Guest post by Kris.
Flashback to 2001, when my husband and I were traveling 4 hours to visit family for Christmas. Out of nowhere, mild snow flurries became a full-on snowstorm so fast that the road crews couldn’t keep up. We were stranded on the interstate at night—along with hundreds of other travelers—with no forward movement for over two hours. As newlyweds it was a small inconvenience and an excuse to kiss between Christmas carols on the radio.
Flash forward to 2012. Two children and a (prepper) lifetime later, I realize that minor inconvenience today could result in a major meltdown—or worse. As a relatively new survival mom, I now carry items to ensure the comfort and safety of my family should my car (same one from 2001, plus about 195,000 miles) leave us stranded. Please note: NONE of this was on my radar at the time. But I couldn’t stop thinking about that snowstorm the first morning I had to scrape ice this fall. I’m now carrying:
72-hour kit — Food and water enough for the whole family, plus the basic fire-starting and survival tools you’d keep in a bug-out bag. Even if we don’t need to survive for days, a kid-friendly snack can be a big morale booster. Boredom plus low blood sugar equals meltdowns and multiplied stress. That’s math I’d rather not attempt. (P.S. My husband says carrying water is important, anyway, in case of an overheated radiator. Who knew?)
Complete first aid kit — I can’t tell you how many times I’ve doctored up other people’s kids at t-ball or soccer games from this trunk kit. I added some Celox just in case. And for my little guys, I got a version with tooth preservation gel. They only have two permanent teeth between them, but I’d really like to keep them. And if that snow storm causes a pile-up or ditch slide, we’ll have a few resources in case ambulances can’t get through.
Coveralls and blankets — I found these on clearance last summer and bought them a size up for the kids. In space bags, they nestle at the bottom of a clear bin in my trunk. I have also included a small case of “Hot Hands” instant warmers (like my husband takes hunting) just in case the battery dies or I run out of gas. Speaking of which…
At least a half tank of gas at all times
Waterproof hiking boots — I also have wool socks and snow shoes for the kids, in case we end up walking. Snow is sporadic in our area, so we don’t need these on a daily basis throughout the winter. Spare gloves and hats were $1 each at the dollar store. I got several identical sets so when we lose gloves one a time we don’t have to toss the remaining one; there’s always a matched pair. My five-year-old thinks I’m magical.
Lock de-icer and spray de-icer for the windshield — The slushy stuff can freeze fast when you’re immobile.
Power inverter and charger for the cell phone — I carry my laptop back and forth to work, so charging it could be a useful source of information in a prolonged stand-still. Plus, I can always pop in a DVD (stashed in the glove box) to minimize fighting in the back seat.
Yet another flashlight — They double as entertainment for restless kids. With one in my purse, one in the BOB (Bug Out Bag), and one in the glove compartment, we can make our own shadow puppets without cramping each other’s style.
Cash in small bills — This makes sense for any scenario. It might useful to buy gas from someone who would be willing to part with their spare can. (Hubby won’t let me drive with a full gas can in the trunk. Something about my lack of braking when I turn.)
Loaded pistol — “Helpless” mom with car trouble on the interstate? I refuse to be a victim.
Baby wipes and Kleenex —For runny noses, tears, and emergency bathrooming. An empty mason jar means Little Man and Ladybug will have a “Plan B” should we be stranded. I hate to think about anything more serious than a tinkle urge…maybe sacrifice the space bag?
I know I’m missing a back-up communication plan if the situation is more serious than a snowstorm. What other ideas should I incorporate? Any ideas for upgrades as my kids get older?