The warm weather isn't over yet, and there is still a good month or two left to get out there and road trip. Here's our latest gear guide to make things a little more comfortable and a bit easier. Will there be a volume four? Maybe, but it might be winterized a bit. Enjoy September while you can and get out there!
Ice Mule - Pro (Large) - So on road trips (and camping), one of the small luxuries is an ice-cold beverage as you glide across the ruthless asphalt to your destination. This summer has been vicious and still has a fiery September in her, so if you are taking one last cross-state adventure, you need something to keep things chill. Big Coolers like YETIS and OTTERBOXES are great, we love them, but if you are tight on space and looking to be mobile with your ice/drinks, they can be a bit of a pain. Meet the ICE MULE Pro, we got the large version, which is perfect for hauling just the right amount of beer out on the SUP or even only on a short hike to a magnificent vista. There is nothing quite like pressing a freezing cold Outer Range Hazy IPA to your head while you soak in the view. The Pro in Large carries up to 18 cans and ice; you simply inflate it just a touch, put in some ice + reusable ice blocks (like YETI Ice), and roll down the top and clip. The backpack straps are comfortable, and even when it's fully loaded, they handle the weight pretty well. The materials are super rugged and durable, and the roll-top provides simple access you even your friend Stew can get at his Bud Lights (screw that, you won't carry those).
- Capacity: 23L / 18 cans + ice
- In Use Dimensions: 14" x 11" x 17" (L x W x H)
- Weight: 3.2 lbs
HIKI - A brand that was born from sweat, literally. The team at HIKI has set out to make real products for real people that sweat, from your underarms to your private sections, these guys have thought of it. These products are created with the best of intentions, are cruelty-free, contain no animal products, and use recyclable packaging on most products, with a goal of full sustainability for the portfolio.
We got a sample pack of goods ranging from handy wipes to underarm deodorant to anti-chafing sticks. Brilliantly packaged in simple bright design, this stuff just works and has excellent natural scents like Wood and Tea Tree Mint. If you are looking for an alternative to big-box brands that align with your values as a global citizen AND work quite well, dive into HIKI.
SwaddleDesigns Mask - In response to COVID 19, this Registered Nurse added a mask to her line up, and they are fantastic. Originally started as a baby blanket company (hence the name), this company is turning out some extremely comfortable masks. We got a 3-Layer Cotton Chambray mask that looks great and is one of the best fitting masks we have tried during the pandemic, and there have been MANY. Either the masks are too small, too flimsy, or the elastic is too tight and ends up irritating your ears or worse, leaving nasty rashes. SwaddleDesigns uses super soft cotton and stretchy elastic that has just enough tension to hold the mask in place comfortably. The mask's cut is also better with more material to cover more of your face, allowing it to be effective and give you a little breathing room. The mask features a bendable nose piece that will enable you to customize the fit and immediately know which side is up. Face masks are not going away anytime soon, so stock up on these ASAP. You'll be glad you did.
IZO Mezcal - If you haven't succumbed to the Mezcal trend yet, and you even remotely like tequila, IZO is going to pull you in. We know nothing about this spirit, other than that it's famous for having a worm in it and being quite smokey. The Mezcal with the worm in it is garbage and sold in Tijuana as a tourist gimmick. However, the smokey stuff has attained Scotch level status among connoisseurs and seen massive growth in the United States as the new "cool" thing to drink. Tequila is out (kinda), and Mezcal is the new hipster on the spirits block. For most pallets, Mezcal will be just too smoky, with a nose on some more robust varieties resembling burnt rubber. This spirit requires time to refine your tastes, and for some, it might be a permanent no due to the deep smoke.
We recently got a bottle of IZO, a brand created by Gaston Martinez and distilled by Master Mescalero, José Gonzales, in Durango, Mexico. This is a brand that was born to be premium from the beautiful bottle to the spirit inside. IZO has achieved the perfectly crafted balance of smoothness and just the right amount of smoke. Whether you are sipping it on the rocks or enjoying it in a cocktail, your tastebuds will explode with delight. We are not ones for peated Scotch or smokey Mezcal, but IZO has won us over.
Great for sitting by the campfire in style or taking on the road with you to celebrate the journey; this is a spirit to be savored. It makes a great margarita style cocktail (Margarizo) as well, but we are more prone to sipping it on the rocks. Find it if you can; you'll be glad you did.
Slowtide Beach Blankets and Towels - Beach towels are not something we think about much; we lay on them and dry off with them. Not very inspiring stuff if we are being honest, but critical gear for any outing that involves water. Well, Slowtide has changed the way we look at drying off and going to the beach. With products that are not only beautifully designed and inspired by creative people but finely crafted with sustainability in mind, Slowtide has become one of our new favorites.
Their Grateful Dead collaboration is dope, sporting different classic Dead imagery variations to please your inner Dead Head. Or if the GD is not your bag, you can find a variety of stellar designs for just about any taste. From blankets to towels to ponchos, Slowtide makes a great stylish traveling companion from the inside of your tent to your lakeside SUP home base; stay dry and comfy in style.
Third Eye Headlamps - So these guys not only make a badass, bright as f'ck headlamp, they make one that has some swagger. One piece of gear that is essential on road trips is a headlamp, for when you break camp or get into a pickle with a flat, having a bright light source strapped to your head is a lot easier than a flashlight. Third Eye's TE14 headlamp has six brightness settings for dialing up the light you need, features white and red light options, and is waterproof. The product is also crafted with 100% recyclable, non-toxic plastic. It has a variety of cool swappable headbands for your personal tastes. They do run on 3 AAA batteries, which is not our favorite option. Still, if you are out in the middle of nowhere, batteries are sometimes a better option, as long as you have a spare set.
