Jun 18, 2023

5 Cheap(ish) Things to Keep in Your Car If You’re Always on the Go

For many people, their car is like a second home—and that means it ought to be outfitted with a few daily essentials and just-in-case emergency items that can help keep life running a bit more smoothly.

From everyday necessities to emergency supplies that will get you out of a jam, here are five cheap(ish) items we recommend storing in your ride so that you’ll never be caught without the things you need when you’re out and about.

A car garbage can (aka “carbage can”) can help you manage trash, especially if you frequently eat in your car. We like the Hotor Car Trash Can 138, a 2-gallon, leakproof receptacle with rubber flaps over the opening to keep debris and any accompanying odors contained.

Adjustable straps allow you to install the container in numerous convenient places, including behind your car’s center console or in the footwell of the passenger seat.

If you use this container for perishable food waste, however, you’ll need to remember to empty it often.

Few situations evoke the same anxiety as a car that suddenly won’t start. With a portable jump starter in hand, you can get your car going again without having to call roadside assistance.

We’ve recommended the Weego Jump Starter 44s since 2017 because it’s compact, it has safety features we like, and it works with a wide range of cars, small or large.

Tip: To best preserve the Weego jump starter’s battery, Wirecutter battery expert and senior staff writer Sarah Witman advises against leaving it in your car on extremely hot or cold days.

Since many stores no longer hand out plastic bags at checkout, it’s a good idea to keep a few reusable bags in your trunk for impromptu errands. You can, of course, use whatever reusable shopping bags you have handy. But if you want a stash of strong, compact, and easy-to-clean bags, the Standard Baggu bag can carry up to 50 pounds (we tested this claim with a 44-pound kettlebell) and can easily fold into a pocket or purse. It’s machine-washable, and it comes in a wide range of fun colors and patterns.

These were the most comfortable and sturdy of the affordable round sunglasses we tested. Plus, they come with a lifetime warranty and money-back guarantee.

May be out of stock

Leaving a pair of reliable sunglasses in your car can save the day when the sun feels like it’s scorching your retinas. We like Sungait’s Vintage Round Sunglasses because they’re comfortable, affordable, and durable, and they look good on a variety of face shapes.

The lenses provide UV protection and are polarized to reduce glare. The sunglasses also come with a lifetime warranty that even covers you if you break them. You may like them so much that you end up buying multiple pairs for ready access.

This First Aid Only kit has all the necessary gear for treating minor scrapes, cuts, and burns, including an abundance of adhesive bandages, and it comes with a decent first aid booklet.

No one gets through life without a few scrapes and bruises, so a small first aid kit in your car will inevitably be useful for you or your passengers.

The First Aid Only 298 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit (FAO-442) provides bandages, gauze, wipes, ointments, and painkillers for minor injuries, as well as some items (a trauma pad, gauze, and some dressing pads) for handling more-serious injuries.

The case opens easily, like a book, and items are stowed in 10 clear plastic compartments so you can easily find what you need. We also recommend adding a few more items to your first aid kit, but even just keeping the basic kit stocked and stashed in your car is an excellent first step.

This article was edited by Rose Maura Lorre and Alexander Aciman.

Gabriella DePinho

Gabriella DePinho is an updates writer at Wirecutter. Previously, she worked at NBC News writing about deals and product launches. She loves working in product recommendation but personally hates shopping—and she knows that doesn’t make sense.

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Hotor Car Trash Can 138