This article is sponsored by Harbor Freight.
When the open road calls, you’ve gotta answer. But on said open road, we all know anything can happen, and there are often surprises waiting just around the corner. It pays to be prepared—and to guard yourself and your vehicle against tire punctures, dead batteries, and even minor scrapes or injuries. If you’re due for a roadside kit audit or update, here’s a checklist for everything you should keep in your vehicle at all times. For you, or a fellow motorist in need, these must-have supplies—all from top tool retailer Harbor Freight —could just become lifesavers.
Portable Battery Pack
The days of untangling jumper cables and flagging down well-meaning strangers are over. A handy-dandy battery pack, like this VIKING 450 Peak Amp Portable Lithium Ion Jump Starter And Power Pack, is a must-have. Not only is it powerful enough to jump start your ride, but it can also juice up your smartphone. This one in particular is small enough to fit in your glovebox, and because it’s strong enough to last a few charges, it’s a must-have in your roadside toolkit. (Buy Now)
One of the most important safety devices on your car—just as essential as your seatbelts or your air bags: your tires, the only point of contact you have with the road. Keeping them properly inflated is a must. And with air compressors no longer being the size of picnic benches, you can top off your tires anywhere you need to—just by plugging into your cigarette lighter. We like this one: PITTSBURGH AUTOMOTIVE 12v 100 PSI High Volume Air Inflator, available at Harbor Freight. No more wobbling to a gas station and scrambling for spare change in order to get air. (Buy Now)
A Set of Hand Tools
Wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers can go a long way: they can mean the difference between a simple roadside repair and having to wait for a tow. You don’t need every tool known to man, but a set of the basics like this PITTSBURGH Tool Kit from Harbor Freight will do the trick. Bonus points if it comes in a carrying case like this one does. Nobody likes to hear the sound of rattling tools in their trunk—or to have to search all over that trunk to find them when you need them most. (Buy Now)
A flashlight is a no-brainer—not just in case you break down at night, but also for rooting around dark engine bays and underneath cars to pinpoint what’s causing the trouble. LED flashlights are small but more powerful than ever: No more gigantic D-cell batteries on lanterns that you might remember from your scouting days. It helps if your flashlight is rechargeable via a cable—like this QUANTUM 280 Rechargeable Flashlight—so you never need to worry about running out of batteries or for one that easily fits in your glovebox. (Buy Now)
Hardy Mechanics Gloves
Dealing with a flat tire is not a job you want to tackle with your bare hands. Covered in dirt and grime, changing a tire can make for messy work. A tire can also have sharp pieces embedded in it, so the right pair of gloves is a must to protect your hands from cuts, scrapes, even burns. We like these Hardy mechanics gloves, available at Harbor Freight. Comfortable and lightweight, they fit like, well, a glove. Made of spandex and synthetic leather, they have an extended cuff for added protection. An essential accessory to have on hand—and on your hands. (Buy Now)
Haul-Master Tow Strap
To come to the aid of a fellow motorist who has been unlucky enough to break down, or if that unlucky motorist happens to be you, the right tow strap is essential. Moving the vehicle to a safe location is Job #1, but to do that, you need the right equipment. That’s why a tow strap with hooks is a necessary addition to your roadside toolkit. We particularly like this Haul-Master Tow Strap from Harbor Freight. Ideal for emergency pulling and towing, it’s weather and rust-resistant, and can tow up to a whopping 2800 Lbs. (Buy Now)
So how’d you do? It’s always smart to have these tools on-hand for yourself or to help others on the road. Head to Harbor Freight to load up on these must-haves and more, and travel with peace of mind.