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Adventure Road Trip Gear Guide 2019 – Essentials For Outdoor Lovers

This Gear Guide is sponsored by REI

So you’re planning your next road trip and are thinking about what to take with you (we’re jealous!). Welcome to our list of road trip essential gear to take with you in the car or van on your next long-distance adventure.

Benefits Of Being An REI Member

We have been REI members since moving to the USA, and love that REI is a co-op and invests in causes that we care about. If you’re not familiar with REI, signing up for membership (only $20 for a lifetime) provides you with a member dividend of 10% back on what you spend, in spring each year, as well as access to exclusive member-only events and sales. To learn more about REI’s values, what they do and what makes them different, click HERE.

Become an REI Co-op Member

Also, if you’re planning an adventure or want to learn a new outdoor skill, local REI stores host a diverse range of training events, local and international trips, which is an awesome way to meet like-minded people in your area and skill-up for future adventures!

Adventure Road Trip Essentials Gear Guide

1. Protection From The Elements (in Style)

2. Footwear for Hikes/Trail Runs

3. Adventure-Ready Gear To Take With You

4. Hydration, Food, Safety

5. Storage

1. Protection From The Elements

For all the best road trips – you know, the ones where you need to stop off for a short hike or to check out some thermal pools – we’ve often found ourselves in changing terrains and climates and end up getting accidentally sunburned or freeze in unexpected chilly mountain climes. Stash these essentials in your road-trip gear bag:

Rumpl Puffy Blanket

RUMPL Puffy Blankets at REI

The Rumpl Puffy Blanket packs down, which makes it great for camping too. It’s also made with synthetic down which makes us happy. There are so many fun designs to choose from so make sure you check out the complete RUMPL range at REI, but our favorite design is the Bermuda pattern.

Maui Jim Baby Beach Polarized Sunglasses

Maui Jim Baby Beach Polarized Sunglasses Womens

The Maui Jim Baby Beach Polarized Sunglasses are really cute polarized sunnies designed for women. Driving with polarized sunglasses is a must! They’ll cut out any sharp glares and allow you to see clearly out of the windscreen without seeing any distracting internal reflections on the glass.

Maui Jim Wild Coast Polarized Sunglasses

Maui Jim Wild Coast Polarized Sunglasses

I love the two-tone color accents on these Maui Jim Wild Coast Polarized Sunglasses

Sunski Sunglasses
sunski sunglasses

A cheaper alternative for sunglasses is a brand called Sunski, we use these all the time while trail running because if we accidentally drop them, and they break, they are easily replaced.

I reviewed 3 difference Sunski Sunglasses HERE, if you’d like to learn more about them.

A Swimsuit!

mens swimsuits at REI

womens swimsuits at REI

You never know when you’re going to find that hidden lake, or end up by the ocean, so make sure you pack a swimsuit! REI has a huge range of fashionable swimwear for adventurous men and women.

Men’s Swimwear at REI

Women’s Swimwear at REI

Slowtide Joaquin Towel

Slowtide Towel

Sun Bum SPF 30 Original Lotion Sunscreen – 3 fl. oz.

Sun Bum SPF 30 Original Lotion Sunscreen 3 fl. oz.

Ultrathon UltraThon Insect Repellent – 34 Percent DEET

Ultrathon UltraThon Insect Repellent 34 Percent DEET adventure road trip gear guide trail and kale

Wear a good insect repellent, especially if you plan to roam where ticks may be lurking. I recommend using UltraThon Insect Repellent which is 34% DEET (the most effective insect repellent available) and provides up to 12-hours of protection; resists rain, water splashes, and perspiration.

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket Womens 2

The Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket is an Insulated puffy jacket for mornings, peaks and cold weather, light, blocks wind, 75% recycled materials. The men’s version is just as nice, and yes of course, if you’re a couple you should definitely cute it up and get matching puffy jackets, especially when they are made from 75% recycled materials! 🙂

Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket


Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket Mens

We love the Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket, a classic waterproof. Check out the Women’s version too, the fit is very flattering, and there are loads of color options to choose from.

