I have 5 nieces and nephews between the ages of 18 -22, who all are now licensed to drive in different States and have their own cars. The parents of my nieces and nephews are members of AAA and have extended their membership to include their children, so they have the benefit of AAA towing and/or battery jumping service, if they are in an area that is serviced by an AAA affiliated station. But as many of us older drivers know from our experience, sometimes you just have to rely on what you already have in your vehicle to deal with an unexpected situation. That is why many of us have some form of Automobile Emergency Bag in our vehicles, to address that possibility.
As a “car guy”, I decided that for their combined Christmas and Birthday presenst this year, that I would custom prepare an Automobile Emergency Bag for each of them. This is not to be confused with a Go Bag or Bug-Out Bag, but a bag that will be stored in the trunk of their respective cars and filled with items that, from my experience, will be useful in case of various automobile emergencies, including a flat tire, dead battery, fender-bender accident or off-road crash scenario. I decided to purchase all of these items separately, instead of just buying one of many available pre-packaged kits/bags because I wanted to ensure that all items are of good quality, something that is definitely compromised in most of these other packaged emergency bags. This exercise has snow-balled and I have now spent far more than my original budget estimate for each bag, but rationalize that these new drivers in my extended family are worth it. I know already that their parents are thrilled with the idea for it adds to their peace of mind when their kids are on the road, since they already are deeply concerned about the increase of accidents caused by distracted driving, etc.
BTW, the bag itself is a 20 inch Bucket Boss 60020 Gatemouth Tool Bag, the same bag I have in my vehicles, that is large enough to hold all of these items and constructed using quality materials. All of these items make the bags rather heavy but that really is not a big issue since it will reside in the trunk of their vehicles. I know that most people have their “list” of what the most important items are to have in this type of bag, so for what it is worth, here is the list of items that I have included in these custom bags.
· Engine Motor Oil – One (1) Quart of same motor oil used in engine, with a small funnel
· Tire Air Gauge – dial analog, (no batteries) tire air pressure gauge
· Jumper Cables - 4 Gauge, 500 Amp, 20 Ft. long battery jumper cables in pouch
· Electric Battery Jump Starter – 10-160 PSI, for 4 -6 cylinder engines, by Red Fuel
· First Aid Kit - Surviveware Small First Aid Kit in red canvas case
· Fire Extinguisher – Kidde regular dry chemical for (B) flammable liquids & © electrical equip.
· Standard Electric Tire Inflator / Pump – Plugs into car’s 12V cigarette power outlet
· Extendable Lug Wrench – Extends from 15 in. to 22 in., by Black Jack (11/16” – 22mm)
· Safety Vest - Neiko high visibility neon yellow safety vest (Size: XL)
· Small Tools - Cruz Tools Speedkit Compact Tool Kit in a cylindrical blue fabric case
· Emergency Reflector Warning Triangles – Set of 3 collapsible/foldable in orange case
· Heavy Duty Tow Strap with Hooks - (2in. x 20 Ft. / 10,000 lbs), by Capri
· Flashing Emergency Roadside LED Lights - (Pack of 3 in orange case)
(Note: Need to unscrew/loosen the 2 screws on back and remove paper strip from batteries)
· Fix-A-Flat Can– Flat tire inflator and sealer (16 oz aerosol can)
· Gasoline Siphon Pump – GasTapper manual siphon pump w/ access sleeve, guide & fuel tubes
· Foldable Tire Traction Mat – to get unstuck from snow, mud or sand, (2-Pack)
· EVA Rain Jacket – Adult; Size: L / XL, by Coleman & Umbrella, 36 in. Dia., by Totes
· Multi-Tool & Utility Knife – by Leatherman, in a black and red pouch (in ZipLoc Bag)
· Mylar Thermal Blankets – 2 Emergency survival blankets; 52in. x 82in.,(in ZipLoc Bag)
· Rail Clip Knife & Marine Orange Safety Whistle (in ZipLoc Bag)
· LED Aluminum Flash Light – with 2 – AA Batteries (not installed) (in ZipLoc Bag)
· LED Flashlight (3-AAA Batteries) & Mini-Headlamp (2-CR2032 Batteries) (in ZipLoc Bag)
(Note: Batteries are included but not installed, to preserve their charge for when needed)
· Work Gloves – 1 pair of Mechanix Wear FastFit work gloves (Black, Size: Large)
· Auto Duct Tape – 1 roll
· Windshield Washer Fluid, 1 Gallon, by rain-x (bottle could also be used for gasoline)
· Emergency Survival Whistle – orange, (in ZipLoc Bag)
· Paracord – Para/100 heavy duty paracord rope (50 feet)
· Road Maps - Various State & Regional paper AAA road maps, (in ZipLoc Bag)
What else I will recommend to them to possibly add in a second bag or just include in their trunk is a blanket, empty plastic gasoline can and a warm polar fleece jacket and flat soled shoes, all of which make sense but would not fit in the bag I selected. They each have their car’s Owner’s Manual in the glove compartment, along with a hand-held glass breaker / seatbelt cutter. Also, I figure that they will know to bring some water and snacks for longer road trips and I understand that any spare drinking water will freeze in the trunk in the winter months and could break open its container causing a damaging mess.
So what am I missing?