Committing to a road trip — cross-country or just zig-zagging your way across a map for a couple of days — is a unique beast as far as traveling ventures go. It’s not like sitting on a plane for a few hours or riding a train through the country. A real road trip, whether solo or with companions takes planning, be it for fuel stops, on-the-go in-car meals, music, entertainment or (knock on wood) accidents and mishaps. If you don’t do it right, you’re asking for trouble.
The next time the road-tripper in your life decides to hit the open road, make sure it’s not on a wing and a prayer. Give them the tools they need to make the next road trip the best one yet.
National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways
If you’re looking to provide the ultimate inspiration for an on-road adventure, the ‘National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways’ is a perfect place to start. The goal is to skip the boring, featureless, never-ending highways and instead discover the 300 best drives in the country.
Oak Street Bootmakers Brush Brown Waxed Canvas Utility Tote
Long road trips don’t just take a toll on the driver. What you carry necessary in-cabin cargo matters too. The Oak Street Bootmakers Brush Brown Waxed Canvas Utility Tote is built to last – not to mention hold on to its style for its entire lifetime.
Rumpl Original Puffy Throw Blanket
For those cold nights under the stars or, you know, sprawled across the back seat because it’s raining, the Rumpl The Original Puffy Throw Blanket has road trippers, well, covered. It’s easily packable and water and stain resistant. Crucially, the insulation is compressable so it takes up little to no space.
Spotify Premium 3-Month Trial
Traveling with a companion on long road trips means most of the DJing responoibility rests on their shoulders. Make that job easier: Spotify Premium is super cheap for a three-month trial. All the music any driver and passenger could hope to endlessly argue over is right there at their finger tips.
KRAVE Jerky Variety Pack
When it comes to road trip essentials, not many food items rank higher than jerky. On the open road, it can even be considered acceptable as breakfast lunch and dinner. Luckily, the Krave Varity pack comes in a multitude of flavors so you can at least discern those mals from each other on those cross country drives.
Zojirushi Stainless Steel Insulated Mug, 20-Ounce
Unless your road tripper has a brand-new luxury car fitted with a fancy refrigorator in the arm rerst or heated cup holders, their coffee will cool and the ice in their soft drink will melt. The easiest solution — aside from buying them a new car — is getting a Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug, which can keep beverages hot or cold for hours on end.
Yeti Hopper Flip 12
Some of the best road trips mean heading off-road and off the grid. When that’s the case, a proven storage unit is necessary. The Yeti Hopper Flip 12 is a soft, cubed-shaped cooler build to go anywhere. It’ll keep whatever is inside colder for longer.
NOCO Genius Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter
Mistakes happen on road trips, both big and small. Sometimes you take a wrong turn and go miles out of the way. Other times you leave the dome light on while you go to grab a bite to eat and the battery dies. For the former, turning around and heading back is the most simple solution. For the latter, however, you can pack the NOCO Genius Boost Plus and not even have to worry about asking for a jump. The NOCO is rated at 1,000 Amps or up to 20 jump starts on a single charge and can also charge smartphones and tablets like any other external battery.
Audible Audiobook Subscription Plan
Using music and podcasts to fill the silence on a road trip isn’t foreveryone. One of the best alternatives is access to Audible. After a free 30-day trial, the monthly subscription allows for streaming of one audiobook and two Audible originals, the brand’s own productions.
High Road TrashStash Hanging Car Trash Bag
Some people can let their cars get too messy and let garbage accumulate in the footwell, side pockets or under the seat. The High Road TrashStash Hanging Car Trash Bag is a move in the right direction. It’s not the masssive step-to-open trash can you have in your kitchen but this is easily the automotive equivalent.
Dash App/OBD-II Performance Tracker
The days of trying to guess what a check engine light means are over. OBD-II Performance Tracker plugs right into a car’s OBD outlet and doesn’t just transmit regular diagnostics, it also sends data right to the app on the your phone letting you know how to save fuel, when maintainance is needed and helps to save money on resale, sending remote alerts all in real time.
Viair Heavy Duty Portable Compressor
It’s one thing to fix a punctured tire on the side of the road, but it’s not like an inflatable pool toy you can blow up with lung power — an air compressor is necessary. The smart move is to pack one as compact as the Viair 00073 70P Heavy Duty Portable Compressor. It stows away in a bag not much bigger than a classic lunch pail, runs off your car’s electricity and can pump up to 100psi. The Viair is one of those things everyone should keep in the car, road trip or not.
Streamlight 88062 ProTac Professional Tactical Flashlight
The thing about flashlights is that you don’t always need one, but you’d better hope to have one when you do. It seems fairly obvious, but how many times have we all found ourselves crawling around in the dark, looking for change or eyeglasses dropped under the car? Solution: Streamlight 88062 ProTac Professional Tactical Flashlight. It’s compact EDC-sized, waterproof, impact resistant and can clip to your pocket — so it’s one less thing you have to go searching for. Plus, we named it one of the best EDC flashlights avbailable.
Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool
While it’s always smart to have a fully-stocked tool chest, bringing 100-plus pounds of wrenches and drivers on a road trip isn’t the most practical thing to do. But, give your giftee a fighting chance with more manageable jobs by arming them with a Gerber Center-Drive Multi-Tool, a 12-piece standard which includes, among other things, a center-axis screwdriver that provides torque and grip like a regular driver.
Tod’s Gommino Full-Grain Nubuck Driving Shoes
Just like running, hiking and formal occasions, driving is always more enjoyable with the proper footwear. The best part of Tod’s Gommino Driving Shoes? They’re full-grain nubuck leather and can double as more formal footwear if need be. If your point ‘B’ is quite a ways away and you need to look as dapper as possible when you get there, the Gommino leather driving loafers at least have your feet covered.
Best Made Co SWS CORDURA Field Case
Whether it’s insurance, registration, road notes or the road map, keep it safe in something you know will last. The Best Made Co Field Case made from tough as nails cordura is exactly what you’re looking for.
Outlier Ultrafine Merino Shirt
One of the more obvious tips for a long road trip would be to dress comfortably. Jeans and t-shirts work well for a grocery run, but spend an entire day getting in and out of a car to eat and refuel and you’ll soon find there are far better choices. The Outlier Ultrafine Merino Shirt is made with Mackenzie 17.5 micron Merino fibers, meaning it’s some of the finest, softest and lightest fabric on the market.
Wavian Red 1.3 Gallon Gas Can
Not all road trips keep you within spitting distance of gas stations — some of the best ones don’t. For drivers going the distance and tempting the remaining fumes left in the tank, it’s always good to have a spare can of fuel onboard. And if the 1.3-gallon Wavian can is good enough to be standard issue for NATO forces, you can bet it’ll handle the odd road trip.
District Vision Keiichi Standard Gray District Sky Sunglasses
Whether they’re heading west chasing the sun to the horizon or that fireball is lighting the easterly morning road, drivers need eyewear to battle back the rays. District Sky G15 is a shatterproof polycarbonate lens with a 15 percent light transmission and maximum sun protection.
Gear Patrol Magazine
Perfect for whoever is manning the back seat. Inside its 200-plus pages, we explore what it takes to turn an office chair into a thing of beauty, an accidental invention into a culinary essential and a 1970s French automobile into one of the most evocative cars of the last century. Plus much more.
Don’t know what to get the people on your list? We’ve got you covered with our holiday gift guide