RELATED POST:  5 Best Waterproof Running Jackets for Trail Running & Ultrarunning in 2019

2. Footwear for Hikes or Trail Runs

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots side

The Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX is a waterproof hiking boot will slay any terrain in all weather conditions. It has a high-traction tread, the support of a boot, and the comfort of a trail running shoe. It’s also available in a women’s version.

If on the other hand you want a lighter shoe for trail running, or even as an alternative to a hiking boot for hiking, then these are my top choices for you.

Salomon Speedcross 5

Salomon Speedcross 5

The Salomon Speedcross range has long been a popular shoe amongst runners who love to get dirty on the trails, but also for hikers who don’t want to wear heavy hiking boots. To any hikers looking for a lightweight shoe as an alternative to a boot, I always point them towards the Speedcross.

The Speedcross 5 is a new release and it promises all the same features as the beloved Speedcross that came before it, with even more grip, even more stability and even more dynamic uppers. They take rugged off-road performance to another level.

Salomon S/Lab XA Amphib 2

Salomon S lab XA Amphib web wide

The Salomon S-Lab XA Amphib 2 is one shoe, in and out the water. It’s fast and super efficient both wet and dry which is why it’s the perfect shoe for adventurous runs or hikes through terrain that could have river crossings or very wet segments. They drain so well that your socks and feet will dry very quickly too, should you ever get soaked through. This is a unisex shoe so if you’re looking for the women’s version, it’s on the same link below.

Stance Hiking Socks

Stance Hiking Socks Mens Stance Hiking Socks Women

Socks can be fun too! Just look at the Stance brand for example. We wear Stance socks for their comfort and fun designs.

Men’s Stance Hiking Socks at REI

Women’s Stance Hiking Socks at REI

3. Adventure-ready gear to take with you

Kuat NV Base 2.0 2-Bike Hitch Rack

Kuat NV Base 2.0 2 Bike Hitch Rack


If you plan on taking your mountain bikes with you, then you’ll want a bike rack that’s sturdy, and easy to load and unload your bikes onto, with the benefit of being able to lock your bikes to the rack and lock the rack to the car. The Kuat NV Base 2.0 2-Bike Hitch Rack does all this extremely well. It’s also a modular rack, so if you decide you would like to be able to add a couple more bikes, then you can! Here’s REI’s full range of bike racks to suit your budget.

If you don’t have a bike yet or feel you’d like to upgrade, REI has a huge selection of bikes to choose from, what a great way to use that 20% discount for becoming a member!

Oru Kayak Bay ST Folding Kayak

Oru Kayak at REI

The Oru Kayak Bay ST Folding Kayak is ingenious, lightweight and folding down into a large briefcase size!

Advanced Elements Tandem Inflatable Kayak

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Tandem Inflatable Kayak

If there’s two of you and you both like to kayak, then this tandem inflatable kayak is a very affordable option. Don’t forget some folding paddles too or you won’t be going anywhere fast!

YETI Panga 50 Dry Duffel

YETI Panga 50 Dry Duffel

The YETI Panga 50 Dry Duffel is an awesome waterproof adventure-ready pack with versatile carrying options, if you’re planning on going somewhere involving watersports.

4. Hydration, Food & Safety

Eureka Ignite 2-Burner Camp Stove

Eureka Ignite 2 Burner Camp Stove adventure road trip gear guide Trail and Kale x REI

The portable Eureka Ignite 2-burner camp stove helps you create perfectly cooked meals in the outdoors. With its 2-turn simmer control, this camp stove is a very convenient and simple way to cook meals by your camp.

Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Vacuum Water Bottle – 32 fl. oz.

Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Vacuum Water Bottle 32 fl. oz

A large bottle for storing water is a must-have for any trip. It’s important to have water with you for the hours on the open road, including for emergencies. Also, I carry mine everywhere to cut down on my use of disposable plastic bottles when traveling.

