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Bring The Comforts Of Home On The Road With These Day-Tripping Essentials

With a holiday weekend coming up, we’re all looking to get out of the concrete jungle for some nature and fresh air. But, upon surveying the lodging scene, you may have noticed that there’s, um, nowhere to go. Every well-kept and cleaned Airbnb under the sun is booked, and crashing with friends is no longer the more-the-merrier affair it was pre-pandemic. If you're not already sharing an established “social bubble,” even staying with family can be tricky. And then there’s the matter of travel — with long-haul train and bus rides a less-than-safe transit option, suddenly car travel seems like the way to go.

If you’re determined to mark the long weekend with a multi-mile hike, a full day at the beach, or grilling in the grassy countryside, you can still enjoy a jaunt out of the city — you’ve just got to be prepared. With this in mind, we rounded up the best gear for a comfortable, home-like experience even if you’re spending the day eating, drinking, and even napping out of the trunk of your car. Whether it’s a comfortable, stylish camping chair that collapses into a two-pound bundle; a tailgating table that attaches to your tires; or a portable cast-iron grill about the size of your laptop, there’s plenty of swag to make your vehicular excursion very comfortable and very fun. We tapped into what tailgaters, car-campers, and van-lifers have known for millennia: you don’t need four walls to feel at home; just four wheels.

We’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. 


Pop-Up Sun Shelter


Whether you’re driving two hours to the beach or simply lounging at the public park a few blocks from your apartment, an extended stay in the sun requires copious amounts of shade. We browsed a lot of tents before settling on this one, based on its pleasing design and ease of setup and breakdown — it comes in a neat circular bag and pops open in one movement.

Picnic Time Manta Sun Shelter, $, available at Bed Bath and Beyond

Souped-Up Picnic Blanket


If you want to spread out on a blanket for some picnic-ing or sunbathing, you might want to think about upgrading to Kelty’s thoughtfully designed “BFF” blanket. It’s equipped with loops for staking into the ground and a water-resistant nylon side that protects from dewy or dirty surfaces. It even folds up into a pillow-shaped carrying case.

Kelty Bestie BFF Blanket, $, available at Kelty

Waterproof Sleeping Mat


If you’re looking to catch forty winks wherever you’ve set up shop, you’ll need a little more than a flimsy beach towel for a comfortable snooze. These waterproof sleeping mats were designed for rafting, but their superior comfort and easy-to-clean fabrication make them perfect for any outdoor nap. (The mats also make for great back or neck support when rolled up.)

NRS Full Paco Sleeping Pad, $, available at Backcountry

Waterproof, USB-Charging String Lights


If your excursion lasts into the wee hours, never fear — there are plenty of rope lights out there designed to look Pinteresting dangling from your car or tent, creating a back-porch vibe no matter where you are. These top-rated USB-chargeable fairy lights are both waterproof and beautifully illuminating.

Power Practical Luminoodle Light Rope (Five Feet), $, available at Amazon

Lightweight Camp Chair


With a quick-drying fabrication that’s available in a host of design-friendly colors and a strong-but-lightweight aluminum frame, this Helinox chair can be packed into a bundle weighing no more than two pounds, making it very easy to tote on to the beach, to a campsite, or into your friend’s backyard for a socially-distant barbecue. They’re on the pricier side, but seem to be worth every penny.

Helinox Chair One Camp Chair, $, available at Backcountry

Attachable Tire Table


There are a lot of portable tables out there, but the Tire Table wowed us with its sturdy, simple, and sensible design. “This little table is neat,” said an Amazon reviewer. “I love the easy setup and the option to use on any tire. My main use is serving as a stand for my grill when camping but I can see myself using it as a table when traveling along the side of the road or rest stop for lunch. Put my awing out on my RV and I have my own oasis. Well made. I love the push connections and flat storage. This is a good little table at a fair price.”

Tire Table Steel Table, $, available at Amazon

High-Functioning Cooler


We came for the pretty powder blue of this stylish, high-capacity cooler, and stayed for the 4.7-out-of-5-star rating and 338 excellent reviews — many of which compared this under-$100 Monoprice model to the three-times-as-expensive Yeti. Sold!

Monoprice Emperor 25 Cooler, $, available at Monoprice

High-Functioning Soft Cooler


If a hard-sided, 25-liter behemoth is a little too much cooler for you, may we suggest a soft, packable alternative? Icemule’s backpack-style cooler is a top-rated option, and the 10-liter size will hold four bottles of wine. (In that case, actually, we might go a size up.) Bonus: it flattens and rolls up for easy storage when its contents have been exhausted.

Icemule Cooler Bag, $, available at Amazon

Portable Grille


The cast-iron experts at Lodge have created a super-simple and seemingly indestructible charcoal grill. It’s totally compact, and its iron construction ensures that it conducts heat really, really well.

Lodge Sportsman’s Grill, $, available at Amazon

On-The-Go Knife & Cutting Board Set


Not only is this travel-friendly set extremely handy-dandy — with a case that doubles as a cutting board and a magnet closure that keeps the knife safely in place when it’s not in use — it’s also very, very high quality.

Snow Peak Chopping Board Knife Set, $, available at Moosejaw

Reusable Cutlery


If you’d like an upgrade from your glove compartment stash of takeout-excess plastic cutlery, try Light My Fire’s BPA-free all-purpose sporks, complete with a spoon, fork, and even a tiny serrated edge for (light) cutting.

Light My Fire Tritan® Spork (Two-Pack), $, available at Sierra

Sporty Bluetooth Speaker


Let’s not overlook the importance of music to add a home-like ambiance to your day trip. There are countless Bluetooth speakers on the market, but we like the compact and colorful design of Ultimate Ears’ Wonderboom. (Good luck deciding among red, blue, gray, or this irresistible millennial pink.) It has a “boost” feature for amplifying sound clarity outdoors, 13-hour battery life, and a nifty little hook so you can hang it any old place. Oh, and did we mention it’s waterproof — and it floats?

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2, $, available at Amazon

Solar-Powered Fan


If you need to generate a breeze but are lacking in traditional power outlets, try a solar-powered fan.

Hereta DHD Multi-Function Solar Fan, $, available at Amazon

Female Urination Device


Ladies, let’s not forget the inevitable. When nature calls and you don’t have access to a toilet, simply reach for a female urination device (“FUD” for short) to make a go of it standing up. (If you’d like to read more on the topic of an improvised outdoor pee, check out our “Where to pee?” guide.)

P-Mate Female Urination Device 3-Pack, $, available at The Grommet


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from refinery29
Bring The Comforts Of Home On The Road With These Day-Tripping Essentials Bring The Comforts Of Home On The Road With These Day-Tripping Essentials Reviewed by streakoggi on June 28, 2020 Rating: 5

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