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So, after doing extensive, exhausting research, (I posted the question to several Facebook groups and twitter, you can view it here) I have come up with what seems to be a good list of things to have on your trip.

Let me just say, before I get to this list, that there are a lot of variables that were not addressed when I posted, nor expected to be dealt with at the time. I knew that I wanted general answers, so I could generate some good material for this post, but, there are some things I feel certain are just common sense. (Tire iron, jack, etc.)


Also, this post was brought on because of another author posting a similar list on his blog. Tobias Mann of Adventure Bent wrote a post about what he packed to go on overland adventures. You can read his post here. He spoke about keeping just the essentials, how much fluids he would need and how to maximize storage while keeping the space needed to a minimum.

Now, while this was all good, for those going on adventure trips, into the wilderness, I didn’t think it was a practical guide for you, who drive your rides daily and to shows. You probably don’t take it off-road often, unless your a 4×4 reader, who also likes adventuring and overland riding. (In which case, I ask you to read Tobias blog, as it is very good.)

Another blogger, Mart, from One man and his Mustang, has plans to do an evaluation of his “Skeleton Toolkit” soon, so, watch for that. He does great reviews and has a great blog.

July 10, 2017 edit: Here is Marts Evaluation. Enjoy. “What do I Carry?”

Truck bed tool boxes

Also, this does not differentiate between trailered cars and driven cars, it just assumes that this is a general list of needed items you may need to get somewhere with your car/truck. I assume that, should you have to travel with a classic, you expect that

Check out tool boxes

something may go wrong and you want to be prepared. A trailered vehicle may not see much pavement, but, the truck hauling the trailer does, so, some of these tools may work in that case as well.

So, to list some of the tools that folk says is imperative, essential and completely worth having, read below.

  1. Lug Wrench
  2. Jack
  3. SAE (English, fractional) Socket set, 1/4 & 3/8 drive where mentioned the most, but, 1/2″ drive is also needed for larger fixes. (It was also advised to pack the sizes you use most, while you work on your car/truck, in a bag, then you know you have what you need.)
  4. Metric sockets. (Same rules apply, but, you generally don’t need very many with American classics, however, some aftermarket products may require metric)
  5. Combination wrenches, both SAE and Metric. (Same rules apply as the sockets)
  6. Adjustable wrench. (They come in different sizes, so, maybe a medium and a large would work. Some replace their need for combo wrenches with this)
  7. Hammer (The size is up to you)
  8. Breaker bar (Of course, this is to go with the sockets. 1/2″ drive)
  9. Torque Wrench (For those fixes that require finesse)
  10. Screw Drivers, both flat head and phillips. (I would add that having more than one of each has always been of major use to me. Also, consider the lengths, you may want a stubby, a 6″ and a long one, of each.)
  11. Pliers (Needle nose, side cutters, vise grips are the ones recalled, but, I would add channel locks to this list.)
  12. Tire plugs (Yep, never know when a nail will meet your tire)
  13. 12 v. Air Compressor (Again, if you need a plug, you will need air)
  14. Jumper Cables (Because we have all left that stupid thing on in the car)
  15. Flash Light (Because, hey, when did anything ever break down when there was enough light, or when there was good weather?)
  16. Tape (Duct Tape and electrical tape. I mean, really, we all know you can fix anything with duct tape.)
  17. Misc. items, i.e., tow strap, ratchet straps, bungee cords, rope, etc.

Check out the tools available

So, along with these answers, which are mainstream and part of the vast majority of those who replied, there were some other things they thought necessary. That list is below. You may find it useful, but you should find it entertaining.

  1. AAA Card, or roadside assistance of some type. (This works great if you are traveling close, generally up to 100 miles. I love mine and use it often with our cars)
  2. A friend (To help push)
  3. Credit Card (Well, we know this is just for emergencies, right?)
  4. Spare parts (Hoses, belts, a couple of feet of different gauge wire, clamps, spark plugs) (Keep it simple, or bring a parts car, your choice.)
  5. A Leatherman, or multi-function knife
  6. Plastic wire ties
  7. Metal wire
  8. Tomcat Berretta .32 or a Tauras 9mm. (I guess the choice is your, but, I prefer the 1911 A1 .45 cal.) (This also has to take into account as to wether you want to just hurt your car or really kill it, just saying)

So, as you can imagine, this is a general “tool kit” idea. Each individual is going to feel the need to carry more or less. Some, who have a trailer, have added things like a generator and shop fan, just in case. I mean, hey, with a trailer, it could be fully stocked, so, I chose to not really focus on that.

Basically, the idea is this;

If you are about to travel, check the hoses, belts and wires. Check the fluids and tire pressure. Listen to it, see if it is making any strange noises. Look your lights over, see if they work.

Then, once you have checked her out and shined her up, go have fun. Prepare for minor inconveniences, but, trust that you have done your best and get out there and drive!

I welcome all comments on this list, especially if you have items you want us to share with others.


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My name is Dennis. First, let me just say, I am a Christian, a husband, a father to 1 beautiful step-daughter and 3 strapping young boys and a step-grandfather (She calls me “Grumpy”) to a gorgeous step-granddaughter. These will always be my priorities, no matter what my interests are. That said, I strive to keep and maintain a family friendly atmosphere, so my boys and their friends can enjoy the site as much as I do. (Granddaughter isn’t old enough and daughter has other interests.)

See my home page for more about me.

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