Whether your car breaks down on a cross-country road trip or you get caught in an unexpected blizzard, having an emergency kit in your trunk is a lifesaver. Along with light sources for visibility, the best roadside emergency kits have several helpful tools, such as reflectors and jumper cables. Some are also stocked with gear for severe weather, while others come equipped with first aid kits, road flares, or air compressors to fix a flat tire.
When selecting the best car emergency kit for your needs, you’ll want to check out the full list of items each kit has to offer. All of the kits on this list include a light source for visibility at night, like a headlamp or LED flashlight that’ll give you a good view of any small repairs you might need to make, or reflective vests and triangles that will alert others of your presence. And if you’re driving in conditions where visibility is particularly problematic (like fog, snow, or rain), you may want to opt for a kit with road flares that make it even easier for other drivers to see you.
Beyond that, jumper cables are always good to have, in case you need to restart a dead battery, and if you’re concerned about getting stuck in the snow, you can get a kit that’s equipped with a shovel, an ice scraper, and a heat-retaining emergency blanket. And the last thing you’ll want to consider is a first aid kit; some of the options on this list come with one, but if your top pick doesn’t, I’ve included a great standalone first aid kit you can add on. Keeping all of that in mind, I’ve rounded up the best roadside emergency kits to help you stay safe and get back on the road in no time.
1. The Best Emergency Car Kit For Most People
Whether you’re a first-time car owner or a veteran driver, this roadside emergency car kit will prepare you to handle several types of emergencies. The 57-piece kit includes 7.6-foot jumper cables, a mechanical flashlight, tow rope, tire pressure gauge, a reflective warning triangle, a poncho, an emergency blanket, a reflective vest, and more. There’s also a safety hammer that can shatter your windshield or act as a seatbelt cutter if you’re trapped inside your vehicle. As an added bonus, this kit has a 10-piece first-aid kit to treat minor wounds. With an overall rating of 4.8 stars on Amazon along with over 1,700 reviews, this kit has proven itself to be a solid, versatile pick that fits the needs of the average driver. Several customers have commented on the kit’s great value, citing the quality tools without the lofty price tag.
According to a reviewer: “This is such a handy tool to have in your car and for a really reasonable price. I feel much safer knowing I have the essentials I need in case of an emergency.”
- First aid kit included: yes
- Number of items: 24
2. A Budget-Friendly Option
If you want a cost-effective roadside emergency kit that includes the basics, this wallet-friendly option is the way to go. It’s more suited for small emergencies than it is for survival, but the 10-piece kit still includes 8-foot jumper cables, a crescent wrench, a screwdriver, a rain poncho, gloves, and a hand-powered flashlight. It also comes with an eye-catching collapsible traffic cone equipped with a highly visible LED light on top. However, there’s no first aid kit, so you may want to purchase one separately.
According to a reviewer: “It comes with everything it says it does, is small which is nice if you have a small car like I do with limited trunk space (I have a small compact car). Overall very pleased with both quality and price.”
- First aid kit included: no
- Number of items: 9
3. A Kit Designed For Severe Weather
If you live in a region with harsh weather conditions, you may want a safety kit that’s specifically designed with snow, sleet, and ice in mind. This 66-piece AAA roadside emergency kit comes with several unique items designed for severe weather, including a folding shovel, an ice scraper, fleece gloves, a cap and scarf, and hand-warmer packets. It also has standard survival items such as an LED flashlight, an emergency whistle, and a 45-piece first-aid kit. There are no jumper cables in this kit — you’d have to purchase them separately — but for those who frequently drive in winter weather conditions, it may be worth investing in this specialized pack.
According to a reviewer: “I researched a lot of car kits to give to my husband & this was perfect. We live in Colorado, so a good "severe weather" kit was essential & this fit the bill. It doesn't take up too much room in his truck & I will be ordering one for my vehicle as well.”
- First aid kit: yes
- Number of items: 66
4. A Kit With A Road Flare For Higher Visibility
A road flare can serve as a universally understood distress signal as well as a way to provide additional visibility on poorly lit roads, and they’re especially suited to foggy, rain, and snowy conditions. Many modern road flares are constructed with LED lights, and they generate a bright light that can be seen up to a mile away. This roadside safety kit includes a battery-powered and water-resistant road flare that you can attach to your car using its magnetic base. It has nine different LED lighting modes to draw attention to your car. In addition, this 12-piece set also includes jumper cables, a tow strap, a screwdriver, a hand-powered flashlight, a safety vest, and a reflective triangle — but no first aid kit.
According to a reviewer: “This kit is great and it has everything! I got it for my car for emergencies and 3 days later my battery died and I needed a jump! I needed to use the triangles to warn drivers I was disabled. Got a jump start and was ready to go. Packed it back up! Such a life saver!”
- First aid kit included: no
- Number of items: 12
5. An Option With A Portable Air Compressor
This impressive 90-piece roadside emergency kit is packed with functional tools, but what makes it stand out from the rest is its portable air compressor and tire patching kit, which comes in handy if your tire starts leaking while you’re on the road. The air compressor plugs directly into your car’s 12-volt outlet, and the cable is long enough to reach all four tires (and you can use the included tire gauge for precise filling).
This kit also has nearly everything else you’d need in an emergency: 10-foot jumper cables, a tow rope, a headlamp with an LED bulb, electrical tape, a pair of gloves, a reflective triangle, and more. You’ll also get a 48-piece first aid kit for small injuries. This option might be on the pricier side, but the premium features more than make up for it — especially if it saves you from the hassle of having to call a tow truck. For those who are particularly worried about being stuck with a flat tire, this kit offers some serious peace of mind.
According to a reviewer: “This kit saved me so much time and money! The portable tire inflator is the reason I bought this specific kit, and I am glad I did! I had a flat tire, and my spare tire was flat too, but the inflator saved me from waiting for a tow.”
- First aid kit included: yes
- Number of items: 12
Also Helpful: A First Aid Kit (If Your Road Kit Doesn’t Come With One)
A first aid kit is essential, and if your roadside emergency kit doesn’t include one, this option from Johnson & Johnson is a fan-favorite pick that’s earned a 4.8-star overall rating after more than 8,000 reviews. The comprehensive kit includes 140 items, like cleansing wipes, gauze pads, assorted bandages, antibiotic cream, itch-stopping cream, acetaminophen, an instant cold pack, and more. Plus, it’s all packed into a convenient carrying case that’ll take up minimal space in your trunk.
According to a reviewer: “Literally obsessed. I keep this in my car and it has everything I need while also being the perfect size - small, easy to access and store.”
- Number of items: 140