A lot of newer cars are stone-cold reliable and there's not much to worry about other than a flat tire or an empty fuel tank if you are inattentive. Or a fire for the Tesla, Ferarri, and 3800 V6 folk (I know, cheap shot). Alongside that, many, many other cars are older, heavily modified, or both. With age and deviation-from-stock there comes a certain degree of risk involved in driving on the road.

So after a situation last week involving a pothole, a 265/30/20, and another larger pothole I figured it might be worth starting a discussion among the community about what constitutes a proper emergency bag.

So I'll start with what I typically roll with in my two cars.


First, the daily driver.

1.) Can of fix-a-flat (for non UHP tires only). Kind of a funky thing to use but if you are in a real bind in somewhere dangerous, it's good to have. Better to waste a tire than get hurt on the side of an interstate in the snow. Tire guys hate it but it's a last resort.


2.) Portable air compressor and quality tire gauge. The most important thing in the trunk. The little air compressor will also alert people to your presence on the side of the road, because it will be so unearthly loud that they can hear you for miles. Run the engine with the compressor if you can, it will fill the tires faster and run better.

3.) AAA card or equivalent. Whatever estimated arrival time they give you, double it just in case. Watch them if they work on the car like give it a jump start as sometimes they are careless or just flat morons. THIS MEANS YOU, DICKHEAD WHO FRIED MY IGNITION MODULE WITH A POOR JUMP.

4.) Emergency blanket, which might seem a bit extreme. Until you get in an accident during the winter that kills your car's engine and therefore your only source of heat. And the aforementioned AAA crew says they will be there in 2 hours. Can also be used to keep your significant other warm so they take it easy on the tongue-lashing you rightfully deserve for that pitiful impression of Parnelli Jones.

5.) First Aid kit and flashlight. A D cell maglight can be stripped down into a wrench extension for your lug wrench in a pinch.

6.) $50 in cash in case you need fuel. Not booze. Be vigilant.

7.) Jumper cables. Red to Red, Black to unpainted ground. Know it. Live it. Be it.

All pretty basic stuff. My car is pretty new and there's not much to really go wrong at this point. A working cell phone negates the need for a lot of extra stuff that would just roll around in the trunk.

Second, the 60's muscle car.

This is significantly different than the above DD. I've touched just about every bolt and system on this car so there's more to go wrong, and since it's much simpler technologically there's a lot more I can fix on the side of the road without burning a AAA or Hagerty emergency call. I'm not going to be doing a cam swap or install headers on the side of the road, but a leaky hose or bad electrical connection is only a few minutes of downtime. So here's what I've got:

1.) A working automotive fire extinguisher (in the cabin)- secured down. Big enough for an engine fire. Checked before each season. You can get a regular ABC but you'll make a hell of a mess. Far too many guys have lost their cars due to the lack of fire suppression or an expired sprayer. Also, in an accident it will fly around and could be a hazard, so I mounted mine with brackets.

The rest of this stuff is in a small to medium sized duffel bag in the trunk. A 25 pound duffel bag, but still, it's not that big and doesn't take up much space in the least.

2.) 10 piece SAE wrench set since Metric shit is for commies. Two extra 9/16" wrenches of different sizes.

3.) Basic 21 piece 3/8 drive socket set. A spark plug socket wouldn't hurt to have, either.

4.) Electrical pliers and a plastic jar with 6' of 10 gauge, 6' of 14 gauge, electrical tape, shrink wrap and a smattering of ring and blade terminals. Electrical gremlins can be a real pain in the ass. Best to be prepared for a fried wire or to quickly modify a circuit if you are stuck.

5.) Box cutter/utility knife. For general cutting. Or field dressing that deer you hit because hey, venison is tasty and it's just going to go to waste.

6.) Channel lock slip joint and needle nose pliers. Any brand as long as they are big enough, but Channel-Lock if you love America.

7.) Adjustable wrench for the off-sized or stuck fasteners. A last resort in a lot of cases and can turn a damaged bolt head from hex to circle better and faster than a HAAS CNC machine if you are not careful.

8.) Basic Phillips and flathead screwdriver set and additional prybar. Every time you pry with a flat blade screwdriver a motorhead spins a rod bearing. Please, think of the innocent crank journals.

9.) Fuse kit. Hey, you never know. Sometimes a loose wire can short and all the sudden BANG, your ass is driving home in the dark like Junior Johnson with a trunk full of 'shine.

10.) Flashlight with working batteries.

11.) Air compressor and tire gauge, serving double duty for airdowns at the race track.

12.) First aid kit and flares. Just in case.

13.) Duct tape, bailing wire, and a cigarette lighter. The basics. All purpose stuff. Lighter used for shrink wrap on wires if need be. Duct tape on the aforementioned angry passenger if required.

14.) A hammer. This hammer will "touch this", that, and anything around it when I use it in a frustrated rage. Hell, it will touch my front windshield if I feel like it.

15.) Misc spare parts, like extra 1/4 and 3/8 bolts and nuts of various sizes, hose clamps, a few feet of vacuum hose, and extra belts. You never know what will fall off the car because it vibrated itself out of position.

So that's my rundown. I'm sure I'm missing some stuff. What do you guys and girls carry?