Yeah, another bag/box of emergency equipment. Go ahead…laugh at me if you want to. I probably would if I was you. But hey, my job is to provide you with information that is both practical and useful for emergencies, disasters and grid-down. And having a vehicle breakdown in the middle of nowhere is an emergency in my book.
The scenario that I saw that is driving the need for a Vehicle Emergency Bag/Box (VEB) is simple. You or a family member is in a vehicle out in the middle of nowhere, no communications capability, and the vehicle breaks down. The threats remain the same for this scenario as with any other; violence, injury/sickness, etc.
So we have to meet those threats with solutions.
Having 20 years of experience responding to traffic accidents I have come to the conclusion that the number one threat to being broken down on the side of the road are idiot drivers. And I want to emphasize IDIOT drivers. I could tell you story after story of how stupid people are when it comes to driving, but I will spare you. Just understand that I believe the #1 threat to your safety if you are broken down are other drivers. They will take every opportunity to run you over or smash into your vehicle. And they can be very creative in doing so. Take nothing for granted, err on the side of caution.
The mission of the VEB is:
Ability to recover from a flat tire or stuck vehicle, or survive overnight from the stranding of vehicle in a remote location.
Here is a list of VEB contents. I will get into the explanation of each at the end of the list. The contents are:
Why didn’t I address the threat of violence? It is a matter of security. I can’t in good conscious recommend that you leave a firearm in the vehicle at all times. It simply wouldn’t be secure enough. Over the years I have had my personal vehicle broken into three times. It was bad enough that one of the times the low-life criminals stole the mechanics tools that my Dad had left to me after his death. But to have a gun stolen would have been even worse. Criminals have access to enough guns, I don’t want to make that worse.
How do I address the self-defense aspect as it applies to a VEB? You bring it with each time you get in the vehicle. I am a huge advocate of conceal carry. I believe that every prepper should conceal carry. I feel it is part of each prepper’s responsibility. However, if you don’t conceal carry that is your choice. But I would suggest that whenever you are going to be gone for any length or time or going more than just a short distance, take a firearm.
When I would consider having both would be when I am headed into territory that I consider to have the potential to be dangerous. Yes, I know that means just about anywhere today but I am thinking more along the lines of southern New Mexico, southern Arizona, southern Texas, or any longer road trip.
That about covers the threat of violence issue pretty well. I do know a person or two that have installed law enforcement grade weapon retainers to lock down a shotgun and/or an AR. I am not a big fan of those because normally the retention hardware makes the long guns easily visible. I prefer to have my guns out of sight.
Here are the details of the VEB:
- Toilet Paper – This is a “must have” item. Just take a roll from your supply at the house and place it in a freezer Ziplock bag.
- First Aid Kit – I would suggest an IFAK for most situations. If you are going on a trip as a family then I would suggest adding a TBAK.
- Flashlight – If you can’t see what you are doing the rest of this stuff doesn’t matter much. I would suggest you use the same tactical light that you use for everything else. Yes, standardization is a good thing. I personally use and recommend the LED Lenser. Always have a spare set of batteries. If you store your flashlight in a “box” I would suggest that you not have batteries in the flashlight, they will corrode. Keep them in a baggie with the flashlight and the spare set of batteries. Yes, always have a spare set of batteries.
- Stanley Tri-Pod Work Light – This is a fantastic working light. It can operate off of 3, 6 or 9 AA batteries. The light is very bright, the head is adjustable and the legs make it capable of standing alone on the road berm leaving both hands free to work on whatever is needed.
- Road Flares – There are two reasons for road flares in my opinion; 1) visual warning to other drivers that a breakdown or accident has occurred, 2) a weapon. Yup, a weapon.
- Gloves – I would suggest a really decent pair of gloves, something along the lines of work gloves that can handle rough treatment. Thin cloth gloves are almost as bad as having no gloves. I like Mechanix brand gloves.
