According to the AAA, 41.9 million people will hit the road for the 4th Of July holiday and as soon as you get on the highway you’re going to realize you’re stuck behind 39.4 million of them. Fortunately, the was-4-but-now-looks-more-like-6-hour drive will be a piece of cake, because you’ve already stocked up on all these gadgets and accessories to keep your kids happily occupied in the backseat like the well-behaved little humans they are. Wait … you didn’t stock up on all these yet? That’s cool — they sell ear plugs at the gas station.
BRICA i-Hide Car Seat Organizer With Tablet Viewer
When you were a kid on long road trips, you had a Sony Walkman with sponge headphones to pass the time. Your kid has a high-resolution touch screen containing hours of video, games, and music, all secured to the back of your seat with an organizer that holds toys, snacks, a water bottle, and anything else they might need. Basically, you had a cabinet radio; your kid has a multiplex with stadium seating. Life isn’t fair.
BRICA i-Hide Car Seat Organizer With Tablet Viewer ($25)
Yada Car Baby MonitorFor parents who obsessively check the nursery baby monitor despite the fact that the kid is 50 feet away and clearing sleeping soundly, Yada’s car version of the same device has a camera that mounts on the headrest and a screen that mounts to the dash or windshield. It helps avoid sketchy neck craning or mirror adjusting at 75 mph, and is a perfect tech solve for sibling mayhem.
Bobble Water BottleTap water in the wild tends to taste … weird. Bobble bottles include their own carbon filter to remove chlorine and other funky-tasting particulates while you drink, so even a gas station bathroom tap will taste as clean as whatever they’re trying to sell you from their cooler. Each filter equals 300 of those disposable bottles, so buy one for everyone in the car and claim mad green cred while burning fossil fuels.
Playtray Kids Travel TrayThis activity tray has near-universal compatibility with car seats, strollers, and airplane seats, plus it’s ripstop fabric is kid-proof and the whole thing folds into it’s own carrying case. If you have one of those magical kids who only needs a flat surface and paper and crayons to be happy, this thing is the greatest invention of all time. If you don’t, at least they’ll something to bang on when they get antsy.
Playtray Kids Travel Tray ($30)
Black And Decker 20V MAX Pivot VacIf your car tends to accumulate a small landfill worth of food and detritus within the first 150 yards of your driveway, bring a fully charged 20V Max with you. It has a high-powered motor with cyclonic action, which keeps the filter clear and the suction strong, but the pivoting nozzle means it’s small enough to stow away under a seat or in a trunk. Or, just figure out how to teach your kids how to eat carefully. Good luck with that.
Black And Decker 20V MAX Pivot Vac ($75)
Diono Seat Belt PillowRemember that time you had the brilliant idea to duct-tape a pillow around the shoulder strap of your seat belt so you could pass out cold comfortably while sitting upright in a car? Someone just did that, but way better.
Diono Seat Belt Pillow ($10)
Navdy Heads Up DisplayAdmittedly, this is a bit of tease, since it’s only available for pre-order — but at 40 percent off the $500 retail price! A dash-mounted projector that displays turn-by-turn directions, texts, emails, and phone calls onto a 5.1-inch screen on your windshield, Navdy recognizes touchless gestures and voices, so you can toggle between functions without ever taking your hands off the wheel. Basically, it turns your car into an F-16 cockpit and you into Maverick — just don’t let your ego write checks your body can’t cash.
Navdy ($299 pre-order)
Rhino Rack Sunseeker AwningRest stops are for suckers. Rhino Rack’s 8-foot awning mounts easily to most roof racks and provides 54-square feet of shade and shelter wherever you want it. Sure, it doesn’t include vending machines or bathrooms, but you have plenty of snacks because you’re a well-prepared roadtripper, and it’s time the kids discover the joy of making like the bears do: in the woods.
Rhino Rack Sunseeker Awning ($369)
Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof BinocularsAny road trip worth its gas is going to pass a few viewpoints, and since you can now turn those viewpoints into the world’s best rest stops (see above), make sure to maximize your down time with these binocs. They’re nearly kid-proof and powerful enough to absorb their attention nearly as well as the tablet hanging off the back seat — in other words, a good plan B for when the battery dies.
Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Binoculars ($90)
Yeti Roadie 20 Quart CoolerYeti coolers will keep ice solid after 48 hours in 90-degree weather, which is why hunters and fishermen swear by them to keep their catch and kills from stinking to high heaven on long trips. They’ll keep whatever drinks and snacks you need cold no matter how much sun they get in the back of your car. They won’t do anything about how bad your kids stink, but one out of 2 isn’t bad.
Yeti Roadie 20 Quart Cooler ($250)
Hotel TonightFind and book hotels at the last minute, at rates negotiated specifically for 2 use cases: Guys with a few kids melting down in the backseat after 8-12 hours on the road, and horny couples on the road whose backseat isn’t big enough to accommodate them. It would provide even greater savings for a horny couple with a few kids melting down in the backseat, but that couple has never existed.
Hotel Tonight (Free)