The Perfect Kit: On the Road

Improve car time with our favorite road-trip gear.

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Editor’s note: Always adhere to state and local guidelines when traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic. This may mean staying home or postponing your plans. For the most up-to-date travel guidance, check the CDC FAQ page. For information about outdoor activities wherever you go (close to home is best), read Recreate Responsibly: An Activity-Specific Guide.


If the journey truly matters more than the destination, better make it comfortable. Our favorite products for road-tripping will maximize seatbelt time, keeping you cozy, entertained and hydrated, so you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed whenever you get where you’re going.

Check out our road-trip checklist here.

KUHL Response Shirt – Men’s

KUHL Response Shirt - Men’s

Sitting for hours on end would leave most shirts a collection of creases—not so with Kuhl’s Response, which has a poly material that resists wrinkles like the driver ahead of you resists using their blinker. Silver ions woven into the fabric add odor-fighting properties, and moisture-wicking and quick-dry functionality come in handy if active pursuits are in store at your final destination. $75

Patagonia Cotton Quilt Crew Top – Women’s

Patagonia Cotton Quilt Crew Top - Women’s

The name says it all: It’s a quilt that you wear. What could be more comfy for the long haul? The Patagonia Cotton Quilt Crew Top is made with an organic cotton blend that’s soft next to skin, and the lack of a hood means no lumps behind your neck when it’s your turn for a passenger seat snooze. $99

REI Co-op Flexi-Bill R Graphic Trucker Hat

REI Co-op Flexi-Bill R Graphic Trucker Hat

What would a road trip be without a trucker hat? There are plenty to choose from on REI.com, but we, of course, prefer repping the co-op. The Flexi-Bill R Graphic trucker hat has a malleable bill that stays flat, so you can stuff it in your duffel and it will return to its shape. (Sorry, not great for folks who prefer shaping their bills around the curvature of their face—it stays flat.) $24.95

CamelBak Tumbler – 16 fl. oz.

CamelBak Tumbler - 16 fl. oz.

Load this cupholder-friendly vessel with a drink from home or gas station java. The CamelBak Tumbler’s double-walled, vacuum-insulated construction will keep your coffee or tea hot for five hours and your iced drink cold for 10 hours. The spill-resistant lid prevents mid-trip mishaps. $22; also available in 12, 20 and 30 oz.

REI Co-op Pack-Away 12 Soft Cooler

REI Co-op Pack-Away 12 Soft Cooler

This cooler has features you may look for in a partner: reliability, versatility and a willingness to show its soft side. Named for the number of tinnies it can hold, the Pack-Away 12 from REI Co-op keeps snacks and bevvies cold for an impressive 32 hours. Since it’s soft-sided, it can fit into tight spots behind seats neatly. Plus, it morphs from cube to tote to flat and back with the help of a simple clip system, so when the snacks are gone, it’s easy to squish and stash. $34.95

Consider yourself a devout hard-sided cooler user? Check out the budget-friendly Coleman 70-Quart Cooler ($69.95) or splurge-worthy, electric Dometic CFX3 55IM Powered Cooler + Icemaker ($1,100).

Rumpl Original Puffy Recycled Blanket

Rumpl Original Puffy Recycled Blanket

It’s hard to reach consensus on air temperature in a moving vehicle. Folks in the back seats are roasting. The person in the passenger seat is freezing. And the driver is hollering at everyone to stop their bellyaching. Like a well-trained bomb squad, the Rumpl Original Puffy is here to defuse the situation. Simply unroll and snuggle in. Crafted with recycled, rip-resistant poly and stuffed with synthetic insulation, this cozy cover-up doubles as the perfect picnic blanket. $99

Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Traveller Pillow

Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Traveller Pillow

The best car-travel boredom buster: sleeping, hands down. Let us introduce you to your new best friend, the Aeros from Sea to Summit. Brushed with an oh-so-soft poly knit, the pillow provides next-to-skin comfort, while the high-strength air bladder promises to be squeak-free. So tag out of the driver’s seat, adjust the Aeros and drool, er, snooze, away the miles. $42.95

Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless Headphones

Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless Headphones

Have your kids have been listening to Elsa’s anthem on repeat for the past three hours? Dear reader, the struggle is real. And Skullcandy is here to save your sanity. The Hesh 3’s over-ear fit blocks out external noise while memory foam provides pillow-like comfort. Bluetooth wireless functionality simplifies connecting to a phone or tablet. $99.95

Nikon Trailblazer ATB Waterproof 10 x 25 Binoculars

Nikon Trailblazer ATB Waterproof 10 x 25 Binoculars

When you’ve caught up on Netflix, exhausted your collection of car tunes and realized that the “Are we there yets” are coming in ever-shorter increments, it’s time to bust out the binocs for an intense, in-transit game of “I Spy.” Nikon’s Trailblazer ATB brings the fields and mountains 10 times closer, and its compact size makes it easy to store in a seat-back pocket. Plus, it’s made with specially rubberized eye cups to ensure comfort for folks who wear glasses. Be sure to bring them when you hit the trail to take full advantage of the Trailblazer’s waterproof, fog-proof and shockproof performance. $89.95

Teva Ember Moc Slippers

Teva Ember Moc Slippers

Cozy for car time, but with a ruggedized outsole for bathroom breaks, gas stations and rest stops—that’s what you get with the Teva Ember Moc. They’re slip-ons, but the heel folds down, so you can wear them like clogs. (True, we also dubbed this slipper the official shoe of coronavirus quarantining.) And they come in enough sizes for the whole family. $74.95

REI Co-op Member Exclusive Roadtripper Recycled Duffel – 60L

REI Co-op Member Exclusive Roadtripper Recycled Duffel - 60L

Throw all your stuff inside the maw of the REI Co-op member-exclusive Roadtripper duffel, which easily swallows enough gear for a couple of days. The 60-liter duffel stows into its own side pocket, so you can pack it away then deploy it after you’ve loaded up your souvenirs. It has two handles and a shoulder strap. $49.95

Shop all road-trip gear on REI.com here.


Interested in more staff picks and kits? Find more collections here.

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