Get Home Bag for Cars: 11 Essential Items to Pack

You could be in the most unexpected place when things go haywire. And most of the time, your only ticket out of danger is your car.

But does it have the supplies and tools you need to ensure your safety on the drive home?

What you need is a fully loaded get home bag (GHB) for your car. Don’t confuse it with a bug out bag, though, because their primary purpose is entirely different.

This article will share why you should build a GHB and what essentials you should pack in it.

Why You Need a Get Home Bag for Your Car

At the rate we’re going these days, you’ll never know what’s gonna happen next. Disasters and emergencies don’t usually have a timeline, so the best thing you can do is prepare before they do permanent damages.

The thing about crazy scenarios is that they sometimes happen when we’re away from the safety of our homes. You could be sitting by your desk at work or going on a solo road trip when it happens. You’ll never know.

Before situations worsen, getting home straight away is a top priority. If you’re lucky and have a bug out vehicle (BOV) to drive back to your place, assuming roads aren’t blocked, you need to build yourself a get home bag for your car. Here are reasons why you should have one:

  • Keeping a GHB in the trunk of your car means your chances of arriving home alive are high. A lot can happen on the road, and this bag could save your life.
  • By a lot can happen on the road, we mean you might meet some highway mishaps along the way. Packing a GHB for your car with all the gear you need inside for fast and easy fixes will spare you from wasting time waiting for a mechanic to arrive.
  • If you’re hours away from home, chances are you’re ONLY gonna need a few stopovers for pee breaks. No more long stopovers where you buy supplies and tools because you already packed them in your GHB.
  • You’ll save some precious lead time avoiding unnecessary detours and actions because you have everything you need within reach. You’ll be standing right at your doorstep or pulling up to your garage hours before the real stuff goes down.

Essentials to Pack in Your Get Home Bag

Now that we got the “whys” covered let’s move on to the “what.”

A GHB may differ from person to person because everyone has different needs. But some of the items on your priority list might be the same. And when you’re packing a GHB for your car, some tools are a must-have.

In this case, you’re not only building a GHB for yourself. You have to consider what your car needs on the road, too. Here are essential items to pack in a get home bag for your vehicle:

Liters of Water

Your body needs water to function and survive. So does your car.

For your consumption, we suggest you pack a stainless steel water bottle. Ditch the plastic bottles because they can be harmful and useless. What you need is a metal container where you can boil water and cook if necessary.

You can also use water in case your car goes through emergency overheating. Once you load some fluid in your car’s radiator, it should fix the rise in internal temperature and keep the battery charged.

Light and Simple Food

You’re only gonna be on the road for a few hours. Grab-and-go snacks are your best options when driving the entire time. Plus, you won’t have the luxury of time to stop and enjoy a full-course meal because you have to reach home as soon as possible.

A great alternative is highly nutritious and calorie-packed snacks like energy bars or trail mix. This type of food isn’t exactly a crowd favorite, but they’re the best you’ll ever get because you don’t have to heat or prepare them.

Engine Coolant

When driving in extreme climates, it’s best to pack a bottle of coolant in your get home bag.

The engine is your car’s power source, and it can get super hot, especially in the summer. To avoid wearing down your engine, the coolant should save it from overheating. This antifreeze also lubricates the engine and cooling system, protecting it from corrosion.

Tire Sealant

If you don’t have a spare tire in your trunk, a tire sealant is a safe alternative. Besides, you probably won’t have the luxury of changing a flat tire, so your quickest solution is a good sealant. It’s enough to fill up your tire to drive your car a short distance. In this case, it’s more than enough to get you home safely and on time.

Portable Jump Starter

You hurriedly ran to your car parked in the basement of your workplace, but there’s just one problem: your car doesn’t start.

Your vehicle’s battery is probably dead.

This unfortunate event is precisely why you should carry a portable jump starter in your get home bag in your car. Make sure you get one that is compact enough to fit inside your GHB. Unlike jumper cables, you won’t be needing another vehicle for a jump since the device itself is the power source. So much more convenient, huh?

Tactical Flashlight

You might find yourself rushing home in the dead of night in the wake of a disaster. Sure, you have your car’s headlights, but what if your ride breaks down and you have to check out what’s wrong?

Well, you’re gonna need some bright light, and having a tactical flashlight won’t fail you.

A tactical flashlight’s beam is brighter and more glaring than your phone’s built-in flashlight. You’ll be able to see things clearly and detect what needs fixing right away. And if you ever meet suspicious folks on the road, you can use the flashlight as a self-defense tool. Its strong material can be very effective in disorienting potential attackers.

Map and Compass

Going old school is your best shot at survival.

In a major catastrophe like an EMP attack, telecommunications and satellites will be down. Your car may have the most advanced GPS navigation system, but it’s no use in an emergency. If GPS satellites fail to function, it’s a must that you pack a map and compass in your get home bag.

Everyone else will be finding their way home, so expect heavy traffic on main roads. What you need during this time are alternative routes. Don’t worry about getting lost because your trusty compass will lead you home.

Once you’re in the right headspace, take a moment to study the map and plan detours so you arrive home in one piece.

Emergency Radio

An emergency radio will be your go-to source of information in a power outage. It maintains power even when electricity is down. This way, you’re constantly updated on the latest news and alerts in your area or a neighboring town.

Radio stations might broadcast weather advisories while you’re on the road, so it’s best to keep an emergency radio close. With this device, you can make the right decisions and not risk your life any further. Aside from relaying general information, emergency radios also report related issues and emergencies, official instructions from emergency-management authorities, and evacuation warnings.

Entrenching Tool

You won’t be driving on a red carpet, so expect some road blockage, especially when there’s a sudden snowstorm in your area or a flash flood.

These situations could make driving really hard, and you might get stuck and lose precious lead time.

Enter the very reliable entrenching tool! It can help you get out of sticky scenarios like your tire getting caught in snow or mud. You can easily dig the elements away.


Changing a tire and digging mud out of the way are pretty taxing tasks, even for experts like us. Doing physical tasks like these might cause friction in your hands, leading to burns.

You wouldn’t want that if you’re still driving yourself to safety; you’re gonna need to protect your hands with gloves. A pair of gloves that offer maximum protection yet are still comfortable to wear is a smart choice when you’re on-the-go.

Basic First Aid Kit

In case you cut yourself (or worse) while trying to fix your car, packing a first aid kit in your get home bag is the right thing to do.

You don’t have to go crazy stuffing dozens of medical supplies in a single kit. It’s best to start with just the basic ones since you’re only out for a few hours. A basic first aid kit must include the following:

  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Bandages
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Over-the-counter medications

Final Thoughts

A well-cared-for car isn’t enough to get you out of the woods. You have to complement it with a well-stocked get home bag, too.

Minor hiccups on the road can be efficiently dealt with when you have the items we listed above stored safely in your car’s GHB.

Did we miss anything on our list? Let us know in the comments section below!

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