20 Items For Your DIY Summer Emergency Car Kit

With Summer fast approaching or already here, depending on when you read this, it’s time to make some plans. Summertime offers many possibilities for some recreation and relaxation.  However, even the best-laid plans can be ruined if you are ill-prepared.  

Even though you may relish the long, hot summer days, those days are brutal on your car. And if you plan on using your car to do anything this summer, you will want to make sure that it is ready to go.  So here are a few items to add to your summer emergency car kit list.  

You can swap out a few items from your winter car kit, but there are a few things that are specific to summertime.

What Items Do I Need In An Emergency Car Kit?

  • Emergency Car Kit
  • Battery Booster Pack or Jumper Cables
  • Multitool
  • Gloves
  • Fix a Flat
  • Battery Backup for Electronics
  • Anti-Freeze
  • Snacks
  • Sunblock
  • Map
  • Case
  • Small Mechanics Tool Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Flares or Warning Signals
  • Charging Cord
  • Water
  • Wipes
  • Bug Spray
  • Toilet Paper

Now, whether or not you want to build your own emergency car kit or just get one that is already packaged for you, that’s up to you to decide. We will go through the items on the list, and you can make the decision that is best for you.

  • Read down to the end, and you can get a free downloadable PDF copy of what we pack every time we take a family road trip

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Emergency Car Kit

Let’s just start right here. A premade emergency car kit will have most of the items that you need and are on the above list.  They are compact, convenient, fit a variety of situations, and reasonably priced.  Here are a few that I found to meet a variety of price points and situations.

20 Items For Your DIY Summer Emergency Car Kit - Emergency Car Kit

The question is, what do you need?  Are you a commuter, going on a road trip, going to the beach for the weekend?  Pick the one that best suits you.  

Even though having a pre-packaged emergency car kit is awesome, it might not have everything you want or need in an emergency.  So, let’s review the rest of the items, and maybe you will just build your own or augment your emergency car kit. 

For the uber-prepared, you can’t go wrong with the Blikzone Auto Roadside Assistance Kit. It’s got everything from jumper cables to a tire inflator. It’s more expensive than the rest, but it has almost everything you will need. The only thing it doesn’t have is a First Aid Kit, which is a bummer, but that is the only thing you will need to buy separately.

For a more budget-friendly option that includes all the basics is the Vetoos Roadside Emergency Car Kit. It doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of the Blikzone, but it covers the basics. It does include the jumper cables and a rudimentary first aid kit. For the casual summertime driver, this would be perfect.

Finally, for the budget-friendly, there is the Lifeline AAA Premium Roadside Kit. It has some of the essential items that you will need in an emergency car kit. It’s a good starter to build a complete kit around. Check it out…

Supplies for Your DIY Summer Emergency Car Kit

As was mentioned, whether you want to beef up the emergency car kit you bought or build one from scratch, these are the essential items that you will need.


You have to have something to put the stuff in.  You can use a tote, a duffle bag, a coffee can, an ammo case, a file case.  Whatever suits your needs and vehicle.  Whatever it is, it should be durable and allow you to get to the supplies easily.

Battery Booster Pack or Jumper Cables

You should have one of these in your car at all times anyway.  Some emergency car kits come with jumper cables, but if you are putting your own together or you want to upgrade the ones you have check my article on jumper cables. This will help you pick the best one.

My personnel recommendation is to get a battery booster pack. These are self-contained batteries that will jump-start your car by themselves.  Battery booster packs store easily and are reasonably priced.  It’s not a bad combo for some peace of mind.  

Check out my recommendations for battery booster packs.

Small Mechanics Tool Set

I am not talking about a 199-piece toolset that you don’t know what half the stuff does. What you want to make sure you have is a small socket set, a few different screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, etc. There is nothing to elaborate, but you will be happy you have them when you need them.  



I always carry my Leatherman multi-tool around with me.  When you don’t want to rifle through your case looking for your toolset, a multi-tool will many times be the answer.  

Countless times, I have needed the pliers or the small screwdriver that is attached. Yes, Leatherman tools are a little pricier, but I have used other tools, and nothing compares.

First-Aid Kit

This will probably be the most used item in your emergency car kit.  If you opted to go with a prepared kit, as mentioned above, you most likely have an emergency car kit already.  

First Aid KIT for car essentials

However, if you have kids or are accident-prone, you may want a beefier first aid kit.  There is no shortage of selection when it comes to selecting a first aid kit


Who wants to get their hands dirty?  I always have gloves.  I like gloves that have a high tactile feel and are sturdy.  When working with lug nuts whilst changing a tire or trying to manipulate a pair of pliers, you need to have control of your tools.  A simple set of gloves like these are awesome for an emergency car kit.


