Ah, the open road. There is nothing more formative than wrapping the Jeep with your best friends and absolutely to be carried away on a journey through the greatest natural wonders of our country. But don’t be like 22-year-old me, who pees in a CVS bag in the backseat of a Mini Cooper on the highway while your friend in the driver’s seat presses his foot firmly on the gas to abort the check-in campground. Sure, you can form lasting memories, but if you’re not properly prepared for a road trip, seeing a side of your friends you never thought you’d see (their customer service voice) can also leave you with lasting emotional damage. ). If you are not lucky enough to own a fully equipped Supreme Airstream Trailer or to make your way through borrowing your stepdad Jim’s prized campervan, don’t worry honey, this isn’t my first rodeo. I’m here to hold your hand on the journey that packs in for the ultimate summer road trip.
So let’s take a quick look at which gear is indispensable for a road trip and which can be safely left behind, because space is tight and there is no extra room for your larger than life emotional support sloth† Trust me, you’ll never use that portable showerbut umbrellas will save you from absolutely full roasting Turkish bathhouse sauna camping in your car in the summer in Manchester, Tennessee (Shoutout Bonnaroovisitors). These are the thoughtful must-haves, such as a Dash Cam for recording crazy things you encounter along the way (always look out for sus drivers and UFOs), a tent that fits over your carand even a portable toilet, which you will only regret, DO NOT pack. Plus, you should bring the best and top rated versions of all your basic needs; including automatic mattresses, camping blankets and an all-in-one charging port that can charge multiple devices.
If you’re still planning your trip, be sure to check out our guides to the best Airbnbs near national parks and the coolest kitsch motels and horny 70s themed ‘love hotels’ for when you just can’t afford another night. can handle in nature. Once you know how far and where you’re going, it’ll be easier to figure out what can stay home (we love your water shoes, but we’re going to the desert) and what will improve your trip (portable urinal, anyone?) So as long as you get your brakes checked and make sure you throw them away moldy aluminum foil swan before departure we have your packing list to make your next road trip the most epic, filled with karaokeunforgettable vacation of all time.
The best emergency kits for on the go
An emergency preparedness kit is essential and there are tons of them on the market. We absolutely love the redesigned, highly aesthetic go bag from Judywhich includes everything from pliers, flashlights and gloves to a first aid kit, but there are some great ones too affordable options on Amazon that will get you out of any awkward situation.
We highly recommend carrying a USB rechargeable jump starter that will absolutely save your life if the car battery dies, and as a bonus can also charge all of your electronics in an emergency.
While you’re at it – throw a LifeStraw— which purifies drinking water, whether it’s funky tap water or from a stream next to your campsite — for the record.
More ultra-convenient choices if you’re going to be driving a lot
Okay, let’s get real. Staring at nothing but asphalt for hours can take a toll on your psyche (I’ve seen truck drivers do wild things on the long stretch of California highway between Bradley and King City), but there are plenty of tools you might not think of until the worst happens. . For example, that 16-year-old who bumps into your bumper while merging and then drives off – don’t worry, you’ve got a dashcam. I thought you might have witnessed an alien abduction, but no one is going to believe you? Boom, it’s on video. This dashcam has over 22,000 reviews on Amazon and a rating of 4.4 out of 5. It offers 4K ultra HD recording capabilities meaning Bigfoot will be incredibly sharp, plus built-in Wi-Fi and GPS that automatically track your location and speed, and make it super easy to watch and download videos directly to your phone.
You may stop unexpectedly at a must see attraction along the way as the only one in the world Corn Palaceor the real Dolly Parton fever dream, that is The Madonna Inn† And if those places serve booze, maybe you drink some corn whiskey or a Madonna Cadillac marg — we don’t blame you. But to make sure you’re REALLY good at riding, and not just trying to convince yourself, grab the absolute (and literal) life saver that is a breathalyzer. This super-rated BACtrack model comes with you on your key fob, offers smartphone connectivity and even provides an estimated time when you’ll be completely sober again.
If you have to book it to your next destination, no more unwarranted layovers are allowed — not even bathroom breaks. But that’s okay, because you’ve prepped your car with your own portable pee bottles (for all bodies) and a padded trash can with a lid on the front, you know. Also link: biodegradable wipes to refresh, and on-the-go bidet for a reminder of home.
The best car camping essentials and upgrades
Next on the list are must-have items to master sleeping in your car. If you’re an avid camper who thrives on building a fire or pitching a tent in the pouring rain, feel free to browse this section. But for the rest of us who can’t and won’t compete against Bear Grylls, let me introduce you to the heavy hitters responsible for ultimate comfort along the way. Get off the ground and away from bugs and critters with a top-of-the-line-car-top tent with a built-in mattress from the classic camping brand Thule, or opt for a more budget-friendly version which can be attached to the back of any SUV or car.
Made for maximum comfort when napping with the seats down, Luno’s car camping mattress is available in four sizes to fit a variety of hatchbacks and SUVs.
You’ll also need some handy sunscreens, must-have window screens to keep out bugs, and maybe a nice novelty screen for the windshield. There are choices to suit your many moods, from Rick & Morty until the golden girls†
What to pack to make memories
One of the best parts of having a great road trip is documenting it with photos of all your weirdest, most breathtaking, or most unexpected pit stops. If you’re planning on just snapping some half-hearted iPhone photos, let’s stop you there: you need a camera upgrade. For starters, our editor loves this lens that will upgrade your phone camera to almost professional quality. But there’s just something about analog, so you might want to bring a compact too polaroid camera, or waterproof disposable items that you don’t have to worry about loss or damage.
Finally, a drone may seem like overkill, but not if you can get one that is rated super well for under $50. One reviewer with tons of drone experience wrote, “All the money we spent on the other drones and this one made us smile more!The price is low enough that you don’t have [to] worry about crashing. But if (when) you do, this thing is strong enough to shake it off you and go right back into the air. Buy one of these – you won’t regret it!’
Finally, don’t forget to cheer up your steel horse with some Fuzzy Dice, an ultra-luxury car air freshener from DS & Durgaand an iPad holder for the back of the headrests a la Pimp my ride† For those many meals on the go, you’ll be dipping a lot of fries and chicken tenders, which is why a 3D printed fast food sauce container is really a must-have for a road trip. Please pass the ranch. Finally, this cute little one cocktail table on a skewer is perfect for driving to a lookout point and watching the sunset in style.
Okay, you’ve got all the necessities for a summer vacation road trip that you’ll remember for decades to come. Check your brake fluids and set aside a billion dollars for gas before you pack your things and go on an adventure to compete Fievel goes west†
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