8 Road Trip Essentials for your Next Adventure

John’s Articles

Going on a road trip is all about going on an adventure.  You never know what is around the next turn. These road trip essentials will keep the good times rolling the next time you hit the road.

A road trip is an excellent opportunity for exploration with your loved one, providing ample time to learn more about each other and challenge each other in fruitful ways. And while you can’t foresee every challenge, having the right gear can make or break your trip.  My road trip with Imani last fall was over 20,000 miles; we criss-crossed 15 states and three countries. These are the road trip essentials that came through in the clutch and helped us make the most of our trip. 

Be sure to visit our Recommended Travel Items page if you need more general travel item suggestions as well.

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Road Trip Essentials for your next Adventure
Photo by ArtHouse Studio

1. MSR Pocket Rocket

Road Trip Essential Stove

The MSR Pocket Rocket has been my go-to backpacking stove for several years but it’s also incredibly useful on road trips. Whether you need a hot cup of tea or you want to cook up some dinner, the pocket rocket transforms any location into a kitchen.

Cooking is also a great way to help save some money if you are road tripping on a budget. I used my pocket rocket almost everyday on my road trip and that’s why its my #1 on my list of road trip essentials.

2. CamelBak Mule Hydration Bag

Road Trip Essential Backpack

Coming in at #2 on my list of road trip essentials, the CamelBak Mule backpack is my favorite day bag. Not only can you bring whatever items you need for the day (camera, snacks, extra clothes etc.) but it also carries up to 3 liters of water! I used this backpack in many situations, whether I was exploring a city or going on a hike.

It’s also a great way to stay hydrated while you are driving. You can operate the hydration bladder with one hand so you can keep your eyes on the road without worrying about spilling water everywhere.

3. Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket

Road Trip Essential Jacket

The Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket is the only jacket I ever needed while road tripping. It’s light weight, warm, wind/rain resistant, and it packs down. Although it is a bit expensive, it’s absolutely worth the money if you can afford it.

4. Chaco Sandals

Road Trip Essential Sandals

When I’m packing for a road trip, I try to bring essential gear that can fill a variety of roles, and Chacos definitely fit the bill. They are a do-everything sandal that I used in camp, in the water, and hiking.

5. Go Pro Hero 7

Road Trip Essential Camera

The Go Pro Hero 7 is a must have for anyone planning on documenting their road trip. This version of the Go Pro’s Hero line comes with auto stabilization which means that all the video you shoot with it looks smooth and professional. The quality of the photos and video taken on the Hero 7 is fantastic and is another piece of essential gear that serves multiple roles. Ditch your selfie stick and get yourself a Go Pro.

6. Extra Gas Tank

Road Trip Essential Gas Tank

This was the first time I brought an extra gas tank with me and I’m never going on a road trip without one again. Every time my tank started to get low, knowing that I had an extra two gallons of gas put my mind at ease. This was especially important when driving the Alaska-Canada Highway and Highway One in Baja California where gas stations can be few and far between.

7. Bluetooth Car Adapter

Road Trip Essential Car Charger

If you are taking an older vehicle (without built-in Bluetooth or aux cord options) on your road trip, then a Bluetooth car adapter is a must. I love this Bluetooth adapter because you can quickly charge your phone and listen to music at the same time.

8. Roadfood – An Eater’s Guide to More Than 1,000 of the Best Local Hot Spots and Gems Across America

Road Trip Essential Food Guide

Roadfood is a road trip essential for any foodie. The authors Jane and Michael Stern are fellow road trippers who have criss-crossed the U.S. to find the best local eats. I ate at several of their recommendations and was never disappointed. So skip the boring chain restaurants and find a great mom-and-pop spot using Roadfood!

I hope these gear recommendations help you on your next road trip. What are your must pack essentials? Share in the comments below!

Loving the old; exploring the new,


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