Have Coffee – Will Travel with Emergency Kit

Have Coffee – Will Travel with Emergency Kit

My family loves to travel and when we travel by car, I am the designated driver.  When traveling to a destination that is over 5 hours long, my preferred time to leave the house is around 5 a.m. in the morning with a hot cup of black coffee.  The smell of the coffee and the first sip of this magic elixir helps awaken my senses.    


Aside from a good cup of coffee, I always have in the car trunk a basic emergency kit consisting of a portable car battery charger, tire plug kit, portable air compressor, a quart of oil, a multitool and a long flashlight.  I always tell my family and friends that these are basic accessories that are needed in every car.  As the saying goes, it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.  I will explain the reason for these items in more detail below.


Portable car battery charger – A car battery’s average lifespan is between 3-5 years and batteries typically fail during cold weather.  A portable car battery charger gives you peace of mind as a jump is readily available plus it can be used to power portable electronic devices.  However, once you have a portable car battery charger on hand make sure you check the unit every now and then as the charge dissipates over time.  Take it from me, there was an incident where my car battery failed when we stopped to eat lunch in New Haven, CT.  Even though I had a car battery charger, the unit was not properly charged to give my car the needed jump and there was no electrical outlet to charge the unit as we were at the wharf area where all the food trucks congregate.  My family and I had to wait for over an hour before a tow truck arrived, which added to our frustration.  To add to my misery, the cost for the tow truck jump was $75.00 and was much more than the portable car battery charger I bought at Costco for $49.99.


Tire plug kit – A flat tire caused by a screw or nail will dampen any trip and increase travel time.  Also, if you have a flat tire on a Sunday and are running the vehicle gingerly on the spare, you will find that there are a limited number of tire auto shops open and even fewer shops on a holiday weekend.  This is why it makes sense to carry a tire plug kit.  My kit consists of 5 gummy type plugs, a reamer tool to roughen and clean the inside of the tire as well as a plunger tool to insert the plug.  I have used these tire plugs on several occasions and the repair can be completed in under two minutes.  This is a great method to avoid changing a tire in an unsafe area or in bad weather conditions.  While these tire plugs are very useful in a jam, I always make it a point to bring the plugged tire to a service station where the tire can be properly patched.  I once had an incident in June 2023 where the auto technician found a 3-inch long broken piece of a soldering iron inside the plugged tire when he was doing the patch job on my car’s rear tire.  The cost for a tire plug kit is cheap and I bought mine at Autozone for about $13.00, which is money well spent. 


Portable air compressor – After a tire is plugged, you will need to restore air pressure.  These portable air compressors can fill a tire to the recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) level fast.  These units also come in handy when cold weather seems to zap air pressure to a sitting car early in the morning, which had happened to me a few times in Montreal and Quebec, Canada.  My air compressor has a feature where you input the tire’s PSI and the unit will stop pumping air once the PSI level has been attained.  I have used my portable air compressor many times to inflate my car tires, bike tires, basketballs and camping air beds.  The cost I paid of $34.97 for my portable air compressor on Amazon was one my best product purchases.


Quart of oil – Older cars burn more oil than newer cars and it is a very bad idea to operate a vehicle with the low oil lamp indicator turned on.  Just good practice to have a quart of oil just in case it has been some time since the last oil change.  I once had the low oil lamp indicator warning when I was driving to Bangor, ME.  Luckily, the quart of oil I had was sufficient until I got an oil change a day after my family arrived at our intended destination.  I drive a Toyota 4Runner and a quart of synthetic oil is about $8.00.


Multi-tool – These multi-tools come in a variety of configurations and include features such as pliers, scissors, and various knives.  Having a multi-tool with pliers will come in handy when extracting a nail or screw out of the tire.  I bought my multi-tool at Wal-Mart for about $15.00 and have used the pliers several times.


Long flashlight – I keep a long flashlight (about a foot long) inside the car and this comes in handy when I visually check the tires at night when I stop for gas.  Make it a habit to visually check the tires as it takes less than a minute.  I can’t tell you how many times how I spotted a nail or screw in the tire when filling up for gas or when leaving the house.  Better to spot tire damage early as opposed to having a complete blow out on the highway or on a bridge.  I bought my long flashlight at Wal-Mart for about $15.00.  Bonus points…a long flashlight can be used as a baton against zombies.


Coffee – Begin and end your long-distance car journey with coffee from The Art of the Bean and Leaf in Asbury Park, NJ!  They offer a wide selection of coffee beans roasted to perfection from Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Hawaii, Jamaica, Sumatra and Tanzania.  My personal favorite is the Hawaiian Kona.


Aside from the coffee, the cumulative cost for the above items is approximately $136.00.  While I do have other items in my emergency travel kit, the items I listed above are considered the most important.


Leave comments to let me know as well as others who are reading this blog what items you have in your emergency travel kit.

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