Gear Up: Summer Survival Kit

Literally? Read more

summer buys

This was going to be a post about a few great buys I’ve made this summer, but I just realized that several of these “summer survival tools” were sort of literal — like, I made them entirely because of alarming things I’ve read on the Internet, and almost killed the post because … well, who wants to look like (or, um, be) that guy? But then, I thought, you are probably reading all the same things on the Internet, and also looking to make some anxiety-driven purchases, too, right? (Right??) So here, my the must-have, I-spend-too-much-time-on-social-media purchases so far of the year. Or we can put a sunnier spin on these things, and call this the “can’t hurt to be prepared” summer checklist. Your call.

Tick Key
A couple weeks back my (city-dwelling) neighbor found a tick on her daughter’s neck– this, after playing outside on their front porch. (Not even the Wissahickon or Smith Playground!) She mentioned to me that she used a tick key to remove it (a tick key is this contraption, meant to be more effective than just plain old tweezers at removing a whole tick, body and head), and within three minutes of hearing her story, I ordered a three-pack of them … you know, just in case. (Shudder.)

Crocs with Velcro
Okay, so this one has nothing to do with reading too much news consumption — but past life experience has shown that every time my kid runs in Crocs, he bites it. I think maybe the shoe slips off the back of his heel a little, or isn’t as snug a fit as his sneakers. And thus far, he’s always been between sizes in Natives, and so we’ve faced the same trouble there. I was about to abandon the ease of slide-on summer shoes altogether (sigh), and then my husband found these Crocs — Swimwater Wave Slip-Ons — with a little Velcro tab. There’s no sling in the back, so they’re built like a good-fitting sneaker, but also, yes, still waterproof and unstinky like a Croc — and unlike his rather complicated Keens, he can get them on and off himself. So far, so good … he’s run around and scooted and playgrounded in them, and (am I about to jinx myself?) no face-plants to date.

A Portable Beach Cabana
This is still on the wishlist, actually — but as nuts as this looks, I’m serious about getting a portable, foldable cabana-style tent for the beach. This is because every year that passes, I am more a) more obsessed about sunburns, sun damage and avoiding them both and b) utterly exhausted by the thought of reapplying sunscreen every hour or however often we have to do it now that our sunscreens are all made of vegan-based, non-toxic, chemical-free (but not so long lasting) ingredients. I’ll reapply for the kids, I guess, but if I can plant myself under a tent and save an application, then I’m sold. There’s also the added bonus of extra protection from the Cheez-It-stealing gulls. (Also, I dream of napping in the cooling shade of a tent, which HAHAHAHA. Beach napping will not happen for at least the next decade.)

Mosquito-Repellent Clothes
Last summer, in the throes of Zika fear (which, as a pregnant person, I still harbor), I bought approximately $50 worth of the intense if effective permethrin (though my smart neighbor swears that the naturally based Cutter lemon eucalyptus inspect repellent is extremely effective). I also bought two citronella plants for the porch and this adorable dress, which happens to be insect-repelling (that’s ticks and mosquitoes!). The dress was my favorite of these, obviously. And they sell them in longer versions, as well as shorts and pants and shirts — and stuff for kids, too — so if you’re going somewhere particularly woodsy or buggy, it’s that much more anti-bug help.