Foodies, Pack These Essentials Before Your Big Summer Road Trip

SUV hatchback packed for camping or picnic trip

Optimize your trunk space with these road trip essentials.

Getty

The upside of a driving vacation is you can toss anything and everything you think you need for your journey into the trunk. But digging through piles of clothing, useless appliances (did you really think you'd use your Instantpot at a campsite?) and who knows what else is not the most efficient way to spend your time on the open road. Beyond the clothing and hygiene essentials, here are a few delicious extras you'll want before you take to the highways this summer, to help you enjoy the road just a little bit more.

Portable grill

You never know when hunger will strike on the open road, and really, cooking your own food is so much better than swinging through a drive-thru. Keep a tiny grill in your trunk, along with a small bag of charcoal, grill tongs and a long lighter, so you can pick up local produce or meat wherever you are (plus their regional condiments, hot sauce or barbecue sauce) and get a taste of the area, your own way. Everdure by Heston Blumenthal's Cube Grill, weighs an easy 15 pounds and has travel-forward features like stay-cool handle that help you pack up in a rush. $229, Williams-Sonoma.com

Reusable straw

Whether you're sipping lemonade roadside or stopping into Starbucks for a caffeine rush, it's easy to cut down your carbon footprint by swapping in a reusable straw for the plastic or flimsy paper option. FinalStraw is the easiest option, folding up into quarters in a tidy case that fits on your keys or easily in your dashboard. Just run some water through it when you're done drinking and use the attached mini cleaning brush to keep it fresh throughout the trip. $24.95, finalstraw.com

Portable utensils

Whether you're stranded with leftovers and no fork to eat your lunch remains with, or prepping your own food and just need a tool to get it into your mouth, having a portable set of silverware is never a bad idea. W&P's stainless steel set tries to minimize plastic waste with its slim reusable fork, spoon and knife that fit conveniently into a BPA free silicone carrying case to keep your utensils clean while traveling. $18, wandpdesign.com

Backpack

Whether you pack in suitcases, tote bags or use some combination of stacking and stuffing to load up your car, make sure you have a backpack for day trips, impromptu picnics, hikes and more. Stock it with a few essentials that can withstand the heat of your car, like hand sanitizer, bug spray, tissues and a rechargeable phone battery, and you'll be ready to take off on a mini adventure in an instant. Dagne Dover's medium Dakota backpack has space for all the essentials, plus compartments to stay organized and keep your water bottle easily accessible. $175, DagneDover.com

Snack containers

Pack up leftovers, bulk products and plenty of crunchy, salty, fresh things to nosh on while you drive. S'well's new line of reusable food containers are stylish and easy to tote around, whether you're a pretzel person or more into carrots and hummus. The containers are condensation-proof, leak-free and help keep food at the temperature it is when you pack it up, so you can drive for miles before refilling on snacks. $24.99, SwellBottle.com

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The upside of a driving vacation is you can toss anything and everything you think you need for your journey into the trunk. But digging through piles of clothing, useless appliances (did you really think you'd use your Instantpot at a campsite?) and who knows what else is not the most efficient way to spend your time on the open road. Beyond the clothing and hygiene essentials, here are a few delicious extras you'll want before you take to the highways this summer, to help you enjoy the road just a little bit more.

Portable grill

You never know when hunger will strike on the open road, and really, cooking your own food is so much better than swinging through a drive-thru. Keep a tiny grill in your trunk, along with a small bag of charcoal, grill tongs and a long lighter, so you can pick up local produce or meat wherever you are (plus their regional condiments, hot sauce or barbecue sauce) and get a taste of the area, your own way. Everdure by Heston Blumenthal's Cube Grill, weighs an easy 15 pounds and has travel-forward features like stay-cool handle that help you pack up in a rush. $229, Williams-Sonoma.com

Reusable straw

Whether you're sipping lemonade roadside or stopping into Starbucks for a caffeine rush, it's easy to cut down your carbon footprint by swapping in a reusable straw for the plastic or flimsy paper option. FinalStraw is the easiest option, folding up into quarters in a tidy case that fits on your keys or easily in your dashboard. Just run some water through it when you're done drinking and use the attached mini cleaning brush to keep it fresh throughout the trip. $24.95, finalstraw.com

Portable utensils

Whether you're stranded with leftovers and no fork to eat your lunch remains with, or prepping your own food and just need a tool to get it into your mouth, having a portable set of silverware is never a bad idea. W&P's stainless steel set tries to minimize plastic waste with its slim reusable fork, spoon and knife that fit conveniently into a BPA free silicone carrying case to keep your utensils clean while traveling. $18, wandpdesign.com

Backpack

Whether you pack in suitcases, tote bags or use some combination of stacking and stuffing to load up your car, make sure you have a backpack for day trips, impromptu picnics, hikes and more. Stock it with a few essentials that can withstand the heat of your car, like hand sanitizer, bug spray, tissues and a rechargeable phone battery, and you'll be ready to take off on a mini adventure in an instant. Dagne Dover's medium Dakota backpack has space for all the essentials, plus compartments to stay organized and keep your water bottle easily accessible. $175, DagneDover.com

Snack containers

Pack up leftovers, bulk products and plenty of crunchy, salty, fresh things to nosh on while you drive. S'well's new line of reusable food containers are stylish and easy to tote around, whether you're a pretzel person or more into carrots and hummus. The containers are condensation-proof, leak-free and help keep food at the temperature it is when you pack it up, so you can drive for miles before refilling on snacks. $24.99, SwellBottle.com

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