The Travel Survival Kit

Our friend, Orrin Knutson, knows what it’s like to be on the road. He also knows which items to include in his travel survival kit. So, I’ve asked him to share those ideas with you. Go ahead, Orrin.


Thanks, Frank.

I have a rather large foot locker pre-packed and waiting in the garage at all times. I call it my Travel Survival Kit (TSK) and I load it up whenever I take long trips.

Our family TSK does triple duty. It is handy for our recreational adventures such as car trips, camping, hunting, fishing, etc. It is always ready to rock-n-roll if we must bug out due to an emergency.

And, we carry it in the back of the van during harsh winter weather travels, stored right beside our bug-out and winter clothing bags.

Much of what you may need can be found in a bug-out bag you should already have stocked and at the ready for emergencies.

Other basic items in a TSK can be gathered from things already around the house. Listed below are the primary items and their most important uses for your road trip survival and adventures.

Three Essentials

These three things should be standard issue for every vehicle you own, but few people have each of them. They should be in your vehicle at all times.

  • A medium sized first-aid kit
  • An “ABC” fire extinguisher
  • A heavy blanket.

Other Basic Gear

Here are a few essentials needed to build your own multi-use TSK. We are going to skip those items that are supposed to be in your family bug-out bags.

  • Medium-Sized Carrier. This can be a duffel bag, suitcase, a large picnic cooler or a large Rubber Maid-type container. Even a reinforced cardboard box can do in a pinch. This is to carry all the other items. I use a footlocker.
  • Extra Emergency Space Blankets. These can be bought at any sporting goods or big box store. They are lightweight, small and inexpensive. It is best to have several ESBs in your TSK as they have multiple uses.
  • Family-Sized Mess Kit. This is a self-contained cooking set. Or you could gather a batch of old pots, pan, plates, bowls and silverware.
  • Single or Two-Burner Camp Stove and Fuel. A compact camp stove and 4-6 canisters of propane allow you to cook and heat inside your vehicle or shelter. Recreationally, a camp stove is mandatory for cooking in areas where campfires are banned.
  • Additional Tools. It is wise to include an ax and a G.I. folding shovel. In winter, always carry a single-bit, long-handle timber ax, long-handle shovel and sub-zero sleeping bags.
  • Water Containers. In summer, never travel without at least a gallon of water per person. In winter, you can melt snow, but will need canteens to hold it.
  • Camp Lantern and Extra Batteries or Fuel. I prefer hand-crank dynamo generator lights that never need batteries.
  • Aluminum Foil. A roll of foil will have 1,000 uses.
  • Paper Towels. This has obvious uses and can double as toilet paper.
  • Handy Wipes. A canister of handy wipes makes cleaning yourself, the kids and cooking utensils more convenient.
  • Serving Spoon and Spatula. Unless you are really into roughing it, these make cooking much easier.
  • Kitchen Hot Pads. These are for handling pot handles or placing under hot pans set on the car dash, seats or floorboards, to prevent melting.
  • Recreational Items. You will likely have electronic games by the dozen, but include a deck of cards, books and a Bible if you want to. They will be welcome items when you lose power in your toys.
  • Carry enough survival food and/or canned foods to last three to seven days.
  • Large Tarp. This can be 12 feet by 12 feet or larger, to be used as a family shelter or picnic table cover when it is rainy.

Time spent stranded, just sitting and worrying, can cause stress, depression or impatience to set in. So be prepared with these items in your Travel Survival Kit.

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