Survival Gear in Your Car
I, as I am sure some of you, spend a lot of time in your car driving distances for work. For me it’s traveling, sometimes across country, to put on a training class. When I’m on the road my car along with my hotel room(s) take on the role of home-base for me. When I travel, I always take a minute and remind myself that just because I’m on the road and away from home (and all my cool-guy gear) does not mean that emergencies are going to give me a pass. With this thought in mind I need to give consideration to what gear to bring with me, understanding that space is limited and I do have to drag all of my training equipment and travel supplies such as clean cloths along as well.
Right at the top of my list is water. I always make sure that there is, at the very least, a case of bottled water in the car. I also grab a couple of large bottles from the gas station that ride in the front seat. I can survive a long time with no food. With no water I will be dead in a matter of days. When I think about water, I often think about a trip I took to do a training class in Reno, NV. I was using the navigation app in my car for directions and it tried to rout me off the main road and up into the mountains. I took the turn off the highway and ended up on a dirt road. Realizing that my navigation unit was now trying to murder me I turned around and went back. It’s this scenario that makes me think what would have happened if I ended up, several miles up this dirt road and in a ditch. The potential for a very serious issue was right there. This event is why I carry a lot of water with me.
A point that needs to be made about a case of bottled water is that it’s bulky and heavy. They were not designed to be carried for any real distance. So, say I did end up in the ditch and decided to walk out, how would I carry my water? My solution is to also toss into my car a back-pack with some other supplies such as a first-aid kit, compass, good sheath knife, Gerber Super-Tool, hatchet, several chem-lights (glow sticks), matches, fire starter, two MRE’s, couple of protein bars, a water filtration straw, signal mirror, and a few other odds and ends like gloves, hat, piece of folded up tin foil, 550-cord, survival blanket, and so on. It sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. The backpack I have is not a huge expedition style pack, but rather a large day type bag. It’s not so huge that it becomes an issue, but its big enough for my gear, and still has space for me to load up several bottles of water if I have to move out on foot.
In addition to my pack and my water, I also carry with me a note pad and a couple of pens. Sticking with the car in the ditch scenario If I decide to leave the car I am going to leave a note in plain view with my name, emergency contact info, my direction of travel and time of departure, as well as any injuries I may have sustained. If you have to take medication and don’t have any with you make sure and put that on your note too, as well as important medicine related allergies. If your car is found the information on the note will, hopefully, be relayed to first responders.
Always remember that emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. It’s impossible to prepare for, and bring all the equipment needed, to address them all. Spend some time thinking about your most likely emergency and then plan appropriately. Once you have your gear picked out spend some time thinking about what duel-purpose(s) each piece of equipment has and how you could apply it to other situations. Think outside the box, get creative, and remember that in a crisis your objective is to survive!