Pendleton Throw Blanket
This has come in handy for numerous reasons. I use it as an extra layer over my sleeping bag when it’s chilly at night, we’ve used it tons of times as a picnic blanket for naps in a park, and it can double as a pillow when folded up. The fact that it’s wool makes it so much easier, as we haven’t had to wash it yet! Here’s the one we have.
Camelbak Water Bottle
The design of this is so easy to use when you’re driving and can’t use two hands to take a drink of water.
Car Phone Charger and a Phone Holder
We’ve both been using our phones a LOT on the trip for pictures, music, directions, and to find places to eat or sleep, so we need them charged in the car most days – especially if we’re camping. The phone holder sits in the lefthand side of our windshield and is right in our line of vision as we drive. It’s been really nice to not have to look down for directions, as that can be distracting and dangerous.
Mountain House Dehydrated Meals
These are great, even if you’re not camping! They just use hot water to rehydrate the food, and they’re pretty filling for 2 people with a can of beans on the side or instant potatoes or something. When we need a quick meal, these are the go-to.
We have been in every situation imaginable, and of course needed nice footwear to keep us dry. Grant prefers his Red Wings for all situations, and I have a pair of hiking shoes that work for me.
Our wool underlayers have been a lifesaver on cold nights, even just to hang out in as I write this blog post (my leggings are broken in and are so cozy!) We both handled winter before the trip with ease thanks to our wool.
We bought some cheap layers in Wyoming when we realized our more “running windbreaker-type” layers were just not comfortable to wear all the time. I got a green Land’s End fleece jacket for $13 and wear it pretty much everyday, and every night to bed while camping. It basically doubles as a sweatshirt and overcoat all in one.
We have used these all the time, obviously while we’re camping in the tent but also when we Couchsurf with someone and they maybe only have one couch (if we’re lucky!) It eliminates the need to rely solely on our host for comfort, and we like being prepared to sleep anywhere.
We both downloaded all the books we were interested in reading on the Kindle and saved tons of space in our car. The Kindle is great to de-clutter if you don’t mind reading on a tablet – which we actually really enjoy.
I’ve needed to go to sleep in the middle of the day to gain a bit of energy, and I always have so much trouble if it’s light out. I really appreciate how a simple little eye mask helps so much to fool my overactive brain into getting some rest.
For Christmas, I bought a “one-a-day” diary for my mom and I to both have, and it’s really been helpful for remembering hilights each day if I can’t get to my computer to document it via the blog. It’s cool because it will go on for 5 years, and is laid out to have each day of the year on the same page – so next year I can look back at what I was doing that very same day and remember all the fun times!
Lumbar Support Pillow
I have a terrible back, so I knew I needed a bit of comfort for the long drives we’d be taking. I bought a memory foam pillow to support my back when I drive, and it’s great because sometimes I feel like I am too small for the Subaru seat – this gives me a bit of leverage and saves my back from straining as well.
America The Beautiful Pass
This annual national parks pass has been super helpful with admission to every park and even national forests. We’ve been able to use it at campsites too for discounts, which has added up!