on the road... learn from experience



What should I bring?

Emergencies (I've had a few)

Emergencies with the car or with your health will happen on your trip. I have been broken down in the strangest spots and wish I would have brought some of these items. I also have injured myself while traveling... like the time at Neys Provincial Park when I nearly split my head open goofing around on some wet rocks. I was probably fifty to one hundred miles from the next hospital. Note that some atlases and maps list local hospitals. This is a good thing to look for when purchasing a map. To find the nearest repairman, you should probably ask the locals. Check out my emergencies page...

Battery-powered radio I always use my Grundig Yacht Boy on long trips. It is important to have a connection with the outside world, especially when the weather gets bad or when in a traffic jam with no gas. Tune your car radio to 1610 AM for local information if available. The major AM stations usually list weather emergencies.
Toilet paper I keep it under my driver's seat because you never know how or when it comes in handy.
Blankets It gets cold at night, even in sunny New Mexico (he said from experience), so pack a blanket and a sweater to keep you warm if you are in big trouble. Avoid getting this stuff wet or you might literally die.
Tuna You will barely notice the tiny cans while packing, but if there is no food around, tuna will provide you with a lot of good energy in tight spots. I hate eating tuna personally, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
First Aid Bring a first aid kit, but keep it small. You are not qualified to do major surgeries anyway. Pack some pain relievers, aloe, maybe itch relief, bandages, tape, and other items you might need for your comfort and to stop bleeding.
Matches Make sure there are matches in the car. The car lighters do not work like that. (I tried once in Canada.) You may need to burn paper, wood, or even the padding in your seats to cook or keep warm.
Towels You need this to keep your brow dry when you are stressed and to wipe off your hands while doing repairs. They can also stop bleeding. So many uses and it takes up so little space.
Water You should bring water and containers to collect water along your way. This is used for roadside washing, drinking, and car repair if needed. I always bring a container to use as emergency coolant and have once in a while had to collect water from streams and odd and end spigots to keep the car running. If possible keep this in the trunk, but if it is cold out you should keep it in the cab.
For the car You need to bring pre-diluted coolant, a bit of oil, a funnel, a filter (depending on the area being traversed), bungee cords and cinches, a jack kit, a spare tire, and a set of essential tools like wrenches, a hammer, a blade, duct tape, and screwdriver. If it seems like it is taking up space, know that it is a list of things I wish I had with me in various situations that have arisen on the roads. I should probably join AAA.