We recently got an email reminder from AAA of Southern California that as drivers, we have a major responsibility to be prepared for anything. As if the Boy Scouts weren't putting enough of that pressure on us already. AAA's thing was about being prepared for breakdowns or roadside emergencies, and among the items on the suggestion list was food, water, blanket, candles, heavy gloves, a copy of the driver's license, umbrella, flashlight with extra batteries, and warning triangles. We used to feel pretty confident when we saw there was half a bottle of water in the cupholder from about a week ago and part of a Snickers bar somewhere in the cabin.
That's our daily driver. And we bet you're the same as us: the trail rig is another story. It's so fully prepped, it nearly looks like the Clampett vehicle—well stocked with similar AAA recommendations, as well as plenty of spare parts. But it got us thinking about pre-made kits and how they'd make life easy on filling our daily driver with essentials—or even redoing our trail rig so that we'd have more space by consolidating. And what we learned is that there's a whole ecosystem out there that goes well beyond the familiar roadside-assistance and first-aid kits.
What it is: Seven Gerber blades in a carrying case.
Features: There's the Gator machete with fine edge and serrated blades, Camp Axe II, Parang (a modern version of a tribesman's machete, or a true hacker), LMF II knife with a partially serrated blade, Gator Machete Pro, and Epic knife, which has a compact fixed blade.
Where: Gerber, gerbergear.com
What it is: EPMK Level 1 emergency kit
Features: This is more than what you'll find in your basic first aid kit and is ideal for one to two people. Within the hard case are a zillion items: a pocket guide, gloves, masks, tourniquet, dressing, trauma pad, thermometer, safety pins, burn gel, creams and ointments, and more.
Where: Survivor Stuff, survivorstuff.com
Tire Repair Kit
What it is: Safety Seal 4x4 Tire Repair Kit
Features: It includes 30 Safety Seal repairs, a T-handle insertion tool, an Allen wrench, cutting blades, and more contained within a weatherproof box.
Where: Safety Tire Seal Corp., safetytireseal.com
What it is: The Cabela's Outfitter Series camping kit.
Features: An Alaskan Guide Model tent, a camplight kit (complete with a lantern, hanging tent lamp, and a flashlight), a Coleman two-burner stove, a Lightning Set cot, and a 42-gallon storage trunk.
Where: Cabela's, cabelas.com
Emergency Response Kit
What it is: It's designed for mainly for opening a vehicle when the keys are locked inside. Think it's over the top? Well, AAA can't always get to the trail….
Features: There's a Mighty Max two-piece long-reach tool and a flexible long-reach. There are tools for making sure no windows need to be broken. And there's a Remote Control Button Master tool—it'll open a vehicle with vertical lock buttons.
Where: Access Tools, caropeningtools.com
What it is: This Trail Kit is new from Jeep
Features: It has a tow strap, D-rings, and gloves, and comes in a carrying bag. Right now, it's part of your '14 Wrangler purchase, but Jeep may go public with it down the road.
Where: Jeep, mopar.com
What's in a Jp Reader's Emergency Kit? You Told Us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram
• "Spare parts that commonly break, cables, medical supplies, blanket, dry socks, MREs, and some other small items (knife, axe, rope etc.)." —Curtis Mayfield
• "Benadryl can be your best friend; personally I have an EpiPen, so I bring one along as well." —Chris Tina
• "Roll of heavy-duty aluminum foil and folded-up aluminum roasting pans. Tons of uses and takes up very little space (can even store things in the roll inside the aluminum foil)." —Eric Walton
• "My emergency kit is the whole back of my CJ-7; took out the rear seats. It holds two large ammo boxes with tools, spare parts (spare manual hub spare custom power steering hoses huge zip ties etc.), water for rig, a couple of quarts of power steering fluid, brake fluid. The center console has old beef jerky and sunflower seeds (shelled), toilet paper, hand wipes, matches in waterproof container and a very loud whistle, GPS, spare batteries." —Erik Bledsoe
• "Tarp and rope (for when it rains and the Jeep is topless), basic tool kit, jumper cables, tire iron, handyman, and a long-since-expired fire extinguisher." —Val Miller
• "Hatchet, short shovel, basic tool kit, two towstraps, bailing wire, and knife are always in my Jeep. I also bring a bag with food, water, jacket, water purifier, fire starters, and a big towel that doubles as a small blanket if I am going into the backcountry." —Ken Ward
• "Don't forget a map of the area, food you don't like (so you won't snack on it), water and water purification method, and first aid kit. Bare minimum, but everyone should at least have this stuff! —Tyler Bills
• "When on trips I keep a full bug-out first aid kit with field surgery kit, a pistol, cell phone, flashlights and batteries, cooler with food and water, spare parts, and just about anything I need tool wise. Three-four days stranded—no problem." —Jeff McGuire
• "When you have a Jeep, why would you need an emergency kit?" —Bernard Brady