Some Of The Preps That I Took With Me During A Long Road Trip

As many of you know, I recently returned home from a very long road trip (8200 miles) with Mrs.J (and our mini-Dachshund). Being preparedness-minded and being so far away from home for so long, I wanted to bring along some specific prep items for “just in case”.

The just-in-case preps were intended to cover some of our potential needs if things went bad while we were out on the road so far from home.

While it would have been physically impossible to bring enough preps to cover all scenarios, the fact that we traveled in my truck enabled us to bring a bit more than an ordinary car.

Here is some of what I dragged along with me:


First of all, my ordinary 72-hour kit is always in the truck. I simply left it intact. This kit is typically designed to include ordinary prep items and enough food to assist for an approximate three day period.

MSB articles: related to “72 Hour Kit”


I did three things in this category.

1. I nearly filled a 70 quart Sterlite plastic storage bin (love these things for general storage and organization) with various canned foods to be used during the trip and/or for emergency. This included foods like canned chicken, vegetables, fruits, ravioli/canned-pastas, beef stews. Since nearly all hotels have microwave ovens we would occasionally eat this instead of ordering out. Brought bowls, utensils, can-opener to accommodate.

Sterilite Bins, 70 Quart, 4-Pack

2. I brought along one of my buckets of freeze-dried ready-to-eat meals designed to provide enough calories for a month if need be… similar to this one:

Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply Pail

3. In addition to my current supply of food bars that I normally keep in the truck, I bought lots more, especially the CLIF Bars.

Related article: The CLIF Bar Might Be The Best Energy Food Bar For Survival Kit


I filled another 70 quart Sterlite storage bin with drinks which included bottled water and other various cans of beverages for the trip.

Since water is one of the most important prep items for survival, I also packed an extra drinking water filter (in addition to the small portable Sawyer Mini that I keep in my 72-hour kit).

MSB Articles: Drinking Water Filters


While our plan was to stay with friends and/or in hotels along the way, I brought along a tent, just in case. It happened to be the Snugpak “Cave”.

While this particular tent is a fairly heavy duty (but still portable) all-season tent and small enough to strap on to a backpack, an ultralight tent would be even easier if you had to travel on foot.

Also brought along several fleece blankets.


Instead of “suitcases” for our overnight bags, we used backpacks. I have a Kelty 50 and Mrs.J has the Kelty 40, although in retrospect I believe she needed the bigger one!

If we ever had to hoof it, we were set to go with these backpacks…


I also built two kits into two separate Maxpedition Versipacks. These little packs are great for a day hike or other such needs. They’re not too big, not too small, can easily sling over your shoulder and they have enough pouches and storage compartments to fit just the right amount of “stuff” ;)



I always keep a pair of 2-way radios in the truck, and their are countless potential uses for “just in case”. I never had to use them, but it’s peace-of-mind having them.

Related: 2-Way Radios For Pre & Post SHTF Local Communications

Related: FRS, MURS, GMRS, 2-Way Radios For Communications

I also brought my trusty portable AM/FM/Shortwave (with SSB reception) radio, a weather alert radio (especially while crossing “Tornado Alley”), a CB radio, and of course a cell phone.

Outwear & Footwear For The Seasons

The timing of the trip meant that we needed to take a variety of clothes, jackets, and gear for the various climate zones we would be traveling. We left in a raging blizzard and 12 days later later were 80-degrees sitting poolside at one of our friends in Twentynine Palms ;)

So we kept a storage bin which included winter coats, spring/fall coats/sweat-jackets, rain coats, hats/gloves, and we also brought along winter boots (no choice upon departure), hiking boots, and walking sneakers.

Each of us also had our own separate bin with extra clothes (in addition to what we had in our backpacks).

Other “Electronicals”

GPS. Portable handheld GPS unit with appropriate maps.

Non-electronic Map! Also, and very important, I had the latest Road Atlas for the country and I would also pick up paper maps at Rest Area /Visitor Centers as I entered new states.

Flashlights. Several flashlights, several headlamps. I ALWAYS keep a flashlight on the nightstand. I also discover where the hotel stairs/exits are in relation to the location of my room each night (power outage / fire, etc..).

Love this tactical flashlight, and this one…

Batteries. I brought extra batteries for my various electronic devices.

A “real” wrist watch ;) I happen to wear a particular Luminox.

