The 30 items you should ALWAYS have in your car's winter emergency kit

30 Essential, Winter Emergency Items You Need To Keep In Your Car

Be ready when disaster strikes.

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A car crash. Black ice. An engine that dies at the worst time.

It's happened to all of us Your car probably isn't in the best shape afterwards, but what happens if these aggregating things turn out to be something much larger, a struggle between life and death? Can you honestly say you're prepared for the worst?

If you're like the average person, your answer is probably no. Heck, the average person doesn't even have a seat belt cutter, much less a first aid kit. These are the top 30 things to keep in your emergency kit nestled securely behind the passenger seat.

1. Cat litter

Unsplash- Cat

Getting stuck is one of the biggest problems that people face when winter hits. It's not too bad when you're at home, but if you lose control of your vehicle and end up on the side of the road... Well, that could be an issue. Cat litter that clumps can give your tires just enough traction to get you out of a bad spot.

2. Flares and reflective triangles

Unsplash- flare

If you can't get unstuck, you lost control of your vehicle and can't get it turned back on, or if you're injured badly enough that you can't drive, flares and reflective triangles can be literal life savers. Placing them in areas where other drivers can see them is a must.

3. Water

Unsplash- Water bottle

Dehydration will kill you faster than almost anything else. Getting a 12 pack of water bottles from Wal-Mart can be the difference between life and death.

4. Waterproof matches

Unsplash- Lit match

Waterproof matches are just that: matches that you can strike even when you're stuck in a damp area. If you're stuck on the side of the road and can't get your car to turn on, these could help you get through the night even if they got wet in the snow.

5. Raisins, jerky, protein bars, and other snacks

Unsplash- Granola and fruits

You don't wait to be munching on your leather boots if you get stuck, do you? Snacks like protein bars, raisins and jerky can help keep you awake and feeling well if you're stuck for an extended period of time... or if you have a hungry toddler. Either one.

6. Manually powered flashlights and candles

Unsplash- Candles

Hand-powered flashlights will be your best friend. By cranking the flashlight, you can power the light without worrying about dead batteries. If that's not a viable option, candles are a good backup.

7. Batteries

Giphy- Battery charging

Not into hand-powered flashlights? Have a medical device? Packing a few AA and AAA batteries could be helpful.

8. Distress flags

FLickr- Orange flags

Distress flags aren't dissimilar to flares and reflective triangles, but the added object never hurts. flag down drivers using these and get help sooner.

9. A whistle

Flickr- Crossing guard with whistle

We have three items to grab people's attention, but why not add a fourth? Loud whistles can both attract the attention of drives and scare away some wildlife, so keep one in your emergency stash.

10. A car charger for your phone

Giphy- Dead battery

Keep that phone charged! With any luck, you can contact EMS.

11. Emergency blankets

Amazon- Emergency blankets

In case you need to sleep in your car overnight, emergency blankets can be real life savers. Most emergency blankets are designed to trap your body heat in and use it to warm you during the night.

12. A first aid kit

Flickr- First aid kit

Whether you were in a crash or were attacked by a wild squirrel (should've brought that whistle!), you're likely going to need that first aid kit. Keep this nearby and you'll be able to treat any minor injuries you get.

13. A pocket knife 

Flcikr- Hunting pocket knife

If the whistle doesn't work, a pocket knife can be used to protect you in bad situations.

14. Medications

Flickr- Medication bottle

Prescription and non-prescription medications can be vital in these situations. If you're ill, unable to think clearly, or depressed, you'll be unable to escape as quickly. If possible, store a week's worth of medications in your first aid kit.

15. Money

FLcikr- Money in man's pocket

This is always a good one, no matter the time of year.

16. Battery powered radios

Flickr- battery powered radio

Keep up to date, aware of the situations around you, and know when truckers may be passing your area. At the very least, it'll keep you awake.

17. An external battery

Flickr- Jumper cables

External batteries can help jump start your car. You don't even need another car!

18. An air compressor

Amazon- Automatic air compressor

Fix those flats on the go!

19. Seat belt cutters

Amazon- Seat belt cutter

Keep this near you at all times! If your seat belt ever locks and you're unable to escape, seat belt cutters will come in handy.

20. A FireCord

Amazon- FireCord

FireCords are flammable cords of fabric-like material that you can use to start a fire. Nifty, right?

21. A collapsible shovel

Giphy- German shepard shoveling

When you need more than just kitty litter, grab a collapsible shovel. Miniature shovels tend to break more easily, so invest those extra dollars.

22. A tool kit

Flickr- Tool kit

Doubling as weapons, a tool kit is vital to aspiring mechanics. At the very least, you can make quick repairs.

23. Duct tape

Flickr- Duct tape

Have you ever heard the rumor that duct tape can solve anything? Well, that's almost true. At the very least, you can use it for makeshift repairs until you get to the next town.

24. Warm clothes

Flickr- Baby in warm clothes

If worst comes to worst, you can huddle up in your three layers of shirts and wrap yourself in your emergency blanket. Additionally, if you opt to search for help on foot, these extra layers can mean the difference between life and death.

25. Maps (yes, the paper kind)

Flickr- Map

If you're out of service or your phone is dead, a paper map can help direct you to safety before your car runs out of gas.

26. A fire extinguisher 

Giohy- Jack Jack on fire

Cars catch fire. Need I say more?

