10 Essentials to Pack for Your Next Great Road Trip

This is a guest blog post by professional free ride mountain biker Thomas Vanderham.


Image - 10 Essentials to Pack for Your Next Great Road Trip

Thomas Vanderham in his Toyota 4Runner heading out on a road trip

One of the great and unique things about being a mountain biker in BC is the number of amazing riding locations you have within driving distance. It seems as though every town has a dedicated group of riders, trail builders and bike shops. As a result, I spend a lot of time every year driving to film shoots, events, and bike camps in my trusty Toyota. Over the years I’ve learned the importance of being prepared for life on the road.

Here are 10 things that I always have packed in my 4Runner before I leave for a road trip.

Image - 10 Essentials to Pack for Your Next Great Road Trip

Thomas Vanderham’s Top 10 Essential Items to Pack for a Road Trip

1. Sleeping bag– You just never know when you might need to spend a night in your vehicle. I always throw in my sleeping bag and Thermarest in case my 4Runner suddenly turns into my bedroom! (Sleeping bag- MEC Talon, Thermarest- Neo Air lite)

2. Emergency kit– This was actually a gift from my Dad when I bought my first Tacoma. That was about 15 years ago and I can’t count the times that it has come in handy. (In the kit- duct tape, pliers, wrench, jumper cables, rope, matches, tire plugs, siphon hose and a knife.)

3. Coffee– I love my coffee and I haven’t found a better travel set up than the Aeropress. I take it with me everywhere, along with a single burner stove. Freshness is of the utmost importance so I buy local beans and I always grind fresh with my hand grinder. (Aeropress, Moja coffee beans, MSR stove)

4. Sunglasses– I’ve developed a habit of wearing sunglasses all of the time, especially when I’m driving. I try to keep at least a few pairs of different sunglasses in my vehicle at all times. (Sunglasses- Ryders Eyewear)

5. Camping Axe– You can never go wrong carrying around a tool like an Axe. I take this one with me on every camping trip. Its 20-inch handle allows you to use it well with either one or two hands. (Axe- Wetterlings)

6. Food and water– I always keep my water bottle full and a few energy bars on hand in case I’m running low on energy. The last thing I want is to have to get food at a gas station! (Bars- Clif)

7. Air compressor– When I go offroad for any sustained amount of time I drop the pressure in my tires. Having a portable air compressor allows me to fill them back up when I hit pavement again rather than waiting until the next gas station. (Compressor- Viair)

8. Headlamp– Whether it’s getting back late from a ride or setting up camp after dark, a headlamp is a great item to have with you at all times. Make sure to pack extra batteries for it too. (Headlamp- Petzel)

9. Camera– I keep my camera close by when I travel to capture those unexpected moments on the road. I’m very fortunate that my job takes me all over the beautiful province of British Columbia and I really enjoy documenting my travels. (Camera- Sony a6000)

10. 5-Gallon cooler– This party cooler converts any already useful 5-gallon pale into an insulated cooler. Your dishwashing basin just turned into the ultimate post ride accessory! (Party Cooler- Dakine)

That should be a pretty good start! Safe travels and happy trails.

Image - 10 Essentials to Pack for Your Next Great Road Trip

Thomas and his trusty 4Runner


Thomas Vanderham Photo   Thomas Vanderham is Professional Freeride mountain biker based in North Vancouver, BC. He’s also a father, coffee lover, sports fan and world traveller. You can connect with Thomas on Facebook and Instagram.