Here in the Pacific Northwest Spring is just around the corner. We keep getting glimpses of the sun but not a whole day of sunshine yet. Around here, as soon as the weather warms up people hit the road. When Northwesterners aren’t snowboarding or skiing, they’re at the ocean, hiking, fishing, camping or on a lake.

All of those summertime outdoor activities mean we’re spending a lot of time in our cars, taking road trips. You should have some supplies in your car at all times, but summertime preparation requires a slightly different approach than winter.

In my car (and in my teenage daughter’s car), I have a bug-out bag with a crank flashlight, a few of these emergency food ration bars, reflective blanket, multi-tool, glassbreaker, hand warmers, rain poncho, knife, firestarter, whistle, paracord and basic stuff like that.

I also keep a hooded warm sweatshirt in the car, along with an old pair of yoga pants, a pair of cowboy boots and a good pair of socks. These are just always in there. My worry is that I will be stuck at work when there’s an emergency and I’m a half an hour’s drive away from home. I may need to walk home. While I wear sensible clothes and shoes to work on a daily basis, sometimes I wear clothes or shoes that I would not want to have to walk 30 miles in. This way, I know that I can switch out my work sandals for a good pair of work boots and hike home if I need to. Gloves wouldn’t be a bad idea, now that I think about it, but I’m less worried about that in summertime.

Basic first aid kit
My own car first aid kit could be better, honestly. I’m going to work on this over the summer and get better prepared. Have basic first aid kit items at all times, like gauze, tape, bandages, antiseptic and the like. Depending on your geographic region, you may definitely want to add anti-venom kit for rattlesnake bites or an epi-pen if you’re allergic to stinging insects.

Choose foods that can take the heat of being packed up in a close-up car in full sun. Many food items wilt. Some things that do stand up to summertime heat are nuts and seeds and nut butters in foil packs. Jerky, Dried fruit. Boxed crackers. Don’t choose anything like granola bars with chocolate chips, as these will melt and turn your bars into a huge mess.

This really is key. You can try some of our hacks to collect water that will work even in the desert, if you need to, but there’s also plenty of room in your car for a gallon of water. If you’re worried about kids and pets and other people who might be with you, then add a gallon of water for each person you’re going out with.

Gallons of water can take up a lot of room. If you’re space is at a premium, choose the boxed water which will stack more easily and fit in a supply box.

Plan for your good ol’ animal friends. It’s probably a dog you’re concerned about, so pack some high energy foods for them. Extra water. A leash and collar, even if you don’t normally keep them on one. If you’re in trouble at night, having a light on your pet could be really nice, so they don’t get lost. I suggest this Dog Brite waterproof lighted dog collar by Stoney-Wold Productions. If your animals become separated from you in the dark, you can find them more easily with a lighted collar.

Things you should consider having in your car:

  • Duct tape
  • Tarp
  • Sheet of plastic (for water collecting)
  • Paracord – even more than you think you need
  • a JIT phone charger/lighter/flashlight  – I recently got one of these and love it! Read my review for how long the flashlight worked when left on continuously. The JIT will give you enough power on your phone to send a text message or make a call, even from a dead battery. It’s small and the charged lighter heats up like a cigarette lighter to give you precious heat to light a fire.
  • A map of your area. Preferably one that is laminated.
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Bug repellent – boy, there have been times I was glad I had that old can of Deep Woods Off in the car!
  • Pepper spray
  • Deck of cards
  • Pen and Paper

I know I could come up with 20 more things that would be good ideas to have, but this is really just a general survival kit. We’re not talking about being out in the woods and living from your car for the foreseeable future. In my mind, the things I have in my car are minimal and are designed to get me and whoever I may be with home safely. That’s all starting to sound like kind of a lot. But really, these things don’t take up much room. I have my bag packed in the car, with a jug of water and a couple of sealable plastic bins. All of that gets pushed to the back of the trunk and I really don’t ever think about them being there or not. I still have plenty of room to put other stuff in the trunk like groceries.

What do you think you need in your car emergency box?



Summer heat presents all types of hazards in regards to sensitive items and chemicals that don’t like extreme temperatures. In some scenarios, dangerous items have warnings posted on them because they may burst, explode, or have an otherwise unfavorable affect that can be harmful to people or surroundings. This is especially true when certain items are contained inside a car, where heat is even more prevalent because it can’t escape. Temperatures can rise to 140 degrees or more within an hour-and-a-half.

See why these 10 items are dangerous inside a car on a hot summer day and why it’s best to keep them out when temperatures get over 120-degrees.

