The temperatures are dropping and the open roads of the UAE are calling! But before you gather all your friends or family members into the car for your epic weekend road trip, you will definitely need supplies. From emergency kits for the car to power banks for phones with low batteries, it’s best to be prepared.
We looked into the list of a Dubai-based adventurer, who scales the emirates on the regular in his four-wheel-drive, for some hands-on advice.
"My family and I recently got back from a road trip to Ras Al Khaimah," said Mouhamed Hassan, a former Arabic teacher turned influencer, who shares advice on parenting, education and fitness on Instagram, where he's better known as Arab Baba. "I'm a huge believer in a monthly road trip outing, whenever you have the time, just to relax and get away from work for a few days with family. I love driving to different emirates and exploring places, particularly in Al Ain, Ajman and Dibba, which is close to Oman".
Hassan advises planning your itinerary for the two-day weekend. His choice of items differs with company: "It depends; when it's a family trip, we pick up snacks, story books, ice cream and juices for the kids. Battery, water, folding chairs, ice box and travel mugs are always in the car. With friends, we go for a sound system, tent for overnight camping, emergency car kit and more. The best time of the year for a road trip is December-January, in my opinion, when the weather is pleasant".
We know you probably cannot take time out from work or the routines of weekdays to go on a shopping spree, so we've compiled the list for you. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, avail these offers with express delivery and get it well in time for your trip!
1. Best Emergency Starter: TOPDON 2000A Peak Battery Jump Starter
- Jump-starts even larger vehicles with 8-litre pertrol engines
- Doubles as a flashlight and power bank for phones
- Must-have emergency car kit, per reviews
- Comes with a case
- Charger is bought separately
Before we look into trip essentials, it's crucial that your vehicle is geared up for the long, remote drive ahead. As Hassan mentions, it's always a good idea to have a battery booster in the trunk for unforeseen emergencies. The Topdon JumpSurge 2000 is an emergency starter that numerous drivers swear by in the reviews, even approved by those who've jump-started their dead cars on road trips. With 2,000 peak amps, the battery has enough power to start cars with 8-litre petrol engines. Plus, the pack doubles as a power bank and an emergency flashlight. Reviewers have left their charged pack in the car for months and still found it at 100 per cent upon return. Others report having jump-started their trucks and four-wheel-drives on camping trips.
Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh54.17 for 12 months with select banks.
2. Best Value First Aid Kit: Family Care ACCU First Aid Kit, 237 Pieces
If your car isn't already equipped with one, an outdoor first aid kit should be next on your trip list. Family Care ACCU's 237-piece hospital-grade medical supplies come in a compact bag that's waterproof. For this price, the kit is impressively packed, and includes an instant cold compress, adhesive bandages, an emergency blanket, cleaning swabs and so much more. Reviewers have opted for it as their go-to kit for the car.
3. Best Folding Chair: Blue Carbon Portable Camping Chair
The best of camping chairs are ergonomic, portable and sturdy. Take a seat in the desert with your cuppa, in the Blue Carbon foldable chair. Fitted with water-resistant 600D Oxford fabric, this chair has a bit of weight to it at 4.3kgs, owing to the heavy-duty steel frame. To one side, there's a foldable cup holder and on the other, you'll find a removable storage bag to store your phone, books, camera and more. If the weight has you on the fence, the chair comes with a carrying bag that has a shoulder strap. Reviewers say it's the best camping chair they've owned, considering how strong and comfortable it is, supporting a load of up to 140kgs.
4. Best Picnic Mat: Meadowlake Picnic Blanket (78″ x 78″)
You've stopped by a patch of grass or sand to have a quick bite and enjoy the vistas - what would be a comfortable mat for lounging? A plastic straw mat can take up a lot of functional space in the trunk, even when rolled up. Consider this soft picnic blanket with a waterproof underside, by Meadowlake. Its three-layered composition cushions seaters from grass, pebbles, sand and uneven rocky surfaces. The blanket is extra large, meaning it can easily seat up to six adults, so all your friends can have a spot on the mat, note reviewers. Your order includes four steel pegs for pinning the fabric down by the corners, on windy days. Buyers say it rolls up small with strap handles, compact enough to fit under a car seat.