Internet. My MiFi internet adapter so I could stay connected and keep working while on the road…


You have to overcome your normalcy bias when considering this category for a road trip. Most people don’t give it much thought since their world is seemingly secure with little or no worries of incident. However, I know better ;)

I had two general concerns. One was not knowing all of the locations that we would be staying along the way and the other was the “what if” SHTF while we were gone.

I split up the security category into three areas. Pepper spray, Knives, Handgun.

Related: Pepper Spray For Self Defense

I always keep a can of pepper spray and a decent full-tang knife for quick ready-access in the truck. While I’ve never had to use them (and hopefully never will), they’re there. In addition to my regular EDC every-day-carry knife, I also brought along several additional knives (listed later).

I also brought along my Smith & Wesson M&P 45, several extra mags, holster, and ammo. I was very careful with the legality of this and I was sure to transport in the most legal way possible. Handgun unloaded, no magazine inserted, in its locked case (which I kept within a separate “laptop bag” for extra concealment). The magazines and ammo were kept in its own small lock box and stored in a different location (within another shoulder bag for extra concealment). Both kept in the back of the truck, “not accessible to the passenger compartment”.

A provision of the federal law known as the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act, or FOPA, protects those who are transporting firearms for lawful purposes from local restrictions which would otherwise prohibit passage.

There is an EXCELLENT book (updated annually) on this subject which is referenced in the following article…

Read more: Transporting Firearms Across State Lines

Along with our overnight bags and valuables, every night I would bring in the handgun bag and the ammo bag. A hotel room is evidently an extension of your home and entirely legal to posses a firearm unless otherwise posted. Due your due-diligence in exploring this regard.

Other Notes

Fuel. I would always keep the truck fueled up above one-half tank and I would fill ‘er up before checking into the hotel for the evening. I kept a 5-gallon jug of diesel “just in case”.

Parking. I would always request a room where I could view my truck from the window and/or park near or outside that particular window. If this was not possible, I would park nearest to the front entrance preferably under a light.

Alarm system. I kept a portable alarm system (motion sensing) in the truck overnight with the receiver in the hotel room. I would place one sensor on the dash and one inside the tailgate facing out. Fortunately the alarm never sounded! (Although I did test to be sure it worked.)

Chamberlain Wireless Motion Alarm and Alert System

Cash. Although most people solely rely on plastic to pay during a road trip, it is smart to also bring EXTRA CASH, for “just in case”. I brought plenty.

Passports. Although we had no intentions of leaving the country, during a long trip it may be wise to bring along your passport, for “just in case”.

First Aid Kit. Although I always keep one in the truck, I beefed it up a bit more for the trip.

In addition to other ordinary items that one would take with them for a road trip, I know there was an awful lot more than I just mentioned (the truck was full), but these come to mind.

It’s always a challenge deciding what to take and it’s all affected by how much room you have, how long you’ll be gone, where you’re going, and the current events (risks) going on in the world at the time.

Food for thought.


  1. A bud of mine drives cross country quite a bit up there on the continent, he put a combo tool box and auxiliary fuel tank in the bed of his super duty, it basicly adds 3x the range he would otherwise have with the truck, his usual pattern is to top off the truck every evening before stopping, on most of his runs that means he has enough fuel to get home from his location, the extra weight helps the truck ride better too, and he puts all the basics in the tool box, flat repair, compressor, tools, extra oil and such like fuel filters, i think he has one of those flip tonneau covers like the one you picture, and it hides everything nicely.

    1. @DaisyK, Barely! Good thing it’s a crew-cab with the full size back seat (which was also filled).

      1. Which is why I am to the point of putting a topper on my PU. More room and weather proof/resistant storage space.

        Did you have a portable cooking stove, like a backpacker stove?
        You mentioned some radios, what about your Baofeng?

        I enjoyed following your trip and I am glad it went well. Sometimes I think we preppers are so busy prepping that we have forgotten how to live a little. You have shown how to travel safely and prepared. Fortunately for you a major event did not happen while you were on the road. However, you would have been able to weather the event based on what you took. I totally agree with fueling at the end of the day.

        1. Steve, I did take a portable butane cook stove and extra bottles of fuel. I didn’t need it, but was glad to have it. I also took along the Baofeng for additional communications options…

  2. There are so many things that can happen on the road, it’s good to be prepared for as many circumstances as possible. One thing I have been wondering about is what I bring with me that I would have to leave behind if I had to abandon the vehicle for some reason. On this trip, we knew that we would be doing some primitive camping by Rivers, but had no idea where exactly. So we brought the groover and firepan for comfort and preparedness. Those are two items that would sorely be missed if we had to abandon the vehicle, but are way too cumbersome to walk with. So we weighed the probability of using them on the trip versus the probability of having to abandon the vehicle. I guess that’s why they say “two is one and one is none.” I am going to need to do some more thinking on redundancy.

