Packing for a road trip can be daunting, especially when you’ve got limited space or adventuring into unknown destinations. It’s no wonder why many of us rush to pack at the very last minute! That’s where a packing list comes in handy.
A road trip packing list gives you peace of mind knowing you won’t forget anything important. Some items are essential for safety, and others let you enjoy the trip and take in the scenery.
We’ve rounded up a comprehensive list of the essential items to include in your packing list, from creature comforts to safety items. No matter what gets thrown your way, you’ll be ready!
Road-Trip Ready — Essential List & Guide When Prepping for Your Journey
Being road-trip ready requires preparing for your journey and any potential hazards or emergencies. Before you think about entertainment gear, be sure you have these necessities first.
License and Registration
Nothing can ruin a fun trip faster than getting pulled over and not having your license and registration. You’ll also need your documents for renting a car or if an accident occurs.
Car Insurance Policy
Accidents are a part of life, and you should never hit the road without proof of car insurance. Not to mention, it’s illegal to drive without it in Canada. If you’re renting a car, you may want to purchase extra coverage from the rental provider.
Travel Insurance Policy
A good travel insurance policy will reimburse you for covered losses on the road, like cancellations due to natural disasters, weather-related events, or illness and injuries.
Health Insurance Policy
Health insurance policies can cover medical emergencies to prevent expensive hospital bills or provide enough supply of prescription medications to take with you on the road. Consider travel medical insurance if you’re going outside the country for out-of-area coverage.
Emergency & Non-Emergency Contact Numbers
When the going gets tough, you need people you can trust to help you out of your sticky situation. It’s worth carrying a phone book with a list of contacts in case your phone battery dies. Also, have a list of contact numbers for roadside assistance, travel arrangement companies, and local resource centers.
Keep your car manual in the glove department. It can provide essential instructions on troubleshooting common issues and performing basic repairs.
Whether you suffer from a flat tire, engine failure, running out of fuel, or dead batteries, you never know when your vehicle can break down. CAA membership can cover you by providing 24/7 roadside assistance, fuel delivery, locksmith services, and towing.
First Aid Kit
Keep a traveller’s first-aid kit stocked with medicines, bandages, adhesive tape, scissors, antibiotic ointment, disposable rubber gloves, and other essentials. You might be miles from the nearest town in remote destinations, so always stay prepared.
When emergency strikes, spare cash can be a lifesaver. You never know when you could lose your credit card or dine at establishments that only accept cash.
Road-tripping in remote areas means you should prepare for the lack of amenities and services. It’s crucial to have safety items in case of unexpected accidents or breakdowns.
Spare Tire & Emergency Car Kit
A minor accident, dead battery, or flat tire can leave you stuck on the side of the road. Keep a spare tire and emergency car kit to make minor fixes, so you can quickly get back on the road. Your emergency car kit may include essentials such as a first aid kit, flares, jumper cables, a flashlight, and basic tools.
Paper Map of Territory
Remote areas might not get cell service. Always buy a paper map of the territory where you’re travelling to navigate your way to your final destination without hiccups.
Oil, Coolant, and Wiper Fluid
Always keep a few maintenance items in your vehicle. Low oil or an overheating engine can strand you in the middle of nowhere. Wiper fluid is a must to keep your windshield clean of all those bugs.
Gas stations in remote areas may be hundreds of miles apart. Carry extra fuel to avoid running out of gas.
Road-tripping in snowy regions requires even more preparation for adverse weather conditions. The last thing you’d want is to have your car stuck in ice and unable to move.
An ice scraper removes ice and snow from your car’s windshield, ensuring clear visibility on the road.
A shovel helps you dig out the wheel from conditions like mud or snow, carving a clear path.
Tire chains provide traction, preventing your vehicle from getting stuck in the snow or skidding.
Electronics serve many purposes, such as helping us stay connected in an emergency, powering our devices to enjoy modern conveniences, and even recharging our car batteries. Pack these electronic essentials for a safe and entertaining time.
Car Phone Charger
Your phone serves as a lifeline for navigation and communication in emergencies. A phone charger ensures your phone has enough juice throughout your trip.
Car Phone Mount
Car phone mounts enable hands-free calls and navigation. Stay focused on the road and reduce the risk of car accidents caused by distracted driving.
Backup Power Solution
Portable power stations like the Ecoflow RIVER 2 provide a reliable source of electricity to power 99% of consumer electronics, such as laptops, smartphones, DSLR cameras, and even small appliances like a mini-fridge. The RIVER 2 can charge from 0-100% in 60 minutes — five times faster than portable power stations from other brands. If you need a higher-powered solution, consider the EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro. With 1600W of maximum power output using X-Boost, it can power up to 80% of high-wattage home appliances and charge more personal electronic devices even faster.
