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How to stock your summer vehicle emergency kit before you hit the road

Wednesday, June 29th 2022, 9:00 am - It's better to have these items and not need them, than need them and not have them. Here's how to prepare.

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When we think about getting stranded on the roads, we often imagine it happening in one of Canada’s sometimes wicked snowstorms (even the B.C. coast doesn’t escape them these days), but whether it’s due to mechanical failure, pounding rain or simply getting lost, you can easily find yourself off the road in the summer, too. In that case, you could find yourself at the mercy of severe storms, or extreme heat.

The Canadian Red Cross and other organizations recommend keeping an updated emergency kit in your vehicle in case you need it. Aside from things like pandemic supplies, water, a whistle, notepad, pen, washer fluid and non-perishable food, here are other things we recommend you keep stocked to see you through the summer months.

INIU Triple 3A High-Speed 10000mAh Phone Power Bank

Amazon, Phone Power Bank, Groundhog Day

If you’re stranded, your smartphone can help you check on the situation as well as call for help and keep in contact, but most have poor battery lives and you don’t know how long it’ll be before you can get moving again. You'll definitely want a portable power bank for yours, and we liked the INIU Triple 3A High-Speed 10000mAh Phone Power Bank best, and it’s proven very popular with our readers. It's lightweight, eminently portable, and priced well enough for you to include more than one in your emergency kit, but we do recommend only using it for emergencies, and check in on the charge as part of your seasonal car maintenance to-do list.

What you need to know:

  • Compatible with iPhone, Android and most other USB devices
  • Comes with compact carrying pouch
  • Top seller on for power banks, rated 4.6 out of 5 based on more than 3,000 reviews

Xooparc Solar Battery Power Bank

22-05-16 Solar Charger Amazon


Here’s another option for you that we liked due to its rechargeability. The option above may have good capacity, but if you’re stranded too long, there’s little you can do. With this solar-powered battery pack, you can rely on the sun’s rays to keep a charge, and it’s compatible with just about every phone and device.

What you need to know:

  • Compatible with all USB-charged devices, as well as most Apple and Samsung smartphones
  • 26800mAh capacity
  • Top seller for solar-charged power banks on, where it has a rating of 4.2 out of 5, based on more than 4,200 reviews

READ MORE: No electricity, no problem. 6 ways to go solar this summer

Survive Outdoors Longer S.O.L. 90% Reflective Emergency Blanket

Survival Blanket Amazon


We included these blankets in our recommended winter vehicle emergency kit for their excellent capacity to minimize heat loss by reflecting back 90 per cent of the body’s radiant heat when used properly. Extreme cold temperatures aren’t as much of a risk in the summer months, but they’re still useful for nights when it gets chilly (summer manifests differently week to week and province to province). In hot weather, it also doubles as a sun shade, and it’s also wind resistant and waterproof. It’s also inexpensive, so be sure to include one for each of your passengers.

What you need to know:

  • Made from durable metalized polyethylene material
  • 56 by 84 inches, and weighs only 70 grams
  • Rated 4.5 out of 5 on, based on more than 1,200 reviews

Like what you see? Check out our Shop the Weather articles for more must-have product recommendations.

LightOnMe Emergency Survival Candle

Candle Car Kit Amazon 22-01-20


Even if their heat-giving function isn’t all that useful in the summer months, it’s still recommended that you keep a set of candles in your car for prolonged strandings – they’ll save phone and battery flashlight life. This long-burning emergency survival candle fits that bill perfectly, and it’s Canadian-made, originating in Chambly, Que.

What you need to know:

  • Comes in a two-pack, with a combined 80 hours of burn time, matches included
  • Made of non-toxic soy, making it safe for prolonged use in the confines of your car
  • Rated 4.6 out of 5 by Amazon users

ThorFire Solar Flashlight With Hand-Crank

Small crank flashlight Amazon 22-01-20


If you need a light source that’s a bit more focused than a candle, this ThorFire Solar Flashlight With Hand-Crank will be your friend for a few hours. It has a solar charge option, but if you’re in a pinch you can use the hand crank to replenish the battery. At the very least, you won’t have to worry about packing AAAs.

