10 Items Everyone Should Keep In Their Car -Survival Edition

In this article, we will be discussing the 10 items everyone should keep in their car! The article starts with a look at the importance of having a knife in your car, not only for self-defense but also for emergency situations like cutting through seatbelts. Glass breakers and battery backups are also essential items to have, as they can potentially be life-saving. Topics covered in the ten include the importance of having an emergency blanket or a thick wool blanket in your vehicle, especially in freezing weather.  We also delve into the significance of having a comprehensive first aid kit in your car, with bandages, gauze, rubber gloves, and more.  Finally, we touch upon the importance of having a flashlight, road flares, and other signalling devices to ensure road safety. Read on to see a break down all the essential items everyone should keep in their car!

We are going to talk to you about the ten items that everyone should keep in their car at all times. And these are going to be the kind of typical items that probably came with your car already. I’m not going to tell you to keep jump leads and a spare tire and your owner’s manual in your car. You should already have all that stuff. These are going to be additional items that protect you and your family in emergency situations or to allow you to be the hero if you come across an emergency situation. So let’s jump right into it items you should keep in your vehicle. So the first item that every man should keep in his car is going to be a knife.

1: A Knife – The usefulness of a knife in emergency situations 

Now a knife is an incredibly versatile tool and can come in handy in any number of situations. But in terms of your car survival, there are a couple of specific situations which I think having a knife is a crucial item and one of those is just going to be self-defense. Car thefts and muggings happen all the time within vehicles, and you also have to worry about road rage. That is kind of a big concern these days. But there is another critical reason why I want you to have a knife in your car, and really any knife at all, and that is for emergency situations and to help you escape seatbelts. There are many knives available that have a blade specifically designed for cutting seatbelts. So if you get into a vehicle and let’s say your vehicle rolls over and you can’t quite reach the lever, if you have access to your knife, you can easily cut through that seatbelt.

Or if you’re trying to get your family members out of a car as well, having a blade that can cut through seatbelts and can cut through their seatbelt and release them. Now, your knife doesn’t actually necessarily have to have a seatbelt-specific blade, but really having any kind of blade there to cut through seatbelts to help your family and you escape a vehicle or if you come across another vehicle that’s flipped over and you’re trying to rescue people and get them out, having a blade that can cut through the seatbelt to help them evacuate that car can literally be the difference between life and death. That is very, very critical and why I really think that everybody should have a knife in their car specifically for that situation of a car flipping over and you have to rescue and help somebody get out and they’re tangled up in their seatbelt.  And this brings us to item number two that I want you to keep in your car, and that is going to be a glass breaker.

2: Glass Breaker

There are a number of knives that have this feature built into the butt of the knife. So once again, if you find yourself in a flipped-over vehicle, having this glass breaker right here to shatter the glass can literally be the difference between life and death and you evacuating that vehicle or you being trapped inside. And I do believe that having a glass breaker like this is really a must-have in anybody’s vehicle. You don’t necessarily have to have a knife that has one on it. A lot of these tactical pens that you can get fairly cheap, £10-20, they have a glass breaker on the back of it as well. So if you wanted to go with just your standard pocket knife in your centre console next to your gear stick, as well as a tactical pen like this with a glass breaker on the back of it, you could do that. They also have keychains that have these glass breakers built into them and various other tools. But I really do think that having some sort of glass breaker in your vehicle so you can shatter the glass and evacuate, and having some sort of blade in your vehicle so you can cut through the seatbelt and help people evacuate are two must-have items in everyone’s vehicle.

3: A Flashlight

So the next item that I think everyone should keep in their car is going to be a flashlight. So emergencies don’t just happen in the daytime. They often happen at nighttime. In fact, it’s probably much more likely to happen at nighttime when your visibility is lower. Plus up here in Scotland and for most parts of the UK, the winter is essentially nighttime! And if you have a flat tire or you go off into a ditch or you have a car accident at nighttime, having a flashlight is going to be critical. Now, there are a couple of different options here. You could just go with a standard cheapo flashlight you buy at the petrol station, something that’s just an LED flashlight. But one thing that I really like is a headlamp, or head torch. Headlamps are really, really nice in emergency situations or situations where you need to use your hand to do something.

Even if you’re just trying to change your tire at night, having a head torch so that your hands are free is going to be a really nice luxury. And I often recommend headlamps for people who are camping or for your emergency survival bag or any kind of emergency prep situation. And I definitely think that having a head torch in your car is going to be crucial as well.

