5 Essential Car Accessories for the Summer Vacation

What do you need for an on the road summer vacation? 6 photos
Photo: Amazon
Yakima - SkyBox Aerodynamic Rooftop Cargo SpaceSmittybilt Overlander TentAdakiit Car Emergency KitAllen Sports 4-Bike Hitch RacksWagan 6214 14L 12V Electric Cooler
Summer is just around the corner in most parts of the world, and the impending arrival of the season’s first month is reason enough to start making vacation plans and drawing up the routes to be taken this year.
For decades now, vacations in general and summer ones in particular have involved cars to some extent or another. For some, a car is just a means of transportation to and fro, but there are others that make their vehicle an essential – if not the essential - part of their trip.

Whatever the destination, be it an adventure out in the open or a carefully planned road trip, there’s a good chance some specialized car gear will be required to make this summer one to remember.

So, what are the items that could help make the days ahead better, more comfortable and safer? Below you will find a list of five important accessories a car adventurer needs to have when departing home for quality time in the wild.

Smittybilt Overlander Roof Tent - For those planning to spend a couple of nights smack down in the middle of uninhabited areas, having a place to sleep is essential. There are now several accommodation solutions available, but none is as easy to use and comfortable to sleep in like a roof tent.

There are possibly hundreds of different roof tents now on the market, in various configurations and serving a variety of needs. But one of the most sought after such tent in online stores is the Smittybilt Overlander.

Capable of seating two full-size adults and a small child, the Overlander comes complete with a high-density 92" x 55" foam double mattress capable of a 661 lb. maximum load. And there’s no chance of getting wet in case of rains, as the tent is made of heavy-duty polyester.

Starting from $999.99 on Amazon, the tent comes with anodized aluminum poles, an aluminum telescoping ladder that extends up to 6 1/2 ft. and mosquito screen. As an extra touch, there is even a LED strip light. An optional annex that can act as a space for cooking can also be provided.

On the downside, those who bought one found that the assembly instructions are a bit hard to understand. That however should not be a problem for an experienced trekker.

This particular tent has been specifically designed to work with the Jeep Wranglers produced starting with 2007.

Wagan 6214 Electric Cooler - A trip in the wild by car, in the middle of summer, is only a brilliant idea if you find ways to keep your liquids cool. After all, a crystal clear stream can only do so much when it comes to the craving for something cold.

Electric coolers for cars are a dime a dozen nowadays, and so different in terms of what they have to offer that choosing the best one is a tedious and at times risky proposition. Luckily, there are countless reviews on most of them, so an informed decision can be made after a few hours of research.

And our research led to the Wagan 6214, one of those coolers that can double as a heater. Operating when plugged into the car’s 12v outlet, this refrigerated box can chill 12 cans of soda (or beer) at a time, or can be packed with food.

The Wagan, selling from $87,60, cools at 32 -36 degrees Fahrenheit below room temperature and can heat stuff to at most 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Not exactly a microwave oven, but enough for daily needs.

On the downside, if it happens to be night out when you’re getting thirsty, you’ll probably have to feel your way inside the cooler, as there no light to tell you what you’re grabbing.

Allen Sports Bike Rack - Outdoor vacations are only memorable if they’re coupled with outdoor activities. And what better way – and easier – to have fun than deploying a bicycle on site?

The tricky part is getting the bikes to the location. Since cars usually don’t come with enough room to accommodate bikes, buying an aftermarket rack is essential. And here too there are plenty to choose from, depending on need, car type and so on.

Available for vehicles with a 2-inch Class III or IV trailer hitch only and selling from $99, the Allen Sports bike rack can hold a total of four two-wheelers, meaning all the family can join in on the fun.

Each bike can be tied down individually, and the carry arm can rotate to be able to support different bicycle frames, but you should be careful when you do that so that there is as little contact with the hard material of the rack as possible, otherwise there’s a risk of damaging the bike.
When not in use, to not impede the car’s normal operation, the rack can be folded down.

Yakima SkyBox Rooftop cargo space - Planning for a long time away from home requires a lot of space for supplies and apparel. In most cases, the cargo space provided by any car’s trunk is simply not enough to hold all that’s needed for a prolonged vacation.

Yakima’s SkyBox range of rooftop cargo holders is among the most sought after by travelers. Aerodynamic enough as to not destroy the car’s performances, the unit is large enough to fit snowboards and skis up to 72 inches in length.

Priced from $399, the cargo space can be used on cars with a crossbar spread of between 24 to 36 inches.

Emergency kit - When on the road, you never know when an emergency might occur, so being equipped for the worst case scenario is the safe thing to do. Of course, cars usually come fitted with a medical kit, but there are so many things that can go wrong in a prolonged trip that it’s even safer to pay the extra buck and know you’re equipped with everything you need to get out from a sticky situation.

The Adakiit Car Emergency is a multifunctional kit that includes everything from raincoat to safety pins. Priced at $30.99, this package includes the essentials for roadside assistance (warning triangle, reflective vest, tow rope, hammer, seatbelt cutter), survival (gloves, raincoat, fire blanket, cotton swabs and even a whistle) and do it yourself repair tools (tape, tire pressure gauge, screwdriver, jumper cables and safety pins).
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Editor's note: Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links, and we may receive a commission when you buy one of these products. Nevertheless, this does not impact our choice of products or the information provided here.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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