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Disaster Planning DIY Projects Equipment / Supplies

Vehicle Tools and False Floor

Last weekend we went to Crater Lake in Oregon–the smoke was still bad so we didn’t see much–and as (my) luck would have it, we had a problem with our van since it wouldn’t start one morning because the positive battery cable came loose. I assume it was never correctly tightened down when installed. In fact, I ended up having to purchase a battery post shim to get it right.

Anyway, I was prepared enough to get the van back on the road because I had a small slip wrench. That incident, of course, got me to thinking about what other tools and supplies I had in the van specifically for vehicle breakdowns because it’s been at least a year since I’ve looked into and I tend to forget things after about week, lol.

Side Compartment Contents

  • First aid kit (discussed later).
  • Rain poncho – it’s not the best, just an extra one besides what I keep in my bug out bag.
  • Tool kit (discussed later).
  • Fix a flat – again, not the best option but better than nothing if you can’t patch a hole yourself.
  • DC tire inflator – although slow, it’s the easiest way to pump up a flat tire on the road by yourself.
  • Duct tape – so many uses! Include half a roll or more.
  • Locking lug nut tool (only necessary if you have locking lugs).

Tool Kit Contents

  • Fuses, assorted – I keep both the mini and larger blade fuses, though I think most of the van fuses are mini.
  • Zip toes, nylon straps, bungee cords, twine – various ways to tie things together or hold them down.
  • Tie patch kit – a better way to patch your tire than fix a flat.
  • Assorted tools (wrenches, screwdriver, mini screwdriver, pliers, multi-tool, wire cutters, mini pry bar) – I’m sure there’s more I could add, but these are the basics.
  • Pocket chainsaw – no real purpose for vehicle breakdowns; I just tossed it in there for some reason I can’t honestly remember… need to move it to my bug out bag.
  • Electrical tape – great for minor/temporary electrical repairs; interestingly, the roll of electrical tape I kept in the van had lost it’s stickiness which I’d never seen happen before, so I replaced it.
  • Strap wrench – not really sure if/when this would come in handy in a car breakdown, but I figure it never hurts to have more options.
  • WD-40 – can a man live without it? Doubtful.
  • Glow sticks – not my first option for lighting, but there’s no harm in including them; probably need replaced by now.
  • Road flares – useful for alerting traffic you’re a hazard at night and even for fire-starting, if you’re desperate.

First Aid Kit Contents

I actually keep a better kit in my wife’s car, but this will suffice for the van:

  • Vinyl gloves – a few pair to keep yourself protected from blood pathogens and even for keeping the patient safe too.
  • Mini sewing kit – can’t imagine I’d ever use this; probably need to add some safety pins for expedient repairs.
  • Assorted rolled gauze and tape – I don’t think they’re sterile; just useful for covering larger wounds or holding other bandages in place.
  • Assorted bandages and gauze squares – the basics like finger bandages and whatnot.
  • Rescue mouth breather – to keep you safe when performing CPR on somebody you don’t know…and maybe even from those you do know.
  • Lotion, antibiotic ointment, lip balm, tums.
  • Israeli compression bandage – a better option for properly stopping larger bleeding scenarios.
  • Assorted pills (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Advil, decongestants, anti-diarrheal) – the basics to include, though it doesn’t look like I included an antihistamine like Benadryl, which I definitely need to.
  • Small scissors – for cutting away clothing quickly.

The False Floor

I didn’t actually make this to hide anything, but its turned out to be useful for that purpose as well. The idea was initially to have a solid surface to place groceries and suitcases and the like without crushing other stuff I want to keep in the car all the time. The two handles are useful for lifting the false floor up and, although not seen, there are three legs strategically placed to hold the floor up and in place.

What’s Underneath the False Floor

  • My bug out bag – there a ton of stuff in there, read about it here if you want to know what.
  • Window ice scraper – not needed much where I live, but occasionally handy.
  • Jumper cables – always good to have a pair no matter what!
  • Jump starter power bank – these devices are great for jump starting your own car in minutes; I’ve bought them for every vehicle we own and already used once or twice.
  • Water – I keep several bottles of water sealed in Foodsaver bags further contained in a soft-sided lunch pail.
  • Sleeping bag – just something extra if I were to get stranded overnight.
  • Snow chains appropriate for my tires – again, probably won’t need them where I live but you never know where I might end up.

That’s pretty much what I keep in my van, expect for other things like extra DC chargers for my phone along with different cords for the various phones we use. I also keep a portable battery bank in the glove box, a fire extinguisher under the backside of the driver’s seat, some towels, and that’s about it.

What else do you keep in your vehicles? I’d sure be interested to know if there’s something I’m missing. Thanks!

By Damian Brindle

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