All of the Road Trip Gear for Your Next Adventure

Road Trip Gear for your next big adventure

Road Trips take a lot of planning and it is important to make sure you have all of the right gear.  We did a post about planning for a road trip, and in this post we are going to cover the essential road trip gear  that you need to bring with you when you set out on the open road. Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Road Trip Gear

Road Trip Gear for your next adventure

Safety Gear

Safety first right?  There are a few items everyone should have on a road trip to ensure their safety in the event of a breakdown.

Hazard Warning

It is important to be seen if you break down on the side of the road.  If your battery is dead or you have some other electrical problem, your lights will not work.  Proper use of a reflective warning triangle keeps you visible and helps ensure your road side safety.  This is the first piece of road trip gear I put in any vehicle.

Wool Blanket

A good wool blanket is another key item I keep in the car for safety.  They are incredibly warm, and can be used for padding, shade, or insulation when it is cold. I prefer wool to synthetics and cotton for its flame resistance, and heat retention.

Rain Gear

Staying dry may seem like a comfort measure, but if you break down and have to walk in a cold rain, you will be glad you invested in quality rain gear.  I recommend that you get something that is not only water proof, but also high visibility.  You don’t want to blend in to your surroundings if you have to be on the side of the road.

Fully Charged Phone

Being able to contact emergency services, a tow truck, or a family member may be critical when you are traveling.  It is important that you have some means of communication with you and a way to keep it charged. I’m a fan of using a good car charger in combination with a high capacity power bank.

Shoes

Another great item to have in your trunk is a good sturdy pair of shoes (and socks!).  If you break down and have to walk, it is nice to have something besides your vacation flip flops with the beer opener on them.

 

Flashlight

It is incredibly dark on remote roads. Carrying a good flashlight is essential (a few extra batteries is never a bad idea either).  I am a fan of the Maglite Mini LED.  Its multiple modes can help save battery power, or make certain that you are seen by passing drivers.

First Aid Kit and Training

Along with these items, I think it is essential to add a First Aid Kit to your road trip gear and the skill set to use it. You never know what you may encounter on the road. Check your local Red Cross for information about First Aid Training.

 

Car Care

Maintaining your vehicle is incredibly important, but sometimes you will have a breakdown.  If you have the mechanical skills to repair these things yourself, it is important to have the items needed to make the repairs.

Tools

A good quality tool set is important.  Cheap tools will fail you when you need them the most.  It is worth investing in a set of high quality hand tools.  Be sure to go for something with a good warranty.

Spare Parts

Having a few spare parts for your vehicle can mean the difference between getting back on the road and paying for a huge tow bill.  I like to keep a spare tire, serpentine belt, radiator hose, and a quart of oil in the trunk. These things don’t take up much space, but can be a lifesaver.

Battery Booster / Jumper Cables

Dead Batteries happen, sometimes you leave your lights on, sometimes the battery fails, sometimes its something else.  No matter the cause you should be prepared to deal with a dead battery with jumper cables, or even better a battery booster. Bonus: some of the boosters have air compressors to help deal with low tires, and 12v and usb charging ports.

Gas Can

A small gas can is an incredibly useful piece of road trip gear too.  Running out of gas is probably one of the most common reasons for a breakdown.  If you have to walk to a gas station, it is a good idea to already have a gas can.  They can be a little over priced at gas stations, and sometimes carrying the can serves as a signal to other drivers that you are in need of a ride.  I’m a fan of the 1 gallon can because it is lighter weight when filled.

Flat Tire Kit

Right up at the top of the list next to running out of gas for reasons for a breakdown, is a flat tire. There are great kits on the market for repairing flat tires that will get you back on the road (provided the tire is not too damaged) long enough to get somewhere to have it repaired or replaced. One of my favorites is: Slime 70005 Safety Spair 7-Minute Flat Tire Repair System.

Knowledge

The most important car care item you can take on the road with you is knowledge.  All the tools in the world won’t help you if you don’t know what you are doing.  Study, and practice ahead of time.  Change your tire a few times until you feel comfortable doing it.  We live in an amazing age where information is easily available and mostly free, take advantage of it.  Watch videos, visit forums related to your vehicle (these are great resources), and learn how to do some minor maintenance on your ride.

 

Driver Comfort

Not all road trip gear is safety or mechanically related. It is important to be comfortable especially on long road trips.  If you are going to be spending hours (or days) on the road, you have to have some items that make it a little easier.

Clothes

Loose fitting clothes, that you are comfortable in are essential for road trips. I’m a fan of athletic shorts and T-shirts for driving in.  I’ve found that jeans dig into my stomach after just a short time on the road. Dressing like I’m going to the gym is the most comfortable for me.

