110+ Unusual Items You’ll Want for Your Glove Box or Car

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How many of you keep ketchup packets in your vehicle’s glove box or center console? No, I mean ON PURPOSE, not the ones you tossed in there because you didn’t have anywhere else to put them as you went through the drive-through, and then you forgot about them. Turns out that’s one of the unusual items for your glove box that some of you keep.

A while back, we asked Survival Mom readers what unusual items you all keep in your car or glove compartment that others might not. Now, if you have a vehicle kit, you may not consider these “unusual.” If you don’t have one, consider assembling one using the guidance in our emergency bag for your car post.

At the end of this article, I’ll share my single most favorite response, but here is a curated list of those responses, in no particular order.

image: hand removing first aid kit from glove box

Unusual Items for Your Glove Box or Car

  1. Cooling towels
  2. Emergency tool for breaking window/cutting seat belts. (FYI: It’s an urban myth that car headrests were designed for this purpose; they were not. They were intended for head stabilization. However, they CAN be used for this purpose. See the distinction?)
  3. Emergency blanket
  4. Life Straw
  5. A shovel, fruit picker, and tongs for foraging
  6. A full-size fire extinguisher
  7. Children’s scissors, if needed for anything (like cutting wildflowers)
  8. Zip lock bags (for car sickness)
  9. Sunblock
  10. Bug spray
  11. Extra charging cords
  12. Bungee cords
  13. Quarter for Aldi. (For those of you, like me, who have only heard of the magnificence that is Aldi’s, you “pay” for the cart and need to bring your bags, but you get the quarter back when you return the cart.) Or, do as one reader does, hand it off to someone, and tell them to pass it on to someone else when they’re done.
  14. Socks and toothbrushes. This reader has a travel hockey player, and someone is always going to a cold ice rink with sandals on. They add that kids never remember to grab their toothbrushes for overnight road trips for games.
  15. All Flock and scratch for feeding wild birds at the park
  16. IFAK with water purifying tabs
  17. Cheap poncho
  18. Fire kit
  19. A monkey wrench in the case of carjackers. One swing and they let go.
  20. Ax
  21. Waterproof matches
  22. Sewing kit
  23. Bandana
  24. Bleed stop
  25. An inflatable kayak. If there is a bridge on your commute route, you might consider one in case it goes down (earthquake, bridge collapse). Consider tossing in the current year’s tidal charts so you’ll know the best time to grab the BOB from work and start paddling home.
  26. Pipe insulators to protect vehicle roof racks/paint and ratchet straps to strap things on
  27. A battery starter
  28. Empty reusable handled bag to carry all the stuff in the vehicle if it must be left
  29. Rescue scissors
  30. Sharpies
  31. Toothbrush, toothpaste & floss
  32. Napkins and straws
  33. Retractable baton
  34. 9mm handgun and extra clips
  35. Salt packets
  36. Ice Chest with wheel & handle with all kinds of emergency supplies, including food/water/first aid/maps. (This is an excellent example of using a non-traditional container!)
  37. Travel hair brush
  38. Bleeding control trauma kit
  39. A step stool. (I can relate to this reader who is too short to get in tow trucks if one was needed.)
  40. A car kettle in the car. It’s slim (like a 24 oz bottle), fits into a cup holder, and can be plugged into the car charger to heat water for Mountain House meals, hot chocolate, or whatever might be needed. (Okay, these are just slick!)
  41. Ketchup packets. Combine them with a bit of water to make tomato soup in a pinch.
  42. Duct tape
  43. A can of bear spray
  44. Flip flops. This reader says, “A friend of mine keeps flip flips of all sizes. She has ten kids who always lose their shoes at friends’ houses. This ensures they can leave on time and hope the shoes will get back to them on time. (Sometimes shoe emergencies FEEL like dire emergencies).”
  45. Gripping gloves & Playtex gloves
  46. Bible
  47. Cards
  48. .38 handgun and permit
  49. Cat food
  50. A powerful magnet
  51. 452 (give-or-take) restaurant takeout menus (Wow!!!)
  52. Fold-up yoga mat
  53. Dog toys and a slip lead
  54. Real silverware, salt, and pepper. Never know when a picnic will break out. (Flash picnic!)
  55. Salt shaker for street tacos (Amen, to that!)
  56. Petty cash
  57. Tic Tacs. (If you didn’t have the toothbrush and toothpaste, these could make a huge difference!)
  58. Well, a good cheese knife, of course. (But of course.)
  59. Cat food, in case we suddenly need a can.
  60. An emesis bag (barf bag)
  61. Yarn & crochet hook to cope with anxiety as a passenger stuck in traffic
  62. Shemaghs on our car seats I suggest watching fieldcraft survival to see what it is and how Mike Glover uses it
  63. Various seed pods
  64. A bag of plackers, scissors, tape, and some rocks. (Rocks?)
  65. Chopsticks
  66. Washcloth, tablets with bottled water, and gloves
  67. An AR14 with a bunch of 50-round mags
  68. Bush knife
  69. A rolling pin and a machete. Just because.
  70. Ferro rod
  71. Lint roller
  72. Taser
  73. Artic canteen with stainless canteen cup
  74. An army can opener
  75. Anything I forget in the car. (Yup, I can relate!)
  76. A sharp knife and an ax. This reader is prepared in case of a car accident with a deer.
  77. Woobie blanket
  78. Sillcock key
  79. Bolt cutters
  80. Narcan (in the first aid kit)
  81. On Guard Sanitizing Mist
  82. A Ka-Bar
  83. Tourniquet
  84. Whistle
  85. Dry shampoo
  86. Spare eyeglasses
  87. A nightstick
  88. Lawn blanket
  89. Zip ties
  90. Wire cutters
  91. Wasp spray
  92. Tape measure
  93. Chocolate (Hallelujah! Amen!)
  94. Large pocket knife
  95. Juice box & crackers for diabetics
  96. Hand/foot warmers
  97. Dolly Parton and Zydeco CDs (Morale is important!)
  98. Old ski poles for use as walking sticks
  99. A complete trauma kit
  100. Box of kitty litter
  101. Throwing knives
  102. Two new 2-gallon gas cans. Our reader states they did this “after Atlanta’s “Snowpocalypse” because if you’re having to shelter in your vehicle, two small gas cans are easy to carry, a balanced load, and together are enough fuel to run your vehicle for a while.”
  103. A windproof lighter
  104. A complete seasonally-appropriate change of clothes, including socks, underwear, and shoes
  105. Wine opener. It has many uses besides opening a bottle.
  106. A roll of blue mechanics’ paper towels
  107. Bible tracts
  108. Medications
  109. Stanley Fat Max Utility Bar
  110. An Atlas. A good set of maps is key. (Here! here!)

