The best equipment for road tripers

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many have chosen not to fly and opt for road trips to get their travel fix. When it comes to driving to your destination, there are certain accessories that one needs for a comfortable cruise. The phone mounts provide an easy hands-free experience when using a cellular device as a GPS; cooler bags are useful for keeping food and drinks cool; and even underrated items like a blanket to keep warm or to use for an impromptu picnic come in handy. And for these scenic tours, you’ll need something to capture it all. For the person in your life who prefers to travel by car, here are the top 10 useful gifts to buy this year.

Whether you’re driving in a state (like California) where it’s illegal to hold a cell phone while driving, a holder for your smartphone is always a good idea. Most of us use our devices like a GPS, even when we have an in-car system, and these reliable accessories contribute to a hands-free experience. For those looking for a dashboard and windshield option, iOttie’s Easy One Touch 5 has always been rated among the best. The stand has a telescopic arm that can extend to a foot and a half, a secure suction cup, and an easy-to-use locking and unlocking mechanism. This latest version also has a magnetic cord organizer to store a charging cable when not in use. If you prefer something with Qi wireless charging and automated clamping technology, check out the Auto Sense.

For something a lot more compact or if you’d rather have nothing obstruct your view, the Kenu Airframe Pro is a real winner. The small ventilation rack is easy to store and switch between cars, which is especially important if you are renting. It has an extra wide handle to support larger phones as well as a tilt and swivel joint that allows you to adjust it to the perfect angle. The company also offers Airframe Wireless for fast Qi charging if you don’t want to worry about your low battery level.

GoPro has been a leader in action cameras and their latest, the Hero10 Black, can shoot super smooth video up to 5.3K. But besides using it on your adventures, the device can also double as a dash cam. And with the company’s GoPro Labs software, users can take advantage of USB power triggers that automatically start and stop capturing when plugged in. To make it a successful gift for a traveler on the road, get the suction cup accessory so that it can be mounted on a dashboard or windshield to capture that beautiful scenic drive. It will even work for motorcyclists thanks to its industrial grade suction that can handle speeds of up to 150 mph. While you’re at it, also consider purchasing the 3-Way Grip 2.0 so your loved ones have a tripod to use when making a pit stop at a scenic point.

Both hard and hard coolers are difficult to store, which is why YETI’s hopper is an ideal choice. The soft cooler is perfectly sized to fit the backseat for easy access and is made of a high density material that is tough as nails. The bag features incredible insulation the brand is loved for, as well as its HydroShield magnetic strip for a tight, leak-resistant seal. It also has several attachment points in case you want to bring a bottle opener.

If you’re trying to entertain and calm the kids in the backseat, then a tablet is a sure-fire way. To make sure they don’t put the screen too close to their face or to share one between two or three of them, a stand will do. iKross makes one that fits just about any headrest and will fit most 7-12 inch iPads and tablets. The adjustable arm can move up and down as well as side to side so everyone has a desirable viewing experience.

If you are looking to capture your memories in a more retro way, Fujifilm Instax instant cameras are a great choice. The Square SQ1 has a more streamlined look and is slimmer than the odd-shaped mini, and is available in more sophisticated colors like chalk white and terracotta orange. It also prints slightly larger photos on square film and the results are almost instantaneous. You will also find a selfie mode on the device which will make taking pictures of yourself much easier.

When you are sharing a car with others, there are times when you might need a little time for me. To drown everyone out, these Bose headphones have arguably the best noise-canceling technology out there when it comes to true wireless headphones. They also offer excellent sound quality and this latest iteration has a more comfortable and secure fit than its predecessor. This will last up to six hours and the case provides two additional charges. They are also sweat and water resistant with an IPX4 rating.

For coffee lovers who won’t get their cup of coffee other than the way they brew it themselves, the Aeropress Go Travel coffee press makes it easy to get around. This handy little instrument is both easy to use and easy to clean, and brews approximately eight ounces of java. This particular version includes a plastic cup, in which all the pieces collapse perfectly, so you won’t need to bring an extra one. If you want to pair this gift with a grinder, the Java Coffee Grinder from VSSL not only looks good, but also offers 50 different grind settings and a stainless steel burr for even, smooth grind.

Scenic routes often require impromptu stops to take in the views. Whether it’s taking a break for a picnic or just enjoying the sunset, you’ll need something to sit on so you don’t get your clothes dirty. Matador makes some really smart accessories and one of them is their Pocket Blanket. Although it’s super thin, it’s made from a puncture and water resistant nylon that will stand up to all the rough elements. It also has built-in and attached corner stakes so you can secure it to the ground as well as weighted corners. Guides are sewn into the blanket, making it easy to fold into its built-in pocket. And with its compactness and lightness, it won’t be a problem to take it with you on a trip.

On long road trips, you absolutely want to be comfortable, and a super silky blanket will definitely make the trip more enjoyable. Eco-friendly brand Buffy makes their Puffer blanket with a blend of recycled polyester and eucalyptus that is extremely soft and spill and stain resistant. In addition, the four beautiful colors it contains are the result of water-saving and chemical-free dyes. Use it to snuggle up in the car or maybe for the aforementioned picnic with the Matador pocket blanket.


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