14 Essential Products to Bring on Your Next Road Trip

Osprey/Otterbox/National Geographic
Osprey/Otterbox/National Geographic

If you’re looking to travel this summer—but don’t want to get on a plane or bus—then a road trip may be your best bet. Traveling by car allows you to explore new places while also limiting exposure to new people, and with the roads opened up in front of you, there’s no limit to where you can go or how long your trip can last.

Whether you’re exploring national parks, trying the country's best takeout, or just driving over a state line, we’ve put together a list of essential products you need to take along for the ride. And if you want to learn how to plan a safe trip during the COVID-19 pandemic, head here.

1. Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Pack; $160

Osprey

Named the best overall backpack for 2020 by US News & World Report, Osprey’s Farpoint 40 travel pack will help you carry everything you need from your car to your campsite and back again. This pack has no shortage of clever design features, like a stowaway harness and hipbelt, lockable zippers, and a mesh-lined back panel to prevent chafing during long hikes. The pack can hold 20 to 40 pounds and is designed for a larger frame, so if you need something a bit smaller, the Fairview 40 is another great option for a travel pack that will last for many road trips to come.

Buy it: Osprey

2. MLVOC memory foam travel pillow; $20

MLVOC/Amazon

Cars aren't necessarily the most comfortable place to settle in for a nap, but when you're on the road for hours on end, your choices dry up fast. Next time you know you're going to be in the passenger seat or stuck in the back for a few days, try the 4.5-star-rated memory foam travel pillow from MLVOC. The pillow itself offers 360° support, and its flat back is designed to conform to your neck for a personalized fit. In addition to the pillow itself, you'll also get an eye mask, earplugs, and a travel bag to easily bring the whole kit on the go.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Soundasleep queen-sized air mattress; $120

Soundasleep/Amazon

With a 4.3-star rating on Amazon and placement on numerous best-of lists, the SoundAsleep air mattress is a necessity if you're looking to camp out a few nights during your road trip. Inflation just requires a press of the one-click pump—great for campers who want to avoid nighttime critters in a hurry—and the bottom is covered with a SureGrip suction material to avoid sliding. The mattress comes in queen, twin, and twin XL sizes, giving you options in case you're looking to inflate it in the back of a truck or camper.

Buy it: Amazon

4. National Geographic's Road Atlas 2020: Adventure Edition; $18

National Geographic

You won’t always get great service on a road trip, so when you have zero bars—or just want some travel inspiration—National Geographic's Road Atlas 2020: Adventure Edition will take you exactly where you need to go … even if it wasn’t where you pictured in the first place. Featuring updated road maps for all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, and even Puerto Rico, you’ll never get lost again. This atlas also includes recommendations for places to visit and profiles on America’s top 24 national parks, making it a portable tour guide that’s even better than Alexa.

Buy it: Amazon

5. AAA Premium Road Kit; $26

AAA/Amazon

Although no one wants to imagine themselves enduring a calamity of any sort while on a road trip, it’s also good to be prepared. This 42-piece road kit comes equipped with heavy-duty jumper cables, duct tape, a screwdriver, cable ties, and more, in case you need to make any quick repairs. Everything comes packed inside a compact carrying case, so it’s easy to throw in the car and take with you from one highway to the next.

Buy it: Amazon

6. UE Boom 3 portable speakers; $149

Ultimate Ears/Amazon

All great road trips should come with a great soundtrack, and with this portable Bluetooth speaker from UE Boom, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite music along with the sounds of the wild (or the quiet of a hotel room). These speakers last up to 15 hours on a full battery charge, and with high-quality surround sound, they pack a powerful punch. They’re also incredibly durable: The speakers are completely waterproof (they can literally float) and they’re designed to handle falls and bumps with ease.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Society6 face masks; $14

Cat Coquillette / Society6

One of today’s road trip essentials is a face mask. And whether you’re into cats, woodland beetles, the solar system, or comic books, Society6 has a design for pretty much everyone (over 1000-plus options!). No matter which one you choose, all the masks feature an inner pocket for disposable filters, and they’re crafted with a pleated, dual layer of fabric to ensure a snug and safe fit. It's also a smart idea to take a pack of disposable masks along for the ride just in case.