Flashlights are not just for emergency car kits.  You should have a flashlight in your car at all times. You never know when you will need it. 


This selection is somewhat controversial.  I always have a can of Fix A Flat or Slime in my truck.  If I have the option, I am going to change to my spare tire; sometimes, though, that is not an option. 

Having Fix A Flat gives you the ability to get back on the road quickly.  It is not ideal in all situations and should be looked at as a last resort.  But you will be thankful you have it if you need it.

Flares or Warning Signals

Emergency Flares for car essentials for new drivers
Road Flares

Again, some prepared emergency car kits come with these.  But if not, you want a set.  These will warn other cars that you are on the side of the road.  If our fine highway workers and survey crews use warning flags and signs, there must be something to them.

In lieu of having any warning system, a buddy with a flashlight will do in a pinch. But they aren’t that expensive, and it’s one more layer of safety.

Battery Pack Backup and/or Charging Cord

You never know when you are going to break down.  It will probably be when your cell phone is almost dead, which is the last thing you want.  These little backups are small, inexpensive, and easy to carry around.

Now, they shouldn’t go in your emergency car kit per se’.  You will want to keep this in your glove box or center console. Someplace you can get to easy enough so that it can be recharged.  

Or if the weather gets too hot, you can easily grab and carry it with you.  The extreme temperatures will damage the portable battery. 

Items For a Summer Emergency Car Kit

All right, so these first few items are general items that you should have with you at all times, no matter the season. 

Anti-Freeze or Water

Just like you, your car needs water, but more specifically, antifreeze even during the summer. Summertime is a prime opportunity for your car to overheat. Having an extra gallon of water or antifreeze in the trunk is essential to making sure that when your car gets hot you can fill it up and get to a safe spot. 

Having antifreeze is preferred because it provides a level of lubrication to your engine, and you don’t necessarily have to worry about a change in the winter.

Water will be sufficient and if you get there, so you can also drink the same water show having a gallon of water in your trunk is also acceptable because you can have some of that too. Just don’t drink the antifreeze that would be very bad.


Well, if you have water, you might as well have some snacks to go with it. Just keep in mind that you don’t want anything that’s perishable or can melt in the summer heat. Think high energy and healthy snacks, not sugar-laden.

You want something that’s high in protein and will last a while like a pack or dried nuts or fruit bars.


What should one of those things that are good to have all the time in your car as well as keep things clean? And your hands up are dirty after you get done changing your tire, so now you have a way to clean them up?

If you have kids or babies, you understand the importance of having wipes in your car.  Heck even having to be an adult it’s good to have wipes in your car.


You may think that having sunblock is only for the beach. However, if you think about it, if your car breaks down and you’re on the side of the road, you are not going to be sitting inside the car.

It’s hot in the Summer sun, and you want to have a way to protect yourself while you’re waiting for help to come or waiting for to get your car going again.

Bug Spray

I’ve lived in Maine, and I lived in Florida, and no matter where you’re at there are bugs in the summertime. So, have a can of bug spray or some sort of bug repellent that you can apply to yourself.

You will be an easy target sitting on the side of the road or wherever you’re broken down if you don’t have any bug protection. Even if it’s not an emergency, you have some there just in case if you’re out.

Toilet Paper

Ummmm, I’m not going to write much here. Maybe it should be at the top of my list. You know what you need this for.

Paper Map

At the very least, it will give you an idea of where you are going.

Reading a map is becoming a lost art, in my humble opinion. What happens if your GPS fails? Maybe I am old-fashioned, but I always have a paper atlas when I am traveling.

Final Thoughts…

Traveling during the summertime is a lot of fun. No matter if you’re going to the beach, on a road trip, or an amusement park, a good time should be enjoyed.

But not everything goes according to plan all the time, so having these few provisions in your car will help you to drive to your destination safely or at least get you back home safely.

It may not have been the trip that you planned for, but at least you will be safe, and you will be prepared just in case something happens.

If you are looking for a complete road trip checklist that you can print off and tick off as you go packing your car, grab your instant PDF here – no sign ups required grab it for FREE!

Stay healthy and safe travels…

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PS. Has the warmth of summer passed? Are you heading into the harsh realities of winter? Winter brings an entirely different set of circumstances. Prepare for your travels by checking out my article on how to build an emergency car kit for cold weather.

© Family Road Trip

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