Roadtrip Gear

Kerouac, I am not.

Let me tell you something about the drive between Berkeley and San Diego: It’s long and it’s flat and it’s boring. Like "The D" said, “The thing about the road, it is rough, rough, rough.” If you’re not at the wheel or finding things to pass the time, it is a chore. Reading comics or playing a video game makes me sick after a little while in a car, and I prefer to save my vomiting for binge drinking or swine flu. Fortunately, was kind enough to send us some of their products to test out while we were driving down to Comic-Con in Greg Damiano’s super pimpin’ Prius. Some were a total disappointment, but some of them impressed us in surprising ways.

Cell Cup Auto Organizer

Surprisingly, this thing probably got the most use (after the charger). It’s essentially just a molded piece of squishy foam with caddy spots for some pens, a cell phone, and a couple other tiny things here and there. While it’s kind of useless in a car with as many compartments and cupholders as Greg’s smug little Prius, it would probably come in fairly handy for someone in, say, a pickup truck with no storage space. Even with that said, both Greg and I kept our phones in it for the entire trip and made sure to have a couple pens ready too.

Kurgo Auto Tray Table

A dining/work tray designed to hang off the back of a car’s front seat or steering wheel, it’s got a lovely little cup seat and another little incline for snacks or what have you. Upon removing it from its packaging, I was somewhat surprised by how small the tray actually was; I had been expecting something a little bit bigger from the size of the box. Another issue was that the sample we had gotten was missing a piece that was essential for it to function properly – a screw that locked one side into its sliding bar for stability. As a result, there was not much stability or balance for anything we put on it.

Another issue was that anything we tried to keep in the cupholder part fell right out. If there had been some McDonald’s coffee in any of the containers we tested, my trip probably would not have been as enjoyable and my odds of ever having little Blakes of my own would’ve been greatly reduced.

16oz Dual Auto/USB Heated Mug

This lovely little USB/AC Adapter-powered travel mug was a mixed bag. The crappy, lukewarm coffee I filled it with at a truck-stop Carl’s Jr. actually got hotter, but that’s where the praise ends.

While the heating coils did their job fine, there were some inherent design flaws. For starters, where the charger meets the mug is in an inconvenient place that made it impossible to keep it stable in any of the cupholders in Greg’s car.

In short, this would make a great addition to your office at work, but doesn’t quite have the ergonomic design one would hope for in a travel mug. It also might be worth the purchase just for the USB/AC 2-in-1 charger.

PowerStation Traveler

The only problem we had with this multi-unit charging dock was that we made the assumption that it would work with the use of a set of standard chargers, but what we really needed were car adapters for everything we wanted to plug into it. And we didn’t have those for most of the things we planned to test. We were able to charge our iPhones, the high-tech USB mug, and the car light, though. And it worked, so I can’t really blame it for our lack of foresight, but at the same time, the option to plug in USB or wall warts would make this thing ten times more useful.

The tote bag and slide-locking tray that the charger is encased in is a nice touch as well, and it did its expected job of keeping our phones locked in place. Still, the whole thing is a bit blocky and will only work if you’ve already spent the money on a set of chargers for your car, but if you do happen to own only car chargers, there is a standard wall socket plug for it as well.


The only product not provided by was the reviveLite from Scosche. This came in super handy on the trip, and not just because it had a night light to keep the scary monsters under the roach motel beds at bay (or were those meth addicts?) since I was smart enough not to bring my AC charger, but it also kept my iPhone working all weekend. Even though it was designed for newer models and not my old, fossilized phone, it still worked. Although it was balanced a bit precariously, it never fell. A great buy for anyone who travels and happens to be afraid of the dark. Not that I am or anything…

Map Light

There’s not much to say about this car-powered illuminator. It did exactly what you would expect it to, make maps visible in the cold, pale darkness of the night. What else can I say? That it was my constant companion throughout the weekend? That we fell in love and have been inseparable ever since? Well, while all those things may be true, it did its job. And that’s all you need to know, so mind your own business and let us live our lives the way we choose.

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