E025 - Keep Moving! Vehicle Preparedness Gear

This week Virgil joins us to tell you about the stuff we keep in our vehicles…and what you should keep in yours!

Intro Stuff

What Did You Do This Week

  • Virgil: Scenario-based training

  • Rich: Range session with reactive targets,

  • Justin: Travel to San Diego to train, tattoo sitting, dog shots updated, vehicle PMCS

What Are You Drinking:

Vehicle Preparedness: The Basics

This portion consists of behavioral changes - NOT GEAR! Honestly, these are probably just as important as any equipment.

  1. Keep fuel in your vehicle. We recommend at least 1/2 a tank of fuel in your vehicle at any time. Rich recommends at least 3/4 of a tank.

  2. Keep your vehicle maintained! Use the resources on this site: our episode on vehicle preventative maintenance, and our vehicle maintenance logbook!

  3. Think about where you park! Parking at the end of a parking lot can isolate your vehicle. This protects it from getting dinged and more importantly, can make it a less attractive target for burglary.

  4. Think about how you park! There are a lot of good reasons to back into a parking space rather than pulling in, including that you have more visibility when leaving the parking space and pulling out into higher-traffic areas. You can exit more quickly and efficiently.

  5. Lock your damn doors! Thieves break into cars based on two criteria: valuables being clearly visible from the exterior and the doors being unlocked. Hide your stuff and keep your doors locked.

Vehicle Preparedness Stuff: Administrative

  1. Phone charger. Your phone is one of the most important survival items you possess. Aside from functioning as a communication device it can also be a flashlight, provide a map/compass capability, store important documents, etc. Keeping it charged is imperative to having these functions. We really like the Anker Powerline+ series for iOS devices and Android devices.

  2. Phone mount. Justin believes a phone mount is really important if you use your phone for mapping. It can let you place your phone in a reliable place where it won’t roll/slide off, and let you keep your head up. We have previously reviewed the Nite Ize Steelie and strongly recommend it.

  3. Cash. We recommend keeping some cash on hand in your vehicle (at least $20, up to $100 or so). This should be in addition to the cash you keep in your EDC bag. We recommend you keep this cash in a variety of denominations, including coins. Cash can:

    • Pay tools,

    • Pay for parking,

    • Put air in your tires

    • Purchase fuel in an emergency, and more.

  4. Paper towels and window cleaner. Keeping the inside of your window clean is just as important as keeping the outside clean. Justin really likes THIS STUFF.

  5. Paperwork. Though we didn’t mention it on the show, keeping your vehicle’s registration and insurance information up-to-date is important!


  1. First Aid/Trauma Kit. We recommend something big enough to deal with some fairly serious trauma from automobile accidents. You can purchase a number of kits online, or build your own. Even if you purchase a kit we recommend ensuring that it has some of the following:

  2. Water. Since your car can carry a vast amount of weight, there is no penalty for having a gallon or two of water on hand. We keep water for drinking water in an emergency, watering dogs, filling the radiator…

  3. Blanket. A blanket can be used for a number of functions. It can keep you warm if you end up sleeping in your car, be used as a ground cloth if you have to change a tire or do some other type of maintenance on the roadside, cover your valuables, etc.

  4. Coat. You should have a coat in your vehicle in case you find yourself afoot. We don’t necessarily recommend running out to buy a coat for this purpose. Rather, find an old coat in your closet (or find one at a thrift store) and throw it in the trunk or behind the driver’s seat.

  5. Shoes. Because shoes require a more personal fit than a coat, we do recommend keeping a pair of YOUR shoes in the car. But don’t go out a buy brand new shoes for this. Instead, throw that old pair of shoes in the car instead of in the trash.

Vehicle Prep: Stuff to Keep Your CAR Moving

  1. All the stuff you need to change a tire. If you don’t know how to change a tire or what you need, check out Episode 6 where Rich and I break it down. At a minimum you should have:

    1. A tire pressure gauge,

    2. An inflated spare tire that is in good condition,

    3. A jack, and

    4. The key to remove locking lug nuts (if you have them) and,

    5. A tire iron/tire tool.

    6. You may even wish to upgrade to a kit that contains tire repair gear like Slime and a small compressor.

  2. Jumper cables OR a pre-charged jumper battery. Lithium pre-charged battery boosters are incredibly compact and powerful, and they allow you to self-recover. They are much more expensive than jumper cables, though. If you can’t afford a pre-charged battery booster, at least consider carrying a high-quality set of jumper cables. Another option is a solar trickle changer to keep your battery from going dead.

  3. Spare Fluids. You should have some spare fluids in your vehicle. At a minimum it is a good idea to have windshield washer fluid, antifreeze, and engine oil.

Vehicle Preparedness 2.png

Vehicle Prep: Emergency/Inclement Weather Gear

  1. Seat belt cutter & glass break. You aren’t very likely to need this but if you need it, you REALLY need it. A combination glass break/seat belt cutter is cheap insurance.

  2. Ice scraper.

  3. Snow shovel. This one is only necessary if you live in or travel to extremely snowy environments. Collapsible auto models are available and are inexpensive.

  4. Tire chains. Tire chains provide traction on packed snow or ice. Again, these are only necessary in extremely snowy/cold environments. In some states/areas you may be required by law to have chains in your vehicle.

  5. Tow Strap. EVERY vehicle should have a tow strap. This enables you to pull someone out, but more importantly enables you to get pulled out.

  6. Power Inverter. A power inverter is definitely worth keeping in your car. A power inverter allows you to charge/power anything requiring 110V power, as well as charge your USB devices. Make sure you choose one with an appropriate amperage.

  7. Tool Kit. You should definitely have some tools in your vehicle.This can range from a very small, inexpensive kit to a big, full featured kit.

Book of the Week

Sentinel: Be the Agent In Charge of Your Own Protection Detail by Pat McNamara

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Justin Carroll