So you've decided to go on an adventure? That's awesome! You may be asking yourself, now what? The best adventures can be made better with the right gear!
Meet Bertha, the big, bad, adventure bag. She's a hand-me-down from my husband and she keeps me well prepared.
So, what's in the bag? First things first. Water bottles are the number one necessity! I bring one for each of us but I'm considering upgrading my oldest to a hydration pack. Honestly though, the water bottles work fine, especially when we have the stroller, but with five of us now, they can get a little heavy. It really boils down to personal preference and how many you need. I have a large carabiner on one of the outside straps of our bag to hook water bottles to for easy access.
Second, a change of clothes for all the kiddos is my next top necessity. Without fail, my child will find water and find his way into it, every time. When we passed the potty training phase, I stopped bringing extra clothes and this was a huge mistake. I'm all for natural consequences, but accidents happen or in our case, accidentally on purpose happens. Be prepared with an extra pair of pants, socks, & shirt. I also like to keep a spare pair of Crocs in the car for my oldest, you know, just in case he gets into knee high water and soaks whatever pair of shoes he has on. Spoiler alert, he will. Come to think of it, a pair of waders would be a worthwhile investment.
I almost consider this next item the most important, at least for me anyway. Trust me when I say no one wants to be day tripping with their kids and have everyone turn hangry! You definitely don't want to forget the snacks. I have a six year old and one year old twins - I bring snacks for all of them and myself. I love to get prepackaged snacks from Costco from brands like Made Good. Cheese sticks & hard boiled eggs are another great go-to. I pack them in an insulated lunch box with ice packs when needed and the lunch box gets added to our bag.
I always carry a wet bag to store dirty diapers, wet clothes, and our trash if need be! We strictly follow the “pack-it- in, pack-it-out” philosophy so I make sure to have some form of storage container for whatever we may need. If you don’t have a wet bed, a recycled plastic grocery bag works great too, just be sure to take it with you when you go!
I always have a first aid kit in our adventure bag fully equipped with band-aids, gauze, small container of peroxide spray, and liquid Benadryl (with dosing info for infants/children in a waterproof bag). I rotate items like bug spray, sunscreen, and Lanolin/Eucerin (for chapped skin in the Winter) with the Seasons. A few items I’m adding to our first aid kit this season are a tick key (tick remover) and an instant cold pack. Just be sure to check your first aid kit often for expired items and restock as needed! TIP: It’s not a bad idea to keep a waterproof form of Emergency Contact Information in here as well, just in case! I know most people have their phone's on them but I've had my phone randomly die or go for a little unexpected dip, so it's best to have the information on you in the event there is an emergency and your phone is inaccessible.
I carry a small wet bag (can you tell how much I love them yet??) of seasonal items like sun hats, sun shirts, bathing suits, extra clothes, etc. and switch items out as needed. In Winter, I store all of the kid’s mittens, hats, socks, and extra items we may need to keep warm. These are usually spares or "just in case" items when the weather is less predictable. Don't forget other necessary items like diapers & wipes if you have kids in this stage as well.
My final adventure bag necessity is Wet Ones & hand sanitizer! Due to Covid, many facilities are limited, if open at all. It's nice to at least wipe little hands before eating or after going to the bathroom.
TIP: You can store a toddler potty chair in your car for the kids and emergencies! Don’t forget the TP & poop bags!
Now that you have the basic necessities the next most important question is, where to next?