15 Essentials for the Perfect Road Trip

The road trip is a time-honored tradition among families and college students, but the notion began with caravans traveling between settlements when humanity was barely out of their caves. Going on a vacation with a small band of travelers was both a safe and inexpensive way to travel, as well as see how other people lived. As time wore on, these jaunts would also be acts of faith, known as pilgrimages, when people would visit holy locations or go into foreign lands to spread their gospel. While the genesis of these trips might be driven by commerce, necessity, or piety, now they’re a great excuse to eat some street meat and sing really badly.

The difference between a good road trip and a disaster is all about preparation. Sure, a spontaneous excursion to spend spring break among the bevy of beauties in Baja might be something to undertake lightly, but if you don’t pack for the adventure then your time on the road will soon become interminable. Taking the best road trip essentials, including the right food, the right equipment, the proper tunes, and the necessary emergency supplies is the key to making your road trip a great story, and not a cautionary tale.

Garmin nuvi GPS Navigator System

Garmin nuvi GPS Navigator System

Sure, road trips are as much about the journey as the destination, but you still need to know where you’re going. The nüvi comes from Garmin, the most trusted name in Global Positioning Systems, and it’s serious about making your trip easy and worry free. The display is huge and even helps with lane positioning and navigating unusual intersections, lanes, and roundabouts.

Purchase: $110

Rand McNally 2016 Road Atlas

Rand McNally 2016 Road Atlas

A GPS is great, but it is only part of the battle. Sometimes a road trip goes so far afield that only your wits and a good map can get it back on course. By choosing the best in mapping and road atlases, you’ll be able to plot the perfect course easily even if your batteries are dead, your tires, are flat, and you’re stuck hoofing it.

Purchase: $11

Rumpl Indoor:Outdoor Blanket 1

Rumpl Indoor/Outdoor Blanket

When you’re making the run from Vegas to New Orleans in a single trip you’re going to need each of your drivers in the rotation to be well-rested. To accomplish that, you’ve got to have your vehicle outfitted with all the necessary sleep aids, from public radio broadcasts to an ultra warm 20D Ripstop nylon blanket like the Rumpl that’s as effective as a survival tool as a napping accessory.

Purchase: $199

Yeti Hopper

Yeti Hopper

The best game in town when it comes to soft side coolers, the Hopper is a 6.5 gallon beast that holds all the snacks and drinks you need during the trip in a bombproof, weatherproof, leakproof, waterproof container that’s as easy to carry as it is to stash away.

Purchase: $280

Softy Sanitizing Wipes

Softy Sanitizing Wipes

Keep your hands and car clean and fresh with these multi-purpose wipes. Gentle enough to be used on your skin but tough enough to scrub away the muck and grime that goes along with long trips down that dusty highway. These fight off bacteria and reduce seat stains all without much scent.

Purchase: $15

Karma WiFi HotSpot

Karma WiFi HotSpot

Karma looks and works like every other mobile WiFi hotspot on the market, except for the fact that Karma now has a $50 per month unlimited plan that is honestly unlimited. With speeds up to 5 Mbps, Karma is fast, affordable, and easy to use when updating your Instagram shots of the world’s biggest pistachio nut.

Purchase: $150+

Infinity Pillow

Infinity Pillow

Wrap it up, over, or around, the mobius-shaped Infinity can take whatever form you require. Made with sturdy, durable, hypoallergenic, stain-resistant fabric that can take a beating, this was created for travelers who need an elegant solution to help them get their beauty rest.

Purchase: $60

Olympus TG-4 Waterproof Digital Camera

Olympus TG-4 Waterproof Digital Camera

Able to shoot stills or limited video even while underwater, no highway cowboy should be going on a trip full of memories armed with only their weak-sauce phone camera. With a durable shell and brilliant point-and-shoot capabilities, this is meant to capture all the humiliating road trip memories you’d sooner forget.

Purchase: $349

Duracell 175-Watt Pocket Inverter

Duracell 175-Watt Pocket Inverter

Your phone might have a car charger, but what about your laptop? Your tablet? Your hair dryer? With the pocket inverter, you get the ability to plug in anything that uses a standard 120 volt outlet right in the car. Use the plug or the fast-acting USB charger to get your devices powered up without ever stopping.

Purchase: $40

Valentine One Radar Detector

Valentine One Radar Detector

During any road trip, you’re eventually going to find yourself on a humdrum stretch of highway that you have to get through quickly. Whether it’s the flatlands of Kansas, the tundra of Canada, or the desert wastes of New Mexico, you need to be able to go fast without meeting the highway patrol. The Valentine One handles all kinds of radar, is kind to your ears, and extremely accurate so you know when to let your lead foot drop.

Purchase: $439

Adventure Log Notebook

Adventure Log Notebook

A good road trip comes with lots of stories, anecdotes, and occurrences. Don’t let one single second slip away. By keeping the Adventure Log on hand, you’ll be able to jot down notes, directions, thoughts, and keep a journal to help add to your tall tales over a pint later on.

Purchase: $12

Scosche Car Charger

Scosche Car Charger

Multiple people in a vehicle means multiple devices that need to be kept charged. With this simple dual USB car charger, you can give 12 volts of power to a couple of items at a time so that your energy output is doubled, and fights over the power port are halved.

Purchase: $14

100-Piece First Aid Kit

100-Piece First Aid Kit

Inside the rugged nylon case that can stand up to weather, beatings, and doesn’t even burn easily, there’s everything you need for your little boo-boos, poisoning from road food, and on-the-go appendectomies. The items in the case are tried and tested for durability and efficacy so when you need a splint or some gauze, this has you covered.

Purchase: $25

Brooklyn Biltong

Brooklyn Biltong

There’s a lot of terrible beef jerky out there. Don’t be one of the sheep that’s stuck eating chewy beef ends. Get yourself a high-quality road snack that won’t dry out or go bad. It’s steak in a bag that will ease hunger pangs and take your taste buds to new heights.

Purchase: $20

Thermos Stainless Steel King

Thermos Stainless Steel King

Fully 40 oz of freedom, you can keep things hot or cold depending on your trip in this large Thermos. It’s vacuum sealed and will keep your beverages steaming or freezing for a full day thanks to the tough insulation and lack of airflow.

Purchase: $26

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