehicle you always have one at the ready. Another tip is to carry a few chemical light sticks in your emergency roadside kit.
Optional Number 11- Defense?
I'll leave this one to your personal taste but if you are stranded think about how you might protect yourself and your loved ones... Pepper spray, fire arm, taser, billy club etc.
Runner Up... Duct Tape
Duct tape has so many uses from stopping a leaking hose to creating a splint for a broken bone and so many more.
Second Runner Up... Windex
Yes, My Big Fat Greek Wedding Fans, this is so useful to clean your windshield on long treks and get stains out of the upholstery. I guess you could even use it for defense!