Survival Kit1
Credit: Author

Looming economic collapse, the implementation of martial law, a catastrophic natural disaster;  I’ll allow you to choose your poison,  however it’s becoming more difficult to ignore the plethora of events whose likelihood of transpiring is increasing. 

There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways you can prepare for a perceived disaster, but there is one preparation that is often overlooked in the growing population of ‘Preppers’, and that is creating a survival pack for your vehicle.  Perhaps like many of you reading, I already had a bug out bag at my home along with extra food, water, and supplies apart from the pack.  However, the more I sat in traffic during rush hour the more I realized that if some event where to take place and I was forced to abandon my vehicle, I would have little to no supplies to aid in my survival.  Naturally this led to me creating a simple, vehicle specific pack utilizing basic survival knowledge.

Survival Kit2
Credit: Author

My thoughts on what should be in a vehicular survival pack assume the purpose of the pack is to help one travel to one’s home (or equivalent) in an area that they are familiar with and is not more than about a day’s walk away.  However, this is not by any means the extent of a vehicular packs versatility or potential.

Water and Container

Ironically, urban and suburban areas can be very difficult terrain to find potable (drinkable) water even though the tap water is clean.  If the power goes out and the taps stop running, finding a safe water source could become an immediate problem.  Having a decent sized bottle to hold water is essential and should be full of water at all times in the pack.  There are many different options regarding bottles, but the most versatile would be something made of metal.  This gives you the ability to boil water for disinfection or food preparation in an extended survival situation.

In addition to a bottle full of water, I also have packed a compact water filter straw which can be used to drink directly from contaminated water sources without the need for boiling the water.

First Aid

I would recommend creating your own first aid kit because it allows you some discretion when it comes to the quality of the items in the kit.  Another method would be to purchase a high quality kit and then replace the items you doubt are of quality. 

Also do not neglect the fact that many first aid supplies have an expiration date and need to be replaced regularly. Never the less, no matter what method you employ, make sure you are sourcing high quality materials considering it could one day save your life.


Depending on how long it takes you to arrive at your destination, it’s a good idea to pack food for at least one day.  Canned food works great for this purpose but can pose a problem if they become overheated in the car.  An alternative would be to use ration bars which can be bought through multiple online retailers.  The benefit is that most of them come in vacuum sealed bags which extend their already long shelf life.

Food Rations
Credit: Author


Many people will view this item as a luxury; however, I have come to view it as a necessity.  In a situation where hundreds or even thousands of people are in the streets or are trying to get home just as you are, the need to know where the dangers are and where they may be headed will be invaluable information.  If you’ve had to abandon your vehicle you will no longer have access to its radio function and therefore will not be able to receive news broadcasts. 

It’s likely that news agencies and radio DJs will continue to broadcast information as an event unfolds and they might have information you will be able to use.  In order to ensure I can access this potential information I have packed a small hand crank/solar radio which does not rely on non-rechargeable batteries or a power outlet to function.

Keeping Warm and Sleep

The first defense against the cold are the clothes on your body.  If you’re like me and don’t often wear thick clothes in cold weather it’s a good idea to pack some extra clothes or a sleeping bag in case you have to sleep in the elements.  A more compact alternative is a Mylar blanket which are very efficient at retaining body heat and folded up are about the size of a post-it note.


If your situation becomes one of days and not hours, having multiple ways of making a fire may be a necessity.  To increase your likelihood of making a successful fire, I would recommend packing at least two completely different fire making utensils.  I personally pack one Bic lighter (cigarette lighter) and one Ferro Rod. With this method, I don’t have to worry as much if one of my utensils is lost or damaged.

Fire Starting Tools
Credit: Author

Cutting Tool

A knife can not only provide you with a way to hunt, cut cordage, and make a fire; most importantly in an urban situation,  it can be used to defend yourself and your possessions.


The uses one could find for cordage in many survival situation are nearly endless.  In a short term situation it’s unlikely in my opinion that you would end up needing it, but it doesn’t hurt to pack at least a few feet of paracord.  550 paracord is a good option because of its ability to support heavy weight and the fact that it has multiple inner strands of cord on the inside.   


A compass may or may not be needed in a situation where you are familiar with the area.  Having a basic compass that simply demonstrates the basics (north, south, east, west) should suffice for this purpose.  If you plan on packing a map of your area in the pack, I would recommend learning to use a base plate compass which can be used to plot a route on a physical map.

My Vehicle Survival Pack

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments below.