Organization Travel

Car Essentials | From Everyday to Survival Mode

April 3, 2018

I quit Girl Scouts in the 4th grade, but I’d like to say that I’m pretty prepared at all times. 

My dad and I have had the conversation surrounding “how to survive in ___ survival scenario” more times than we’d like to admit, so I figured that we could share some of our knowledge to help you in hopes that you never really need to use it.

I do my best to think about what is multi-purpose for both “normal” and “survival” uses, so keep that in mind. 

I’ve put together a list of what I keep in my car at all times, broken down by specific location, and included a list of what I think I still need to add or changes I plan to make.

If you can think of anything else to add to this list, make sure to leave them in the comments below!


Things that need to be on hand most often (or at least closest).

Lint Roller

I’m always covered in either crumbs or cat hair.

Is it crazy to say I have a favorite lint rollerYou don’t need to answer that.

CDs & Audiobook

I like to have these just in case I’m not in cell range or my phone battery is dying. 

The audio-book I always have in my car is about Steve Jobs (maybe one day I’ll get all the way through it).


I usually chuck some in my purse, but keeping a cheap pair in my car is always a good backup for either me or a friend.

Belt Cutter/Window Breaker

This is an item that you can use to cut yourself out of a seat belt and/or break your window if you get stuck.

I hope I never hope to use this, but it’s always good to have on hand just in case.


You never know when your hair needs to go up. I always have a few hair bands in my purse, but I’ve kept this in my car forever. It’s strong enough to hold things together for a bit if needed. I also wrap it around my lint roller so it doesn’t clank as much.


I would say that I keep this in my trunk (& I used to), but too many people complained that it made a lot of noise rolling around. I’ve shoved in a cup holder in the back of my car and will likely move it to the trunk as I organize my trunk a bit more.


You’ll see a theme of rain-themed items. I guess you could also cut this, as needed, to use the metal or fabric.


The stuff that is necessary, but isn’t used every day.

I recently invested in a trunk organizer, and it has really stepped up my organization game.

Old pair of Sneakers

I have a rotation going when I get a new pair of tennis shoes: I move the oldest ones to the trunk to make space, and donate the ones in the trunk.

You never know when you’re going to need them after a night in heels (or for more survival reasons). I’ve also heard of people putting a pair of heels in the trunk for similar (but opposite) reasons, but the odds are very slim for me to need them.

Survival blanket

This is one of those compact survival blankets in a shiny material that has some science I don’t truly understand. It comes in a very compact package, which is great for a precarious situation but not for going to the park for a picnic. I’d suggest one of those too if that’s the kind of spontaneous adventure you find yourself in often.


I keep these in my car for game-nights with friends or just having something to do. Pictured here are Dutch Blitz and Skip-Bo.

Reusable bags

I like to have these in the car in case I need to run to the grocery store or just have a lot to carry.

Rain jacket (with hood)

The rain jacket pictured is warm, and weathers the elements well. It’s from my sorority in college, but this rain jacket is the one I wear around the most.

Hand Warmers

I used to love these when I was on the drill team in high school, and they always come in handy just in case. Someone left them in the break room at work in our “take me” pile, so I promptly swiped them for my car.

Water bottle

Keeping an empty reusable bottle is always good to have on hand. I usually have one with me in the front, so I just keep an extra in the trunk.

First Aid Kit

Can you really be prepared if you don’t have a Bandaid?

Rain poncho

Am I just really afraid of rain?

Jumper cables

They will either come in handy for you or someone else.


I usually keep these closer to me when it’s winter, but with the weather warming up I’ve moved them to the trunk.

*Since writing this I have added… a tire pressure gauge and a firestarter


Out of sight, but not out of mind.

My car has a center console between the front two seats, and the glove compartment.

Store Cards

I don’t need these in my purse at all times taking up space, but it’s always good to know where they are.

Car Manual

Hopefully I never need to use this, but I’ve got it handy just in case.

Ice Scraper

My car gets super icy in the winter.

Granola Bars

These have come in handy for whenever I’m a bit hangry, or when I pass someone in need while driving.


You can’t always solely rely on your phone.


Half fork, half spoon, all handy.

Roll of Quarters

Sometimes you need something from the vending machine, and sometimes you need pay for parking.


…I spill things a lot…


Throat Lozenges

I took this picture, and then took a look at their expiration date. To be honest, I threw them away and haven’t purchased more. Apparently these don’t come in as handy as I thought?


The items that are in my car because they’re always in my purse.

Swiss Army Knife, Phone Charger, Hair Bands, Tide To-Go Stain Stick, Insurance card, AAA card


The items that I realized I needed to add to my car. If you know of anything else, let me know in the comments below!

This is obviously a fluid list, and I’ll make updates above to what I’ve added and changed!

  • Zip ties
  • Extra clothes (including socks)
  • Duct tape

Am I MacGyver yet?

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  • Reply Alex April 5, 2018 at 8:45 am


  • Reply Nicole Dearborn April 5, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Great ideas! I’m going to add these to my mini-van. I do have several things, perhaps as a mom that I need and always keep in my car. A blanket, waterproof on one side. For those sporting events that don’t have seats, or if it’s just colder than we expected. A roll of paper towels – for that spilled slushie… even after I say, “whatever you do, don’t spill that blue raspberry slushie”. And this is also why I won’t buy a car without leather seats until my kids are adults. Wet wipes – for sticky hands or dried on spills on leather… and extra batteries for head phones. I also keep sunscreen, bug spray, anti-itch cream and a can of fire ant killer in my car. I’m allergic to fire ants and have to spray the ground where I stand for soccer games, or where we pitch the tent for swim meets. It has come in handy on several occasions. Actually – the can is almost gone, I better add that to my Wal-Mart clicklist.

    • Reply alliso98 April 7, 2018 at 9:47 am

      Great ideas, Nicole! Thanks for sharing – I’ll definitely need to add a few of these to my kit 🙂

      xoxo, Allison

  • Reply Lauren Miller April 6, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Love this! Great post!

    • Reply alliso98 April 7, 2018 at 9:46 am

      Thanks, Lauren!

      xoxo, Allison

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