Thanks to the cutting-edge LFP battery technology you’ll find in all of EcoFlow’s RIVER 2 series portable power stations, you can expect about a decade of regular use.
Whether it’s a smartphone, laptop, or portable AC unit, charging your device is that much easier with a portable charger that connects to your car adapter. GPS and other background apps can quickly drain your battery, so a portable charger is an essential road trip item.
Portable Dongle, aka WiFi
Public WiFi can be spotty and unreliable. Bring a portable dongle or WiFi hotspot for a more reliable connection—you won’t have to find the nearest cafes to access the internet.
Electronics have a way of running out of juice when you need it most — and when you can’t seem to find the backup batteries you stashed somewhere in the junk drawer. Whether it’s triple AAAs for your remote or double AAs for your flashlight, make sure you pack extra batteries.
Road-tripping in an RV provides the luxury of travelling in a spacious home away from home. You can work on the road or enjoy not having to check into pricey hotels. But when working on the go, having a reliable RV power kit, battery bank, laptop, and other electronics is essential.
Harness the power of renewable energy on the go with eco-friendly solutions like the EcoFlow Solar Panels. You can mount rigid solar panels on your RV roof for maximum power generation and combine them with flexible panels for a versatile solution that moulds to any surface. It can pair with a portable power station like the RIVER 2 Pro to harness energy from the sun and store the electricity for future use.
RV Power Kit
Power kits are a great all-in-one solution that integrates with your RV for a compact backup power solution. The EcoFlow Power Kit is a plug-and-play modular system that lets you customize the battery capacity and power output for your RV lifestyle.
A backup computer monitor can be a lifesaver if you work on the road. There’s no worse time for your screen to go dead than in the middle of nowhere. The same goes for TV screens—prevent your kids from fighting over the next movie by bringing an extra screen. You’ll thank yourself when you don’t hear screaming in the backseat.
If you’re heading out to unexplored territories, you can’t always expect to find lodgings with compatible outlets. Maybe your laptop has a three-prong charger, but the cute bed-and-breakfast outlet only has two-prong outlets. Save yourself the headache and bring a multi-socket adaptor.
A road trip can take you to climates far different from the one at home. Pack the right clothes to ensure convenience and comfort.
Long travel days in the car can feel like you’re roasting in an oven. Avoid getting overheated by dressing in airy shirts that are breathable and comfortable. Look for lightweight materials like cotton, linen, polyester, and bamboo, also known for their quick-drying characteristics.
Tight or restrictive clothing can be uncomfortable, especially after hours of sitting in a car. Bring comfortable slacks to move around freely while driving or exploring the outdoors.
Walking outdoors requires the appropriate footwear. Hiking boots provide support and stability when navigating rugged trails, while flip-flops are perfect for walking on beaches since they easily slide on and off.
Weather-Ready Apparel and Accessories
Even if the weather forecast projects sunny skies, you never know when mother nature can take a turn for the worse. Don’t let a little rain stop you from missing a day of exploring the outdoors. Bring a rain jacket to protect yourself from getting soaked.
The best approach to being ready for any climate is to bring weather-ready outerwear. So throw in some wool socks, a fleece jacket, a pullover sweater, swimwear, gloves, or sunglasses. You’ll thank yourself later for over-preparing.
One common travel nightmare is packing everything but your undergarments. Consider adding more than you’d wear in a regular week for your own sake. That way, if something happens, like you fall into a river while hiking, you have a backup set ready.
Toiletries help you stay fresh and maintain personal hygiene. Items like sanitizers are needed to help protect against germs, while toiletries keep you feeling clean.
Shower and Personal Care Kit
Whether you’re using camping showers, public restrooms, staying in motels, or using portable showers, carrying the essential items needed to keep clean is important. Bring towels, shampoo, soap, deodorant, skincare, haircare, and other personal items.
Maintain proper oral hygiene on the road with a dental kit. Be sure to stock the essentials such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, and dental floss. Your dental kit should have everything you need to keep your gums and teeth healthy.
You never know when unexpected illnesses can catch you off guard. Allergy medications, pain relievers, and basic first-aid supplies can help you stay prepared. We recommend bringing along Emergen-C, a supplement to help bolster your immune system.
