Question: “We’re touring wine country by car next weekend, driving there and back from home. What should we pack specifically for traveling by car that most people forget?” E.B., San Francisco, CA
Answer: Tip #5 in my article Tips For Enjoying A Day In California Wine Country identifies most of the things you should pack for any Wine Adventure. Three things I left out that should be considered when travelling by car are:
Cooler. If you think you may buy wine, bring a large cooler. These are handy on hot days when leaving wine in a hot trunk is not a good idea. You can also use a portable refrigerator that runs off the car battery by way of the cigarette lighter outlet.
Folding Chairs and Table. Schedule gaps between tasting appointments just to take a few minutes to enjoy the scenery, sip some water or have a snack. When there’s no picnic area, make your own (Note: no trespassing). You might also want to take a wine-friendly picnic backpack like the Ferlin model shown below.
Portable Car Jump Starter. If you stop to picnic and play the car radio or keep the portable refrigerator running while you’re on a two hour winery tour, your car battery could be drained to the point that it can’t start the car. A portable jump starter kept in the trunk saves the day in these situations. I carry the model on the left (see below) all the time. It costs around $80 and has a USB port for charging a phone and a cigarette lighter outlet that I use with an adapter to charge two additional USB devices (phone, laptop, tablet, etc.). Running portable refrigerators directly off the portable jump starter is a good way to save the car battery. This model also has an air compressor that is surprising powerful on flat tires and does a good job on footballs, basketballs, inflatable swimming pools and pool toys. The jump starter on the right is $20 to $30 less expensive, smaller and has two USB ports, but no air compressor.
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