11 Things to Have in Your Car’s Emergency Kit for Summer Road Trips

Winter emergency kits for your car are well known, but what about summer kits? Here are some things everyone should include in their summer car emergency kit.

With the school year coming to a close, you and your family are getting ready for a long-awaited cross-country road trip. As a responsible driver you have:

  • Taken your vehicle to a mechanic to be inspected;
  • Washed your car thoroughly inside and out;
  • Filled your gas tank to the brim;
  • Purchased an Atlas (in case you are lost with no cell reception);
  • Gotten plenty of rest in order not to become fatigued while traveling.

However, as you pack up the car, you realize that you do not have an emergency kit.

“During a summer road trip”, you wonder, “Do I really need a vehicle emergency kit?”

Yes, and these 11 items should be included.

1 / 11
car emergency kit Car having problems on the road
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Visibility Equipment

Keep visibility equipment such as flares or reflective hazard triangles in your vehicle in case of roadside trouble. Consider an LED flameless flare which will last longer than its traditional counterpart.

2 / 11
drinking water in car
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Hydration is key when it comes to summer safety, so be sure to keep water in your vehicle at all times.

3 / 11
stripped blanket
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You may not need the blanket to stay warm, but you can use a reflective emergency blanket for shade. If you don’t have a reflective blanket, the blanket from your winter car survival kit will work to shade you from the blistering sun.

4 / 11
small tool kit

A Small Tool kit

It would be nice to have every automotive tool on hand in case of a breakdown, however, this is not realistic. Even so, you should always carry a small toolkit in your car that includes an adjustable wrench, duct tape, a couple of screwdrivers, a utility knife and pliers. In many cases, a simple fix may be all you need to get you back on the road.

5 / 11
first aid kit
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First Aid Kit

A first aid kit should be part of every car emergency kit. Include some ointment, gauze, bandages, adhesive tape and tweezers. For those with life-threatening allergies, include an EpiPen.

6 / 11
putting on sunscreen


Purchase a couple sunscreen sticks to keep in your glove compartment or your first aid kit for times you’re stuck in the sun. When they’re empty, you can use them as a clever way to store cash in your car.

7 / 11


Flashlights are one thing every DIYer should own, and it’s smart to keep one in your car. An LED flashlight is a good option since the batteries and the bulb will last a long time.

8 / 11
car phone charger
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Phone Charger

The last thing you need when stranded is for your phone to die. Keep a spare charger in the car, but don’t use it to charge your phone regularly.

9 / 11
tire pressure gauge

Tire Sealant and Gauge

You can stop a flat tire before it happens with tire sealant, which can quickly repair the punctures up to 1/4-inch in diameter in the tire’s tread area. Make sure it’s an item on your car emergency kit list. Additionally, make sure that you keep a tire pressure gauge on hand and check your tire pressure on a regular basis.

10 / 11
car jumper cables
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Jumper Cables

Jumper cables can come in handy throughout the year, not just during the winter months, and should be part of any vehicle emergency kit. If you are going to jump start a car, be sure to know how to do it safely before attempting to do so.

11 / 11
granola bar snacks


Keep some snacks, that won’t melt, such as granola, dried fruit and nuts in your car emergency kit. Use a recycled container for storage.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.