In addition to exploring those hidden gems of the road, I’m frequently asked to review travel and road trip related products. I’ve selected seven road trip items that I’ve had a chance to use this past year, most of which you’ve probably never heard of. Each of these seven items is completely different from the next. So without further ado, here is my list of seven sensation road trip items of 2012.
1) HoboRoll by Gobi Gear – Nomads will appreciate the HoboRoll with its multiple storage compartments enabling you to sort your belongings, then gives you the ability to compress those items into a single compact carrying case. Whether needing to make room in your suitcase or backpack, the HoboRoll may be something to consider.
2) HalfPops – Every good road trip requires an abundance of snack food…this year I discovered HalfPops—a savory, crunchy treat that is in a category all its own. HalfPops are popcorn kernels popped using a special technique that prevent the corn from reaching its normal size. Currently there are only two flavors, White Cheddar and Sea Salt/Butter, however more are on the way.
COST: $23 for 16 2-oz bags
3) WindowSeat 3 by Griffin – Many states now have laws preventing the use of a mobile device, so the WindowSeat 3 is the perfect solution. With a powerful suction cup and adjustable frame, the WindowSeat 3 will securely hold your mobile phone so that you can easily see your maps and answer your phone without ever having to hold it.
4) ENO Hammock by Eagles Nest Outfitters – The ENO Hammock is very lightweight and extremely compactable. It’s absolutely a must-have road trip item as you can hang it in seconds to create a comfortable sitting/laying situation where none may be available. No trees, not problem, I’ve hung my ENO using boulders, driftwood and other sturdy obstacles. My ENO is now everywhere I go!
COST: $75 (single with straps)
5) Fenix Flashlights – A good flashlight is another one of those “must-have” road trip items. I’ve been a Fenix Flashlight fan for a couple years now, ever since I first reviewed a few of their products. Fenix makes extremely durable and bright flashlights using high-powered LED technology. The MC-10 (now MC-11) with its swivel head, compact design, strap, clip and flat bottom to set or hang anywhere is the perfect light source to have in the car. This small, but versatile flashlight runs on a common AA battery and has three brightness levels along with strobe and SOS mode.
6) Guppie by CRKT – The Guppie is an innovative, compact multi-use tool from Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT) that really packs a punch. I have counted eight functions, but there may be more…from the adjustable wrench, knife, carabiner, bottle opener, flashlight, belt clip, magnet to a tool kit… the Guppie is a perfect road trip companion that takes up little space. The Guppie may not be able to make every auto repair, but its versatility certainly comes in handy.
7) HitchSafe – One of the coolest road trip products I tried this year has to be the HitchSafe. This ingenious product is super simple to install (Note: requires a frame hitch) and provides a highly secure and discreet place to store a few valuables—for example, a spare set of car/house keys, money, credit card, etc. The solid steel construction and clever installation method makes it virtually impenetrable and far superior to those old magnet key holders. With the dust cover in place, no one would even suspect that you have something of value hidden.
If you’ve tried any of these products, please leave a comment below and let my readers and me know what you think.