Welcome to In a Better Place, in which we help you handsome up your home, office or apartment, one space at a time. This week: your car seat.
The end of summer is not the end of the road.
With one last big weekend to go — and the grandeur of fall still ahead — let us pack our cars and head out for America’s highways and byways.
As for what, exactly, to bring along?
These: the 15 must-haves for your next road trip, an array of gear that has your comfort, safety and entertainment covered during the long drives ahead.
As the great Nic Cage once spasmodically preached: “Remember, the car is you, you are the car. Ok? Let’s ride.”
Your seat cushion: Domic
There are a million (ugly) memory foam pads out there — instead, add some nice, subtle color to your ride, even if you’re the only who knows it’s there. Holding that memory foam in place: A waterproof/oil resistant top and a skid-proof bottom layer, so no stains and no slippage.
Your all-over cushion: Gideon GD-MSG-CS2
Gonna get your kicks on (the 2,451 miles of) Route 66? For long hauls, forego looks and revel in the four deep-kneading shiatsu massaging nodes that travel up and down the back, as well as the three vibrating levels of massage in the seat cushion. Good for your seat posture, too (and currently 46% off).
Your backup camera: AUTO-VOX M1W
As in, when you need to backup or park in a tight spot, even at night, and you’re not in a newer model of car. The M1W is wireless, so setup is a snap, and the transmitter is waterproof.
Your voice control: Roav VIVA
Keep your eyes on the road and use voice commands to get directions, news, weather or music with this little plug-in. The VIVA comes with a secure mount for your phone and two USB charging ports. (Currently 52% off.)
Your organizers: KMMOTORS
A slim side storage solution that’s simple to stick on, well, whatever you want: ideally, it’ll keep your phone, pen, coins, sunglasses and whatnot in arm’s reach but off the floor.
Your floor mat: Husky Liners
The top-rated mats on Amazon — please do check that they’ll fit your car or truck first — form to the contours of your vehicle’s seats (driver’s side or not). How? “Our nerds use lasers and computers to precisely measure each individual make and model’s floorboard to create the perfect fit,” they say. Sure. Also, made in the USA.
Your emergency kit: Ztylus Singer
A spring-loaded window puncher and seatbelt cutter (with two quick-charge USB ports) that fits in your car charger, so it’s always within easy reach during emergencies.
Your odor protector: Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag
Those tree fresheners just mask pungentness. These fragrance- and chemical-free bags are filled with moso bamboo charcoal, which absorbs and removes odors and allergens. Reusable, too.
Your radar detector: Escort Max 360
Besides the usual radar and laser threats, the Max 360 arrives preloaded with a database of red light and speed camera locations across the country. It’s also smart: Paired with an app, it’ll learn your route and filter out false alerts.
Your car key ring: KeySmart Pro
Debulkifies (it’s a word) your myriad everyday lockpicks, sure. But the KeySmart also comes with a loop piece for your car fobs, an array of optional accessories (pliers, screwdriver, mini flashlight) and built-in smart tracking via Tile, so you can use your phone to find your keys ... and vice versa.
Your onboard mechanic: FIXD Diagnostic Sensor
If you own a car made after 1996, this is a safety check. It plugs into your vehicle’s OBD-II port to monitor your car’s diagnostics — paired with an app, it’ll send you notifications on your car’s issues, the consequences of continuing to drive with said problem, and even an estimate of how much it’ll cost to fix.
Your dash cam: Garmin Dash Cam 65W
While you’re unlikely to record any viral videos driving down the highway, having a dash cam on and ready is practical for safeguarding against any questionable blame in a car accident (because you are always the good driver, not that other dude). This tiny Garmin cam can save a video, take a picture, record audio and create beautiful time lapses via simple voice commands.
Your travel thermos: Zojirushi Black 16-oz. Travel Mug
Aside from its handsome, sleek exterior, this travel mug stands out for its no-spill design. While it’s common for thermoses to boast all-day temperature retention, few have locking lids that protect against bumpy roads and sudden stops ... while only needing one hand to safely open or close.
Your watch: Autodromo Ford GT Endurance Chronograph
A racing timepiece inspired by the watch company’s storied history at Le Mans, which started in 1966. The five different colorways feature dials and details closely associated with classic Ford racers — such as the 40mm Heritage 67, which takes its cue from the 1967 Le Mans winning car combined with the number 1 roundel seen on the 2017 Ford GT Heritage car.
Waze for navigation, GasBuddy for finding the nearest cheap fuel, Parkify for locating your parked car, Stitcher for podcasts, Audible for audiobooks, Honk for roadside assistance on demand and Roadtrippers for an idea of where to go.
Now get out on the road.
Additional reporting by Ryan Thaxton