This article was originally published in Issue 1 of our magazine.

It's always a good idea to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. In this case, we're applying that thought to vehicular travel. As a city dweller, you may already realize that if something bad happens in a major metropolitan area, a chance of monumental gridlock occurring is almost guaranteed. In that instance, you're not going anywhere via car, truck, or most other land conveyances. But, if the disaster is not widespread and is localized to your particular area or you choose to bug-in and lay low for a while, the streets might clear up enough for you to escape. In that case, you need your wheels to be good to go at a moment's notice.

A key thing to keep in mind is that your vehicle should always be in good working order. This isn't even a tip for disaster preparedness; this is a tip for everyday life. Your vehicle, be it car, truck, or motorcycle, must be well maintained and reliable because it is important for the safety of you, your family, and those around you. Make sure your vehicle is mechanically sound and not leaking any fluids, your gas tank is always at least half full at all times, the battery is charged, and the tires have the proper air pressure in them.

Other precautions would be to make sure you have a few supplies stored in the car, such as drinking water in a BPA-free container, toilet paper, and a first aid kit. It's also a good idea to keep a Return To Home (RTH)-style backpack on hand for the supplies it contains and in case vehicular travel becomes impossible and you need to proceed on foot. (Read more about RTH backpacks in “A Walk On The Wild Side” elsewhere in this issue.) Be sure that easily forgotten items such as your car's fluids are topped off, and remember to keep your spare tire inflated to factory recommendation.

If you take the proper precautions, you'll have a reliable and safe vehicle for your everyday commute, road trip vacations, or the occasional escape from the freak volcano eruption or alien invasion at the center of town. In the spirit of vehicle preparedness, we gathered a few items that make good additions to your onboard emergency kit.

Seatbelt Cutters / Glass Breakers

Drivers should be concerned about being trapped in a vehicle in the event of an accident. Doors can become jammed and seatbelts may become impossible to release; there are plenty of scenarios that can play out.

Seatbelt Cutters/Glass Breakers

  • CRKT ExiTool

    Make & Model - CRKT ExiTool
    Dimensions - 2.75 x 2.125 in
    Weight - 1.6 oz
    MSRP - $26.99
    URL - http://www.crkt.com
    Features - High-carbon stainless steel seatbelt cutter
    Tungsten carbide window breaker
    LED flashlight
    Seatbelt clip


    The CRKT ExiTool is a seatbelt cutter that contains a window breaker and bright LED flashlight. Best of all, the ExiTool clips directly onto your seatbelt, so it is accessible at a moment's notice.

  • Leatherman Z-Rex

    Make & Model - Leatherman Z-Rex
    Dimensions - 6.6 x 1.94 in
    Weight - 1.6 oz
    MSRP - $26
    URL - http://www.leatherman.com
    Features - 440C replaceable cutters// Carbide glass breaker
    Oxygen tank wrench
    1/4-inch hex bit driver
    Aluminum grip
    Nylon MOLLE sheath


    Featuring replaceable and indexible V-notch belt cutters that, when worn, can be flipped for new sharp blades, the Z-Rex also contains a pointed carbide-tipped glass breaker.

Tire Care

In the occurrence of certain types of disasters, road debris may be widespread, and the possibility of multiple tire punctures should be anticipated. Fixing a tire puncture while on the road may be your only option to traverse to safety.

Tire Care

  • ARB Portable High Performance 12-Volt Air Compressor

    Make & Model - ARB Portable High Performance 12-Volt Air Compressor
    Dimensions - 17 x 9.5 x 8 in (closed case)
    Weight - 15 lb, 8 oz
    MSRP - $351.97
    URL - http://www.arbusa.com
    Features - 19-foot air hose
    Fittings and attachments for filling tires and other equipment
    Durable polypropylene case


    The ARB Portable High Performance 12-Volt Air Compressor runs off your car battery and is capable of filling tires, inflating camping gear such as air mattresses, and even powering smaller air tools.

