Ultimate Road Trip Survival Kit Must-Haves

Who doesn’t love a good road trip? So much fun! But anyone who has been on a road trip knows that Murphy’s Law can strike at any time. Sometimes it’s car trouble. Sometimes it’s weather or traffic jams. And sometimes strandings, accidents and injuries come along to put a damper on an otherwise fantastic time. To help yourself and others, a road trip first aid kit is an important additional passenger. In fact, you need a first aid kit and survival/emergency preparedness kit in one. There are many things about such a kit, from design to content, that you need to address, but here are the must-haves.


A road trip first aid kit must be portable. That’s a given. We don’t just mean it can fit in the car or trailer. It needs to be accessible and able to be carried easily. Everything needs to be in one convenient pouch or case. We recommend you look for a product made from lightweight but strong fabric that has a wide zipper pouch that opens completely.


Your kit absolutely must have stellar organization. In an emergency, finding what you need quickly is everything. Rummaging through your kit wastes precious time. This is where purchasing an emergency preparedness kit is often better than making your own. A really good one will have separate sections sealed off – for small cuts and burns, more severe bleeding, emergency preparedness, etc.

Emergency Items

Your road trip kit needs items for keeping you alive and for attracting attention. Emergency blankets and ponchos keep you warm and dry. A whistle, a radio with batteries, a light stick and a flashlight are just as important.

Urgent Care

Should someone need CPR, a keychain-size CPR mask with one-way valve and protective barrier is a godsend. Also included should be thick bandages, alcohol wipes, a cold compress and a first aid guide.

For Bleeding and Burns

You’ll need an assortment of adhesive and fabric bandages for minor wounds and various sterile pads for ‘bloodier’ injuries. Add to those antibiotic ointment, burn cream, and antiseptic wipes. Plus tape. Must have tape.

Protective Items

You (or a patient) may need protection from fluids and germs during first aid or an emergency. Some good medical gloves and a procedural mask are a good start.


For minor and more serious problems alike, you’ll need some simple instruments, including scissors, tweezers, cotton tips, safety pins, a thermometer, even a finger splint.

Medication and Cleansing

It’s always important to have aspirin or ibuprofen (chewable) and maybe iodine. If anyone has severe allergies, an EpiPen is essential.

What’s listed above are what we’d call the basic essentials.

Optional Handy Items

Your road trip first aid kit can include some very useful other emergency preparedness items, if you like, especially if you head into the back country:

  • Matches

  • Needle and thread(s)

  • Super glue

  • Feminine hygiene pads and tampons - they soak up liquid, can be used on wounds, and are great for fire lighting

  • A good multi-tool

  • Dental floss (makes good string)

  • Protein bars

  • Water

If you’re taking a basic road trip, buy yourself a good first aid and emergency kit. It will come in very handy, at least until you can get home or to professional help. If you’re going off-road, along with the kit take a few extra items with you in the car.

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