8 essentials for your car — including one of the most helpful purchases I've ever made

Anna De Souza
·6 min read

If you’re like me, your car is your newest sanctuary — whether you’re running errands, picking up takeout or going for a date-night drive. With many of us working, eating and entertaining within those four (or two!) doors, it’s become even more critical to outfit that ride with some key essentials.

Scroll down for eight products that just might change your life.

Self-Cleaning Water Bottle

LARQ Lightweight Self-Cleaning Stainless Steel Water Bottle. (Photo: Amazon)
LARQ Lightweight Self-Cleaning Stainless Steel Water Bottle. (Photo: Amazon)

As you’re on the move, you’ll definitely need a sturdy and functional water bottle. LARQ’s stainless steel bottle uses UV-C LED lights to purify water and clean the inner surfaces of the container, eliminating odor, bacteria and viruses. With just the touch of a button it self-cleans and it also activates every two hours to keep your water and bottle fresh. Pretty smart, right?

One charge lasts up to a whole month and you can easily recharge it in the car via USB. You’ll always have super clean water in a canteen that’s squeaky clean to boot – is it just me who stresses out about slimy bottles? 

The light is tested for about 100,000 cycles, so this bottle is definitely going to give you peace of mind for a long time to come. 

Shop it: LARQ Lightweight Self-Cleaning Stainless Steel Water Bottle, from $78, amazon.com

Portable Espresso Maker

Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker. (Photo: Amazon)
Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker. (Photo: Amazon)

We all want to minimize stops, but the caffeine needs to keep on flowing, right? Well, it turns out you can serve up an espresso in your car as fancy as one from an Italian café—just watch those speed bumps, people. Reviewers of the Nanopresso on Amazon rave that this little device dishes out java that rivals what you’d get at any premium coffee house! 

It doesn’t require any electricity at all. Just add grinds and in 10 to 20 pumps you’ll have rich coffee with dense crema on top. You can use your own beans or grab an adapter to brew Nespresso shots quickly and easily.

For long driving days, just bring a carafe with hot water and once you’re safely pulled over, brew up espresso shot after espresso shot, or cafézinho as we say in Brazil!

Shop it: Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker, $65, amazon.com

Reusable Snack Packs

 Zip Top Reusable 100% Platinum Silicone Containers - 2 Bag Set. (Photo: Amazon)
Zip Top Reusable 100% Platinum Silicone Containers - 2 Bag Set. (Photo: Amazon)

With twin babies and a bottomless pit of a belly myself, it’s critical that snacks flow aplenty wherever we are. I love Zip Top silicone bags for toting pretzels, fruit and Cheerios while we’re on the move.

I’ve been using these for months and love that they have a nice tight seal so nothing spills in my bag or on the passenger seat. They also wash well and aren’t sticky like a lot of other silicone bags on the market. 

They’re great for the environment compared to traditional plastic Ziploc bags that are single-use and come in so many sizes — perfect for any type of fuel you need. 

Shop it: Zip Top Reusable 100% Platinum Silicone Containers - 2 Bag Set, $18 (was $22), amazon.com

Steering Wheel Desk

Cutequeen Trading Car Eating/Laptop Steering Wheel Desk. (Photo: Amazon)
Cutequeen Trading Car Eating/Laptop Steering Wheel Desk. (Photo: Amazon)

Whether you’re social distancing in your car between meetings, your cafeteria is closed and you need a space to eat lunch or you want some alone time without a mask, working and eating from the driver’s seat has definitely become a new norm for a lot of us. 

I’m loving Amazon's No. 1 bestselling steering wheel desk that can be mounted in seconds and will help you avoid the nuttiness of juggling a sandwich and fries over your lap. It never ends well, people! 

One side is flat for writing or propping up your laptop and the other side has a cup holder to keep things neat and secure. This is just one small move to keep those pesky fries from wedging between your seat— those forgotten wedges become petrified over time, guys. So gross.

But remember, safety first! Steer clear of attempting this on the road, folks.

Shop it: Cutequeen Trading Car Eating/Laptop Steering Wheel Desk, $12, amazon.com

Fanny Pack Waist Bag

Fanny Pack Waist Bag. (Photo: Amazon)
Fanny Pack Waist Bag. (Photo: Amazon)

For the times you have to venture out of your car, my tip is to always have a kit ready. The best way to stash it all in your car is in a stylish fanny pack, or a belt bag, as they’re now called!

These are definitely way cooler now and you can wear it multiple ways. This highly-rated bag has two large zipper compartments for cell phones, wallets and even a small umbrella. The two front pockets on the outside are great for hand sanitizer, a bathroom kit, a mask or two and a pair of gloves. 

I love that it also threads out headphone jacks so you can take calls as you’re on the go with your phone safely stashed inside. It’s a super easy way to have everything you need to take yourself or kids to a rest stop safely. 

Shop it: Fanny Pack Waist Bag, $17, amazon.com

Antimicrobial Brass Tool

KeySmart CleanKey - Brass Hand Tool. (Photo: Home Depot)
KeySmart CleanKey - Brass Hand Tool. (Photo: Home Depot)

Sometimes unplanned stops can’t be avoided! For those moments CleanKey is a super handy tool to have on-hand so you can avoid direct contact with high-touch surfaces like doors, elevator buttons, and it even works on touchscreens like ATMs and store checkouts. 

It’s made of copper alloy, a natural antimicrobial and the design also allows you to open doors and pull levers – and it’s always readily available for any excursion since you can dangle it right off your keychain.

Shop it: KeySmart CleanKey brass hand tool, $18, homedepot.com

Infrared Thermometer

Forehead thermometer. (Photo: Amazon)
Forehead thermometer. (Photo: Amazon)

Keep an eye on your temperature, and that of colleagues and family, with a no-touch infrared thermometer. As states and schools reopen, this will come in handier than ever and smart decisions could be made about people entering buildings and congregating. 

This touch-free infrared thermometer is a great pick because it sounds a light alarm for temperatures over 100-degrees and it stores the last 32 readings right on the device.

Shop it: Forehead thermometer, $19 (was $40), amazon.com

On-the-Go Power Inverter

BESTEK 300W Power Inverter. (Photo: Amazon)
BESTEK 300W Power Inverter. (Photo: Amazon)

This is the best purchase of my lifetime. Having a standard plug in the car is a game-changer! It wasn’t something I thought even existed, but after I got a hold of it about five years ago on the advice of a friend, I can’t tell you much I love it and how often it’s saved me from major catastrophes. 

You can power any and everything up, and so much faster, too, than using USB or cigarette lighter. My car has transformed into my office since I can recharge my laptop, it’s become my hair salon allowing me to fire up 350-degree straightening iron on rainy days and it’s even doubled as my nursery allowing me to pump or entertain the kids with their toys. 

So many memories and so many more to make together, I won’t ever go without a power inverter ever again – I even travel with it and use it in rental cars. If I’m schlepping it cross-country and my luggage is over the weight limit, I’d probably leave behind my gold bars over this thing!

Shop it: Bestek 300W power inverter, $56, amazon.com

Video by Kat Vasquez

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