Music

Just like movies, you have to have a great soundtrack to your adventure!  Make sure you have everything you need to stream music from your phone to your car stereo.  A high quality Auxiliary Audio Cable will make a big difference in the sound of your music. Try Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

Seat Cushion / Cover

Take a cue from Truck Drivers here, being on the road for long hours is rough on your body.  It is nice to have something comfortable to sit on. Seat cushions provide much needed relief for your rear, your thighs, and your back, but it is still important that you stop at regular intervals to stretch your legs though.

Sunglasses

The extreme brightness you encounter on the road can be incredibly dangerous. The brightness can cause temporary blindness that can lead to serious or fatal accidents.  Not only is it dangerous, the bright sunlight can cause permanent damage to your eyes.  Everyone should wear good Sunglasses when they are exposed to bright sunlight, especially the driver!

Trash Bag

One thing I often overlook is how to manage the waste we generate on a road trip.  Having one place to store your trash out of the way, makes for a much more pleasant ride.  Instead of having to kick around empty water bottles and chip bags every time you get in and out of the car, you can just dispose of all your trash when you get out and not have to deal with it again.  I use plastic grocery bags for mine.

Travel Gear

We’ve covered road trip gear for safety and comfort, now it’s time to talk about travel gear.  There is a lot of stuff that can go into this category, but we are going to cover the essentials.

GPS

I know you can use your phone for this, but I am a fan of stand alone GPS units.  You don’t have to worry about data usage, lack of a signal, or running the battery down on your primary means of communication.  Many of the newer GPS units come with lifetime map updates, live traffic, and great route planning tools.  This is one piece of road trip gear I always keep in the car.

Camera

You have to take pictures on a trip, right? Smart phones have incredible cameras (a lot of the images on our site were taken with a Huawei Nexus 6P) on them that will meet most of your needs, however if you want to step up your photography, I am a huge fan of DSLRs.  Nikon and Canon both have incredible options that are incredibly affordable for their capabilities.

Binoculars

Sometimes you will see wildlife off the road, or some other roadside attraction.  Being able to look at these items from a distance is often the best option (especially with wildlife). A good set of Binoculars will make it possible to see things a great deal further than normal, and usually fit nicely in a glove box or console.

Travel Eats!

Things can get expensive here if you aren’t careful.  Stopping at every convenience store you pass for soda and chips is not only costly, but pretty unhealthy too (Keep an eye out for our post on healthy eating on the road).  Check out these items that make eating while you travel a breeze.

Cooler

Keeping drinks (and some snacks) cold is important.  No one wants hot water or soda.  Coolers prevent your  drinks and snacks from getting hot in the sun.  You can spend as much or as little as you want on a cooler, and they have every option out there from coolers with speakers, to super utility coolers.  I personally use a RTIC Cooler (RTIC 20 Tan)

Dry Snacks

Low sodium dried snacks are great for munching on as the road rolls by.  Dehydrated or freeze dried fruit and low sodium nuts are some of my favorite choices.  Go ahead and buy enough for your entire trip, they don’t take up much room.

Water

Pack plenty of bottled water.  I am a soda lover, but i like to be comfortable in the car.  Carbonated beverages make me feel bloated, and that is the last thing you want when you have hours on the road with a seat belt strapped around your belly.  Staying hydrated is crucial as well, and nothing does that better than water. Yes, it will make you have to stop and use the restroom, but you need to get out and stretch anyway, so that’s no excuse.

Cups and Such

Stainless Steel double walled cups are incredible at insulating. For you coffee drinkers out there, they will keep your drink warm far longer than it should take you to drink it.  If you like your beverages cold, they can handle that too! A 20 oz Stainless Steel Tumbler will hold plenty of liquid and keep it cold for hours.

Now Hit the Road

You have a solid list of road trip gear now.  Keep in mind these are only the essentials, and you may want to add or remove things to tailor this list to your route and destination.  Most of this stuff won’t take up too much space (with the exception of the cooler) so you will still have plenty of room for your luggage.

Road Trip Gear for your next Adventure. Comfort, safety, repair, and entertainment gear to make sure your next trip is perfect

 

 

39 Comment

  1. Super helpful. I’m hoping to do a road trip round the states later this year so this will be a great reference when I start planning for it. Thank you.

