Best Emergency Kits: Safety Dance

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Top 8 Best Emergency Kits

Like car insurance, emergency kits are something no one wants to think about until it’s really needed. These compact sets are filled with the gear one might need should the unthinkable happen, leaving a person stranded or wrecked on the side of the road.

Still, better safe than sorry, right? Having a few tools, safety items, and a set of jumper cables can mean the difference between getting home and paying a tow bill. And, since most writers and readers of this site seem to enjoy driving battered hoopties, tossing one of these things in the trunk is very much on brand.

Table of Contents

1. Editor's Choice: AAA Excursion Kit - 76 Pieces

It would seem that AAA isn't just thinking about our welfare in terms of sending a tow truck for our sorry butts after our project-grade and Lucas-riddled 1972 MG. They've also lent their branding to this well-equipped emergency kit, one which might save you from calling the AAA tow truck in the first place.

Onboard is a tire inflator, 8-gauge booster cables that span 10 feet in length, an LED flashlight, and some essential tools like screwdrivers and pliers. In other words, everything you'd need for a Sunday drive in that '72 MG. The majority of piece count comes from a first aid kit which is packed with medical supplies that should get you out of a minor jam.

Pros

  • Decent booster cable gauge, good inflator, general first aid

Cons

  • Measures over a foot in length

Bottom Line

  • If it's good enough for AAA

2. Roadside Emergency Assistance Kit - 110 Pieces

About half the pieces in this kit are contained in the first aid bundle, with essentials like scissors and gauze patches on board. There's a magnesium fire starter in here, too. Pro tip: watch for kits that pad their count with trivial stuff like extra safety pins.

The booster cables are 8-gauge but only span 8 feet. A good addition is that of a tow strap, one which is about 12 feet long and should do the trick for rescuing vehicles unceremoniously dumped in a snowbank. There's also a poncho, seat belt cutter, and an 11-in-1 multitool that definitely will not be confused for a Leatherman.

Pros

  • A well-stocked kit

Cons

  • Silly multi-tool

Bottom Line

  • You'll have to make room

3. Lianxin Roadside Assistance Emergency Kit - 142 Pieces

Kicking off our Inscrutable Brand Name category is this entrant with the highest piece count on our list. However, recalling the note on piece count in the above item, some customers have left complaints that upwards of fifty of said pieces are items like Q-Tips. Okay, then.

Paring back those items, we find a fistful of zip ties (perfect for the MG), a crank-powered flashlight, a thermal blanket, and a set of jumper cables. No mention is made of the cable gauge, however, leading one to assume they're of the razor-thin variety.

Pros

  • There's a separate case for the tools

Cons

  • Jump leads of unknown vintage

Bottom Line

  • Contains some unique kit

4. Always Prepared Roadside Emergency Kit - 62 Pieces

Marketed at 'perfect for first-time car owners', this safety bundle weighs about 3 lbs and measures approximately a foot square. It's only about 3 inches tall though, suggesting that one could store it in the spare tire well of one's car. The bag itself is described as heavy-duty nylon which should endure the rigors of a trunk environment (unless it's in that MG).

The jumper cables are 8-gauge, which seems to be a common theme with these kits. In addition to the cables and emergency triangle are a couple of light sticks for impromptu roadside raves. What you choose to do with the PVC electrical tape is up to you, man.

Pros

  • Light sticks!

Cons

  • Big footprint

Bottom Line

  • A good gift for the newly licensed

5. Haiphaik Emergency Roadside Toolkit - 124 Pieces

This is the first roadside emergency kit on our list that contains a collapsible shovel. Laugh if you must but those of us in the Rust Belt know the value of having a spade on board when conditions get tough. Off-roaders who enjoy busting dunes feel the same way.

A tow strap is included, plus a pair of gloves and some essential tools. The latter are contained in their own blow-molded case, so it would be possible to relocate those to another part of the car if space is at a premium while still keeping them all together. The replacement fuses and tire repair kit are nice touches.

Pros

  • A shovel for you to dig it

Cons

  • The propensity to make that joke

Bottom Line

  • Plenty of helpful items here

6. Stanley Roadside Emergency Safety Kit - 30 Pieces

Like the Pocono racetrack, this kit stands apart by being triangular in shape. Unlike Pocono, this thing is modern, useful, and deserves your attention. Thirty pieces might not sound like very many but Stanley seems to have stripped away all the chaff and simply included the essentials.

Well, most of them, anyway. There is no tire inflator, so you'll have to source one of them on your own. Apart from that, there is a tow strap and a set of jumper cables, which are probably the most important items to have on hand, anyway. Don't let your significant other rob the 5-piece magnetic tip screwdriver for other projects.

Pros

  • Great brand name

Cons

  • No tire inflator

Bottom Line

  • A safe bet

7. Discoball Car Safety & Emergency Kit - 10 Pieces

Yes, your author picked this one from the list simply because it's marketed under the brand name of Discoball. Ratings aren't great, with plenty of carping about low-quality items though comments seem to have gotten better over time. Doesn't help the overall rating, though.

The LED light will probably be the most useful thing in the bag, studded with a seat belt cutter and window breaker. Switches on its side promise the light can be used as either a flashlight or beacon. That safety triangle looks pretty flimsy, and the gauge rating of the jump leads is better left unsaid.

Pros

  • Affordable, good in a pinch

Cons

  • Worries of item quality

Bottom Line

  • It's a disco!

8. WNG Brands Roadside Assistance Kit - 14 Pieces

There might only be 14 pieces in this safety bag but the product itself enjoys one of the highest ratings in its category on Amazon. A full 96 percent of the 323 customer ratings are four or five stars, resulting in a sky-high 4.7/5 feedback score. In a world filled with needless internet complaining, that's nothing short of remarkable.

Many customers said they bought it for their young'uns, praising the quality of the items. The only caveat this author would warn of is the jumper cable thickness, which is only a 10 gauge. This product seems to be a case (pun intended) of being most of the things you need and not much you don't.

Pros

  • Stellar reviews

Cons

  • That jumper cable gauge

Bottom Line

  • Get one for the kids

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: Attapon Thana / ShutterStock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

More by Matthew Guy

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  • SaulTigh When I was young in the late 80's one of my friends had the "cool dad." You know the guy, first to buy a Betamax and a C-band satellite dish. Couple of stand up arcade games in the den. Bought my friend an Atari 2600 as soon as they came out. He had two of these crap heaps. One that only ran half the time and one for parts in the yard. My middle school brain though he was the most awesome dad ever, buying us pizza and letting us watch R rated movies recorded on free HBO weekend. At the time I though he was much better than my boring father.Now with adult hindsight, I now know he was "dad who should have taken better care of his family" and not had so many toys.
  • Dave Has to be Indy 500. Many more leaders and front passes than NASCAR, and Monaco is unwatchable with the inability to pass on that circuit.
  • Jeff How did the discussion get from an article about a 56 billion dollar pay package for Elon Musk to a proposal to charge a per mile tax on EVs in California or paying increase registration on vehicles to make up for lost gas tax revenue? I thought such a discussion would better fit Matt's Gas Wars series.
  • Master Baiter Both people who bought ID.4s will be interested in this post.
  • Urlik Not a single memorable thing happened in the big three races this weekend IMHO.
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