Even the best-laid plans can go awry, and if you’re on a long drive or a road trip, you never know what might be around the next corner – quite literally! Nine times out of ten, everything will be absolutely fine and you’ll get to your destination with no problems whatsoever. But it’s always smart to be prepared, just in case fate lends a hand and you’re left at the side of the road as the sun’s setting.

Here are our suggestions for the essentials you need to keep in your car for emergencies, so that you and your passengers can get to where you’re going safely and in one piece.

Tools and a spare tyre

If you’re just popping down the road then there’s probably no need to put any tools in the boot. But on a long car journey or road trip there are more chances of getting a puncture or having a mechanical issue, especially if you’re crossing challenging terrain like a mountain or a desert. Make sure you have everything you need to change a tyre (including a spare that’s fully inflated and in good condition), and that you have a jack and a socket set to fit those wheel nuts.


Don’t always rely on your sat-nav to get you where you’re going – sometimes even the best onboard navigation system can get confused, and if you lose that all-important satellite signal then it may crash completely. Plan your journey beforehand, and take a traditional paper map with the route marked out, just in case your TomTom decides to go to sleep!

Food and water

Especially important if you’re on a long journey, food and water should be a part of your essential kit, especially clean drinking water. Dehydration can be a real danger, especially in hot climates, so make sure you take as much as you think you’re going to need, and then a little bit extra. High calorific foods such as chocolate bars or granola bars will give you an energy boost, too.

A fully charged phone and in-car charger

A fully charged phone is probably the one thing we don’t need to tell you to remember – we all have our phones permanently in our hands these days! However, the other bit of kit that’s essential is a charging lead that will plug into your car’s cigarette lighter. If you’re worried about flattening the battery then why not invest in a solar charger that uses sunlight to give your tech a power boost?

Warm blankets and clothes

The days may be hitting the mid-30s°C, but night-time temperatures in the desert can plummet. Make sure you have plenty of warm jumpers tucked in the boot, and for real emergencies pop a couple of foil blankets in your emergency kit.

First Aid kit

Always make sure you’ve got a well-stocked first-aid kit in the car that’s capable of dealing with minor injuries. Also ensure that you know what to do in an emergency situation. Our top tip: take a first aid course – it’s a worthwhile life skill and could mean the difference between life and death in a serious incident.

A handy emergency kit

Our tip is to get a Tupperware box and pop in essentials like a multi-tool, a torch, a tow rope, warning triangle, and a Hi-Viz jacket, just in case you have to repair your car at the side of the road at night.


If you do have an accident in the middle of nowhere, a dash cam can make sure there’s recorded evidence of the event.

While all of this may seem like a ‘belts and braces’ approach to a journey, it’s actually easy to pop all of this in the boot of your car before you head off. We also recommend you make sure you tell someone where you’re going, and when you’re expected to reach your destination, so that if you do get into trouble the search can start sooner rather than later.

Like we said at the start, in the vast majority of cases, you’ll have a hassle-free and fun road trip to remember. But with a little bit of planning and a few essentials, you can also take care of business if things do go a little awry along the way.