The days are getting noticeably shorter and as you push that van/tent/camper/apartment door open at sunrise, you’re probably feeling the changes in the air, too. Cooler temps and that chilled early morning breeze gives it all away: fall is nearly here! But before you grab your hot pumpkin spiced latte and slip into leggings and flannel shirts – I only say it because I am completely guilty of it! – might I suggest soaking up the last of the season’s warmth by way of a family road trip?!
Earlier this month, our family loaded up the rig and drove south on a 10-day road trip to soak up all the hot, humid end-of-season fun south of the Colorado border. From home to the Gulf Coast, here’s some of the gear we took along to make the trip a success!
Dometic CFX3 Electric Cooler
I’ve been an iced-down cooler lover for a long time and I still love beers and bubble waters on ice. But, for lunch fixin’s, nut milks, and other primary cold food storage, the Dometic CFX3 is my tried-and-true go-to. I love the basket style storage configuration – our fresh fruit didn’t get crushed! – and the optional ice trays. We’ve driven a lot of miles with the CFX3 along for the adventure and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Paired with the Dometic PBL40, we were able to get 2 days of power at 36 degrees inside and over 100 degrees outside (gotta love that Texas heat!).
I have a personal goal of trying as many outdoor speakers as possible to invest in the best sound possible…and I think I found it. The Turtlebox Speaker is new to the scene and it’s about to stir things up in the word of outdoor sound options! This powerhouse of sound and battery withstood weeks of my family’s abuse. From cruising in the truck bed in the above mentioned hot temps to days in the hot desert to more days on the hot, salty, sand-covered Gulf Coast. It connected to my device immediately, never dropped a song, and the sound is one of those don’t-want-nothin-else kinda sound! Real bass, real treble, and real loud! Plus, while the sound of the ocean or distant desert coyotes are magical things, there’s something even more special when it’s paired with some stellar island tunes or bluegrass!
Raptic Titan 225
This summer, we did a couple test drives to see how the compact, but fully-capable Raptic Titan 225 power pack performed, including a weekend at the SBT GRVL and a spontaneous weekend camping trip in late August. This generator charges quickly, stays charged, and recharges devices – cell phone, bike lights, headlamps – time after time after time. We brought it along on this 2 week road trip because it is reliable, durable and compact enough to fit securely on a small shelf in the bed of our truck.
From washing dirty clothes to collecting seashells to a foot rinse station, I learned to never leave home without our Ust FlexWare buckets. Thanks to their collapsible nature, I could fit any size bucket just about anywhere and I wasn’t at all worried about where to pack them in the mix of 2 weeks worth of gear, food and more. The simple design makes them super useful, packable and convenient.
Our family tends to have a mix of camping spots and indoor lodging destinations when we’re on the road for an extended amount of time. In our travels, we’ve camped in sites and campgrounds all across the country in our MSR Habitude. It’s big, but not too big, has good ventilation, features rugged material (68D taffeta polyester & DWR canopy, 40D nylon micro-mesh, and 68D taffeta polyester 10,000mm Polyurethane & DWR floor), allows us to fully stand up when inside, if needed and has withstood some serious winds, rain and dogs and kiddos. With three dogs and four humans, it’s been our go-to road trip tent for almost 2 years, delivering some good times every time.
Klymit Klymaloft XL Sleeping Pad
If you’re the kind of mama whose children don’t understand personal space when camping (or any time, for that matter), you need this sleeping pad. The Klymit’s Klymaloft Sleeping Pad is pure comfort – but going with the extra large size is icing on the cozy car camping cake! The pad features a foam topper paired with a lower i-beam air chamber that was quick and easy to inflate with Klymit’s USB Rechargeable Pump so we were sitting cozy in a flash!
Adventure Medical Kit
Accidents happen. Whether it’s minor cuts caused by a trip along the trail or something more serious, it’s always a good idea to be prepared when you’re on the road. That’s why we bring along an Adventure Medical Kit on every outing. Since our latest road trip was very water-centric, the Ultralight Watertight Medical Kit .9 (for 1-4 people) was a perfect option. Also, a mom “pro” tip for you: I have learned that a quick fix for my five year old’s end-of-the-world knee scrape from trail ramblings is a simple 1″ x 3″ adhesive bandage – which is included in their kit!
Costa Waterwoman 2
Whether you’re chasing salty fish like that beaut’ of a Red above or road tripping desert roads across New Mexico and Texas, Costa’s Waterwoman 2 is a fantastic option when it comes to sun protection for your eyes. I have tried a lot of Costa shades and I certainly have a few favorites, including this model. Their first woman-specific frame was the “Waterwoman”. This second version is slightly wider to accommodate ladies looking for a larger fit. And I add fun, colorful FisheWear retainer to make sure they never get lost!
HydroFlask Insulated Food Jars
Our kiddos love a good meal bar when we’re on the road, but there’s something really nice about having fresh food within arms reach when they’ve already had a dozen fig bars and the next food stop is a hundred miles away – cue the HydroFlask Food Jars! These are great options for everything from fresh fruit, nuts, various ingredients for camp dinners, and pre-made food from home. The double wall construction keeps foods at the desired temperature for hours and our kids love picking their favorite color for their favorite snacks.
If you’re as tired of disposable utensils and straws as I am, you’ve probably invested in several solutions (as I have…). But the EcoVessel WanderWare is step above the many others I have tried in the past! The travel pouch includes a full stainless steel utensil set (fork, knife, spoon) plus chopsticks, a straw with a silicone tip, and a straw cleaning brush – and I can’t tell you how many times I have been grateful to have the cleaning brush easily accessible (thanks to my straw-loving kiddos!).
Yeti Camino 35 Carryall
Yeti gear is tough. But it’s not just their coolers that are rugged and reliable. We’ve put our Camino 35 Carryall through a lot and we have no plans to stop. On our latest road trip, this thing was loaded with everything from a day’s worth of beach gear to a weekend of recycle-ables to two days of clothing and snacks for a family of four. We put it through salt, sand, and heat and it delivered day after day, week after week. This bag isn’t just a bag – it’s a gear hauler, recycle bin, beer hauler, wash bin and so much more. It’s a must for any road trip!