1 – Lighters. Lighters are filled with flammable liquid. They aren’t meant to be exposed to extended sunlight or escalating temperatures. If they’re left inside a car on a hot summer day, they can explode and cause damage to the interior by leaving behind particles or burning holes.

2- Pens. These small objects can burst and leave ink all over the car. Cleanup can be a challenge, leaving stains everywhere.

3 – Batteries. Heat can make acid in batteries prone to leaking. If this happens, acid can cause people to have eye, skin, and respiratory infections.

4 – Electronics. Memory cards and lenses on cameras may get ruined if exposed to prolonged heat in a car during the summer. This can be costly for the owner.

5 – Canned carbonated beverage. This is a sneaky one that can be left in a car on a hot summer day without realizing it. This goes for beer as well. Cans can roll under a seat, hide in a trunk, or get lodged under a floor mat. If left inside the vehicle in blistering heat, a canned carbonated beverage can blow up. Since these canned items are compressed to keep air locked inside the container and maintain bubbles in the soda, there is no way for heat to escape.

The metal in the can conducts heat into the liquid inside. A rise in temperature on the outside of the container will also result in a rise of the liquid’s temperature inside. Liquid components expand as heat spikes and that causes undue pressure inside the canned beverage. The car’s motion will shake the soda around, leading it to explode. Not only can this do damage to your car, but it can inflict serious injury on the driver or passenger.

6 – Milk. A closed gallon or half-gallon of milk left exposed to the hot elements in a confined car will cause it to explode. This will leave a horrendous stench and mess that isn’t for the faint of heart.

7 – Wine. Wine shouldn’t be left in heat greater than 78-degrees because it not only changes the composition and complexity of the liquid, but a cork could pop out of it, or the bottle can explode.

8 – Perishable foods. While many of these may not explode, unlike milk, perishable foods should not be left inside a car over an hour in 90-degree heat, according to the USDA. Food can be dangerous to consume after that time.

9 – Hairspray and sunscreen. Women may carry a can of aerosol hairspray in their car, in addition to touch-up with makeup. While cosmetics may get sticky and melt, hairspray is a dangerous item to have inside a car. If temperatures reach above 120 degrees, the pressure inside the container will build-up and explode. It’s not just hairspray, but other aerosol canister products that will explode in a car (WD-40, Fix-A-Flat, etc.).

Sunscreen is useful to have in a car during the hot summer months, but the plastic bottle an quickly heat up and burst, leading to a sticky mess that may never be completely cleaned up.

10 – Explosive medications. Certain medications and supplies are dangerous inside a hot car. Albuterol inhalers, for instance, shouldn’t be in temperatures above 120 degrees or they may burst. Formoterol inhalers have the same impact. Any medication available in an aerosol can may burst as well under these temperatures.

Summer has several dangers for pets that people may not think about. Like humans, dogs and cats get dehydrated and overheated. Providing adequate water and shade are a given, but what about the hidden dangers that summer poses for pets?

1 – Heat stroke. It’s not unprecedented for animals to suffer heat stroke, and there are several types of dogs that have an increased risk for this. Breeds with shorter noses like bulldogs, Boston terriers, and boxers aren’t able to cool themselves as efficiently as other breeds. Active breeds, such as the Labrador retriever, get so focused on their rigorous activities that they don’t stop long enough to cool off.

Dogs have an normal body temperature that is already slightly higher than that of humans–100 to 102.5 F. Their internal temperature can rapidly reach 109 F in the summer months. When this happens, dogs may develop multiple organ dysfunctions and it can be fatal. Signs of heat stroke include panting, excessive drooling, lack of urine, and rapid heart rate.

If your pet shows signs of a heat stroke, cool them down by putting them in a shaded water and offer cool water. Don’t force them to drink, but offer it. Place a fan directly on your pet and put water or wet towels over their neck, back, underarm area, and groin area. Whatever you do, don’t put ice or ice water on your pet because it can cause blood vessels to shrink and not effectively cool the inner body.

2 – Other animals or insects. This is another hidden danger of summer for pets. Bee stings, spider bites, and venomous snakebites aren’t unusual this time of year. A bad reaction can leave a dog with a swollen muzzle and an untreated wound can lead to necrosis of the skin.

If your dog gets a bee or insect sting, attempt removing a visible stinger by scraping it out of the skin with a credit card. A cool compress to the area with a mixture of baking soda and water will aid in neutralizing the venom.

Keep an eye out for your pet swiping its paw across its face, which could mean it has a bite or other irritation that you can’t see. If your animal’s face swells or your pet has difficulty breathing, seek a veterinarian’s help immediately. In the event of a snakebite, a veterinarian can administer an anti-venom shot.

