Road Trip Survival Tips

Ideas & Advice

So it’s almost June and I’ve been on the road with the Eastern Mountain Sports Outdoor Demo Tour for about 4 weeks now. At the moment we’re based out of James’s native Rhode Island, and because of its convenient central location we can commute to tour stops in the surrounding area. How nice it is to be back in New England! On the way back here I managed to drive through NY City with no incident and even merged lanes in traffic—twice!


I’m getting better at this whole city driving thing. I’m starting to miss my native white mountains, but man is the flat land great for cruising along the beach. Just the other day I managed to sneak away in the morning and demo the one solid carbon fiber road bike we have on the trailer—a Felt Z4. With Shimano 105 components and Mavic wheels this thing is made for speed!


Anyway, living in close proximity to someone with little personal space can be difficult—like living in a dorm for the first time, going on a road trip requires one to get used to having little to no personal space. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about a road trip, so if any of you out there are inspired by the EMS demo crew to go out and create your own adventure, here are a few road trip survival tips to avoid throttling your road trip mates:

v  Bring Headphones! Then bring back up headphones for that one time you’ll fall asleep with them on and forget them in the hotel room. In the possible scenario you and your road trip mate(s) don’t have the same taste is music, this is an easy place for an argument to arise. Example: I happen to love all things classic rock and reggae, James does not. So unless I feel like cruising on I-95 to Skrillex, I’m usually listening to my own tunes.

v  Some sort of apparatus to connect a mobile device to your vehicle’s stereo. Scanning through static and terrible hip-hop stations can get really frustrating, also one can only pack so many CDs that also take up space.  Plus the constant humming of an engine close to full throttle can get repetitive.

v  Silence is golden. Being in close proximity to one person for an extended amount of time can be taxing. If there’s nothing to be said there’s nothing to be said. Don’t like awkward silence? Bust out those headphones.

v  Time your naps. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a co-pilot fall asleep while navigating. If you happen to be riding shotgun, your job is to navigate. Especially important when hauling a long trailer when you haven’t the faintest clue where you are. Try and wait until you’re at least on the highway.

v  Learn how to fit everything you might want to have handy in a near by man-purse sized “grab bag.” I prefer the Eastern Mountain Sports packable daypack, as it packs into the size of a toiletries kit when not in use.  Snacks, water, tuneage, reading material, camera and my various chargers go in here.

v  If you don’t have an easy pass, Bring copious amounts of CHANGE! There’s nothing more embarrassing then having to tear apart the car at a toll booth plaza looking for change.

v  Bring a GPS if you have one. Then hope somebody has a smart phone as a back-up. James and I have a GPS, 2 smart phones, and an iPad and still manage to get turned around at times. And definitely don’t follow it verbatim if you get lost. Not only have I been led down some sketchy roads by a robotic female voice, but these gadgets often don’t tell you to do a simple U-turn when usually that’s all you need to do.

v  Locals are your best source of information. Guys, I know we as men have a rather strong aversion to asking for directions, but sometimes it’s better to swallow your pride and get a recommendation on a better road and a delicious locally owned restaurant. Rather than listening to a monotone robot voice repeating “re-calculating.” James has proved right with this on several occasions.

I’ll be based out on Rhode Island for a few weeks, so I’m looking for recommendations on:

- Local burger/craft brew joints

- Scenic road bike routes

- Places to mountain bike ride

- The nearest Sonic. The one we tried to go to in Quakertown, PA was closed and now I’m craving it. Kinda like Harold and Kumar only I want to go straight there.  Until next week, Cheers!



Ben Cargill

An employee of our North Conway, NH store since 2009, Ben is excited to be hitting the road as one of our 2013 Outdoor Demo Tour drivers. Ben was born and raised in the White Mountains where he started skiing and biking at a young age. He spends his free time hiking the High Peaks of New Hampshire, shredding the backcountry and skiing or running with his dog. He recently finished hiking all 48 4,000 footers in New Hampshire and hopes to take on the Appalachian Trail some day.


  1. Abby Nash
    June 7, 2013, 4:17 am

    My road trip tip would be don’t try and adopt a cat along the way…

    Tried this in Spain. Turns out, you have to find a home for the thing when the road trip ends. Who knew???

    We ended up getting lucky and dropping it off at a monastery.

    Also, being OK with your road trip partner not taking showers and having a bad sense of humor.

  2. June 3, 2013, 12:21 pm

    Mountain Biking: Lincoln Woods and George Washington Management Area come to mind.

    Craft brew: Trinity Brewhouse and Union Station in Providence are great places for craft beers and burgers.

    Scenic road bike route: The East Bay Bike Path from East Providence to Bristol is a great ride.

    Sonic: Closest ones are about 60 miles north of Providence in Wilmington and Peabody, MA.

    Hope these help!

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