The next option is a flashlight /lantern combo, a big rechargeable flashlight/lantern with a solar panel built into it. And what I like about these is you obviously have a directional light, but you also open it up and then you’ve got a lantern. You can buy these with standard batteries (good because you may forget to charge it, but make sure to keep a spare set of batteries in your car), but it also has a rechargeable battery built into it, which you can charge from a USB port. So just like this, you could charge this from your vehicle and that way you know that you always have a charged light. Or charge it direct from a portable power station – see number 9.

Having a flashlight is going to be a critical item in your vehicle’s emergency kit.

4: First Aid Kit

The next item that everyone should keep in their car is going to be a first aid kit. And you’d be surprised how many people do not have first aid kits, even though literally hundreds of thousands of people die in car accidents every single year. This is definitely a must-have. And if you do not have a first aid kit somewhere in your vehicle, you need to go buy one right now. And they don’t need to be all that elaborate. Literally £5 to £20, you can get a very in-depth first aid kit that has everything that you need in a motor vehicle situation. Now, one thing with the first aid kits is that your goal is not necessarily to perform surgery or save somebody’s life if you come across a car accident. Your only real goal is to prolong their lives until an ambulance gets there. You don’t have to do anything elaborate, just keep them alive until an ambulance gets there. And for most situations, all you’re really going to need is just some bandages and gauze in case somebody has any open wounds. You can put some pressure on there, keep them from bleeding out until the professionals until the EMTs get there. Now, one item that you do want to make sure your first aid kit has is going to be some rubber gloves. That is definitely going to be a crucial item, especially if you’re dealing with strangers. If you come across a car accident and somebody’s got HIV or something else like that, you don’t necessarily want to get that blood on you. So make sure you have some rubber gloves if you’re going to be dealing with strangers. And you may come across a situation where you do need to help a stranger, but that’s all I really think that you really need in the first aid kit is going to be some rubber gloves, some gauze, and some bandages.

Check out our First Aid Guide.

5: Hand Warmers

So the next item is going to be hand warmers. These will keep warm for 24 hours. I recommend just buying a box of these to keep at home and then stick a few of these in your car. And the real reason why you want one of these is that it’s not uncommon for people to get stuck in traffic jams for 5-10 hours, especially in icy weather when you have multi-car backups. When you see on the news of icy road conditions and there’s a 20-car pile-up and everybody’s just sliding on the ice into this car pile-up, the people that are behind them, that’s the vast majority of people that are going to be impacted and they’re going to be stuck in their cars for a very, very long time as people as the emergency vehicles come and people try to tow away and sort out this massive car accident. This is not a common thing here in the UK but it does happen, I have experienced it.  People get stuck in their cars in freezing cold weather for 8 hours, 10 hours, and sometimes all night long. And when you’re in that situation now, the concern is, do I have enough petrol or charge (electric vehicle) to keep the heater on all night? And a lot of times people don’t. You often see people literally just abandoning their cars. They have friends or something come pick them up. There are any number of situations where you could be trapped in your vehicle overnight in freezing cold weather. And having a hand warmer or a few hand warmers could be the difference between life and death or the difference between you getting frostbite and losing your fingers and toes or keeping them. They will stay warm for 24 hours. So absolutely go and buy a box of hand warmers. Keep a lot of them in your house, but also keep a few of them in your car as well.

6: Thermal Blanket and A Blanket

The next item is going to be a thermal blanket or otherwise known as an emergency blanket, space blanket, survival blanket or foil blanket. And something like this is super lightweight, it’s super compact, and they claim to reflect 90% of your heat back at you. Now, you may look at this and say, “This thing’s so thin and so lightweight, it couldn’t possibly do anything.” But these things are designed to be super-efficient at reflecting your body’s heat back towards you. And something like this could absolutely keep you pretty warm in an emergency situation. And you want to have an emergency blanket for the same reason that you want to have hand warmers, just that there are a lot of situations where you could get trapped in your vehicle overnight, especially in freezing cold weather. And having something like this could be the difference between life and death. Now, if you don’t want to go this route, you don’t want to buy an emergency blanket or a thermal blanket, you can also just buy a really thick wool blanket. I love wool blankets. This is incredibly versatile these things are just super, super thick and will definitely keep you warm, provide a lot of insulation, or at the very least, get any type of blanket that you have. Just have some sort of emergency blanket in your car, in the boot of your car, wherever it is, just in case you and your family do have to spend the night in your vehicle, a road trip gone wrong and in case you need it, it is there.