We reviewed this excellent bottle here: Hydro Flask 32 oz Bottle Review

Grayl Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle

Grayl Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle

A method of storing and purifying water, the Grayl Ultralight Water Purifying Bottle is an accessory that’s so handy to have with you and is engineered to stand up to the harsh demands of international travel, outdoor adventure (backpacking, hiking, camping, fishing) and emergency situations. A tip: when you’re low on water and do find a questionable water source to fill up with, make sure you filter the water through this bottle and then fill up your larger storage bottle, like the Hydro Flask mentioned above.

Klean Kanteen TKPro Vacuum Bottle – 32 fl. oz.

Klean Kanteen Vacuum Bottleb 32oz

We believe coffee is essential! The Klean Kanteen TKPro Vacuum Bottle has an accurate pour and cup system for pouring coffee while on the move. As accurate as the pour system is, please make sure you’re the passenger when serving up the coffee, and be careful not to spill the hot stuff.

Goal Zero Venture 70 Recharger

Goal Zero Venture 70 Recharger

The Goal Zero Venture 70 weatherproof portable power bank can charge your smartphone up to 6 times on one charge. It has two USB ports too so your friend or partner can charge theirs at the same time. It can even charge small cameras (like a GoPro Action Camera) and tablets. It weighs in at 1lb which is very light for a device like this!

Humangear GoBites Uno Sporks – (2 Pack)

humangear GoBites Uno Sporks Package of 2

Make sure you have some multi-use sporks in the vehicle so you don’t have to resort to single use plastic at food places en route.

YETI Roadie 20 Cooler

YETI Roadie 20 Cooler

A classic top-quality cooler – great for road trips where you’re planning to take a lot of your own food and/or drink. The Yeti Cooler is built from the same construction as whitewater kayaks and is designed to live a tough and adventurous outdoor life.

Hydro Flask Unbound Soft Cooler Pack

Hydro Flask Unbound Soft Cooler Pack

If you’re planning to take your cooler off on a hike, away from your car, then you’ll want something a bit smaller/lighter. The Hydro Flask Unbound Series, is a Soft Cooler that can be worn as a backpack and will keep your things cold for 48 hours.

Hydro Flask Cooler Cup – 12 fl. oz.

Hydro Flask Cooler Cup 12 fl. oz.

We love using these clever little cooler cups. Not only will they keep your canned drink cold (a metal koosie!), but they also double up as a dedicated insulated cup for coffee or cold drinks. Road tripper pro tip: take it to a coffee place en-route and have them put your coffee in here rather than a takeaway cup.

Medical kit

A medical kit like the Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Day Tripper Lite is always good to keep in the car anyway.


Like this Benchmark Maps California road and recreation atlas – See the full Benchmark Maps collection HERE.

BioLite Headlamp 330

Biolite Headlamp 330 best headlamp for trail running trail and kale

The BioLite Headlamp 330 has a really slim fit construction with 9mm front profile and is hyper-lightweight at 2.43 oz., providing a bounce-free fit and experience while running or hiking.

Biolite Headlamp 330 best headlamp for trail running 2 trail and kaleThe BioLite Headlamp 330 has multiple light modes too including dimmable spot, flood, spot+flood, red night vision, and strobe. It also uses a rechargeable battery that can be charged via micro USB for convenience.

A reliable and high powered headlamp is so important if you plan on exploring into the night. The BioLite Headlamp 330 is one we recommend to anyone who needs one. It’s also great for trail running and could be handy if your car were to break down.

RELATED: 5 Best Headlamps for Trail Running & Ultrarunning in 2019 (So Far)

Full Review: Biolite HeadLamp 330 Review

5. And you’ll need something to put it all in:

REI Co-op Big Haul 60 Duffel

REI Co op Big Haul 60 Duffel

Having a storage bag to easily haul in and out of the car will is going to make your life so much easier. The REI Co-op Big Haul 60 Duffel is perfect for this purpose and we like that it packs down small when not in use.


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Alastair Dixon
Alastair Dixonhttps://www.trailandkale.com
Hey, I'm Alastair. 5 years ago I started Trail & Kale as a way to share the mental & physical benefits that trail running and nature had given me. Since then Trail & Kale has grown to become a thriving blog and community that inspires people to trail run, hike, adventure more, and live a healthy plant-based lifestyle.
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