So whether you are using it to set up camp in the dark, looking for a spot to pee that is Cougar free, or doing a little astral photography, the TE14 is a great companion.
Indosole - Summertime travel means flip flops and sandals. Indosole is making some of the best we have found for many reasons. Let's start with the product itself. These sandals are waterproof, have built-in arch support, excellent tread, and fantastic colors and design, from flip flops to slides. They look great, feel great, and are made for men, women, and mini-mes - so everyone can partake. Here's where the story gets even better, not only is the product great, but it's rooted in the right ideals from recycling old tires to using cruelty-free materials. Indosole was created for all the right reasons, to create a fantastic sandal perfect for global adventures to road trips that are sustainably produced.
Oro Women's Leggings and Face Coverings - Yoga pants are great and all, but sometimes you need something a little tougher and more resilient. Meet the ORO Leggings, the stylishly streamlined "yoga-ish" type pant, err legging. They come in a high wasted style perfect for comfortable road-tripping, a quick yoga sesh, or a SUP paddle out when the moment strikes. Made from a breathable mix of Nylon and Spandex, these pants will be your new best friends; think of them as the Swiss Army knife of yoga pants. ORO also makes a variety of face coverings and tops in the same material.
MiniMeis Child Carrier - If you have a mini-me around the age of 6 months to 4 years old, then the MiniMeis (MM) child carrier is something to consider. The MM allows a parent to carry their kido on their shoulders, hands-free, a stellar proposition when you are trying to be mobile around town, a music festival, or even a short hike. The harness easily fits around your shoulders, is secured by a couple tugs, and then you just hoist up your little tyke and bolt them in for the ride, freeing up your hands for important things like beer. We tested the carrier around a couple of different trips to Ft. Collins and Steamboat. It was super helpful for short excursions - roughly about an hour before you start to hit the wall. This is also the perfect device for day time music festivals, allowing you to maneuver easily through crowds and give the kid a better view, yeah better than yours. The carrier folds up flat, so it's easy to port and even put in your stroller base. Check out our other article about rolling out with your kiddos here.
23Vitals - Immune System Booster - During a pandemic and heading into the flu season, it's essential to keep yourself as healthy as possible and to have your immune system firing on all cylinders. 23Vitals was designed to maintain a healthy and robust immune system to stave off the nasties that are more prevalent than ever.
We all know that road trips mean more exposure to a potential sickness, whether it's the flu or other viruses and bacteria out there looking to ruin your trip. 23VITALS™ uses a sophisticated formula to help activate your immune system in proportion to the threat; in other words, it keeps all your immune jets ready to scramble should there be an unwelcome invasion. Get primed, get prepared. We tried the Strawberry Lemonade flavor that mixes easily into a glass of water and actually tastes incredible. Let's GO!
Phenoh - Hydrate, Focus, Energize with these Alkaline Elixirs - We love sci-fi beverages, especially when they are Alkaline and help you keep up with road-tripping riggers in a pandemic. Phenoh out of Palo Alto (of course) makes four variations of wonder powder that can be easily mixed with water to help you boost your Energy, Hydration, Immunity, and Endurance. These SuperBoosters combine Function-Specific Superfood Blends with Phenoh's Natural Alkaline Mineral Complex to get your water into a supercharged alkaline version beverage. We tried all the variations and found them to be especially helpful during the heatwave we have been going through, eliminating the need for disco naps.
Each one focuses on hydration and one other function. The four variations are Immunity, Energy, Hydration, and Endurance. Our favorites were Hydration with an extra boost of potassium to keep you going on hot days and Energy with 150 mg of Caffeine. The taste was meh, but it was easy enough to stir into our water and pound it to get the function.If you are also looking for another way to get your water alkaline, check out the Dyln water bottle, which is always with us on road trips.
Raum - Shoes made for grounding and sustainability - There is nothing better than a simple slip-on shoe for traveling and lounging at your campsite. If festivals were happening, they would be great for that too. Meet Raum, a shoe designed to connect you to the earth, keep you comfortable, and help keep our planet's economic ecosystem moving in the right direction. Made from all-natural materials with minimal waste, aka pollution, and crafted by Turkish cobblers, you are getting an actual work of art - not just a mass-produced shoe. The leather used is a bi-product of the food industry. The soles are naturally tanned, and all materials are locally sourced, meaning no shipping emissions. The shoes themselves are reasonably comfortable out of the bag (yes, no cardboard, and the shipping bag was also compostable, which we did!). However, they require a bit of wearing in to stretch the leather and mold to your feet. The shoes also pack super flat, so they are easy to take along as a second pair and are great for driving long distances. Suppose you are looking for a great casual shoe for various easy-going activities, including meditating in a field somewhere. In that case, these are your new go tos.
Nocs - Binoculars for the casual spectator looking to get a closer look at things - It's probably one of the things you always forget to pack but always wish you had a pair of binocs. Nocs make a stellar pair of affordable, rugged, waterproof, and yes, high-quality binoculars perfect for your adventures in COVID road tripping, camping, and beyond. With the equivalent of a 400mm lens, you can get close up to those ideal specimens, easy tiger, we mean things like deer, birds, waves, and all that sort of thing. You can even use your iPhone with them, just hold it up to the lens and pop off some shots - pretty cool. At $89 MSRP, they are hard to beat, if not impossible. They ship in a waste-free, recyclable cardboard package and also offer a variety of stylish straps if you are so inclined. If you are clutz, worry not, because the rubber grip helps keep them in your clumsy mits.