      1. A groover is a portable toilet that uses the same chemical as an RV. Most overnight river trips require them. The tank that holds the waste fits perfectly in an ammo can. The seat detaches and goes into a dry bag with a bottle of toilet chem and a Ziploc with TP and hand sanitizer. The groover comes with all of the attachments​ for cleaning it at an RV dump. Our local treatment plant will clean it for you for $10, just drop it off and pick it up a few days later.

  3. Ken, This is a fantastic list to help others prepare for a road-trip. Thanks so much for taking the time to write it all up and sharing.

    I really like the idea of the truck motion alarms! Next time we take a road-trip, we will do this. Even though we now travel with the RV, we are always unhooked and an alarm or two for the truck just adds to the protection level.

  4. I guess the first thing we should do is learn how to use all those things on your list. I just read a report on another site that they did a survey in the UK and discovered that 1/5 of their people do not know how to boil an egg or change a light bulb. 1/3 of them don’t know how to read a map, almost half don’t know how to change a baby’s diaper and most don’t know how to change a spare tire. Among other things.

    1. DaisyK


      best I get to working on what I do not know..

      that one

      “do not know how to change a baby’s diaper”

      so…who was doing the changing? Nanny? Grandma? Mom?

      I am assuming they don’t likely mean just the fellows don’t know..?

      1. I wonder it that is the same in the US. How are all these people going to survive if the grid goes down?

        1. @ DaisyK

          That’s the point I believe Daisy, ‘they’ are NOT going to survive a ‘Grid-Down’ for very long even a week or two of total Grid-Down and they are toast.


        2. Some of the snowflakes will just lay down and wait for government help. But some will come for Ken’s truck

    2. DaisyK, this is yet more proof that we have become a society of dependence. So few people can do the most basic things for themselves.

  5. Welllll, here I go again, good thing Ken likes me…. HAHAHA

    With all the stuff you had taken with, I’m surprised that Ford made the 8200 miles; I mean there is a limit to what a truck will do ya know… HAHAHA

    On a serious note, Traveling via road or by any means a very long distance (or sometimes just a short distance) from home base is or can always be very disheartening, and dangerous. ‘Stuff’ one brings is going to help an enormous amount, but (why is there always a ‘but’?) traveling such as Ken did this trip takes a LOT of planning and preparation. One does not simply toss a lot of ‘stuff’ into the truck bed, hop into the truck and haul butt across the country.

    A well laid out plan and route is soooo very important; something that Ken did not mention was the details of all the people he was to visit, places to go & see, the when and where. I would bet 5¢ that Ken had worked months on the planning, just as much as one needs to plan your preps, your retirement, your health, and your so-on. I would bet that if the SHTF when traveling the Old-Man would have many places to crash at any time if needed, even in CA-Da-Wacko-State. I have seen a lot of people have absolutely disastrous vacations or ‘road trips’ just from lack of planning.

    Great list of ‘Stuff’ Ken, as well as a good reminder to a lot of us the things we should also have at home…. Preparing for TSHTF is not just a saying it’s something that should be taken extremely seriously. Ken has thousands of articles here on MSB. Even for the novice, please take the time to learn how to be prepared and learn how to use your preps; it’s just as important as having a ‘truck load of stuff’.

    After all what good is ‘stuff’ (even if in a Ford) if ya don’t know how to use it?


    1. NRP,
      I was going to say something earlier about the fact that you hadn’t commented. But after the ruckus you started last Wednesday over the concealed carry picture/article I thought Ken had put you into a “time out”. Glad to know that you’re still out there.

      Note to Ken, NRP REEEEEALLY didn’t mean to cause a ruckus. Sometimes he can’t help himself. He is a special little snowflake.

      1. @ Steve

        Who me???? I did not start a ruckus. If I recall correctly I agreed with Dennis, that was Tom Cruses butt. Also I was completely offended at the fact He/She/It was carrying a Glock and not a ‘real’ firearm. Next I really don’t remember Wednesday very well, I must have been smoking something imported from Colorado, BUT like your former president I NEVER inhaled….. HAHAHAHA

        “He is a special little snowflake” HAHAHA, roflmao LOLOL, that’s truly an interesting comment… HAHAHA


        1. hmmmmmmmmmmmm
          It would appear that some (several) of the comments made last Wednesday have ben deleted. I went back and looked and can no longer make the case that you started the ruckus. Hmmmmmmm Ken must be watching out for you. Maybe you live a charmed life?

