Sam Jackson

Cross Country Drive Essentials

assuming you're not taking your time

I'm no trucker, but I've driven coast to coast enough times to be over the take-your-time, week-plus long roadtrip. At this point, I just want to get to the other side and fast. If you've got a lot of driving coming up and could care less about the roses, here's what you're gonna need:

1. Caffeine pills

People that haven't taken caffeine pills before tend to be a little wary of them -- popping one of these feels a little too much like taking drugs. Which is probably because caffeine is a drug, and an effective one at that.

When it's 3 AM on I-94 in the middle of North Dakota you'll be eating them by the handful and thankful for it.

2. Radio tuner

This only applies if your car is a P.O.S. like mine. Since you definitely don't want to be alone with your thoughts, being able to listen to music/podcasts/whatever to distract yourself from introspection is key.

This tuner in particular is a twofer in that you get the USB outlet as well, which leads us to...

3. Charger for da phone

Srsly don't forget this. As you know, without your phone you are essentially a savage and probably have no idea how to read a map or ask for directions anymore. Also your car could break down, etc.

4. Ibuprofen

Lots of it! Your back and butt are gonna be sore as hell after even a few hours of driving. Some people say NSAIDs are bad for your stomach or something, and combined with handfuls of caffeine pills, they might even be right. Which is why you should eat it with...

5. Protein bars

Protein bars might not taste all that great, but they're probably better for you than chips or those weird packaged pastries they sell in gas stations and they definitely keep you full longer. I like Quest bars, mostly because of the laughably bad graphics on their wrappers. Get it together guys.

6. Energy drinks

While you should try to avoid drinking any fluids as much as possible so you don't have to stop, eventually you will need to rehydrate. The best option here is an energy drink of your choice since you'll get both caffeine and some carbs to even out all those protein bricks you've been downing.

7. Coolant

I always keep some extra coolant under my front seat because you never know when your p.o.s. is gonna spring a leak and overheat. This is one piece of actually good advice.

8. Sleeping bag

You'll want this if you don't get the coolant like I suggested, or if you crap out early and and can only make it to Fargo and need to take a nap. And for those of you driving in the summer, don't underestimate Fargo -- you might want want to crawl into this mummy bag just to shield yourself from suburban dystopia.
Share on Twitter