What's in your vehicle emergency kit

I ride late in the evening, often, due to work. Now that it’s getting dark earlier, I’m starting to put together an emergency kit in my car for the non-horse related issues that I might encounter at the barn. I’m interested to know what other COTHers have!

My contribution: a car battery charger that helps me if it’s 9 pm, I get in my car to go home, my car battery is dead, and roadside assistance will take two hours to get to me (if they can find me). Also, a headlamp.

For that scenario, I would probably add an extra jacket or blanket and some snacks and water. Make sure you have what you need to change a flat tire and have a way to charge your cell phone.

When I go longer distances in my old truck, I bring a jug of antifreeze and a quart of oil, and for my most recent trip bought a reflective road marker. There are portable tire inflaters, but their capacity didn’t seem like it would be useful for the amount of air needed for a truck tire, but something to consider.


Bottled water and some sort of granola bar! Cell phone charger. First aid kit. Tire changing stuff and a decent spare. Rain poncho / coat.

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Kits can be localized to your area. Kentucky folks will probably never need a small shovel like Michigan or Wisconsin folks might. Electric or duct tape is always good in a kit. A good spare tire, an extra windshield wiper, IF you know how to put it on. Same for that headlight. Buy a new battery if car is iffy. Or learn to turn off all electric accessories that can drain off your battery’s power. Over MANY years of driving, I have never needed a jump kit. A set of jumper cables and knowing how to use them, has let me help OTHERS needing starting help. A tow strap can be quite helpful, takes up minimum space. Do you have good tires? Problems can be avoided with good tires under you.

A couple small LED flashlights, some extra batteries for them. A space blanket, plus a real, fuzzy blanket for warmth. WARM Gloves, plus work gloves, extra sweatshirt. LED light with magnets to stick outside the car. Saves your car battery, works if car lights don’t. Great for if trailer lights fail you. Should be able to blink in the settings.

I carry energy bars in a plastic zip lock box. No smell to attract varmints. Water is always recommended, but it can freeze in very cold locations, might make a mess popping the top off. A safety, reflective vest in orange for winter, kept under the drivers seat. Put it ON when pulled off on the roadside and BEFORE getting out! Others can’t avoid you if they can’t see you!! The lime color does not contrast well in snow storms or against snow, for being visible. Though the reflective stripes work anytime a light shines on them! Available at farm stores like TSC or Family Farm.

Small tools, screwdrivers, both flat and plillips ends. Pliers, utility knife, wire cutters. A long length of binder twine or parachute cord.

I like the headlamp!

These things fit pretty well in an old small satchel

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some cash


A portable compressor to inflate tires. Your spare tire does you no good if it’s lost all its air in the bed of your trunk. And a can or two of Slime.

Check your tire removal kit to make sure that you are carrying the lug wrench that works for your car and not the lug wrench that fits the other family car by mistake. (Don’t be me.)

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I don’t consider it an emergency kit necessarily, but this is the stuff I’ve found useful enough to keep in my car and can remember at the moment:

Air compressor (works off the lighter)
Jack, tire iron, and breaker bar
Halon fire extinguisher
Old bath towel
Shop towels
A variety of flat and phillips head screwdrivers
2 quarts oil
Hand sanitizer
A variety of personal care items (hair ties, lotion, tampons, nail file, etc)
Paper atlas and maps
Phone charger with extra bricks for lighter and wall
Extra hard and soft case for glasses, cleaning cloth
Camp chair
Halter and lead rope (I pick up cheapies from the used bin at the tack shop… have needed to catch horses or given these away to people who broke theirs more than once!)

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I stash this duo everywhere, like a squirrel.


Ditto what everyone else said —I also carry flares and traffic cones. One other biggie for me is a set of hospital scrubs that say “Surgery” on the back in big white letters (got them at GoodWill). If I do need to change a tire or do something that gets me filthy, I can change into my scrub set before or after. Always comfy! I even have rubber clogs incase my feet get wet or muddy. This comes from years ago, when occasionally the kid would take a dive into a water jump and we didn’t want her to drive home wet --and I kept the set when she went off on her own. I have worn them more for “cool off” when I’ve done something that made me hot/sweaty and didn’t want to feel icky on the drive home --keep them clean and tidy in a plastic ziplock bag . . .

My boyfriend gave me some dorky looking mats you can put under your tires for traction. I was dubious, but they DO work. I’ve been fortunate not to test them in dire situations or even on a road, but they’ve kick started me out of a couple parking situations (one just wet grass on a hill…parked in a paddock for a wedding, lol. Another time ice in the barn parking lot). I could have waited/called for help, but I wanted to leave right then, and these worked! So I would definitely recommend as a way to maybe get yourself going out of a barn parking lot at 9pm before you call in back-up.

I would agree with warm clothes, blanket, safety vest, cash, snacks, extra charger. Maybe a book of sudoku or something if you are looking to pass the time and worried about phone charge/aren’t one to play on it, lol.

And another vote for halter and lead! I know it’s not what you’re asking, but after catching the neighbouring farm’s horses with stirrup leathers this summer (hey, there’s always some tack in the car), I stuffed a dedicated halter and lead under the passenger seat.