  • ARB Speedy Seal Tire Repair Kit

    Make & Model - ARB Speedy Seal Tire Repair Kit
    Dimensions - 13.25 x 8 x 2.5 (closed case)
    Weight - 2lb, 15 oz
    MSRP - $41.96
    URL - http://www.arbusa.com
    Features - Quality pencil-type tire gauge with dual pressure range and dual chuck
    Spring steel insertion needle
    Lubricant for easier tool insertion
    Additional valve accessories, such as valve core tool, spare valves, and valve caps
    Hardened steel reamer tool
    30 self-vulcanizing repair cords for complete air sealing
    Allen keys
    High-visibility orange case


    Aside from air, the ARB Speedy Seal Tire Puncture Repair Kit contains everything you need to get your tires back on the road, including easy-to-follow instructions. Used mostly by off-road enthusiasts, this kit is well proven to repair damage sustained from rugged terrain.

  • Slime Quick Spair 16 oz (60089)

    Make & Model - Slime Quick Spair 16 oz (60089)
    Dimensions - 9.5 x 2.5 in
    Weight - 1 lb, 6 oz
    MSRP - $11.99 (for the 16-ounce can)
    URL - http://www.slime.com
    Features - Flexible fill tube
    Easy-to-follow instructions


    The Slime Quick Spair is a can of tire repair that will get you back on the road fast. Simply plug it into your tire's valve stem and press a button.

Fuel

It goes without saying that fuel is life on the road (just ask Mad Max), and if you're heading out into the great unknown, it is a good idea to have extra just in case. If you have somewhere to stash an approved fuel container on your vehicle's exterior, such as a roof rack or a mounted fuel can carrier, then that's your best bet.

If you have a vehicle such as a sedan that has a trunk, a hatchback, a van, or an SUV without exterior racks, then your options can get a bit tricky. It is not recommended to have a full fuel can inside your vehicle, even in the confines of a trunk. Flammable vapors will escape and can create an explosive atmosphere within your car.

Fuel

  • Flotool Shaker Siphon (10801)

    Make & Model - Flotool Shaker Siphon (10801)
    Dimensions - 8 x 2.75 in (approx. wound up)
    Weight - 8 oz
    MSRP - $14.99
    URL - http://www.amazon.com
    Features - 6-foot flexible tube
    Anti-static brass tip


    The Flotool Shaker Siphon is a simple way to get fuel from one container to another without the need of anything other than the shake of the wrist.

  • Scepter 10 L / 2.5 gal (07378)

    Make & Model - Scepter 10 L / 2.5 gal (07378)
    Dimensions - 12 x 7.5 x 11.5 in
    Empty Weight - 1 lb, 12 oz
    Capacity - 10 L (2.5 gal)
    MSRP - $21.99
    URL - http://www.amazon.com
    Features - CARB-legal pour spout

    The Scepter line of fuel cans come in different capacities and are available in eco-friendly CARB legal versions. They are made of lightweight, rugged plastic.

Electricity

If you end up powering multiple devices from your cigarette lighters in your vehicle, the battery can drain pretty quickly. Be sure that you can keep your power flowing by possibly upgrading your battery to a more powerful or efficient version. It's also advised to carry a set of fuses just in case you experience a short.

Electricity

  • Peak Power Station 600 (PKC0AS)

    Make & Model - Peak Power Station 600 (PKC0AS)
    Dimensions - 10 x 9 x 7 in
    Weight - 8 lb, 13 oz
    MSRP - $79.99
    URL - http://www.amazon.com
    Features - 600 Peak amp jumpstarter
    Air hose
    260-psi (18 Bar) air compressor gauge
    5 LED battery power indicator
    Low-charge alert alarm


    The Peak Power Station 600 includes a 260-psi tire inflator, an air compressor gauge, and a low-charge alert that lets you know when its time for a recharge. The Peak line of Power Stations also come in different power output levels; make your choice according to your vehicle's needs.

OFFGRID Tidbit

Road Debris
Did you know that road debris causes an estimated 25,000 accidents happen every year on America's highways? In the event of a disaster, chances are that those numbers may rise. To avoid hitting debris, always scan at least 12 seconds ahead of your path to be sure your way is clear. But keep in mind that if you do come across debris, depending what it is, it's sometimes safer to run it over than to swerve into oncoming traffic or off
pavement.

OFFGRID Tip

More Vehicle and Driver Safety Resources

For more information about vehicle safety, check out:
AAA
http://www.exchange.aaa.com/safety
NHTSA
http://www.nhtsa.gov


Prepare Now:

Disclosure: These links are affiliate links. Caribou Media Group earns a commission from qualifying purchases. Thank you!

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