- Fire Extinguisher – You can use one of those small 5lb extinguishers if you want to. Something is better than nothing. But I like a 20lb myself. In my years as a firefighter I’ve seen those 5lb’ers do little more than make a mess before the vehicle burned down.
- Emergency Carry Knife – This can be a blade of your choice. I wouldn’t go with anything expensive. A Gerber “paraframe” model for $18 works just fine.
- Emergency Blanket – This can be either the “space” blanket or an actual emergency blanket, either will work. You just want something to help you stay warm wrapped around you, or reflect the heat if you build a fire.
- Waterproof Matches – You always gotta have a way to make fire; stay warm, signal, or defense.
- Fix-A-Flat – I recommend two cans of the good stuff, large cans. Don’t skimp and buy the cheap stuff it won’t work when you need it to.
- Air Compressor – A 12vDC model, plugs into your cigarette lighter. Sometimes the Fix-A-Flat just won’t be enough air.
- Tire Air Pressure Gauge – This is a no-brainer. Again, don’t get the cheapest one. Get the one that will work for you when you need it to.
- Tire Repair/Plug Kit – This is the little kit that has the two tools, one to clean the hole, and the other tool pushes the plug through. There is also some sealant cement to help hold the plug in place and prevent air from escaping.
- 24oz. Slime Tire Sealant (TPMS safe).
- Heavy-duty 12V tire inflator with LED light.
- Adapters for any battery.
- Key valve core removal tool.
- Valve caps and valve cores.
- Air adapters for inflatables.
- Alligator clips.
- Pencil tire gauge.
- 30 tire plugs.
- T-handle reamer and plugger tools.
- Convenient zippered case.
It is all high-quality gear in a great carry bag. The kit will run you less than $60.00 and well worth every single penny.
- 4-Way Tire Iron – Your regular tire iron is probably shaped like an “L” and will work the majority of the time. But with a 4-way you will be able to get a whole lot more leverage when taking the lug nuts off. And you can spin it to get the nuts on and off a whole lot faster.
- Jumper Cables – Here is another area not to skimp. You can get the good 4guage cables that are 20’ long and have much more power to jump your car. Or you can get the pathetic 10gauge and get a fraction of the power coming through the cable. Go for quality!
- Folding Trench Shovel – These are hard to beat, they can get you out of a snow bank or the sand. And they can be a pretty lethal weapon as well.
- Tow Chain/Strap – I actually carry both a chain and a strap. Both are 20’ long. That gives me options when it comes to how close the tow vehicle is relative to the stuck vehicle. Also, if I am stuck and I have to use the come-along to get myself out I use the strap around a tree, rock, etc. and then use the chain hooked to the truck.
- Siphon Pump – This is purely to get gas from some other container (or vehicle) into my truck.
- Canvas Drop Cloth (6’x9’) – This has a number of uses; cover, shelter, shade, etc.
- Large Bath Towel – This is simply to dry myself off if I get wet.
- Rags – Yup, to clean my hands with.
- Trash Bags, Heavy (3mil or heavier) – These will be used for a couple different purposes; 1) trash, 2) makeshift ponchos for a number of folks, 3) collect water, etc. I like the Hefty SteelSak brand.
- Tool Kit – Check the chart above for a list of the minimum tools you should have. You are not trying to have complete repair capability, just enough to get you moving again.
- Pick-up Truck Kit – These are to help secure a load that you put on the truck or to improve your existing load security.
- Mini-Survival Kit – This is not to replace your GHB or a GOOD BOB. These items are to use instead of your GBH or GOOD BOB items. If you end up with another person with you, they can use these items if it turns into a get home situation.
- Heavy Kit – Notice the inclusion of a HighLift jack. If you haven’t been trained on how to use a HighLift jack…don’t use it! Man folks have come away with broken teeth and fractured faces because they try to use a HighLift jack and don’t know what they are doing.
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