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A.I. is here, whether we like it or not. Like many tools, how well it is used depends more on the user than the tool. I decided to ask what items I could purchase for my car to make the road trips that my family goes on frequently more enjoyable.
Here is the prompt I gave it: “My family and I love taking road trips to various National Parks and outdoors-activity-focused locations. What are 12 car accessories I should buy to make road trips more enjoyable?”
Here are 12 car accessories that ChatGPT recommended that can make your road trips more enjoyable, with our human-generated recommendations below:
1. Roof rack
ChatGPT Response: A roof rack is a must-have accessory for outdoor enthusiasts. It allows you to carry additional gear on top of your vehicle, such as bicycles, kayaks, canoes or camping gear.
Why we recommend it: After six years of hauling duffels, bikes and stand-up paddleboards on this thing, it has yet to let us down. There is no rust on any part of it. For something that I originally bought because I thought it looked cool on my Subaru, it has seen more use than I ever could’ve imagined. The up-front cost is a lot, but if you’re lucky you can find it on sale or on fFacebook Marketplace or Craigslist.
2. Portable cooler
ChatGPT Response: A portable cooler is essential for keeping drinks and snacks cold during long road trips. It’s also great for keeping food fresh when camping.
Why we recommend it: My Yeti Tundra has been through a lot: road trips to Moab, overlanding throughout the Pacific Northwest, even cross-country trips in checked luggage, and it has handled it all. They’re pricey, but for a reason. If yours doesn’t get stolen from your campsite (it’s one of the most-stolen items in America, so keep that in mind) it’ll last you forever.
3. GPS navigation system
ChatGPT Response: A GPS navigation system can help you find your way on unfamiliar roads and trails, making it easier to get to your destination.
Why we recommend it: In this day and age you may be wondering why you would need a GPS when you have a phone. The biggest reason? Phones need a cell signal to load maps. This Garmin is ready to used out of the box, features a nice, large 5.5” screen, and will notify you of traffic changes.
ChatGPT Response: A sunshade can help keep the car’s interior cool and protect the dashboard and seats from UV damage.
Why we recommend it: The first time I went camping in the American southwest, the temperature hit 105 by 10:30am. Every time we stopped, our car would heat up so quickly that we spent a lot of time just waiting on the struggling AC to keep the inside temperature livable. This set of shades covers all or most of the windows in your car, and will keep the interior much cooler than if it was baking for hours while you are off on a hike or whatever activity you like to do in the summer.
5. Portable power bank
ChatGPT Response: A portable power bank can keep your phone and other devices charged while you’re on the go. It’s especially useful if you’re camping or hiking in areas without access to electrical outlets.
Why we recommend it: Anker is a solid brand with a good reputation, and $30 for a power bank isn’t too bad either. It’s slim, powerful and can charge your iPhone to 50% in 20 minutes.
6. Portable air compressor
ChatGPT Response: A portable air compressor is a handy accessory for camping and off-roading. It can inflate tires, air mattresses and other inflatables, and can be powered by your vehicle’s 12V outlet.
Why we recommend it: Not only can a portable air compressor help you air up after off-roading, having one around can prevent some headaches when it comes to flats and slow air leaks.
7. First-aid kit
ChatGPT Response: A first-aid kit is an essential accessory for any outdoor adventure. It should include items such as bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes and pain relievers.
Why we recommend it: This is something that hopefully you’ll never have to use, but it’s better to have one and not need to use it than the other way around. The one listed above is relatively inexpensive, yet has pretty much everything you’ll need for smaller emergencies.
8. Camping chairs
ChatGPT Response: A set of camping chairs can make your road trip more comfortable. They’re great for sitting around the campfire or watching the sunset at your destination.
Why we recommend it: I was recently on a mountain biking trip to Moab and tried out this loveseat. It was so comfy I could barely get out of it. Also, it is so low to the ground that I could barely get out of it.
9. Portable camping stove
ChatGPT Response: A portable camping stove is a great accessory if you plan on doing any outdoor cooking. It’s portable, easy to use, and allows you to cook your meals in the great outdoors.
Why we recommend it: I love my Coleman stove for camping, though I rarely use two burners at once. This one has both a stove and a grill, something I find much more useful.
10. Bluetooth speaker
ChatGPT Response: A Bluetooth speaker can provide entertainment during long drives or at your campsite.
Why we recommend it: This portable Bluetooth speaker has solid battery life and is waterproof. Just please don’t use it on a hiking trail. Just because you want to listen to Chumbawumba doesn’t mean everyone else out there does too (I’m looking at you, CU students hiking in Boulder).
11. Car vacuum
ChatGPT Response: A car vacuum can help keep your car clean during your road trip. It’s especially useful if you have kids or pets in the car.
Why we recommend it: This has been on our list of best car vacuums for as long as I can remember, and right now it is 25% off. Having a clean car is always a good thing. With all of the mud, dirt, sand, gravel and more mud I track into my car, not to mention food, having a portable vacuum like this one is a must.
ChatGPT Response: A dashcam can record your road trip and capture any unexpected events that may occur. It can also provide evidence in the event of an accident or other incident.
Why we recommend it: Is this the best dashcam out there? No. But with the current 50% off coupon it is $20. So if you are unsure if you’ll get any real use out of a dashcam, this is an almost painless purchase to go with.
One note from ChatGPT: “These car accessories can make your road trip more enjoyable, comfortable, and safe. Remember to choose accessories that are designed specifically for your vehicle model and are of high quality to ensure they are safe and effective.”
For more, human-written information on the best things to bring with you on a trip, check out these articles: