We’ve all been there. During any road trip longer than four hours, you will inevitably reach a point when a.) the entire car full of people is so bored that the only things that can entertain them are snacks, and b.) the car is low on gas. Luckily, there’s a place where you can solve both problems.
Enter the sketchy site of many a win-win situation, the gas station. I know, I know, not all gas stations are sketchy. But the ones on long road trips somehow always are. One time I was driving down to Los Angeles from NorCal and stopped at a gas station in the middle of nowhere just as the sun was going down and, sure, they had snacks and gas, but they also had a bunch of antique dolls, both for sale and as decorations in the bathroom. It was harrowing. But back to the point: Gas station snacks are essential—to road trips, to morning coffee runs, and to life. That said, here are our picks for the best gas station snacks, in no particular order.
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- Hard-Boiled Eggs
Sporked staff writer Danny Palumbo says that gas station eggs are a “benevolent, thoughtful snack that only has your best interest at heart.” And I believe everything Danny Palumbo says, so this has got to be true. If you’ve stopped at a gas station and all you want is some lean protein to keep you going for a couple hours before you stop for dinner, then this is the perfect snack for you. Also, hard-boiled eggs aren’t messy, too salty, too sweet, or too greasy. And, as Danny says, “A hard-boiled egg is almost impossible to screw up.” And that’s just fax.
- David Bar-B-Q Jumbo Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds were banned at my junior high (presumably because the reverend’s son died at a sunflower seed party and so the town outlawed it…wait, no, that’s the plot of Footloose. I have no idea why they were banned). So every time I am on a road trip and get the opportunity to buy some of these bad boys I feel like a bit of a bad boy myself. Thanks, gas station sunflower seeds. These David Bar-B-Q Jumbo sunflower seeds also happen to be Sporked’s top sunflower pick. As Danny Palumbo says, “they are they GOAT” and are “quite smoky, and feel spiced without being spicy.” Add these to your list of the best gas station snacks.
- Jack Link’s Extra Tender Original Beef Steak Strips
If you’re anything like me, a gas station stop on a road trip is the only time you’ll allow yourself to buy beef jerky (because otherwise, I would blow all my money on beef jerky). These Jack Link’s steak strips are commonly found in gas stations and, ironically, are one of the toughest jerkies out there. But this, as Sporked editor-in-chief Justine Sterling astutely pointed out, is far from a bad thing. “I want it to be an activity,” she said of eating jerky, and as someone who spent most of their childhood trying to make candy last longer, I feel this on a spiritual level.
Related: The 7 Best Beef Jerky Brands
- Jack Link’s Original Turkey Jerky
What do you know? It’s more jerky that’s widely available at gas stations, but it’s turkey-based this time! Danny observed that the turkey in this jerky tastes like roasted dark meat, and that sounds like a win to me. He also said this jerky does three things particularly well: “texture, salt, and roasted flavor.” And what else can you ask for in a turkey jerky? Also, I will never stop loving the fact that “turkey jerky” rhymes. We love a meat poem.
- Takis Fuego
I mean…just read my bio. Takis ‘til forever and always, baybee! But, honestly, nothing makes me feel more awake than Takis. If I am on a ten-hour road trip and I need to stay awake, there is nothing better than the sharp flavor of citric acid mixed with capsaicin to keep my eyes wide open. As Sporked staff writer Jordan Myrick said, “[Takis are] not for the faint of heart, but they are for the strong of taste buds.” An elite gas station snack, for sure.
Want a potato chip-like product that is pretty much always at gas stations? Well, as the Sporked staff said, “Whatever the hell Munchos are, we love ‘em.” And that seems like a pretty solid endorsement to me. Not quite a potato chip, not a Pringle, and certainly not a Pop-Chip, this potato-based unicorn of a snack is a must try the next time your car and stomach need filling.
Related: The Best Plain Potato Chips
- Fritos Flavor Twists Honey BBQ
Want a chip but also you kind of want some rotini but also you kind of want some barbecue sauce? Look no further than Fritos Flavor Twists Honey BBQ, def one of the best gas station snacks you can buy. These things are absolutely PACKED with flavor. As Jordan said, “More grooves mean more flavor retention,” and they would be 100% correct on that.
- Peanut M&M’s
Want a sweet snack that is not too sweet and also contains some good ol’ fashioned protein? Well look no further than peanut M&Ms. Whenever my dad went into a gas station to get us road trip snacks while I was growing up, he would come out with a bag of these and a bag of Combos, so in my mind, they are a Gas Station classic. Danny Palumbo calls these “about as close as you can get to a perfect candy” and I couldn’t agree more.
Related: Best M&M’s Flavors
- Sour Skittles
Lastly but not leastly, sour skittles. What more is there to say? They are Skittles (one of the best fruity candies), and sour (one of the best ways to enhance a fruity candy). Mythical Creative Executive Santi said “[They’re] super sour, makes you pucker…gives you that bite, has that texture—it’s everything you want.” And I feel this 100%. We love a sour candy that is also crunchewy. I will be getting a bag of these next time I’m at the gas station.