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What Do You Keep In Your Trunk?

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Whether you call it a boot or a trunk, it’s more than a place to stow luggage, it’s a place to keep stuff for life’s little emergencies. From snow chains to ratchet straps to tools, trunk preparedness varies wildly depending on what you’re driving, when you’re driving it, and where you’re driving it.

Obviously, my use case will be different from your use case, because we likely don’t have similar driving patterns. I typically pack fairly light, as aside from the odd Sunday drive, I don’t typically venture too far outside of my massive greater metropolitan area. So without further ado, here’s what I keep in my trunk:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom
  • Tire plug kit. On my 325i, which never came with a spare tire, being able to quickly and economically repair punctures on the go is desirable.
  • 12-volt tire inflator, because a plug kit is only so useful without a way to re-inflate a punctured tire.
  • Torque wrench. Sure, you can eyeball things with a lug wrench, but wouldn’t you rather be sure? A cheap click-type torque wrench is good enough for roadside lug tightening, and doesn’t take up much space.
  • Spare indicator bulbs, because BMW owners already have a bad rep regarding turn signals, and I’m doing my part to fight stereotypes.
  • Tool kit. Hey, it came with the car.
  • Reusable bag, in case I’m caught without one.
  • Picnic blanket, because sometimes you just need to savor the view.

Keen readers might note that some things seem missing. I don’t have jump leads (“jumper cables” to my American friends), but that’s mostly because all my cars have manual transmissions, and a bump-start doesn’t take up any space in the trunk and doesn’t require another car to make happen. As for a fire extinguisher, the trunk probably isn’t the best place for one of those just based on access. An Element 50 is small enough to keep in most map pockets. There’s also no winter-specific stuff in my trunks, mostly because my cars don’t go out in wintery conditions.

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So, what do you keep in your trunk? Whether you rely on AAA rather than tools, or you’re ready for a roadside main bearing job at any given time, we’d love to hear from you.

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(Photo credits: Thomas Hundal)

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Space
Space
1 month ago

Us, I want to know what is in the staff members trunks. David & Mercedes could do a single article by themselves.

Myk El
Myk El
1 month ago

Roadside assistance kit with blanket, safety triangles, jumper cables, etc.
Battery jumper/tire inflator combo unit (rechargable)
Breaker bar with appropriate socket for loosening lug nuts (included tire tool is inadequate).
Towel
Reusable grocery bags.
Back seat protector for transporting dog (hammock style thing that hangs off the headrests.

Musicman27
Musicman27
1 month ago

’98 Honda civic coupe. Tools, kneeling pad, subwoofer box I got for free.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
1 month ago

Honda Accord
-has a spare tire
-Lug nut wrench
-small harbor freight jack
-tire inflator
-basic tool set
-jumper cables
-oil/water/funnel

Last edited 1 month ago by Freelivin1327
The48thRonin
The48thRonin
1 month ago

I’ve been meaning to get a better and more organized “kit” together, but as of right now it’s: two tool kits (they have different things and I’ve been too lazy to consolidate them), jumper cables, a quart of oil, gloves, a breaker bar and socket for my lugnuts, tire plug kit, the spare that came with the car, some ratchet straps and zip ties. Fortunately, you only see the tool kits in their plastic boxes and the oil, cause the rest hides under the false floor next to the spare. Outside of the trunk, I keep a small camping stove and some matches, some paper napkins, plastic bags, a light, an extremely outdated US atlas (that I have used!), a coin holder with ~$5 in it, and more zip ties.

FlavouredMilk
FlavouredMilk
1 month ago

More engine oil than I keep in my engine.

Dan1101
Dan1101
1 month ago

Blanket, car duster brush, hat, plastic grocery bags, a little jumpstart box.

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
1 month ago

A small reconfigurable semi-rigid cargo bag* containing:
Jumper cables**
First aid kit
Small tool kit
4-way tire iron
one or two reusable grocery bags
Folding emergency road triangle
Autosocks***
Probably 15 or 20 random receipts
Dog cover for the rear seat****

Under the floor:
A sealed bottle of drinking water
A sealed MRE
12V tire inflator*****
Emergency Level 1 Charger***

(Notes) –
*All of this (except grocery bags and receipts) is kept under-floor in the Santa Fe because it has the room. The grocery bags (and receipts) get stuffed in one of the front seatback pockets.
**The jumper cables are for the benefit of others, not myself. My Niro is the 4th car that particular set has served, and in all those years it’s only been used once on my own cars. A couple dozen times on other peoples’ cars.
***Niro only.
****Niro and Mustang only. I’d like to say “obviously deployed when the dogs are in the car” but I frequently forget in the Niro.
*****We have two total. One is permanently assigned to the Niro, the other one moves from car to car depending on our needs. Right now my son has it in his Legacy.

