I’m always a bit sad when it’s time to buy back-to-school gear, because it means the long summer travel season is over. However, autumn day trips and weekend getaways are always in our future, so I find I’m still thinking ‘travel’ when it comes to fall purchases and the kids’ school supplies. This year, I’ve found the best new back-to-school products that pull double-duty during family trips!
Back-to-school products that double for travel:
The following products are either already on your back-to-school shopping list, or should be, and you just don’t know it yet! Ready?
High Sierra Modi backpack:
Your kids need school backpacks, but you hate buying a new one each year, right? Unlike cheap big box store backpacks, High Sierra backpacks last multiple years (and multiple kids), plus they’re rugged enough for travel days. The High Sierra Modi comes in color combinations that appeal to both girls and boys, from young kids to teens, and includes both a tablet and laptop sleeve for those long flights. Best of all, High Sierra has it on crazy sale right now. Pick up this $100 backpack for as low as under $20 right now on Amazon!
You’re looking for new, healthy snacks for the kids’ lunches, and Matt’s Munchies dried fruit is both the perfect school snack and road trip food. These non-GMO, gluten-free, organic fruit snacks blow their character-shaped, artificial counterparts out of the water. In flavors like island mango, banana coconut, and apple, these fruit snacks are shaped like the thin fruit roll-ups of our generation, but in small squares that are easy to peel off the wax paper. And one package is enough for a substantial snack. Pick up Matt’s Munchies in packs of 10 on Amazon!
Phenom nutritional shake:
Normally, we don’t promote health drinks or protein powders on Pit Stops for Kids, simply because we’re not health experts. That disclaimer said, Phenom’s Young Athlete has been working well for us as a healthy drink between school and practice for our teens, and doubles as a portable road trip food. You can mix Young Athlete with tap water, which makes it easy to bring along on trips, and it has no artificial colors, flavors, or gluten. We tried both vanilla and chocolate and my teens really like the chocolate…like chocolate milk, only with more protein.
I have a new favorite way to sip hot and cold beverages on the morning school commute! SIC cups come in 30 ounce or 24 ounce double-walled stainless steel tumblers, with included clear plastic lids that stay on surprisingly well. Contents in your SIC cup may spill if in a backpack, but in a cup holder of your car, these tumblers are ideal. The first time I used mine, I put ice water in my SIC en route to a local lake on a hot day, then left it in the car for five hours while we enjoyed the lake. When I got back in the car for the ride home, the water was still ice cold, the ice not having melted. I was sold! My SIC Glacier comes on all car trips now! Pick up a 30 ounce SIC Glacier on Amazon for $39.95 (worth the price, I promise!).
Perfect for everything from a dorm room to the back seat of the car, CleverCrates by CleverMade are utilitarian crates that hold over 80 pounds of gear each…but collapse to almost nothing when not in use. We keep a few in the car at all times, so we’re ready for gear storage when we go on camping trips, when the kids’ friends pile into the car with their sports equipment, or when I need to stock up on food for a weekend away. It’s great to have the ability to organize stuff in the back of the car, but not have a permanent set of compartments for when we don’t need them. Pick up CleverCrates in 3-packs on Amazon for under $45!
A close cousin of the CleverCrate, SnapBaskets are collapsible shopping bags with a strong, rigid bottom that keeps the bags upright in the car. They come in a variety of sizes, and since they fold down flat, they’re easy to store between uses. I use them every grocery shopping trip at home, but also bring them along on road trips for when I need an extra bag. I’ve put them to use when we’ve visited farm stands or farmers’ markets on the road or bought souvenirs I hadn’t expected. Since they remain upright in the car, they’re also great for organizing seasonal gear you might need on weekend trips, such as warm gloves, extra socks, or swim wear. Pick up SnapBaskets in 30L three packs on Amazon for $39! They also come in thermal versions.
Hot Logic Mini:
Here’s another back-to-school item for your college kid, which doubles for weekend trips! This portable mini oven cooks meals literally from scratch, reheats leftovers and keeps food hot for hours! It’s easy to use (and safe for kids to use after school), with no complicated dials or timers. Just pop a meal in the bag, plug it in and leave it alone. You can eat in a hour, or eight hours, and the food won’t burn. You can make dinner with it and leave it in a hotel room for a budget vacation meal, or college kids can reheat leftovers. Pick up the Hot Logic Mini for $39.95 on Amazon!
Every product above was tested by us personally, and is used by us. This post contains affiliate links; by clicking through to Amazon through us, you help us keep the lights on here at Pit Stops for Kids at no additional cost to you!
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