I quite honestly lost count, but I’ve driven across the US damn near 15+ times at this point, and I still prefer it to flying. The open road beats the high sky in my book. Endless adventures, days of exploring, and a million different routes. But, the one I’ve taken the most is the long stretch across the south…the million miles of empty space that extends cross country right along the southern border. It’s pretty great until you hit Texas. And then there’s nothing. A few ghost towns. A couple of gas stations. A lot of dust and drought. It’s like crossing another continent and takes nearly as long as it did just to get to that state to begin with. And then, once you’re through, it’s a quick shot to the Golden State. But along the way, there’s essentials. In any long road trip, there’s a few things you need to keep it fun and, obviously, interesting. And I’m not talking about the ipod, camera, board game crap. I mean the weird shit that no one would think of. Or the bizarre item someone laughs at you for and then wishes they had one too.
After a few tours, you quickly begin to realize the little things you need, sort of a personal survival kit. I have a couple items in mind but my number one essential is a generic gallon of apple juice. Seriously. Here’s why. First of all, that shit tastes great even if you don’t have a cooler to chill it in. You ever drink apple juice straight off the shelf? Room temp apple juice may as well be warm cider aka, delicious. Plus, if it’s winter months, it’s gonna stay cold anyway even if it’s just sitting on the floor of the van. Apple juice isn’t going to curdle, go flat or sour and is a huge boost of Vitamin C. Finally, if you wake up with a hangover, that shit is like a secret cure all.
I asked a few of my good friends and fellow tour buddies what their essential tips and tidbits were for those long road trips. It’s good to know we all agree on hangover cures, semi-fresh, presentable attire and staying ‘comfortable.’

Kenan Bell and I have spent many a long tours together so as familiar as I am with what he has in his knapsack, I was still stoked to hear a couple of his other essentials: $$$, scent-proof trousers, a pen and paper as well as a few honorable mentions including a zebra print snuggie and an endless supply of mind altering substances i.e. caffeine, peanut butter and jelly, and cup o’ noodles with chili powder, all readily available from any of your fine freeway truck stops. Food Tour of America!

Eddie B. Gieda III from An Albatross has rocked his way across this country as well as a few others. So his words of wisdom come from some serious touring. At first, when he said a yoga mat, I laughed until realizing it was for those times of negotiating a few hours of sleep on a hard wood floor. Other necessities included a utilities pouch with stuff like a needle and thread and a flask for clubs that don’t offer hospitality or for “hair of the dog” remedies on long hung over van trips. Amen, my man.

And, the cutest response goes to Royal Doyle of Sun Airway. He is, himself, highly hug-worthy. So I find it adorable that Doyle likes to bring a big ass teddy bear for a tour buddy/pillow. Oh, and a sleep mask. Cuddles!

You always end up forgetting something for tours. That’s part of why I prefer driving…you just collect more random shit and add it to the pile. But with a personal “survival kit”, you hopefully will have everything to get you by, at least until Texas. So venture off to safe travels, but don’t forget your apple juice, flask, scent-free trousers & tag-along tour teddy to go.