There’s nothing more freeing than the open road with the windows down. If you’re looking to road trip soon, there are a few pieces of gear you’ll want to bring for comfort and peace of mind.
Food costs add up if you’re trying to save money on a road trip. You don’t need a Yeti cooler if you’re okay with filling up on new ice once or twice a week. A good cooler is an investment if you plan to road trip often, but a budget one will work just fine if you aren’t an avid road tripper.
Basic Maintenance Gear
You don’t need to be a mechanic to go on a road trip but knowing the basics can save you time and money. You want a jack to change tires, a tire pressure gauge, and jumper cables (or a jump box if you’ll be in desolate areas). If you have an older car, maybe bring extra oil or coolant just in case.
Whether you want a full Jackery battery or just plan to charge your phone via USB, you want some charging capabilities. A large battery has the advantage of being a good store of power when the car isn’t running, but it costs more and takes longer to charge. A small power bank will give you a phone charge or two in between stops if you want a cheaper option.
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If you want to sleep in your car, you want something warm and durable. This may not be the best place for your bedsheets. Go for something soft and durable like this 40Denier Sherpa-lined blanket.
Whichever you choose doesn’t matter as much as the insulation value and capacity. If you’re worried about water quality, you can either get a bottle that filters or buy a separate filter like a Sawyer Squeeze that works for travel and camping.
The elixir of the gods can get expensive over a long road trip. Now, if you’re someone who loves to stop into local coffee shops, the extra cost may be worth it. If you’re picky about your coffee or just want to save money, a travel coffee maker is a good idea. Consider bringing a grinder and an AeroPress or V60 pour-over. If you’re still craving local coffee, buy beans from a local roaster when you stop.
This doesn’t have to be large. Something around 20 liters (the size of many hiking daypacks) works. Bring gear to explore your stops or just use it for organizational purposes.
First Aid Kit
Whatever it is, make sure it covers the basics. You likely won’t need to perform a tracheotomy, but you may need to apply Neosporin and a band-aid. As long as you know how to use it, most kits will do for road trips.
This may not be a concern if you’re driving an SUV or minivan. For smaller vehicles, a soft-sided roof box is a cost-effective storage solution. If you have a full-size vehicle, consider storage organizers for your gear in the trunk.
A lantern or headlamp will work here, but the best option is often a magnetic light bar. One or two small bars that clamp to the tailgate are usually enough for most travelers.
You don’t need the latest and greatest to get on the road. Food, water, and a comfortable sleeping setup more than cover the basics for your next great adventure!