DrDanteIII
DrDanteIII
1 month ago

It depends on the vehicle but for my DD:
Fire extinguisher in every car because car fires are fast and terrifying
A coat/hat/goves, generally for one season colder than the current (ie winter coat in spring, ski jacket in winter)
Jumper cables because 21 year old BMW
umbrella
a blanket
garbage bags
rudimentary tool kit, something cheap but useful in a pinch like those $20-35 kits from walmart.

My truck has much more equipment for towing, recovery and tie downs.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago

Junk. So much junk.

Also a jug of bleach because you never know…

Last edited 1 month ago by Cheap Bastard
Space
Space
1 month ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

That’s right, you never know when you might come across a swimming pool that is 2ppm low on chlorine.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
1 month ago

One of those big blue IKEA bags containing a decent wheel race, 2 jackstands, a small bottle jack, some jump leads and the 3 or 4 most common spanner sizes. Oh, and an old coat that’s been relegated to ‘lying on the ground under cars in the rain’ duty. And usually a bunch of other crap, I dunno.

El Chubbacabra
El Chubbacabra
1 month ago

A few things, really: spare tire, some tools, spare timing belt and a water pump (got those with a car “just in case”) and a small pond in the area the satnav unit is located.

Last edited 1 month ago by El Chubbacabra
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
1 month ago

This comment thread is giving me ideas that will improve my real (or perceived) safety and preparedness. Thanks Thomas for posing the question!

Jeff Grimmett
Jeff Grimmett
1 month ago

Organizers. Since I drive a ‘crossover’ (Ford Escape) I have no “trunk”, but my “baggage area” has a bunch of organizers that I toss grocery bags into on my way from my Track Session to the Grocery Store to The Home.

Honestly, re-evaluate your “polls” to be more aware of what’s “out there”.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
1 month ago

A college girlfriend had a Plymouth Valiant that her father gave her. Her father was a lawyer, and one of his clients paid him in kind with this old Plymouth Valiant. Anyway, it came with a literal kitchen sink in the trunk. Apparently it was there to add traction during the snowy parts of the year, but it was too darn heavy for anybody to get back out of the trunk, so it just stayed there year-round. It was always sort of amusing when somebody would open the trunk there was a double basin kitchen sink. She would tell people that one side was for meat, and the other side was for dairy.

Notta Bawt
Notta Bawt
1 month ago

2 Go Bags; 1 for myself, another for Mandy (my car).
And a spare wheel (the car did not come with one).

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
1 month ago

I’d tell you, but then I’d have to keep you in my trunk with the others.

The daily driver has a metal reinforced milk crate with an old hoodie, some rope, paper towels, TP, cleaning cloths, an ancient polyester wool blanket, a couple orange cones, and an empty file folder for some reason. And a spare tire.

The old cars have the OEM tool roll and some oil.

Last edited 1 month ago by The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
1 month ago

12 pound sledge hammer, aka my universal fixit tool. If my car has a problem, I expose it to the hammer. If the problem is not fixed, I continue until the problem is no longer a problem, one way or the other.

Jeff Grimmett
Jeff Grimmett
1 month ago

In other words, The Problem is no longer A Problem. It’s the precursor to The Next Problem. 😀

Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff Grimmett

While I do find this method of car maintenance to be therapeutic, is does have some minor drawbacks.

TJ Heiser
TJ Heiser
1 month ago

In the trunk of my 99 NB MX5 Miata, I keep extra baseball caps in case one blows off while the top is down, and towels in case it rains while the top is down.

Last edited 1 month ago by TJ Heiser
Jeff Grimmett
Jeff Grimmett
1 month ago
Reply to  TJ Heiser

I don’t know what an “extra baseball cap” is. But I feel inspired to add an “extra baseball bat’ to my not-a-trunk this spring.

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