If you’re on the road a lot you need a survival kit. I was on leave a couple months back and driving a mountain pass when a snowstorm hit suddenly. The snow plows hadn’t yet arrived and the roads rapidly became very treacherous.  Cars were getting stuck on the side of the road every 10-20 feet and a thought occurred to me. How many of these people are prepared to survive the night at this altitude if they were to get stranded here? Perhaps a few had extra water on hand. But how many had enough gas to keep their cars running and heated until rescue? How many had clothing appropriate to the -10 F temperatures? Emergency services were quick to arrive.

As a survival instructor, my car survival kit tends to be on the extreme side. Your survival kit will vary depending on how many family members you have. I have 4 including myself that could possibly be in a survival situation. In general, there are 5 main things that can contribute to your survival in an isolating situation that you should focus on.

  1. Health (Psychological / Physical)
  2. Personal Protection (Clothing, Shelter, Fire)
  3. Sustenance (Water, Food)
  4. Communication (Cell phone, GPS locator, Radio, signaling devices)
  5. Travel


I have several Individual First Aid Kits which contain the following in a vacuum sealed container; Nitrile Gloves (some people have a latex allergy), SWAT-T tourniquet and or Combat Application Tourniquet, nasal airway, chest seal, quick clot, gauze, and Israeli bandage. Besides the IFAK’s I also have the basics bandages, aspirin, Epi-pen, Neosporin, and medical tape. If you or any family members take medications you should carry spares with you as necessary. Be advised that some meds do expire so make sure you check them as necessary.

Personal Protection

I have weather appropriate clothing in the car, thick jackets, gaiters and insulated boots during winter. Hats, sunglasses and long-sleeved thin light colored shirts for summer. For Shelter, I have enough ponchos for my family which can easily be made into shelters when used with 550 cord. For very cold weather I also have cold weather appropriate sleeping bags that I add as needed. I have a tinder kit with which I can get a fire going comfortably in under 5 minutes in adverse conditions (Metal match, lighter, cotton balls soaked with Vaseline, wetfire and ESEE-4 knife). And while not specific to this article, ensure you have the necessary equipment to protect yourself within the laws of your state and or country (example: a firearm).

Sealed medical kit, signal mirror, bag of Vaseline soaked cotton balls, metal match, road flare and knife. A good start to a survival kit that can get you out of many situations.


My car has 3 gallons of water in it in CamelBak’s, and besides that, I carry iodine tablets, a canteen cup, and a water purifier. Food is less of an issue as you can go 3 weeks without it (Although after 1 week of no food you do feel awful). I have several packets of Datrex emergency rations to supplement food in an isolating situation.

Cheap, portable, and affordable. You can’t go wrong with iodine, I’ve purified some very questionable water sources using iodine.


Cell phones are great however they don’t always get service. Getting a call out to help can in many cases mean the difference between life and death. I carry a large signal mirror, emergency blanket, external cell phone battery, road flares and my tinder kit. Each of these provides redundancies in signaling for help. And should all of them fail, make a big freaking fire with lots of live vegetation to create a giant smoke signal as that typically gets the ball rolling when stateside.


Everything is packed into 2 moderate sized packs (and one Camelbak) which can be carried should the need arise. A Garmin GPS is always in my bags if travel is necessary. Travel is one of my last options but if needed, everything is neatly packed and ready to go.

I have way more survival equipment than I’ll ever need. But my days are spent teaching survival and reading story after story of families perishing or nearly dying because of a lack of preparedness. Better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it. Besides having the equipment ensure you have the necessary training to properly use it. Make sure you are in good physical condition to survive whatever life can throw at you. Stay safe out there.


*Featured photo courtesy of Pixabay