7 Essentials You Can't Road-Trip Without

The best of the season—don't get caught on an impromptu escape without them

May 23, 2016
Outside
Outside Magazine
adventure

Not all road trips are created equal.    Photo: Jacob Lund Photography/iStock

Technically, all you need for a road trip is a vehicle and a long stretch of pavement, but as any road-weary traveler will attest, not all road trips are created equal. In an attempt to help you elevate your next journey, we’ve rounded up the best road trip gear of the season, from necessities like first aid kits to luxury items like in-car espresso machines. The destination and journey are paramount, but traveling safely (and in style) is just as important.  

Adventure Medical Kit Mountain Series Weekender ($60) 

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  Photo: Adventure Medical Kits

If all goes well, you’re not going to incur many injuries while sitting in your car, but the road trip is really just a series of day hikes, bike rides, and bar hops. And there’s plenty of room for human error in those situations. This Mountain Series Weekender kit gives you the basics to deal with common injuries that occur in the field (trauma pads, allergy medicine, closure strips, irrigation syringe…) without going overboard and making you feel like a prepper. 

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Juno Jumpr ($100)

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  Photo: Juno

It’s the size of your iPhone, but it carries 6,000 mAh of power, providing 12 volts of power at 300 amps. All you really need to know about those numbers, is that this little battery is strong enough to jump start most 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder cars. It comes with the cutest little jumper cables we’ve ever seen, as well as two USB ports so you can charge phones and tablets too. And it fits in your glove box.  

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Rumpl Down Puffy Blanket ($199)

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  Photo: Rumpl

If you take a road trip without an impromptu picnic, you’re doing it wrong. Be prepared with this blanket that’s armored with 20D Ripstop nylon and a DWR finish, which means you can put it on the ground and not worry about it falling apart. Yes, it’ll elevate your spontaneous picnic, but it’s also warm enough for those nights where you decide to sleep in your car. And it packs into a tiny ball so it won’t take up room in your trunk.

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Stanley Adventure Stainless Steel Pack Mug ($18)

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  Photo: Stanley

A travel mug is a travel mug, right? Wrong. This mug does what many travel mugs can do—keep 16 ounces of your favorite beverage either hot or cold with its double wall insulation. And it’s both a pint glass and coffee mug in one. But the Stanley Adventure goes a step further with a lid that locks so you can actually fill it up and stuff it in a daypack, or toss it in your back seat, without worrying about it spilling. A road trip without any spills? Dare to dream.

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Handpresso Auto Set  ($149)

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  Photo: Handpresso

Do you need to make fresh espresso while you’re on the road? Yes, yes you do. Handpresso’s Auto Set plugs into your car to pressurize fresh ground coffee (or handy coffee pods) and hot water into tiny cups of espresso with crema. The set comes with two tiny espresso cups for you and your lucky navigator. I’m hoping they come up with a daiquiri attachment soon. 

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Road Shower ($300)

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  Photo: Road Shower

An epic road trip includes multiple nights sleeping under the night sky, daily excursions into the wilderness, questionable gas station food, and long road hours under the hot sun. In other words, road trips are stinky. Imagine how much more civilized the journey would be if you could shower at will. The Road Shower capitalizes on the wasted space on the edge of your car’s roof rack to provide solar-heated, pressurized water on the go. It holds five gallons, which heat up to 120 degrees after three hours in the sun. You can rinse off after a surf or singletrack session, clean the bike, or spray the mud off your 4x4.  

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Pelican 20quart Elite Cooler ($259)

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  Photo: Pelican

It’s tempting to pack a giant cooler for your road trip, but giant coolers take up lots of valuable trunk space. The perfect road trip cooler is small, just big enough a couple of snacks to keep you going and a for a six-pack to celebrate the end of the day’s driving. Pelican’s 20 Quart Elite hits the size requirements with a bear-proof package that keeps beer cold for days. Built-in cup holders and an integrated bottle opener make this one of the handiest small coolers on the market. 

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