Putting Together a Road Travel Safety Bag
Dr. John Woods 09.11.14
Outdoors enthusiasts are always on the move. Whether you hunt, fish, hike, bird watch, camp, kayak, ride ATVS, or whatever you do outside close to home or a distance off, you are at some point traveling in a primary vehicle. When you pack your gear in the pickup truck, SUV, RV, or whatever you drive, do you include a basic road travel safety bag?
This is a personal project I have been working on, and sometimes it doesn’t seem worth the effort. In 60 years of life, I have never needed a travel safety bag. But in this world, anything can happen. I just think it is a good practice to have a small bag with some essential items included. This should be even more important if you have kids along on the trip.
Now this bag can be kept permanently in the vehicle like a GHB (Get Home Bag) all the time or just tossed in when a road trip comes up. Remember a road trip these days could be ten miles over to the big shopping mall, on the interstate, or across town to take the kids to the community park.
This does not have to be a project to go wild on. A little time spent in the supply closet or medicine cabinet at home would be a good place to start pulling out some basic supplies for a travel safety bag. A trip to Wally-World is a good start. Look in the small sample travel size items to find some good stuff for this kit.
And speaking of bags, this travel safety bag can be an old backpack no longer used, a small nylon duffle in the bottom of your hall closet, or even one of those eco-shopping bags. It would be best to have a bag with a solid closure like a zipper to keep the stuff from falling out and relatively free from outside dust and dirt. A multi-pocketed backpack offers some better modes of storage. This is about six of one, half dozen the other about digging through one duffle to find stuff or opening a half dozen zippered pockets. You choose the system best for you.
Certainly my ideas may be different from yours, and that is perfectly fine. I started pulling first aid type stuff first because it was easy enough to think about and find around the house. I used several zip closed bags to pack band aides, gauze, a tube of antiseptic cream, two elastic wrap bandages, a bottle of hand sanitizer, aspirin, eye wash, tweezers, bandage tape, cotton swabs, wet wipes, and similar stuff.
Add bug repellent and itch/bite cream, too. Sunburn lotion? There may be other special items needed for small kids or infants, too. Include a package of several cold packs, too. Some regular skin lotion would be a nice idea.
Next I went for some small gear items. This list included a small flashlight, a pocketknife, scissors, some safety pins, chemical light tubes, pack of facial tissue, and a roll of TP (you just never know). Most GHB packs will include water and snacks, nuts, some food items to get you home or to get by in case of a snow storm, highway wreck, or other stoppage.
A basic tool kit is not a bad idea either, but maybe that would make a good second bag just for longer trips. You could put in some flat and Phillips head screwdrivers, adjustable wrenches, open end wrenches, a couple different types of pliers, electrical tape, small hammer, set of Allen wrenches, work gloves, maybe a couple medium sized hose clamps, some wire, and maybe a tube of glue.
You may be so inclined to include a handgun and an extra magazine. I personally don’t want to keep a firearm in my vehicle in a permanent bag. I add that accordingly to where I am going and how long I will be gone. For an overnight trip, I usually include this. I carry my piece in a Gum Creek holster under the steering wheel.
Naturally I presume you would carry your cell phone, but make sure you have a car charger for it. A lot of people are buying the solar charging units now just in case the car battery or the car itself dies out in the hinterlands. Some people are buying GM vehicles just for the On Star ® feature. That’s a reasonable idea should a real emergency pop up.
So, these are just some starting place thoughts to consider. Maybe no ill fate will ever become you, but it is an uncertain world out there. Better to be safe than sorry.