The season for exploration is upon us, and this year stands out as a celebration of the quintessential American road trip. Whether you’re meticulously plotting your course, opting for an impromptu escape, or pursuing other vehicular adventures, the right gear is key to maximizing both comfort and convenience during your journey.
In this Pursuitist Top 5, we spotlight an array of unique and indispensable items to enhance your experience on the road, as well as in camping and even glamping scenarios. These are the must-haves you can acquire today to elevate your travels.
Our curated list isn’t just a random assortment; it’s a collection of handpicked essentials designed to address the various facets of road-tripping. From the practicality of high-end navigation systems to the luxury of gourmet travel kits, each item serves a specific purpose aimed at enhancing your experience. You’ll find that these selections go beyond mere utility, injecting an element of sophistication and delight into your travels.
In a well-executed road trip, every moment has the potential to be memorable, and the right gear can make all the difference. Whether it’s streamlining your route planning, optimizing your campsite, or adding a touch of glam to your outdoor sojourn, these essentials are your ticket to a smoother, more enjoyable journey. With this list in hand, you’re not just preparing for a trip; you’re curating an adventure where each mile holds the promise of exceptional comfort and convenience.
Drive and discover in good spirits and high style with these essential roadtrip items as Pursuitist presents the Top 5 Best Essentials for the Ultimate Road Trip:
5. A CARSULE ($299.99). Just as most of us found out that having some spare room in our homes saved our sanity over the last 18 months, so can having extra space on a roadtrip. This expandable Carsule provides travelers with a living room in the outdoors!
It folds up flat, but simple pop-up installation allows for expandable space with almost unlimited configuration behind vehicles with lifting tailgates and hatchbacks. Standing over 6 feet tall, the cube is suitable space for a wide range of ‘indoor’ activities while on travel.
Sleep with some extra room. Or hang a lamp or a fan to create a cozy space for work or rest stop games. Waterproof and UV resistant, it’s suitable for any number of destinations, and when secured properly, it can definitely withstand a strong breeze.
Our favorite part is that it has a waterproof flooring and even a thick felt carpet for extra comfort.
4. KFlow Portable Coffee Maker ($50). This portable brewing gadget solves the problem of how to make that perfect cup of coffee when you don’t have access to electricity — though you will need hot water. This coffee maker is so small — it’s about the size of a smartphone — but allows you to enjoy an excellent espresso anytime, and anywhere.
Exceptionally efficient on space, the device has a brilliant foldable design that makes it super compact. It will easily fit in a camping bag or picnic basket, and even comes with two small cups.
Three models are available, so if you are used to using nespresso capsules or dolce gusto capsules, you can conveniently choose the model that uses them and take your brew on your travels. But with the ground coffee version, flavor can be even better adjusted by varying the strength and speed during manual operation.
This coffee maker is great to make coffee and fun to play with, but it does require a mild arm workout. So there’s the extra bonus of getting your exercise in with every pour!
3. Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 ($99). Because music is a must on any great drive, this surprisingly small cylindrical speaker allows you access to all of your favorite sing-along tunes via Bluetooth and 360 degree sound.
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 is a perfect wireless sound system for travel allowing you to produce well-balanced output with big bass sound wherever you go. And it even has an outdoor boost that lets you crank it loud, especially outside.
Don’t worry if your trip gets rained on — the music won’t get rained out. This speaker can be dropped in a pool or pond and remain undamaged; it even floats! And you can listen to your songs for hours without having to recharge, but when you do, it recharges completely in just a couple of hours.
2. The nomadIQ Portable Propane Gas Grill ($299.99) allows you to cook and grill you favorite fare anywhere anytime. Easily carry-able at just 12 lbs, this mobile grill comes with an easy handle and a convenient shoulder strap. It also has remarkable dual temperature control and over 225 feet of cooking space!
The nomadIQ comes straight out of the box ready to go once the propane (purchased separately) is attached, and it folds up into a minimal and travel friendly package. Sleek and simple and surprisingly steady, the grill is intuitive to operate, even if you’ve never used an open-air grill before.
Aside from all the burgers and barbecue you’ll be able to cook up, the best part may be how little space it will take up in your travels as it easily fits on the floor behind your seat.
1. The Luno Air Mattress 2.0 ($279.99) is for those not living that RV life — but not rough-and-tumble tenting it either. This dual-chamber custom-fitted air mattress turns camping to glamping — even from the back of your own car — redefining comfort on everything from weekend getaways to long-haul trips across the country.
Designed to fit in over 18,000 vehicles, the mattress converts the back of your SUV into a comfortable camping bed. Remarkably spacious, two tall people (up to 6’2″) can sleep comfortably since the mattress and base extenders cover every available bit of square footage in the back of your vehicle. And since it’s made of durable fabric, travelers can rest easy inviting their furry friends to snuggle as well.
Weighing in at just about 15 lbs, the mattress kit comes with a repair patch, storage bag, and its own inflation pump. Inflation takes only a few minutes, deflation and disassembly slightly longer.
Our favorite aspect of this air mattress is that each side can be inflated separately for custom comfort — and if traveling solo, an entire side chamber can be left deflated or folded under to save even more room while you roam.
This Pursuitist Top 5 is more than just a guide; it’s an invitation to elevate your road trip into an art form. From technology that makes your journey smoother to luxuries that make your stops more enjoyable, our curated selections are the keystones for a road trip that transcends the ordinary. These essentials are not mere commodities; they are catalysts for unparalleled experiences, each contributing to a tapestry of moments that define a journey well-curated and a life well-lived.
Just as each chosen destination adds its own unique flavor to your itinerary, so do these meticulously chosen essentials enrich your overall experience. When you set out with this curated array of gear, you’re not just taking a trip—you’re crafting a narrative, chapter by chapter, mile by mile. And in this story, every element contributes to an elevated state of comfort, luxury, and yes—adventure.
Embrace this list as your compass for sophisticated travel, and you’ll find that every journey you take becomes a seamless blend of elegance and utility, capturing the very essence of what it means to live well, one mile at a time.
Kate Michael is a Writer, Emcee, On-Camera Host and Fashion/Commercial Model. Follow her at @kstreetkate