Today, I head to Las Vegas to teach a survival course. Las Vegas is only 2.5 hours away so I’m driving instead of flying. Before I make any road trip, whether it’s a short one like this, or a seven-hour drive to Los Angeles, I always go through a quick checklist to make sure I’m prepared and have the gear I need.
Since the gear I use is always changing and I’m always searching for new gear, I want to share with you the current checklist of the items I have in my vehicle.
Before I get to that list, let me share with you one of the most important things I do before going on any road trip. It’s not the sexiest and most exciting thing in the world, but I make sure and check my tire pressure. Most people don’t realize that underinflated tires cause the majority of car crashes.
The reason for this is because a lot of folks have no idea what the correct tire pressure is for their car. You see, if you open your driver’s side door and look on the inside panel you’ll see a listing for your tire pressure. It might be something like 32 PSI (pounds per square inch.)
However, if you look on the tire itself it might say something like 44 PSI.
So if one says 32 and the other says 44, how much air should you put in your tires? Well, I have many friends who are experts when it comes to tire pressure and vehicle safety. And their recommendation is to put 10% less air in than what it says on the tire. In other words, if your tire says 44 PSI, you would put 40 PSI in your tire, which is exactly what I do.
So before you head off on your next road trip or even to work, check your tire pressure. You’ll save money on gas by properly inflating the tires, plus it may save your life if you ever have to make evasive maneuvers in your car.
Once I check my tire pressure and put gas in the vehicle, I quickly make sure I have the items below in the back of my vehicle. Since I live in Southern Utah and go through some pretty remote places, I want to ensure I’m prepared if my car ever breaks down.
- Two 72-hour kits that contain three days of food and water (Why two kits? Because they don’t take up much space and because as I just mentioned, I often travel in the middle of nowhere.)
- One quart of motor oil (Always have extra oil in your car, it’s a small investment that’s well worth it.)
- Full toolbox (I’ve got screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, and a variety of tools if I have to do repairs.)
- Tow Rope (In case someone has to tow you to a gas station or you need the rope to tie down cargo. This rope goes inside my toolbox.)
- Guns (For this particular trip to Las Vegas I will have my Ruger LCP and my Glock 19.)
- Collapsible shovel (You can buy one of these folding shovels at any Army surplus store.)
- Ammunition (I have 100 rounds for every caliber of gun in the vehicle. So I’ll have 100 rounds of 9mm and 100 rounds of .380.)
- Knives (In the toolbox I have a Gerber LMF II. In my 72-hour kits I put a Swedish survival knife.)
- Flashlights (I have four flashlights in my car. Each of the 72-hour kits contains one of the LED flashlights that doesn’t require batteries. You simply squeeze it to generate light. I also have a light in my glove compartment and another in my door compartment.)
- Crowbar (These only cost about $10-15 from Amazon or Walmart and have a variety of uses, from self-defense to opening doors to knocking debris out of the way.)
- Bolt cutters (For extreme emergency situations.)
- Toilet paper (Can be used for making fires and for that other important reason.)
- Dryer lint (Excellent for starting fires, just save the lint from your dryer for a few weeks and you’ll have a Ziploc bag full.)
- Zip ties (They can be used for making shelter by tying sticks together and securing other items.)
- Paracord (I often have a 1,000 foot spool in my trunk, but at the very least have 20 feet.)
- Map (A paper map in case GPS fails me, which happens far too often.)
- First aid kit (Both of the 72-hour kits have a small first aid kit but I add another kit to my car. Right now, I’m carrying the Voodoo Tactical Trauma Kit.)
I realize some people may think the above list of items I have in my vehicle is overkill. That’s why I recommend you pick and choose from the above list and put together a vehicle survival kit that works for you.
Even if you live in the city, snowstorms and earthquakes can happen at anytime and you never know what item in the vehicle will be crucial to your survival.