roof racks - What to Bring The Essential Road Trip Gear Checklist

What to Bring? The Essential Road-Trip Gear Checklist

It only takes two words to bring excitement and the thrill of adventure to your home. Those words are “road trip.” No matter the reason, going on a road trip allows you to connect with your loved ones, try new things, explore unfamiliar territory, or enjoy a traditional vacation.

If you’re new to the road trip scene, you may not be sure what to bring. You may end up bringing too much of what you don’t need and forgetting essential items. You’ll also need to prepare your vehicle to carry all your belongings, such as by installing roof racks or cargo boxes to store gear that doesn’t fit inside your car. Don’t stress – we’ve put together the ultimate checklist of all the kinds of gear required. Even if you’re a veteran of road trips, review the list to make sure you don’t leave something behind.

Outdoor Recreational Gear

What’s a road trip without outdoor fun? Even if you’re just going to visit Grandma and not heading to a lake, you should still take along your gear for family recreation and exercise. Be sure you have the proper equipment, such as hitch-mounted or roof racks, to transport the following gear:

  • Road or mountain bikes
  • Skis and snowboards
  • Surfboards and paddle boards
  • Kayaks or canoes
  • Boats and other recreational water vehicles

In addition to the large stuff, why not bring smaller sports gear the whole family can safely enjoy? Pack your skateboards, scooters, or skates for fun at any point on the road. You can also bring along a Frisbee or various sports balls. These smaller items are perfect for when your family or friends need a short break to stretch their legs and get out some energy before you reach your destination.

Camera Gear

With the adventure you’re about to embark on, you definitely want to capture special moments forever and share them with your family and friends. Current technology offers numerous options for photographing or video recording.

What you choose to use will depend on what you’re doing and what you’re trying to capture. Taking shots of beautiful scenery? A digital camera or a high-quality smartphone will do. Speeding down snowy slopes? Attach a GoPro to your head gear. Watching your family frolic in the sun? You can use a phone, camera, or video recorder.

If you’re just uploading to social media, then you probably don’t need anything more than your smartphone. If you want professional-quality media memories, then bring along the fancy equipment. Just be sure it’s insured.

Electronic Gear

Whether to shoot memories or have in-car entertainment, you’ll need electronic devices such as cell phones and tablets. Remember to pack all their accessories as well, such as chargers and durable cases. If your trip consists of driving on long stretches of empty highway or going off the beaten track, then it’s wise to bring along other ways to charge your devices. Options include a portable power pack, a voltage inverter, and batteries if applicable.

If you don’t know how to get where you’re going, you’ll need a GPS or a smartphone app. Regardless of which you use, buy a mount so the device is easily visible and accessible, and your hands stay free and on the steering wheel. Ask your fellow passengers to help with navigation to avoid the dangers of distracted driving. It’s also a smart idea to have a paper road map or printed directions in case anything prevents your GPS from working.

Emergency Gear

No matter how short your road trip is or how packed your trunk is, there is no leaving out items necessary for an emergency situation. It may be as minor as a flat tire to as severe as being stranded in the middle of nowhere. There may be help available, but there may not be either. Because you can’t predict what the circumstances will be, it’s best to be prepared for anything and include everything on this list:

  • Flashlight
  • Extra clothes suitable for the current weather
  • First aid kit and prescription medicines
  • Water and snacks
  • Small folding shovel
  • Spare tire, jack, and chains
  • Jumper cables
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Road flares

Depending on what you’re doing on your trip, you may already have most of these items in the car, or maybe you always keep an emergency kit in your trunk. Both of these make the job much easier. If your trunk is stuffed to the max, use rooftop cargo boxes to store gear if the space is available.

Other Gear

There may be other gear you need to bring on your road trip. You can determine what they are by reviewing the purpose, distance, and location of your trip. Also, consider the characteristics of those coming with you. If you’ll need to provide lots of entertainment, put some travel games in the car and offer a variety of music options to please everyone and avoid getting tired of listening to the same things. Bring binoculars for your travel companions to use for sightseeing on and off the road. Research information about your route, stops, and final destination to share during the journey. And most important, have a cooler full of plenty of healthy food and beverages to save you time and money and avoid anyone from feeling “hangry.”

Get Your Gear Ready

There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by this checklist. Cracks & Racks makes the hardest part easy by providing roof racks to carry luggag, equipment, cargo boxes to store gear, and more. We want you to have a memorable and safe road trip!

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