So you're finished with a contract and you're about to go on a long haul cross country road trip-- what do you need?
First, ask yourself what kind of terrain and weather you might be driving through. Remember it is best to over prepare instead of under. Below is a list of our essentials while driving 3000+ miles (to and from the great state of Alaska).
1. The Basics (food & water--- we carry a couple gallons of water and fill up along the way, you never know when you might pull over to camp and need water to cook. Also throw in a couple Mountain House packs of your favorite food for a just in case quick fix---we're big fans of always having tortillas for making Breakfast Skillet Mountain House tacos)
2. Car essentials (spare tire, jack, fix a flat, flares, tire chains--fyi, some regions require chains when going through mountain passes-- we also heard a rumor that various US and Canadian border crossings occasionally require chains during certain months)
3. A map (we use the road atlas and we highly recommend "The MilePost" for travel to & from Alaska). Don't always rely on your phone. You'll often lose service through valleys and mountains.
4. Pillow & Blankets-- or your camping gear--- tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad.
6. Toilet Paper/Sanitary Wipes (we store ours in the side of our door, easy access and a quick find when you gotta go!)
7. Matches/Lighter/Kindling/spare bag of Doritos (these chips are the real deal, they make the best fire starter!)
8. Dry Fire wood (we only carried this for part of our trip when we knew we planned on camping---don't always count on being able to find dry wood)
9. Chocolate, Jalapeño Chips (Tim's Brand is the best!) & Hot Sauce (Sriracha, Tobasco, & Frank's).
10. A Spare Can of Gas! (might seem silly, but you never know when you'll need extra gas in the middle of no where--if you take the Cassiar Highway to & from Alaska there are long stretches with gas services occasionally closed-- We strap our can to the top of the car (see below) so the inside doesn't smell like gasoline, we also place a mat underneath the can to not tarnish the top of the vehicle)
11. Bear Spray (we also store this in the side of our car door--- never know when you will feel threatened, you don't want to be digging through your belongings during a tense moment)
12. Lots of music playlists. We use Spotify and download multiple playlists to use when offline. We also listen to quite a few podcasts. Sometimes listening to music gets old after 5 days on the road.
13. A Jetboil. These are amazing for boiling water to make food or coffee. They're easy to use and probably one of our favorite camping gear products. Word of advice: Do not use them in an enclosed space, there needs to be appropriate ventilation.
14. Last but not least--- A polaroid camera! While on assignment in Seattle we decided to purchase a polaroid. We've taken the polaroid everywhere. Anytime there is a fancy sign or we meet new friends we make sure to snap a picture. We have a glue stick and journal in the glove box. We immediately post the picture and write a blurb. It's the best way to scrapbook and journal. And loads of fun :)
These are simply our suggestions when traveling. Do not let this list deter you from a long road trip. Be prepared, clear your mind & enjoy that open road!