Top Two Responses

The second most popular response was a combination seat belt cutter and window breaker.

And the single most common unusual item (yes, ahem, that’s a thing) was TOILET PAPER.

And on that note…

Here’s a Round-up of All the Emergency Toileting Supplies Kept in Vehicles

  • Toilet paper X a bazillion
  • A trash bucket that doubles as a toilet because they also have a Luggable Loo toilet seat in the van. (Things that can pull double-doody are great! Was that bad? Sorry, not sorry.)
  • Depends adult diapers
  • #10 can to use as an emergency toilet
  • A female “urinal.” Consider adding an empty bottle with a screw lid and maybe some plastic tubing to “connect” the two points.
  • An empty bottle for urinating if stuck in traffic
  • GoGirl female stand to pee cups
  • Dish towels and plastic bags for desperate gotta pee situations
  • TP under the seat in a plastic bag
  • A portapotty
  • Toilet paper, wet wipes, and a bucket

My Single Most Favorite Response

I think we all need a Becky’s Wonder Emporium in our lives, don’t you?

  • “My friend Becky has a car we call Becky’s Wonder Emporium because she has the most RANDOM stuff in it. For example, I needed a litter pan. “Oh, I have one in the car!” Super glue? In the car. Belt Sanders? In the car. Batteries? In the car. Coffee maker? Car. Masking/duct/shipping tape?  Coffee filters? Yep. I’ve decided it’s like a TARDIS. You can’t change my mind.”

We won’t even try.

Survival Mom readers are creative and inventive, fully capable of prepping for emergencies McGyver-style. I never fail to learn something new from you all.

What’s something unusual you carry in the glove box or car?