7: Flares, Lantern, Emergency Light

So the next item that you want to keep in your car is going to be flares or an emergency light like this. One of the scariest things is when you’re driving on a motorway and then suddenly out of nowhere, there’s a broken-down car in the middle of the motorway. Or maybe you’re driving at night and there’s a broken-down car in the middle of a twisty country road. This happens all the time, and I’m surprised by how many people do not have some sort of signal or flares or emergency light to help show people that there is a broken-down car here and you’ve got to avoid it. And there are many, many accidents that happen for this specific reason, that there’s a car broken down. People don’t see it until the very last minute. So having something to light the way and alert oncoming drivers is crucial to have in your vehicle. This is kind of a must-have. You either have to have an emergency light that can stand alone and alert oncoming drivers or have some road flares. Don’t be that person who breaks down on the road and doesn’t even turn on their indicators or try to signal to people that there is a broken-down car in the road.

This little emergency light that has a variety of different signals that you can use, is invaluable. Some of these also have a built-in flashlight and a magnet on the back, so you can easily attach them to the back of your vehicle to make sure people see them. The battery lasts for 3-8 hours, which is quite useful. I prefer having a light like this rather than road flares because road flares have other hazards associated with them. Additionally, once you use a road flare, you can’t reuse it, whereas, with this emergency light, you can use it multiple times. If you run out of petrol and only need to use it for an hour, you can still have it in your vehicle for future use. Go for reusable batteries, AA or AAA batteries.

Another option if you don’t have an emergency light or road flares is to use glow sticks. I bought a pack of 100 of these a while ago, and I keep some in my vehicles. While they may not be as bright or effective as an emergency light, they can still serve as an alternative signal. If you don’t have any other options, having some glow sticks in your car can help alert people to a broken-down or stranded vehicle, especially at night. However, it’s recommended to have either an emergency light or road flares for better visibility and safety.

8: Power Station / Backup Battery

So the next item you should keep in your car is a backup battery charger. Once I discovered these, I fell in love with them. I have several of these and they have proven to be incredibly useful. You can find them for as cheap as £20 or up to around £2000, depending on the brand and capacity. A backup battery charger like can give you two to three full charges of your cell phone, and a power station can literally power your phone indefinitely. I always keep one in my car, and when it’s not charging my phone, I make sure to keep it fully charged. I’m often surprised by how often I end up using this device. Life happens, and sometimes you don’t get the chance to charge your phone overnight or you misplace your charging cable. It’s frustrating to start your day with a low battery, but with a backup charger, you can easily charge your phone on the go.

In addition to the backup charger, it’s a good idea to have extra charger cables in your car. This way, you can keep your main charger in your car and use different cables for different devices. For example, if you have an Android phone but your passenger has an Apple device, having an extra charger cable will come in handy. It’s important to ensure that your backup charger and cables are compatible with the devices you and your passengers use. Having a backup battery charger and extra charger cables in your vehicle can be a game-changer, providing convenience and peace of mind. The larger power station can also run a heater, entertainment etc if you were stuck overnight for example.

Jackery Power Explorer 1000

Total Wattage: 1000W

Capacity: 1002WH

Connections: USB C, USB A, 2 Mains Outlets, Car Port

Recharge: Mains or Solar

Jackery Power Explorer 500

Total Wattage: 500W

Capacity: 518WH

Connections: USB C, USB A, Mains Outlet, Car port.

Recharge: Mains or Solar

Beuadens Portable Power

Total Wattage: 150W

Capacity: 166WH

Connections:  multiple USB A, 1 Mains Outlets

Recharge: Mains or Solar

Anker Portable Power

Total Wattage: 200W

Capacity: 256WH

Connections: USB C, USB A, 1 Mains Outlets, Car port

Recharge: Mains or Solar

9: A Multi-Tool

A good multi-tool. I’m always amazed at how many situations I end up using my multi-tool in. It’s an incredibly versatile tool with various useful functions. The pliers, Phillips head, and flathead screwdriver are some of the most commonly used features for me. Additionally, the knife and pliers come in handy on multiple occasions. Having a multi-tool in your vehicle is a must-have for car maintenance and emergency situations. There are many reliable options available. The compact size of a multi-tool makes it easy to keep in your glove compartment or centre console, providing you with a wide range of tools whenever you need them.

Multi-Tool card sets, even smaller but just as handy, these micro tools pack a knife, scissors, a pen, tweezers and more. A very handy and versatile tool.

A multi tool is one of the key items to keep in car and above all others is one things everyone should have in their car.

10: Best of the rest

Lastly, the tenth item you should keep in your vehicle is everything else! hahah Duct tape, ice scraper, warning triangle, de-icer, jumper cables, food, water, and whatever else you deem essential that could be spare medication, spare glasses, spare wheel etc.


I tend to keep most of the kit listed above in dry bags, this way the items are separated and categorised/labelled and no matter what happens they will be dry. Now that you know the 10 must have survival items you should keep in your car at all times. Please Share.

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