Most people in the Northland have “winter survival kits” in their cars with flashlights and granola bars (although we usually eat ours when out running errands, not stranded on the side of the road).
But what about the rest of the year?
Here is what we have learned to keep in the trunk during spring, summer, and fall.
1. Lightweight Jacket or Fleece Soon after we moved to Duluth, we drove from the top of the hill, where it was 60 degrees, to the lake, where it was 40 degrees, and learned to always bring a jacket when we leave the house. Always.
2. Extra Change of Pants/Shorts, Socks, and Underwear It is inevitable that when we are near a river or the lake, somebody always gets wet, whether they go in over their puddle boots, slip on the mud, or fall in the water.
3. Swimsuits and Water Shoes The average annual temperature of Lake Superior is 40 degrees, which hasn’t stopped our kids from going in once spring arrives, even wearing their clothes. We now just store their swimsuits in the car so they can jump in any time.
4. Towels See #2 and #3 above.
5. Life Jackets Having pre-swimmers who love the water means that life jackets are a must if swimming in the local rivers or in the big lake, especially on windy days. During the summer, we keep the life jackets in the back of the car so they are always available. Better safe than sorry.
6. Sunscreen and Sun Hats Getting a family out the door for an outing is often a logistical challenge. Snack: check. Water: check. Map: check. Only after we arrive at our location do we realize that we forgot the sunscreen. Better just to have a bottle stashed in the car. Along with sun hats.
7. Beach Toys “Mom, did you pack any shovels or buckets?” See #6 above.
8. Bug Spray Wipes This survival item became a must-always-always-always-have after a hike at Grassy Point in which the mosquitos ate us for lunch.
9. Books You never know when you are going to feel the urge to pull over and read outside.
10. Picnic Paraphernalia Impromptu picnics with goodies from the grocery store are a family favorite so we keep a small plastic tote in the back of the car stocked with paper plates and cups, extra silverware, napkins, and salt and pepper. We also always have a blanket on hand, which doubles as a towel in a pinch.
What do you always have in your car? Share your must-haves in the comment box below. Thanks!