any suggestions from past road trippers on what to bring? what not to bring? things you wish you'd had once on the road? i have a jeep, so space is limited so i want to make the most of it. my plans include almost every state(starting in Texas and continuing clockwise in a snake-like route around the country), i'll be gone from early April until late summer, and i plan on camping and hostelling. thanks!
I roadtrip in a New Beetle so I have minimal space as well. So, my first tip is to use as many mini-sized items as possible. My cooking and camping gear are of the size and type used for backpacking trips so they take up minimal space. My ice-cooler is a small one (9 or 12 can size?) and my electric cooler (very handy) is a 9-can size. Neither take up much space and I usually only refill about every other day or so. One handy gadget I recently found (at Camping World) was a 12-volt plug-in water heater. Great for heating soups and making hot water for coffee, cocoa, etc.
The one full-size item that I take is a regular bed-size pillow. It's worth the extra space to pack!
An organizational hint: Instead of a big duffle bag for my clothing items, I use several small ones. One for shoes. One for heavy coats/raingear. One for cold-weather clothes (sweatshirts, jeans, etc.). And one for summer-weight clothes. I then have a small, light-weight duffle that is kept empty. If I decide to pull into a hotel instead of camping, I just put into the small duffle what I need for the next morning and take it into my room. Very handy and easier to haul....especially if you go someplace like Vegas where the rooms are about a mile from the parking lot. Don't forget a laundry bag (a garbage bag will do).
To minimize clothing, I will bring things like convertible pants, and go for lighter-weight items that can be layered for warmth if need be...but I'm not a real stickler on this.
So far as specific items go, the only thing I've ever forgotten that made me kick myself is my camera. Disposables get expensive but do in a pinch. Most forgotten items have been dumb, little things (like a spatula, for example) that are easily replaced for cheap.
Other things you might consider are: binoculars, basic car repair tools, and AAA membership card.
Things I find indispensable (but not everyone will agree): the 12-volt plug-in cooler, spotlight(rechargeable), hotpot, and rechargeable batteries with my small 12-volt battery charger.
Personally, I think the most important thing to bring is a sense of adventure. Everything else is just stuff.
Thanks for all your great insight!!!
Packing tips? Please
Me and 2 of my friends will be doing a road trip from Texas, to California. All of us will be going to college there, and starting a career. We just are not sure what to pack. Anyone have any suggestions?
I'd also suggest bringing some camping gear, but maybe not go as far as backpacking gear. Usually, the backpacking stuff is geared towards lightweight and small size, but not ease of use or small budgets. One of my favorite items is a small, single burner butane stove which can be bought at some supermarkets for less than $15. It's pretty small, about 1 foot square, and as easy to use as a regular stove. Also a small ice chest that you can keep in the front to hold drinks and stuff. And definitely a day pack just to hold random stuff during the day, or for a short overnight. Spare tools are always a good idea, as long as you know how to use them, and a small flashlight to find everything in the dark. I also second the idea of bringing a large spotlight for those times you're out in the dark in the middle of nowhere, just makes you feel safer.
I usually carry.
First Aid Kit,
Sandals - for the showers and in the car
What I would leave behind,
A lot of clothes. If you're on the road most of the time, you probably don't need a whole lot of clothes, because no one's gonna know if you wear the same thing over and over again.
I wouldn't worry too much about forgeting something. As long as you remember the big items, most of the small stuff can be found anywhere along the road. So if you don't think you'll need it, leave it at home.