Most camping or RV blogs list an assortment of gadgets, tools and utensils to make life on the road charming. I have never seen a top 10 include this must-have survival item…
A roll of quarters… or two.
If you have an RV or a self-container bumper pull trailer, this item may be far down your list, unless you don’t like the kids trashing your camper bathroom. If you’re a tent or pop-up camper, don’t leave home without them.
Here are 11 reasons you should grab a couple of rolls of quarters before you roll out of town.
- Hot showers
- Perhaps we are spoiled in Texas, where state parks almost always have free shower facilities. But, we have found that several states don’t, and coin-operated showers are the norm. On the way back from Montana, we stopped at Mueller State Park in Colorado, excited for a shower after boondocking for a week. Their showers were coin op, and the change machine was flat broke. We scrounged just enough for our family of five to get 2 minutes each. It was the best 2-minute shower we’ve ever had. I almost didn’t mind spending the $10. Almost.
- Clean laundry
- We have found laundromats can be a place of serenity on the road. When it’s rainy, and your kids are driving you crazy inside the camper, a field trip to a local laundromat is almost as good as a trip to Dairy Queen. Except, this treat (a shirt fresh from the dryer) feels like warm Heaven against your skin. (Better yet if the WiFi and amenities are awesome like the laundromat in Jackson, Wyoming. We may or may not have stayed for 4 hours.) But, if you hit a laundromat on a busy day, you may find the quarter machine DOA and find yourself waiting for the machines with card readers.
- Sometimes Google gets drunk and takes us on roads with tolls that we didn’t know were coming. I like to have perfect change, because some don’t give you change.
- Makeshift screwdriver
- Depending on the item, a quarter can fill the slot as a large flathead screwdriver. Particularly, on toys for small children.
- Measure your tread
- Tires looking worn? Stick Washington in head first and let him tell you if your tread is wearing thin.
- Where do you want to eat? I don’t know, where do you want to eat? Coffee or custard? I don’t know, you choose. Left or right? Google is drunk again. I’m not sure. Make your best guess. In a pinch, sometimes decisions are best left to the odds.
- Pay for parking
- Some cities have paid meters. Not all take credit cards or Apple Pay. Coinage can give peace of mind.
- Makeshift grommets
- Stones work better for larger fabrics. But, if you need a makeshift grommet on smaller cloths (e.g. tying down an outdoor tablecloth), put a quarter in the fabric, bunch the fabric around it, then tie a piece of paracord. It’ll hold like a small handle without putting a hole in your cloth.
- Tooth fairy duties
- Our children have lost their share of teeth on the road. Quarters can be an urgent, last-chance payment, along with a note from the tooth fairy explaining the shortage of paper money at the First Toothfairy Bank (FTB) and how hard it is to fly carrying all that coinage.
- Make a wish
- Sometimes, if the fountain permits, it’s just fun to leave a little something behind.
- Pay it forward
- Consider stashing some quarters in a place someone might need them. You might make someone’s day.
So, perhaps a roll of quarters shouldn’t make it in your ultralight hiking kit. But, stash a few rolls in the console of your car, and be glad you did.
Have other ideas or uses for quarters on the road? Sound off in the comments.