  2. Thank you for the tips! I had no idea that they had a seat cushion for the car.

  3. Great list, we are big on road trips. Really helpful article
    Thank you

  4. Great list! I didn’t even know about some of these things!

  5. This is an awesome list i really wanna take a road trip this year during the fall with some friends.

  6. Safety gear and water are super important! Thanks for this informative post 🙂

  7. Great advice and such a thorough list! Thanks for this. I’ll be pinning and sending to my older kids!

  8. Great list! I will be adding this to my bucket list

  9. Wow this is a really comprehensive list! I haven’t been on a road trip in a while, but these are great tips!

  10. I do my roadtrips halfway safe according to this posts… haha last time I had a flat tire, I could not change it because didn’t have anything to do it with or an extra tire! I will keep all of these in mind next time!

  11. A really comprehensive list here. Last trip I did was a 5 week tour of Europe and the car was packed to the roof!

    1. I always bring way to much stuff. It drives my wife crazy 🙂

  12. Great list! I have AAA which puts my mind at ease, but I do keep some things in my car just in case I end up somewhere without cell service. Also, having snacks is an essential for me no matter how long I’m driving!

    http://www.insearchofsheila.com

    1. AAA is a great option. I had it for a while and they had really good service.

  13. I always carry a camera. But the average DSLR is too big for a door pocket or similar, and the last thing I want is to have the thing rolling around loose on the floor. I swapped driving with my wife once in Scotland, and when I lowered the seat, my camera was underneath and the screen got cracked.

    Nowadays I have a mirrorless camera, a little smaller, but still great image quality. It sits in the door pocket beside me, along with torch/flashlight, cleaning cloth etc. and is always available when a great shot presents itself. Sometimes the moment is fleeting – wildlife crossing the road, a rainbow, a sunset – and I just want to grab the camera, take the shot, get back on the road.

    1. I suppose I’ve just become used to dragging my dslr around with me. I am interested in the mirrorless options out there though. I’ve been checking out the Sony A7 pretty heavily. Which one are you using?

  14. Great advice. I’ve been wanting a battery booster.

  15. I love taking road trips but never even considered carrying half of the things you listed here. These are really important thinking about it. I am usually more concerned about GPS, taking my camera, phone, torch, sunglasses, water and a blanket. Thanks for sharing.

    http://www.travelbeautyblog.com

  16. Super helpful! I will be planning my road trip soon 🙂

  17. Great post! I have a JumpIt in my car too. We also keep a disposable poncho for each family member in the car too. You never know when you may need it.

  18. As far too many people are under prepared for a long road trip, this list should be touted far and wide 🙂 You might even consider turning this into a pdf guide that you could either offer for free to your subscribers or even sell on Amazon! Oh, and I also subscribed. Looks like some great content going on here.

  19. Super helpful, I will cover most things to my next trip with my friends, I have to get a solar charger.
    most of the time when I am on the trip I forgot many things lol

  20. These tips are a great use for for heading out on road trip. You just never know when they will come in handy.

  21. So helpful, especially for putting together a safety kit too for any time not just road trips. Thanks!

  22. Great suggestions. I think it’s easy to forget and take a lot of these things for granted. Like the gas can! Great idea!

  23. Let’s hope you don’t need the raincoat! 🙂

    1. Right! Still its nice to have if you do need it 🙂

  24. Omg, I love how you added in gear for your car — definitely something not everyone mentions when they curate such a list 🙂 Thanks!

    1. No car, No Road trip 😀 Keeping your car going can make the difference between a great trip and a nightmare.

  25. Great list! I would add a paper map if you are in an area that you really don’t know and if technology all fails, a knife and electrical tap. I don’t know why, but we always have it. I love that you added their triangles. People always forget that. Instead of a large pack of bottled water, I suggest only a couple 2 gallon jugs and filled water bottles. Helps a little with waste. The extra gas for sure! We have been on the road for 11 months and still we almost run out of gas and wish we would have it. One of these days we will learn! Thanks for the great write up.

  26. I love this post! I love going on road trips, and I think one of the most important things to bring is foooood! Goodness, I just get so hungry so quickly 😀

  27. Great list! I especially like the wool blanket- it always comes in handy. Always.

  28. Great and helpful tips, this is surely an amazing post for road trips.

  29. Fantastic List! Love the idea of a wool blanket – we have our first aid kit and the necessities always in our car but I have spaced on a blanket (so needed in case of an emergency stop over). Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

    Kam
    Ourfamilypassport.com

  30. Great list and a few things I wouldn’t have thought of!

  31. this is very though. great list to stay safe in any scenario

  32. What a gray reminder of the importance of being prepared. I’m headed on a road trip next week and it looks like I have some shopping to do!

  33. Every time me and my family hit the road, there is always so much confusion in regard what to take. And while each family will always be a little bit different, these are suggestions which are non-negotiable. Certainly, there is never way to tell what is going to happen and things like tools and hazard signs really go a long way in ensuring peace of mind

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