Emergency Outdoor Toilet and Shower Supplies
Some parts of the country have long stretches of highways without a rest stop. Save yourself the trouble of panic 100 miles out from a rest area and pack emergency outdoor toilet supplies.
If you’re roughing it, you might want to go a step further and pack outdoor shower supplies, like a portable shower head and a tent or tarp to create a makeshift camping shower.
Bring the comfort of home with essential homeware to enjoy delicious meals on the road.
If you hate drinking cold coffee or warm, soft drinks, you’ll want to add a travel mug to your packing list. It’ll keep your drinks at just the right temperature.
Besides your travel mug, you’ll want to pack dishware for a proper meal on the road. Pack silverware, reusable dishes, and eating utensils.
Unless you only plan to eat pre-made foods, a camp stove is necessary. This portable stove helps you cook gourmet dishes like soups, stew, grilled meat, and other comfort foods.
Cookware allows you to prepare delicious hot meals on the go even when no convenience stores or restaurants are nearby. Consider packing a set of cooking utensils like a ladle, tongs, a spatula, a frying pan, a cutting board, a can opener, and a kitchen knife.
Don’t forget the other items for cooking, like potholders, dish towels, paper towels, and aluminum foil.
Long road trips can leave your stomach growling. Bringing healthy snacks that are nutritious and savoury can stave off hunger and keep your energy levels high. Also, bring plenty of water to stay hydrated for long stretches of driving or hiking.
In remote areas, you may not find restaurants or convenience stores for dozens of miles. Instant meals let you have something to eat on the go. Cold sandwiches, instant noodles, and freeze-dried meals are perfect since they don’t require any cooking.
While grabbing a candy bar or bag of chips may be easy, unhealthy snacks can leave you tired and lethargic. Consider packing your favourite fruits, protein bars, granola bars, trail mix, vegetables, eggs, sandwiches, and oats.
Of course, a road trip is a vacation, so feel free to splurge a little on sweet snacks, jerky, and other junk food.
Never leave without bringing ample water for your trip. Long stretches of driving or hiking in sweltering weather will leave you dehydrated. Pack a lot of water bottles in a designated cooler with ice to keep the water cold.
Spices and Oils
If you’re cooking on the road, you can’t forget cooking ingredients—butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar, and spices. Make sure it’s all in there so you can whip up grandma’s favourite recipes and impress fellow travellers on the road.
Keeping everyone entertained can be difficult, especially on long drives between destinations. Whether it’s board games or movies, having things to keep you occupied can make a long trip feel much shorter.
Kindle, iPad, or Books
Reading your favourite novel or nonfiction is an excellent way to invigorate your mind and pass the time on long drives. Audiobooks are also a great way to enjoy a book while driving.
Take your favourite board games, playing cards, and portable gaming consoles to enjoy some friendly competition!
The license plate game doesn’t have to be the only thing to break up the monotony of hundreds of miles of highway roads. Consider other essential electronics like Bluetooth speakers, GoPro, tablets, and laptops.
Also, pack a camera to document your adventures and download your favourite playlists—you can even create a special one for the trip!
You’ve got entertainment while in the car—but what about outside? Look up national parks along your route and see whether you need to get national park passes. A road trip is a fantastic chance to explore the wonders of nature across the country.
A travel journal is a great way to document all these experiences. You can fill it with your thoughts and include mementos like pictures, tickets, and other memorabilia.
Essentials You May Forget to Consider
There’s nothing worse than forgetting to pack an essential item. Double-check your luggage for these often-overlooked and forgotten items to ensure a smoother road trip.
Extra Car Key
Keeping spare keys around can save you from a potentially disastrous situation. Losing or misplacing your keys can leave you stranded in an unknown area.
Mosquito Repellant & Candle
Mosquito bites aren’t only itchy and uncomfortable, but some carry diseases. Mosquito repellants and candles will keep those pesky insects at bay.
Matches are an overlooked essential when camping in the wilderness. They can create a signal for help, start a fire for warmth, or light candles.
Some items you only realize you forgot to pack until it’s too late. Double-check your packing list for other miscellaneous but essential items, including:
- Tire pressure gauge
- Duct tape
- Extra toilet paper
- Clorox wipes
Whether embarking on a long cross-country road trip or a weekend getaway, packing the essentials will make the experience more enjoyable and less stressful. From creature comforts like a camping stove to modern conveniences like a portable power station, refer to our packing list before you hit the road. If you want an uninterrupted power supply for long road trips, consider EcoFlow. We have all the portable power supply options you need to keep your electronics, appliances, and RV charged on the go.