Essentials to have in your car this summer

Looking for a checklist to keep your vehicle prepared for your summer adventures? We have tips on what to have in the vehicle so you’re ready to drive this summer!


The temperature is rising and so is the urge to hop in the car, head to the beach, a park, or journey out on a road trip! To ensure you’re having fun and focused on the road, let’s go through a summer essentials checklist for your vehicle!

  1. First Aid Kit
    Although this actually isn’t season-specific, you should add a first aid kit to your vehicle before any big summer trips! You can make your own or buy a pre-assembled kit like this one on Amazon! Make sure to include items like alcohol pads, bandages in varying sizes, cleansing wipes, disposable gloves, gauze, first aid tape, scissors, and tweezers.

  2. Water and Snacks
    It’s a great idea to always have a few water bottles and non-perishable food items in your vehicle as part of your emergency kit. If you are ever stranded and need to wait for rescue resources, you can consume these items until help arrives. On a more summer-based note, having drinks and snacks in your vehicle is essential for long drives like road trips! Water can help keep you alert (and hydrated!) and snacks also help make your road trip more enjoyable.

  3. A Book
    Keeping some reading material in your car is a great idea for the summer time especially! With more traffic on the roads (especially around long weekends, holidays, etc.) you never know when you may have an unexpected delay! If you experience a road closure, it’s nice to have a form of safe entertainment available while you wait. One summer, we were on a road trip driving through the Canadian Rocky Mountains and a mountain road was suddenly closed due to a collision. We waited for about 6 hours for the road to reopen and there were hundreds of cars all parked and waiting. I wish I had a book then!
    *Please don’t read unless you have the vehicle in park or are a passenger!

  4. Sunglasses
    This one is pretty self-explanatory, but don’t forget your shades for driving in sunny conditions!

  5. A Blanket
    This is great to have in your car all-year round! If you’re ever stuck in the winter, you can use it for warmth! In the summer, it makes a great picnic blanket for sitting in the grass or could be a seat protector if you’ve gotten dirty on an outdoor excursion!

  6. Phone Cable/Charger
    A phone cable is essential in most vehicles! If you have a newer vehicle, chances are you can use your phone cord to connect to your Apple CarPlay or Android Auto systems in addition to phone charging! It’s a good idea to have your phone charged before heading out for a drive in case you ever need to use it for navigation, call for emergency services, or need to contact roadside assistance.

  7. Jumper Cables
    Another staple to have in your vehicle is jumper cables! These are necessary to have in case your car battery dies or you come across someone else that needs help boosting their vehicle. Try to look for cables that are around 10 ft in length.

  8. Multi-tool & Escape Tool
    In life, you never know what is going to happen! Having a multi-tool can be a saving grace for life’s unexpected hiccups. In addition to a standard multi-tool, we highly recommend having an escape tool that is a combination of a seatbelt cutter and window breaking hammer. Store this handy tool in your vehicle’s center console for all people in the vehicle to reach in case of an emergency. Check out this handy tool here!

  9. Flashlight
    Since humans don’t yet have night vision, keeping a flashlight in your vehicle is something you need! You could also use the flashlight on your phone, but make sure you have something on hand if you’re stopped in a dark area or need extra light to become visible to other motorists at night.

  10. Flat Tire Essentials
    Before any road trip, it’s a good idea to inspect your tires and do any repairs or replacements if they’re worn out. Ensure that your car’s jack and corresponding tools are in the vehicle, that you have a spare tire, a flat tire repair kit, and a tire pressure gauge. Don’t let your tires be the cause of deflated summer plans this year!

  11. Bug Spray, Sunscreen, and a Hat!
    The essentials for surviving the outdoors! Keeping a hat and sunscreen in the car means you’re good to adventure wherever your car takes you this summer! If you see a beautiful spot and want to pull over to enjoy the sunshine, you now can with ease. Bug spray also comes in handy as you never know when you might need to ward off those pesky mosquitos. Don’t forget that if you break down on a hot day, you won’t be able to run your vehicle’s air conditioning…be prepared!

  12. Umbrella
    Don’t get caught in an unexpected summer shower! Having an umbrella on hand helps keep you dry as you come and go from your vehicle.

  13. Hand Sanitizer
    If you don’t have hand sanitizer with you after the last few years…now’s your time to grab one! Whether you want to clean off your hands after pulling over for an ice cream cone or to use for after you’ve refueled your vehicle…this is an essential!

  14. Important Documents and Phone Numbers
    Last but not least, your documents! Whenever you get behind the wheel make sure you’ve got your driver’s license, registration, and insurance on hand! In addition, don’t forget to have the phone numbers for any important services you may need in case of emergencies. This could be your dealership, roadside assistance, an emergency service, and more!

We hope you feel prepared to hit the road this summer! To help you get started on making sure you have everything you need, we’ve created this downloadable checklist for you! Keep this on your phone or print it out to make sure you have everything you need this summer.

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