What you need to know:

  • One minute of cranking will generate one hour of light, according to the manufacturer
  • Waterproof and submersible up to 45 feet (14 metres)
  • Rated 4.6 out of 5 on Amazon, based on more than 300 reviews

Neiko Heavy-Duty Tow Strap with Hooks

Tow Strap Amazon


Whether you’re pulling someone out of the ditch, or being pulled out of one yourself, a good tow rope is a must. At 20 feet in length, and with a maximum capacity of 10,000 pounds, it’s more than up to the task.

What you need to know:

  • UV-resistant, tightly woven polyester fiber material that won’t scratch cars
  • Includes two zinc-plated, rust-resistant hooks
  • Rated 4.5 out of 5 on, based on almost 3,900 reviews

EPAuto 6 Gauge x 16 Ft Heavy Duty Booster Jumper Cables

Jumper Cables Amazon 22-01-20


A rundown battery isn’t just a winter hazard, so snow or shine, you’ll want some jumper cables in your kit. We picked these Heavy Duty Booster Jumper Cables not only because they’re a fine and sturdy example of the tool, but unlike most others we’ve seen, it comes with safety gloves.

What you need to know:

  • 16-foot length
  • Aside from safety gloves, includes storage bag for safe stowage in your trunk
  • Immensely popular among Amazon users, who rated it 4.6 out of 5 based on more than 6,700 reviews

Compact First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit 22-01-21


Having a first aid kit in your car is a must regardless of what you think the weather’s going to be like. We recommend this Compact First Aid Kit for yours. Though its price tag is a little higher than others like it, it includes 228 items within its waterproof case, more than most others we reviewed.

What you need to know:

  • Includes scissors, which can be used to cut through a seatbelt
  • Compact, lightweight and waterproof case
  • Rated 4.6 out of 5 among Amazon users, based on more than 3,200 reviews

Amerex B500, 5lb ABC Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguisher 22-01-21


As with any emergency kit, it’s better to have one and not need it, than need one and not have it. Nothing embodies that ethos like your standard fire extinguisher, and the Amerex B500, 5lb ABC Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher is a tried and true example. Be sure to monitor its charge regularly, and replace or recharge as needed.

What you need to know:

  • Sturdy design, with steel cylinders and all-metal valves
  • Easy to maintain and service
  • Rated 4.6 out of 5 on Amazon, based on more than 1,600 reviews

Ready First Aid Reflective Triangles

Road Triangles Amazon


Let’s talk visibility. You should always have at least one reflective road triangle in your trunk to signal other motorists at night or in poor light, but there are affordable options in packs of three. We had a look at what was out there, and we chose this trio because of their weighted bases, which are meant to sidestep being blown over by the wind, a common complaint among reviewers of other brands.

What you need to know:

  • Can withstand wind gusts up to 65 km/h, according to the manufacturer
  • Collapsible and comes with a compact carrying case for easy storage
  • Rated 4.8 out of 5 on

3 Pack ZivaTech LED Road Flares

LED road lights 22-01-21


Road flares are another way to keep yourself visible when stranded on the roadside, and these LED flares are a great way to do that: They’re sturdy, have multiple flash settings, and can be magnetically attached to your vehicle.

What you need to know:

  • Each includes multiple LED bulbs, with nighttime visibility up to 1.6 kilometres
  • Weather-resistant, shatterproof, and crushproof
  • Rated 4.5 out of 5 by Amazon users

Like what you see? Check out our Shop the Weather articles for more must-have product recommendations.

Our trusted Product Specialists recommend high-quality items that we think will enhance your experience with Canadian weather conditions. Prices and availability of items are accurate at the time of publication and are subject to change.

Thumbnail image: Patrick/Unsplash

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