The number of fleas and ticks greatly increase during the summer months. Be sure that your pet is receiving effective flea and tick prevention treatment.

3 – Sunburn. Even though pets are covered with fur, pets aren’t immune to sunburn, especially when the sun is exposed to areas of the animal that has minimal hair, such as the belly and tip of the nose.

For dogs, there are specific types of sunscreen made for them. Human sunscreen can be dangerous since it contains zinc, which is toxic if it’s swallowed.

4 – Burned paw pads. Cats and dogs have a hard time handling extreme temperatures. We walk around wearing shoes, so we don’t often notice the temperature of the surfaces we walk on. Dogs and cats, of course, are walking right on the heated surfaces with no protection. With the sun baking hard surfaces like asphalt and cement, it can be painful for pets to walk on. Add to that, the potential of chemicals or hazardous objects like glass shards presenting a problem during summer parties.

If you notice your pet is limping or stumbling, take it to a veterinarian for examination. Try keeping your dog or cat on the cooler grass instead of hot surfaces like asphalt and cement.

5 – Bacteria or algae in still water and puddles. A danger to pets during summer in stagnant water or puddles is a condition known as Giardiasis. It results from a parasite known as giardia lamblia found in still water areas. Giardiasis is an intestinal illness with symptoms of diarrhea, dehydration, and upset stomach. Some lakes and small bodies of water can develop a toxic algae in the summer months that is toxic to both humans and animals if consumed. Be aware of any health reports that may affect water near you.

6 – Leptospirosis is another danger to pets as well as humans. It’s a bacterial infection that can affect many animals, including dogs. It may cause liver and kidney damage — and possibly organ failure. The Centers for Disease Control reveals that the occurrence of Leptospirosis is more commons in pets than it has been in the past. The bacteria that cause Leptospirosis are spread through the urine of infected animals, gets into water or soil and can survive there for weeks to months.

7 – Allergies. Animals are more likely to suffer from summertime seasonal allergies, which commonly cause ear infections and itchy skin. Dogs and cats can get hay fever like humans, but their symptoms are usually itchy skin and bad ear infections rather than sinus issues.

One way to treat ear infections is by cleaning the ears with a veterinary prescribed ear-cleaning solution once a month, or as recommended. The solution is meant to prevent wax buildup, which makes the infection worse. Refrain from using cotton swabs in your pet’s ears.

While you’re out having a good time this summer, keep an eye out for these hidden dangers, and keep your pet safe!

Certain fabrics keep you cooler during the summer months, while other fabrics do the opposite. When you’re outside in the scorching heat, you want to be comfortable, yet also protected from bugs and sun.

These 5 fabrics are the best if you want to stay cooler outside this summer.

1. Cotton. This fabric is lightweight and comfortable. Cotton likes to absorb water and is breathable. The fact that it absorbs water makes it not a good choice in the wintertime, when the fabric holds water in and doesn’t evaporate. In the summertime, if you’re sweating a lot, this aspect can make cotton an uncomfortable choice.

2. Linen. Linen consists of a porous weave, enabling heat to leave your body. It is also lightweight. This fabric is great for summer because it’s very absorbent, removing moisture from your skin quickly. Even if it’s stiff, it’s cling-free on your body.

3. Silk. Silk is a fabric to wear during the summer because it’s soft and luxurious, and has a thin, light feel. You can wear something with full coverage like a silk pantsuit and not feel as though you’re wearing bulky clothing. While silk absorbs moisture, it helps stay you dry. Silk is a delicate fabric, and since the fibers have a tendency to break down in sunlight, it’s a better option for evening wear.

4. Crinkled textures. These fabrics don’t cling to the body. Cotton crepe is fabric consisting of yarn that’s twisted extra-tight so that it has a crimped texture instead of a straight and smooth finish. Crepe rests nicely on the body, but doesn’t directly touch the skin, because of the “crumples.” Crepe cotton is a lighter fabric than linen, and is one of the most absorbent fibers to wear during summer. It pulls moisture away from the body.

5. Mesh and eyelet. Eyelet has holes embroidered in the fabric that allows air in and out to cool off the skin. It’s this movement over the skin that keeps you cool during the scorching heat. Mesh is similar to eyelet. Athletes favor this fabric. It has a lot of holes, which makes it lightweight compared to solid fabrics. Mesh and eyelet are considered superior choices for summer over sheer because it can too revealing to be worn alone.  Moreover, you’ll wear double the layers for coverage. It’s also noted that a good bra is suggested for these summer fabrics that keep you cool!