Fall is officially here and — at least here in the United States — that means: it’s road trippin’ season! (Actually, every season is road tripping season as far as we’re concerned, but fall is our favorite season so …)
Fresh off a handful of awesome road trips this past summer, we’ve been winnowing down our list of “must-have” car camping gadgets. Here are just four of our latest favorites:
#1: Pelican Elite Coolers
Pelican 20QT Elite Cooler in the Wild
At home or in the woods, we love to cook. But, without a proper refrigerator or a way to keep our foodstuffs cold, it’s virtually impossible. Enter Pelican’s Elite line of coolers. If you’re unfamiliar with extreme coolers, they work just like you would imagine. The Elite line can keep your cold goods cold for days or — under ideal conditions — as long as a week. In our experience, and with a bit of clever cooler handling, we found that we were able to keep our ice frozen for about 3-4 days. Read our detailed love letter to our Pelican 20QT Elite Cooler.
Aside from “refrigeration”, clean water, and (maybe) a bathroom, beer is undoubtedly the next most essential road trip item. More specifically: cold beer. You could pack a koozie for this purpose, but this isn’t 1998. Beer-related technology has advanced and we now live in a world where anyone even remotely serious about craft brew should invest in a BottleKeeper.
It’s a straightforward product. The exterior looks remarkably similar to a stainless steel Sigg water bottle. But the bottom screws off to reveal a neoprene-lined interior designed to swaddle your beer bottle like a newborn baby and keep it cold for hours. They’re available in a handful of colors and a variety of sizes (to fit standard, stubby, or fancy 22-ounce bomber bottles). We heartily recommend buying one of each (or more if, ya know, you actually travel with friends).
#3: Skeeter Beaters
If it’s not obvious, we love car camping. For a variety of reasons, sleeping in your car is an awesome way to extend a road trip almost indefinitely. But, especially in the warmer southern states and with two people in the car, it can quickly become uncomfortable. It gets hot, stuffy, and can feel like the walls are closing in even for the most non-claustrophobic person.
Skeeter Beater Window Screens © 100Peaks.com
Skeeter Beaters get around all of that. The dead-simple screens are made of thick mesh netting sewn into a heavy duty fabric border that attaches to the windows of your car/truck with magnets. The result: crisp, fresh breezes all night long!
Bonus: one pair folds down into the size of softball and they keep bugs out too!
#4: LUCID 4-Inch Folding Mattress
A recent study (that I made up for this post) proved that we spend at least 69% of our lives sleeping. In short: it pays to invest in a good mattress. Just because your car camping doesn’t mean it has to feel like you’re sleeping in your car. Sleeping bags are essential, of course. Add a proper roll-out mat or inflatable camping pad and you can at least count on a decent night’s sleep.
LUCID Folding Mattress
But, if you want to sleep like royalty in your vehicle, no matter where you are, a proper folding mattress is the only way to fly. LUCID’s brand of folding mattresses is fantastic! We spent the better part of two weeks in the wilds of Pennsylvania on their full-size variant and we couldn’t have been happier. They boast the added benefit of folding up to a relatively compact footprint, making them an ideal “camp couch” for inside your tent for the other 31% of your life when you’re not snoozing.
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