12 thoughts on “110+ Unusual Items You’ll Want for Your Glove Box or Car”

  1. I’m glad I’m not alone keeping a few “Aldi quarters” in the car – used to carry all kinds of pocket
    change and had $$s of silver for paying road tolls at the automated cash booths …..

    with Covid I just about ended any cash paying – use the credit card almost exclusively – even quit using the debit card for security reasons ….

    1. The Survival Mom

      I remember practically tearing apart our car to find loose change to pay for a toll in the middle of the night! LOL

  2. Ha! It amuses (and validates!) me how many of these items are in my car right now 😀 It’s a continuation of some of the items on the list, but living in Michigan, I have spare hats and gloves tucked under several seats, along with a big blanket. We use that sucker all the time (football games, I’m looking at you!).

  3. In addition to many items on the list, I have a dollar store manicure kit (nail clippers, scissors, tweezers) and emery boards–all multipurpose! Various tools (pliers, screwdrivers, etc). Clothing and food/water gets changed out seasonally. A actual metal coffee can with a roll of tp and a small bottle of rubbing alcohol can provide heat.

  4. Multitools–a Leatherman, bullnose wrench, combo hammer/pliers, and a socket set. If I can’t find the problem, maybe somebody else can.
    Bleach bottles full of water. Spare glasses. A black contractor bag with bug powder in the bottom, for garage sale finds. Roll of duct tape!

    1. Skipthebs: I was with you on the duct tape until I actually carried it around in my vehicle: just as with water in winter, you need to be VERY careful with duct tape in SUMMER: it melts!!! I know this first hand, and because of that, I stopped carrying it. If anyone knows how to prevent or deal with this problem, please let me know!

  5. Step stool, seed pods, flip flops and rolling pin are about the only really oddball items, and the flip flops make sense if that mom knows her kids. Most of the others make good sense, to me at least.
    To the person with the duct tape getting a little soft and sticky in the summer, some wax paper or even grocery shopping bag paper, folded over the edges of the roll, will solve most of the problems with it sticking where it shouldn’t. But make sure it isn’t too terribly old, as it gets permanently gummed up and dried out after a while.
    This home improvement contractor has dealt with duct tape for 50-odd years, so I have tossed out a few partial rolls in my day.
    My unusual but I think logical item I keep in all my vehicles is a scrap of 3/4” plywood, around a foot square. I keep it in case I need to use my jack on a not too steady solid surface, or a “smushy” one.

    I get a lot of enjoyment out of your site, Survival Mom.

  6. A hand held CB or HAM radio! Yes, some people still communicate with things other than a cell phone! Be certain to obtain the proper endorsements for operation (it has become a lot easier over the years – and, of course, the governing officials will actively be checking for operators’ licenses during an emergent situation, right?)
    These are not really unusual, but certainly are handy!:
    A rechargeable plug in to the lighter socket type flashlight – or two.
    Fix a flat/tire pump.
    A chunk of carpet for putting on the ground to put on chains, change a tire or help get you
    “unstuck”. Or just to sit on if you get wet/dirty etc. to save your seat from the same fate.
    A spare key – on your person or outside your passenger compartment/ trunk/underhood of
    your car. (not the magnetic key boxes – a thiefs dream! A bit of wire and some imagination
    works much better!
    Oh, yeah – wire! Bailing, electrical, etc.
    Radiator hose clamps.
    Emergency repair tape (works where duct tape won’t – sorry McGyver!)
    A small jar/tube of Vaseline – (kinda encroaching on the Vapo Rub use – but, trust me, there
    are areas you don’t want to use Vapo Rub! – think diaper rash!)

    Hopefully someone finds something useful on this post- I have!!


  7. I always keep hand warmers in my car to give to the homeless, and keep a few for myself. It has happened that my car broke down, without a working heater, on a blisteringly cold day. The AAA person said “you have to wait in the car”, to which I replied, “Sure, what is the name of the tow company?” Then I called the tow company directly and told them where to meet me at a nearby CVS so that I was still alive when they got there! Without the hand warmers I would have surely had frostbite on my fingers by the time I walked the 1/2 mile to get to the store. Additionally, I keep my go bag in my car! No one mentioned that in the list. My go bag has a ton of essentials. No one mentioned keeping a couple quarts of oil, and some brake fluid in the car, along with a REAL jack and a 4 way lug wrench. I have used ALL of those things for myself and others.

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