Buy it: Society6

8. Otterbox Trooper 12 cooler; $200

Otterbox

No matter what your road trip involves—whether it’s visiting Yellowstone or the country’s biggest ball of twine—you should always have a cold beverage to enjoy after a long day. This 12-quart soft cooler from Otterbox keeps ice for up to three days and is leak-proof to help avoid spillage. The cooler is equipped with a mounting system, allowing you to customize it with accessories, like an adjustable drink holder or a drybox clip, and it even comes with a carabiner bottle opener attached to it for easy access.

Buy it: Otterbox

9. and 10. Power bank and car charger; $30-$35

Otterbox

Even though you’ll be spending most of your time sightseeing, you’ll still want to keep your phone charged for taking pictures and keeping in touch with your loved ones back home. The standard Otterbox fast-charge power bank is designed to charge two devices at the same time, allowing you and a buddy to charge up even when you’re away from your car. The charger includes a USB-A to USB-C cable and is compatible with most major devices.

For charging in the car, you can’t go wrong with Otterbox’s Fast Charge Car Kit. You'll get charging speeds that are up to 3.6 times faster than a basic model, according the manufacturer, and the cable is bend/flex-tested a whopping 3000 times to ensure that it’ll last as long as your road trip memories.

Buy it: Otterbox (Power Bank; Car Charger)

11. Otterbox Dash and Windshield Car Mount; $16

Otterbox

You’ll probably be using your phone’s navigation app while you’re exploring new places, but you want to make sure that you’re doing so safely. Keep your eyes on the road—and still get to where you want to go—with Otterbox’s Dash & Windshield car mount. It’s designed to allow you to insert and remove your phone with only one hand, and its adjustable arms can extend to fit even the biggest phones without blocking any of the buttons. If you prefer a car mount that sits a little lower, this Air Vent Mount from Beam Electronics is a great alternative.

Buy it: Otterbox

12. and 13. Instant coffee and cold brew concentrate; $12-$50

Java House/Amazon

Any road trip veteran will tell you that the most important part of getting through a long drive is staying awake and alert. Enjoy hot coffee on the go—and actually have a decent cup—with these instant coffee packets from Starbucks. All of Starbucks’s instant coffees are made from 100-percent arabica beans, and you just have to pour your packet into a mug, mix with hot or cold water, and enjoy.

If you want something a little colder and a lot stronger, check out the cold brew concentrate pods from Java House. Just as easy as making instant coffee, all you have to do is peel the cap off the pod, pour over ice, add water, and stir. It's easy enough to make, and it'll help cut down on stopping at expensive cafés while on the road. Make sure you bring some portable mugs with you so your coffee can stay as fresh as it was the minute you made it.

Buy it: Amazon (Starbucks Instant Coffee; Java House Cold Brew Concentrate)

14. First aid kits; $22-$125

First Aid Only/Amazon

Accidents happen, and this 299-piece kit from First Aid Only has almost everything you need for basic emergencies. With bandages for cuts and scrapes, creams and cold packs for burns, basic painkillers, alcohol wipes, and more, this light and easy-to-stow kit is an essential travel companion.

If you want something a little fancier—but no less useful—check out this unique first aid kit from Uncommon Goods. The kit includes first aid essentials like multi-use tape, bandages, and antibiotic cream, all stowed in tiny canisters that fit perfectly inside a flashlight tube. This is a great kit to bring with you on trips outside of the car … and even more handy on nighttime hikes. No matter which kit you bring, though, make sure you don’t forget a thermometer. In the small chance you start feeling sick—even if you’ve been wearing your mask and washing your hands—it’s important to have just in case.

Buy it: Amazon (First Aid Only 299-Piece Kit); Uncommon Goods (Flashlight First Aid Kit)

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Mental Floss's Three-Day Sale Includes Deals on Apple AirPods, Sony Wireless Headphones, and More

Apple
Apple

During this weekend's three-day sale on the Mental Floss Shop, you'll find deep discounts on products like AirPods, Martha Stewart’s bestselling pressure cooker, and more. Check out the best deals below.

