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DOT Essential OSHA ANSI Compliant Kit review

A heavyweight in a large bag, this kit is a good start at building your own kit

DOT Essential OSHA ANSI Compliant Kit contents
(Image: © Safety and Trauma Supplies)

Tom's Guide Verdict

A heavyweight in a large bag, the DOT Essential OSHA ANSI Compliant Kit can be a good start at building a roadside safety kit. While it lacks some important pieces, there is still plenty of room to add them yourself.

Pros

  • +

    Includes fire extinguisher, warning triangles and emergency light

  • +

    Excellent first aid kit

  • +

    Big bag with room for more

Cons

  • -

    Pricey and heavy

  • -

    Basic essentials are still missing

DOT Essential OSHA ANSI Compliant Kit: Contents

Size: 21.0 x 9.0 x 10.0 inches
Weight: 17.2 pounds
Number of items: 5
Jumper cables/length: No
First aid kit: Yes  
Air pump: No
Shovel: No
Flashlight: Yes
Fire extinguisher: Yes
Roadside assistance: No

At $140, the DOT Essential OSHA ANSI Compliant Kit is expensive but among the best equipped for dealing with a driving disaster. It may not have everything needed for all roadside contingencies but the DOT Essential OSHA ANSI Compliant Kit has an array of U.S. government approved safety gear. 

Despite sounding like a bowl of alphabet soup, the kit is equipped for major emergencies and packaged in a long duffel bag that has room for all the things it lacks. That earned it a place on our list of the best automotive emergency car kits.

DOT Essential OSHA ANSI Compliant Kit in trunk

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The DOT Essential OSHA ANSI Compliant Kit comes inside a long red duffel bag that measures 21.0 x 9.0 x 10.0 inches and has an outside zippered pocket - though it lacks any reflective stripes. The kit bag also includes a shoulder strap, which is incredibly useful considering it weighs in at over 17 pounds. It's easily the heaviest kit we’ve seen, or lifted. 

The kit includes five major items that provide preparation for a roadside disaster. Unfortunately, most are still in their cardboard boxes, so expect to take a few minutes to unpack everything. 

DOT Essential OSHA ANSI Compliant Kit fire contents

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Without the packaging, the bag is half empty, leaving plenty of room for extras, like an OBD scanner, a blanket and a small toolkit. On the other hand, the DOT Essential bag lacks the helpful dividers found in kits like the Justin Case bag. It’s too big to fit under a car seat and might just be the largest thing in your car’s trunk.

One of the only roadside emergency kits that has a fire extinguisher, the safety kit is perfect for fighting an engine bay fire. The Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant Kidde 1.5-pound fire extinguisher is suitable for liquid, gas and electrical fires. The extinguisher can spray for about 11 seconds and includes a mounting bracket. 

The gem of the safety gear is its first aid kit. Approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), it’s packaged in a hard white case that holds a lot more than the bag of safety pins and cotton swabs that often masquerade as first aid kits. It is, in fact, ready for a serious accident with everything from antiseptic and burn dressing, to eyewash and bandages. 

DOT Essential OSHA ANSI Compliant first aid kit

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There’s also an LED light that has 15 illumination elements to alert oncoming drivers. Its magnetic base can attach to a car’s roof, side panel or street sign and is rated to run for 50 hours on the three included AAA batteries.

In addition to a bag of 12 fuses to deal with an electrical problem, the kit has three DOT-approved reflective safety triangles. Rather than the flimsy items that others provide in their kits, these are heavy-duty and should stay put on the side of the road during a heavy windstorm. 

DOT Essential OSHA ANSI Compliant Kit reflectors

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It may lack the year of roadside assistance that the Justin Case kit provides, as well as other over-the-road amenities, but the DOT Essential OSHA ANSI Compliant Kit is one of the best equipped for dealing with the emergencies you’re likely to encounter. 

Whether you’re faced with injuries, fire or nighttime breakdowns. The bag has plenty of room for what it does without, like a tire inflator, jumper cables and a shovel - though these will need to be purchased separately.

Brian Nadel is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in technology reporting and reviewing. He works out of the suburban New York City area and has covered topics from nuclear power plants and Wi-Fi routers to cars and tablets. The former editor-in-chief of Mobile Computing and Communications, Nadel is the recipient of the TransPacific Writing Award.