        2. @Steve, if NRP ever sees the light, then he’ll graduate to a Ford truck…

        3. My neighbor named their new dog Ford truck. Because that way it’ll never leave the driveway!

        4. Seriously I do by more Ford parts than the other big two, but I thinks more about abuse than bad engineering.

        5. Fords do have better suspension for big boys like NRP. We have a Ford F350. a Dodge ram 25, and a GMC All-terrain. My ride is the Ford.

        6. @ Ken

          Knew that was coming, they all got kinda carried away, all the while I was trying to help control the craziness…..

          That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


          PS; only one day of going nuts, that’s not so bad for you being on a 6 week sabbatical.

        7. Steve

          Na, that is just his hoola hoop. He used to have an old tire to play with but years ago he got a 99 cent hoop for Christmas. He calls it Ford because it lasts forever hahaha.

        8. Ken

          Such an insult by NRP to call your great Ford truck a 22′ tuna boat! Time to do a blog on the most popular, the most durable, and the most powerful trucks out there. That should put that oil burner NRP owns on the one star list.

        9. @ hermit us

          Insult???? I compared the Ford to a Tuna Boat….. That’s a compliment knowing what a work horse, powerful, storm weathering, massive, sturdy, sea-going vessel the Tuna Boat is….

          HAHAHA, OMG that hurts snorting water out my nose laughing so hard…. HAHAHA

          Ford owners know what they have, and what antibiotic or penicillin will cure it… LOL


        10. NRP

          Ya something does smell here and its not the tuna. Nice try to cover your tracks.

        11. To slide into the abyss a bit more, have hear most of them:
          Ford = Fix Or Repair Daily
          The only sound you hear on a warm summer night is the sound of a Ford rusting (pre aluminum days).
          Ford = Found on Road Dead

          And of course to “inclusive”:
          GM = General Mistake
          Chevrolet = Shove It Or Leave It

          And finally:
          Dodge, no one made any up for this “thing”.

  6. My greatest driving tool is me – they say driving is the most dangerous type of transportation. So, I try to stay focused, alert, and watch for idiots on the road that do not pay attention. My rancher steel front end protection has saved a couple of radiators and front end damage from animal strikes. My FORD diesel has allowed me to pull away from drivers weaving all over the road and the size of the truck gives me some advantage over the majority of cars on the road.

    1. I love that diesel power! 6.7 Liter w/turbo leaves them in the dust when necessary… and yes I did encounter LOTS of idiot drivers out there. Guaranteed as I entered any City region or MSA.

  7. To Ken:

    Thank you for the list of what you brought. What, may I ask, do you feed your dog? Do you get your dog food from a nation wide chain and/or did you bring enough to last you the entire trip? Poop bags? etc.

    I like going with hotel chains that are pet friendly and plan my trips accordingly when travelling with my dawg.

    1. @CaliRefugee, We mostly feed our dog a particular veterinarian diet canned food via Royal Canin (made in USA). I do not trust any dog food other than sourced and made in the USA. We filled a medium sized bin with enough dog food for the trip. That said, he also gets other types of food (I have long-term storage for him of a certain dehydrated dog food that I trust, and feed him on occasion – requires several minutes of re-hydration with water prior to serving).

      Sampson had his own backpack for the trip with all his stuff inside (including his blankets, toys, bowls, coats, and other such things).

      For a good portion of the trip we stayed at La Quinta hotels as they are ALL dog friendly – any room – same price. Where there was not a La Quinta, I would search via for pet friendly hotels (using their “Amenites” filter and checking the “check box” for “pet friendly”.

      Note that other than La Quinta hotels, we discovered that a “pet friendly” hotel means they have only designated several rooms specifically for dog owners – and some of those rooms are evident that it’s just for dogs, if you catch my drift…

      Since Sampson is only a 14 pound mini-dacshund, there were some stays where we snuck him in via a side entrance ;)

  8. The most important things I bring on a long road trip by vehicle is a filled spare tire and jack and towing/roadside insurance, I use to have a tire inflator that plugged into my access port when I went to the cities and one time HAD to use it coming home. Those bicycle tires they give you with new cars won’t last and what if the garages are closed and you are stuck in the middle of nowhere? I guess that’s why you would need emergency food, blankets, flashlights, etc.,and a prayer if you didn’t include a cell phone.

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