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To every season, there is a tote…
Every Fall, I put together a Winter car tote for our vehicles. I am just not as good about doing that for the Summer. What could go wrong!?
Well, little things, really. Like the flat tire I had recently, or the folks who got stuck for hours on the freeway waiting for a wreck to get cleared. Showing up at the lake without towels or maybe staying later than you’d planned because you were having so much fun! Being a late afternoon snack for mosquitoes, forgetting your water bottle, or three armed and dangerous criminals running around your neighborhood and the cops won’t let you go home! But I digress…
When our region got hit with a heat wave that saw temperatures over 100 degrees for a couple of weeks, I knew it was past time for me to check and update my car totes.
Light the way! Flashlights, and glow sticks and this handy little flashlight that functions like a lighted baton will be essential if it’s a late night. Be sure to include headlamps which are a total lifesaver if you’re busy with your hands changing a tire. Store batteries separately to avoid corrosion and change the batteries out for fresh ones every six months.
We always try to take a water bottle with us wherever we go but keeping bottles of water in the car kit means that we have extra just in case! Be sure to change these out every six months also as the plastic can begin to degrade.
Snacks! I always choose granola bars of some sort. Whole grains and something sweet ought to satisfy you now and hold you over til later. Whatever you choose, again, the six-month rule. Whatever you don’t use, swap it! Having snacks in the car has saved me on many occasions from being the hangry mom in the car! Just be sure to restock whatever you take out.
I have a tire pressure gauge in my handbag. That way I have one no matter what rig I’m driving. But keeping it in the car kit is solid advice.
Basic First Aid Kit. This one has bandages, scissors, tape, alcohol prep pads… you name it! It’s little but you can totally add to it to expand its use. I have a friend who carries Narcan even, just in case she comes across someone in danger. You can add antibiotic ointments, chap stick, hand lotion or aloe. Start basic and keep adding as you think of something else. (Literally I have stopped at a friend’s house specifically for hand lotion. It was a dry hands emergency, people!)
Check out this gem from EverStart! It’s a battery-operated cell phone charger! I have a port in my car, but if the car isn’t working, this would be a great emergency option.
A friend of mine is a nurse and she clued me in to the fact that puke cannot be smelled thru a zipper bag! Sold! We have kids that can get car sick so adding Dramamine and zipper bags to the car kit is a no-brainer. We pack a lot of different sizes for potentially wet clothes, messy items or trash collection.
Other ideas are latex/vinyl gloves (One time I helped a rather inebriated woman who fell on the sidewalk and gashed her head open. Vinyl gloves are not a bad idea!), work gloves, sunscreen, diaper wipes, tissue, a rain poncho and bug spray. Be sure to include a couple of towels and a blanket!
Other things to consider carrying are a small tool kit, a safety hammer to break your window or cut your seatbelt in case of an emergency, an extra quart of oil, jumper cables and flares, coolant and, of course, everything necessary to change a tire. Being prepared really makes me feel a lot better about heading out even just to the grocery store. And I know that if I have forgotten something, it’s likely it’s in my car kit. Drop a comment with any other items that you think are useful. I’d love to hear your ideas!