5. Best Speaker for Trips: Sony SRS-XB23 Wireless Extra Bass Bluetooth Speaker (Black)
- IP67 rating - waterproof in up to one metre of water for 30 minutes, and dustproof
- Built-in mic for calls
- Impressive bass and sound clarity
- Fits into camping chair cupholders
- Up to 12 hours of battery life
- Bigger than most Bluetooth speakers
The soundtrack to your road trip doesn’t have to stop the moment you get out of range of your car’s speakers. This portable speaker by Sony was our best pick for family trips in 2022. Looking a lot like a travel tumbler, the cylindrical device easily slips into your chair's cupholder, and plays music for up to 12 hours. No matter where you are, by the beach or in the desert, the speaker survives the outdoor elements brilliantly, being waterproof, dustproof and washable. For music lovers who appreciate a punchier bass, this device has an extra bass mode, too. And once you’re done with your trip, you can even use it for conference calls at work.
Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh23 and two years for Dh33.
6. Best Ice Box: Coleman Cooler 30Qt, White/Blue
Make sure everyone's choice of beverages is refreshingly cold, in a reliable cooler. The Coleman 30-quart excursion cooler can store 51 cans; it's tall enough to even hold two-litre soda bottles upright. Toss your perishables in, like barbeque ingredients and picnic appetisers, to keep them fresh. Reviewers say they've used it to store ice cream and meat, as well. Since the cooler keeps ice for up to two days, it's perfect for overnight trips.
7. Best Power Bank for Trips: Anker Power Bank, PowerCore Essential 20,000mAh
- Two ports for charging two mobile devices
- Charges both Android and Apple phones, and tablets
- Delivers multiple charge cycles
- Serves well on long trips, per reviews
- Needs at least 10 hours for a full recharge
At one point in the final stretch of every road trip, all passengers predictably fight over the charging cable connected to the car, hoping to keep their battery-depleted phones on until they get home. You don’t ever have to be in that position, because Anker’s bestselling power bank provides more than four charges for the iPhone 11 and almost five full charges for Samsung Galaxy S10! It's our favourite power bank for charging mobile phones in 2022. Multiple people can use it over a single road trip, and continue to use their phones, Bluetooth earphones, and other gadgets to their hearts’ delight. Reviewers attest to the power bank's capabilities after returning from days-long trips.
Bonus: Save Dh25 when you apply a coupon.
8. Best Selfie Stick Tripod for Travel: TONEOF 60" Cell Phone Selfie Stick Tripod, White
- Weighs 332 grams only
- Selfie stick doubles as a tripod stand
- Built-in rechargeable remote control
- Fits phones up to seven inches
- Only holds smartphones
No acrobatics necessary to get a great picture with everyone in the group! This two-in-one selfie stick and tripod is perfect for capturing memories of your trip. The mount is compatible with all smartphones between four to seven inches in size, and it even comes with its own built-in remote control for stable, hands-free selfies. You can fold it down to a compact, travel-friendly size and store it in your glove box so you are always ready for a TikTok moment. Globetrotters in the reviews approve of the size, versatility and weight of the product.
9. Best Thermos Flask for Trips: Stanley Classic Legendary Bottle, 1.9L
This rugged, thick-walled thermal flask keeps liquids hot for 45 hours and drinks cool for up to two days. So, if you love glugging karak tea on all your road trip pit stops, Stanley's premium vacuum flask is the perfect tea-carrying companion. Since the leak-resistant lid doubles as a cup, passengers can pour themselves an instant cuppa while enjoying the view outside the car window. The thermos has a 1.9-litre capacity. Reviewers say it can even keep ice for three days in a hot car!
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