When I was
growing up, I noticed that my dad kept the trunk of his car well-stocked
with supplies. A lot of the equipment in his car was for his job
busting poachers as a game
warden, but most of the things he packed in his trunk were for
And there were
plenty of times when my dad was able to put his trunk equipment
about 20 years ago my dad was driving home to Oklahoma from New
Mexico in his old burgundy Caprice. Just outside of Groom, TX, near
leaning water tower along I-40, a hellacious snow storm hit.
It was a complete white out, so my dad had to pull over until things
didn’t settle down until a day later.
My dad had
to spend the night in his car in the middle of nowhere while a blizzard
roared outside. But because he had the forethought to prepare for
situations like this, he was able to keep warm with some blankets
and avoid ravaging hunger with some MREs
Many of you
will be hitting the road this holiday season to visit family, so
I consulted my dad, Tom McKay, and asked him what supplies he thinks
every man should keep in his car. Here’s his suggested list.
charged cell phone. Cell phones have significantly cut down
on your chances of being stranded on the side of the road, but don’t
count on it as your only line of defense. I’ve been in plenty
of rural areas where my cell phone was only worthwhile for playing
pong. In addition to you main phone, have a backup one that you
can use to call 911. Any old cell phone will do, even if it’s
not activated. Cellular carriers are required by law to complete
911 calls from any cell phone. Just throw that old Nokia cell phone
from 1999 into your glove compartment and keep it there.
cables. You walk out to your car after a long day of work, stick
the key into the ignition, give it a turn, and…. click, click.
Crap! You’re going to be late to your kid’s football game!
You then look up and notice you left the dome light on all day.
It happens to the best of us. Car batteries die, so be ready with
a set of jumper cables. And even if you never suffer a dead battery,
it’s always good to have a set of jumper cables so you can
help a damsel (or dude) in distress who needs their car
Good for providing light at nighttime when 1) putting on a spare
tire, 2) jump starting another car, or 3) exchanging insurance information
with the clueless driver that rear ended you at a stop light. Get
and you can also thump would-be car jackers in the head with it.
flares/reflective triangle. When pulled over on the side of
the road, you’re basically a sitting duck, hoping that other
drivers don’t turn the situation into a clip for one of those
extreme video shows. It’s especially dangerous to be hanging
out on the side of the road at night. Ensure that you and those
around you are visible when you pull over to the side of the road
by using road flares or at least a reflective triangle. The old
school flaming flares seem to be harder to find these days as people
switch to LED “flares.”
You never know when you’ll be stranded for long periods of
times in your car. If you’ve ever driven out West, you’ll
know that it can be hundreds of miles until the closest source of
help. Unless you’ve built up a tolerance for extended periods
of fasting, keep some MREs or granola/power bars in the back of
your car to munch on while you wait for the tow truck to come.
blankets. Tom can tell you firsthand why warm blankets are a
must. It got pretty dang cold in his Caprice that night. But blankets
have uses that go beyond emergency situations. It’s always
good to have a blanket in the car for snuggling with your gal while
you cheer for your team on a cold fall night or for laying it on
the ground for a picnic.