survival items glove compartment

10 Survival Items that Should Be in Your Car’s Glove Compartment

Every single driver needs to have an emergency kit for the trunk of the car, and smart preppers also keep a Bug Out Bag in their vehicle trunk.

But what about inside your car?

There are dozens of situations where you might not be able to get to the items in your trunk.

Like if you get rear-ended.

Or if it is pitch black outside and you can’t see your way to the trunk.

Or if you find yourself in a situation where every single second counts…

For these reasons, you should have these survival items in your car’s glove compartment.


1. Flashlight

It is dark, you are on a deserted back road, and your car stalls on you. Don’t go outside without turning on a flashlight first.  The last thing you want is to add a sprained ankle to the problem!

I actually keep two flashlights in my glove compartment.  One is a really big, heavy flashlight.  Not only is it super bright, but it can be used in self-defense for blinding an attacker by shining the light in his eyes and then bashing him over the head with it.

The other flashlight is a headlamp.

Headlamps are awesome because they give you light while freeing up your hands.  Even in non-emergency situations this is a big help.

My wife assures me that going to the bathroom in the dark with a headlamp is a lot easier than doing so while holding a flashlight! 😉

2. First Aid Kit

I’ve got a complete first aid kit in the trunk of my car as well as a mini version in the glove compartment.  The main item here is heavy sterile gauze in case someone sustains arterial bleeding which needs to be controlled right away.

3. Gloves

This is a survival item that a lot of people forget about.  In accidents and other emergency situations, there is often a lot of glass, debris, and maybe even fire around.

For example, let’s say that you get rear-ended and all of your survival items are in your trunk.  How are you supposed to open your trunk without cutting your hands on all the broken glass?

Opt for heavy-duty work gloves or get a pair of cut-resistant gloves.

4. Seatbelt Cutter

I’ve actually got one of these on my keychain, but have an extra one in my glove box too.  Not being able to escape a vehicle because of a caught seatbelt is a very-real problem!

5. Window Breaker

Along with the seatbelt cutter, you’ll want a window breaker in your emergency glove box kit (the item above incorporates both).

Don’t think that you are so tough that you can smash through a car window with your hand.  You might succeed, but slice open an artery in the process!

6. Face Mask

Face masks are important for protecting yourself from fumes and airborne contaminants during emergencies.  Just think about how many people are still dying from the terrorist attacks of September 11th because they got cancer from breathing in all the toxins in the air.

An N95 face mask is probably the most practical choice.  You can read about N95 face masks here.

7. Multi-Tool

If I had to rush out of my car quickly and could only grab one item, it would be my multi-tool.  With the knives, screwdrivers, scissors, and other tools on it, I could greatly increase my chances of surviving any SHTF situation.

Though I will also say that you should probably keep your multi-tool in your pocket or keychain at all times and not just in your glove box.

I also like these EDC tools.

8. Road Map and Compass

Don’t get spoiled by GPS!  Navigation systems fail and you could find yourself very, very lost.

Nothing beats a standard paper road map and compass for navigation – just make sure you actually learn how to read a map.

Orienteering is a fun way to practice this, along with these other fun ways to learn survival skills.

9. Pepper Spray

Because of varying state laws about concealed firearms and some issues about keeping a gun in your glove compartment, I’m not going to list “firearm” here (though it is obviously an option).

Instead, pepper spray is a great alternative to guns as a self-defense weapon.

Plus, you don’t always want to kill an attacker…

10.  Poncho

What good is a raincoat in your trunk if you get all wet while going out to get it?

Wet = Cold = Death

Seriously, staying dry is important so make sure you’ve got a poncho in your glove compartment in addition to the change of clothes and rain jacket you should have in your trunk emergency car kit.

Bonus: Fire Extinguisher Under Your Seat

I’ve never had to use my car’s fire extinguisher, but a friend of mine did save someone from being seriously burnt (possibly to death!) by quickly getting out his fire extinguisher and putting out a fire which had started in her car.

So don’t put your fire extinguisher in your trunk.  Keep it under your seat where you can get to it very quickly!


What other survival items do you keep in your car glove box?  How do these differ from the ones you keep in your trunk?  

Image credit: “Typical Saab pimples on glove compartmen” (CC BY 2.0) by  tobiastoft 

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