This past weekend was a planes, trains and automobile-filled 48+ hours with the end-goal of my mother safely arriving 2,000 miles from her home on the east coast to spend the rest of the summer at my home in southern Colorado – and on a series of road trips and excursions to music festivals, forgotten desert escapes and unnamed high country destinations.
As a notorious over-packer, I quickly realized I needed to think strategically on this one.
The plan: fly to the east coast, load up her vehicle with a month+ of belongings, drive back to southern Colorado – and experience everything we possibly could in 48 hours.
I knew it would be an interesting assignment. Why? Oh, let me count the ways…
First, my mode(s) of travel was/were complicated.
I coordinated an early drop-off at a regional airport to save myself a nearly 5-hour drive to Denver International Airport. That regional flight connected to a cross-country flight to Baltimore/Washington International Airport. I would then need to be picked up during rush-hour/holiday weekend traffic by a non-city driver who was unfamiliar with the labyrinth of roads leading to/from the airport (i.e., my mother).
Second, I had a very tight schedule.
On the logistics front, holiday weekend traffic was inevitable and on a personal front, we’re mid-way through a complete kitchen renovation (so much for summer adventures, am I right?!), so making it a quick – but enjoyable – turn-around was a must.
And finally, our packing list would need to be dialed
The above-mentioned logistical challenges paired with our time limitations meant one thing: no checked baggage and a dialed packing list of all the gear to survive 48+ hours on the road. I had two things going through my mind…
First, cross-country flight essentials needed to be light and compact, but robust enough to cover me if I missed a flight and got stranded somewhere between here and there. Second, road trip essentials needed to be shipped to our east coast starting point and loaded prior to departure/my arrival.
In the end, we were successful in our endeavor – with little to no major complications! We also learned a thing or two along the way…including what gear was absolutely essential as well as a few “nice to have” pieces.
If you’re planning a 48 hour adventure this summer, be sure to bring these along!
When it comes to road trip and travel essentials, sunglasses are at the top of my list – every time. What I love about the Bajio Cometa is the applicability. Whether I’m hitting the road, trail or water, these shades have delivered great performance and protected my eyes. On a personal level, I prefer glass lenses over the polycarbonate because I feel they are more durable for the everyday wear I do. But again, that’s a personal preference. I tested the Rosa Gloss frame and paired it with the rose lenses and they were fantastic at cutting glair and filtering harsh Colorado sunlight and ensuring clarity on partly cloudy/sunny east coast days.
Ibex Hero Jogger Pant
We found them – our new favorite joggers! The Ibex Hero Jogger Pant is the perfect pair of pants for airline travel, long hours in the car, restaurant stops and quick jaunts to stretch my legs while on the road. The moisture wicking and breathable nature of the merino French Terry fabric meant I stayed cool and they stayed cleaner longer. This is a 100% must-have for your next road trip!
Stio Hylas Hooded Pullover
Stretchy, quick-drying, and super cozy, the Stio Hylas Hooded Pullover was the perfect option to keep me comfortable and dry in whether I was hiking around or driving. It’s a great technical layer for days on the water or trail, but also gives you everything you need for long days on the road.
Scarpa Golden Gate ATR
I tend to be a Chaco-or-nothing traveler, but I had a recent foot injury and needed extra support – and I am oh-so-thankful I went with the Scarpa Golden Gate ATR! They telling the 100% truth when they say these shoes at home from town to the trail. The Golden Gate ATR is Scarpa’s most most cushioned shoe to date and the impact absorption capabilities were second to none – even as I sprinted through DIA to my make my connection. These kicks were also perfect on leg-stretcher breaks, hiking short trails along our route back to southern Colorado. A fantastic all-around shoe for trail to travel!
Tailwinds Active Hydration
I know hydration is critical whether we’re on the trail or sitting on cross-country flights, but I also know that airport water filling stations don’t always taste…great. Cue Tailwinds newest release, Active Hydration. These on-the-go hydration packets are packed with all the essentials my body needed to stay balanced for our weekend trip. Loaded with electrolytes, collagen, and Vitamin C, Active Hydration is delicious and doesn’t leave any funky aftertaste. Strawberry lemonade is my personal favorite!
Dometic GO Hydration Water Jug 11L
Speaking of hydration, Dometic’s new 11 liter Go Hydration Water Jug was the perfect H20 hauler on our trip west. Filled up prior to our departure, this tank kept all the potable water we needed for ourselves and our dogs readily available in the backseat. Compact yet offering a great capacity, the jug was easy to reload thanks to the large opening, easy to carry thanks to the webbing straps, and easy to fill bottles with the on/off spigot. if you’re looking to upgrade and automate water flow, check out their Go Hydration Water Faucet.
Mountainsmith Trippin’ Fanny
Connecting flights increases the risk of misplaced baggage and checked baggage means longer wait times at baggage claim. That’s why we skipped checking bags altogether. I used the Mountainsmith Clear Creek 25 to carry snacks for while I was on the road, toiletries, outfits and some extra layers. For my quick-grab items (snacks, wallet, passport, medications, etc.), I used the Mountainsmith Trippin Fanny. The interior zipper pocket carried my cash and chapstick, the main compartment fit snacks, keys and medication, and the front zip held my headlamp and pen/notepad.
JBL Vibe 100
Music is a must when I travel…well, any time, really. And I feel like I’ve been on the search for just the right earbuds for a long time. Spoiler alert: I think I found them. I’ve tested a lot of fully wireless and partial wireless models over the last couple of years and then a friend gifted me a pair of the JBL Vibe 100. They fit perfectly! I have very small ears and years of drumming/live concerts without ear protection, so I tend to be a little weary of things going in my ears. But, the sound on the Vibe is fantastic! They are budget friendly, have a great, secure fit (I can even ride my mountain bike with them in!) and battery life is amazing thanks to one charge providing 5 hours in the earbuds and 15 hours in the case for recharging on the go.
Brinkley Messick Art Hat
Whether I’m keeping the sun out of my eyes or completely neglecting brushing my hair, I have a hat readily available for any and all situations. On this trip, I brought along a lid adorned with some art from Salida-based artist, Brink Nelson. Unique, beautiful and full of all the Colorado pride you can handle with those close-to-home mountain views I love so much!
YETI Roadie 24 Hard Cooler
Iced down the night before and loaded up on the morning of Day 1, the Yeti Roadie 24 delivered once again – but this time, in a gorgeous new Nordic Purple color! This cooler fits wonderfully in a small SUV among a months-worth of belongings and carries all of our weekend snacking essentials including fruit, iced teas, sparkling waters, some compact lunch and breakfast fixings (yogurt, meats, cheeses) and even some must-keep-cold specialty dog food.