Memorial Day Weekend is the traditional summer kickoff. Due to all the money I’m already set to spend this summer (thanks, Ireland), I decided to have a low key four days. I did a day trip to Gettysburg yesterday (which will be my next post), and am going to Marsh Creek for a few hours tommorow. Today, I’m getting up up with a bunch of boring crap around my apartment I never do since I devote my normal weekends to general debauchery away from home. One of today’s tasks was prepping my summer trunk.
I’m sure many of you prep your car seasonally. Especially in Pennsylvania (specifically the northern portion) it is de rigour to put a shovel, ash, ice scraper, or even some rope or chain in there to help with winter emergencies. I do the same for summertime, geared towards the type of “emergency” that requires immediate use of a folding chair or a night at the shore when you don’t want to spring for a hotel.
This is especially pertinent for me, as I don’t work in the summer and could find myself anywhere on a particular day. I keep the following staples with me at all times (unless I’m carpooling and we need luggage room) and they’ve helped make my life exponentially more fun and convenient in the past two years.
Here are the items I currently keep in my trunk from May to early October:
- Tent: I have a Coleman Sun Dome four person tent that travels with me wherever I go. It takes up almost no room, can be set up quickly, and has come in handy on several occasions, namely when visiting a friend in Sea Isle City, NJ. On nice weekends, the place (only two small bedrooms) gets overun by everyone who wants to take advantage of a friend with a shorehouse. Now, it’s preferential to sleep inside, but if it happens to be too crowded, I’d much rather pitch the tent than have to fight for space on the floor, and if the weather’s nice (and you’ve been indulging in the no shower happy hours SIC offers) then you won’t even realize you’re missing a sleeping bag.
- Bathing Suit and Towel: I’ve learned that it’s always best to have a bathing suit on hand, especially in the summer. A late night bbq might turn into a pool party, a hike might find a refreshing looking lake, and waking up a few hours away from home on a gorgeous day might just prompt you to seek out some H20. Example: last weekend I was in Conshocken helping my friend move into a new house. I woke up Sunday, early, and miraculously with no hangover. It was a gorgeous day, and I felt like doing something outdoors.. I texted my friend who lives in West Chester and asked if she wanted to go paddle board at Marsh Creek. I figured, I’m a guy, gym shorts can double as a bathing suit and for the most part I was right. What won’t double as a swim suit? Driving 40 minutes in wet underwear. Lesson learned.
- Picnic Blanket: This should be self explanatory. It’ll come in handy at concerts, parks, beaches, and wherever else you want to stretch yourself out on the ground.
- Folding Chair: Similar to the picnic blanket, you never know when you’re going to take a seat. Some people like camping chairs, but I prefer the low beach comber. My Tommy Bahama version even has a built in cooler.
- Tennis Racket, Golf Clubs, and Soccer Ball: I’ve had too many moments, especially on a nice summer day when I’ve been out somewhere and somebody has asked/called me to play a game of tennis, or golf and then I wasted time having to run back home and grab my gear. This is also helpful if you’re visiting, taking a roadtrip, etc and want to play on the fly. Both a tennis racket and soccer ball take up little space. It’d be a good idea to store a variety of athletic gear in your trunk if you’re an active person. I chose these three because tennis is a great (and free) sport to play with a variety of skill levels, you don’t necessarily need a soccer field to kick around the soccer ball (and because it can double as kickball), and golf just because on those occasions where you want to be doing something outside, but can’t find any friends, a trip to the driving range could be just what’s in order.
- Sneakers: This is pretty self explanatory. I keep a pair of old sneakers in my trunk in case said tennis match, golf outing, or pickup soccer game crop up while I’m driving around in flip flops (which is most of the summer).
- A slip and slide: I don’t remember how or why this ended up in my trunk, but it’s been a staple for at least two years now and it’s the item people are most impressed with.
My summer trunk wishlist:
- A flabongo: If you roll up anywhere with a Flabongo in tow, I guaretee you’ll be popular.
- Lantern: I keep a flashlight in my trunk all year for emergency situations, but recently purchased this camping lantern, which I plan to keep back their. It’s cool because each side of the lantern can be unattached and used as a flashlight.
- A portable hammock: I don’t know how practical this is, but the internet makes them seem cool.
I also have a list of items I just keep in the car in general (whether it be in the glove box, console, or back of seats) mostly all year, but they seem especially applicable in the summer time.
- Pocket Knife: I keep a small multi-function pocket knife in my glove compartment, which understandably might unnerve some people. Let me win you over: they had nail clippers, a corkscrew, and scissors in them. My friends and I camp quite a bit, and the knife came in very handy at those times when we were setting up tarps and closelines.
- Bottle opener: I used to have one on my keychain, but I teach high school so had to remove it. Now, I keep one in the console, just in case.
- Toilet Paper: Because you just never know.
- Sunscreen: I’m most Irish and Lithuanian. Neither of these countries could be considered sun-friendly. This feels more and more like a necessity.