1. Apple AirPods Pro; $219

Apple

You may not know it by looking at them, but these tiny earbuds by Apple offer HDR sound, 30 hours of noise cancellation, and powerful bass, all through Bluetooth connectivity. These trendy, sleek AirPods will even read your messages and allow you to share your audio with another set of AirPods nearby.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

2. Sony Zx220bt Wireless On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones (Open Box - Like New); $35

Sony

For the listener who likes a traditional over-the-ear headphone, this set by Sony will give you all the same hands-free calling, extended battery power, and Bluetooth connectivity as their tiny earbud counterparts. They have a swivel folding design to make stashing them easy, a built-in microphone for voice commands and calls, and quality 1.18-inch dome drivers for dynamic sound quality.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

3. Sony Xb650bt Wireless On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones; $46

Sony

This Sony headphone model stands out for its extra bass and the 30 hours of battery life you get with each charge. And in between your favorite tracks, you can take hands-free calls and go seamlessly back into the music.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

4. Martha Stewart 8-quart Stainless-Steel Pressure Cooker; $65

Martha Stewart

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and buying a new pressure cooker, this 8-quart model from Martha Stewart comes with 14 presets, a wire rack, a spoon, and a rice measuring cup to make delicious dinners using just one appliance.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

5. Jashen V18 350w Cordless Vacuum Cleaner; $180

Jashen

If you're obsessive about cleanliness, it's time to lose the vacuum cord and opt for this untethered model from JASHEN. Touting a 4.3-star rating from Amazon, the JASHEN cordless vacuum features a brushless motor with strong suction, noise optimization, and a convenient wall mount for charging and storage.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

6. Evachill Ev-500 Personal Air Conditioner; $65

Evachill

This EvaChill personal air conditioner is an eco-friendly way to cool yourself down in any room of the house. You can set it up at your work desk at home, and in just a few minutes, this portable cooling unit can drop the temperature by 59º. All you need to do is fill the water tank and plug in the USB cord.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

7. Gourmia Gcm7800 Brewdini 5-Cup Cold Brew Coffee Maker; $120

Gourmia

The perfect cup of cold brew can take up to 12 hours to prepare, but this Gourmia Cold Brew Coffee Maker can do the job in just a couple of minutes. It has a strong suction that speeds up brew time while preserving flavor in up to five cups of delicious cold brew at a time.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

8. Townew: The World's First Self-Sealing Trash Can; $90

Townew

Never deal with handling gross garbage again when you have this smart bin helping you in the kitchen. With one touch, the Townew will seal the full bag for easy removal. Once you grab the neatly sealed bag, the Townew will load in a new clean one on its own.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

9. Light Smart Solar Powered Parking Sensor (Two-Pack); $155

FenSens

Parking sensors are amazing, but a lot of cars require a high trim to access them. You can easily upgrade your car—and parking skills—with this solar-powered parking sensor. It will give you audio and visual alerts through your phone for the perfect parking job every time.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

10. Liz: The Smart Self-Cleaning Bottle With UV Sterilization; $46

Noerden

Reusable water bottles are convenient and eco-friendly, but they’re super inconvenient to get inside to clean. This smart water bottle will clean itself with UV sterilization to eliminate 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria. That’s what makes it clean, but the single-tap lid for temperature, hydration reminders, and an anti-leak functionality are what make it smart.

Buy it: The Mental Floss Shop

Prices subject to change.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. If you haven't received your voucher or have a question about your order, contact the Mental Floss shop here.

Find That Perfect Paint Color With This Real-Life Photoshop Eyedropper Tool

Nix Sensor
Nix Sensor

If you're looking to spruce up the interior design of your home or just need a specific shade of paint for your latest craft project, you’re going to love the precision that comes with the Nix Mini 2 Color Sensor. Think of it like your own real-life Photoshop eyedropper tool that works to identify specific colors and then recommends the exact brand of paint that replicates it. And this weekend, you can get one for 30 percent off.

The Nix Mini 2 Color Sensor comes pre-calibrated right out of the box, so all you have to really do is point it at the color you want and the device will scan it and come up with potential paint matches from brands like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams. The Nix works through a free app on your phone for even easier access to the paint products you need.

There are obvious ways a tool like Nix Mini 2 Color Sensor might be helpful for a professional who works with color, but it can be surprisingly handy for everyday folks as well. If you spot a really eye-catching shade of blue on the side of a package or on a friend's couch, you can instantly scan it, store the information, and find the exact paint tone next time you want to redo your bedroom.

The opportunities are endless with the Nix Mini 2 Color Sensor, and you can get yours through September 20 for only $70.

Nix Mini Color Sensor V2 - $69.99

See Deal

Prices subject to change. This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors.

Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. If you haven't received your voucher or have a question about your order, contact the Mental Floss shop here.