27. Documentation

Flickr- US Passport

A state ID or passport can help both identify you in a life threatening situation and get you home more quickly. If the police come and for some reason you don't have your license, it can prove who you are and lend more credibility to your claims.

28. Hygiene products

Flickr- Woman holding packaged tampon

Who cares about surviving when you come out with toxic shock syndrome? Packing hygiene products such as tampons, baby wipes, and paper towels can help you avoid getting sick.

29. Boots

Flickr- Person in good snow boots

Walking in heels or sneakers could prove uncomfortable or even dangerous in the winter. Store a pair of water-resistant boots with good treads in your emergency kit to protect your feet from frostbite and make it easier to walk through high snow banks.

30. A travel kit or tub

Giphy- Packing GIF

Put this bag or tub in your back seat! Fill it with your emergency kit and viola! Instant safety kit for winter emergencies.

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15 Things Only Lake People Will Understand

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.
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The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people. Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look. Every year when summer rolls back around, you can't wait to fire up the boat and get back out there. Here is a list of things you can probably identify with as a fellow lake-goer.

1. A bad day at the lake is still better than a good day not at the lake.

It's your place of escape, where you can leave everything else behind and just enjoy the beautiful summer day. No matter what kind of week you had, being able to come and relax without having to worry about anything else is the best therapy there is. After all, there's nothing better than a day of hanging out in the hot sun, telling old funny stories and listening to your favorite music.

2. You know the best beaches and coves to go to.

Whether you want to just hang out and float or go walk around on a beach, you know the best spots. These often have to be based on the people you're with, given that some "party coves" can get a little too crazy for little kids on board. I still have vivid memories from when I was six that scared me when I saw the things drunk girls would do for beads.

3. You have no patience for the guy who can’t back his trailer into the water right.

When there's a long line of trucks waiting to dump their boats in the water, there's always that one clueless guy who can't get it right, and takes 5 attempts and holds up the line. No one likes that guy. One time my dad got so fed up with a guy who was taking too long that he actually got out of the car and asked this guy if he could just do it for him. So he got into the guy's car, threw it in reverse, and got it backed in on the first try. True story.

4. Doing the friendly wave to every boat you pass.

Similar to the "jeep wave," almost everyone waves to other boats passing by. It's just what you do, and is seen as a normal thing by everyone.

5. The cooler is always packed, mostly with beer.

Alcohol seems to be a big part of the lake experience, but other drinks are squeezed into the room remaining in the cooler for the kids, not to mention the wide assortment of chips and other foods in the snack bag.

6. Giving the idiot who goes 30 in a "No Wake

Zone" a piece of your mind.

There's nothing worse than floating in the water, all settled in and minding your business, when some idiot barrels through. Now your anchor is loose, and you're left jostled by the waves when it was nice and perfectly still before. This annoyance is typically answered by someone yelling some choice words to them that are probably accompanied by a middle finger in the air.

7. You have no problem with peeing in the water.

It's the lake, and some social expectations are a little different here, if not lowered quite a bit. When you have to go, you just go, and it's no big deal to anyone because they do it too.

8. You know the frustration of getting your anchor stuck.

The number of anchors you go through as a boat owner is likely a number that can be counted on two hands. Every once in a while, it gets stuck on something on the bottom of the lake, and the only way to fix the problem is to cut the rope, and you have to replace it.

9. Watching in awe at the bigger, better boats that pass by.

If you're the typical lake-goer, you likely might have an average sized boat that you're perfectly happy with. However, that doesn't mean you don't stop and stare at the fast boats that loudly speed by, or at the obnoxiously huge yachts that pass.

10. Knowing any swimsuit that you own with white in it is best left for the pool or the ocean.

You've learned this the hard way, coming back from a day in the water and seeing the flowers on your bathing suit that were once white, are now a nice brownish hue.

11. The momentary fear for your life as you get launched from the tube.

If the driver knows how to give you a good ride, or just wants to specifically throw you off, you know you're done when you're speeding up and heading straight for a big wave. Suddenly you're airborne, knowing you're about to completely wipe out, and you eat pure wake. Then you get back on and do it all again.

12. You're able to go to the restaurants by the water wearing minimal clothing.

One of the many nice things about the life at the lake is that everybody cares about everything a little less. Rolling up to the place wearing only your swimsuit, a cover-up and flip flops, you fit right in. After a long day when you're sunburned, a little buzzed, and hungry, you're served without any hesitation.

13. Having unexpected problems with your boat.

Every once in a while you're hit with technical difficulties, no matter what type of watercraft you have. This is one of the most annoying setbacks when you're looking forward to just having a carefree day on the water, but it's bound to happen. This is just one of the joys that come along with being a boat owner.

14. Having a name for your boat unique to you and your life.

One of the many interesting things that make up the lake culture is the fact that many people name their boats. They can range from basic to funny, but they are unique to each and every owner, and often have interesting and clever meanings behind them.

15. There's no better place you'd rather be in the summer.

Summer is your all-time favorite season, mostly because it's spent at the lake. Whether you're floating in the cool water under the sun, or taking a boat ride as the sun sets, you don't have a care in the world at that moment. The people that don't understand have probably never experienced it, but it's what keeps you coming back every year.


Cover Image Credit: Haley Harvey

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5 Reasons It's Always Worth It To Be A Summer Camp Counselor

Summer camps have a special place in my heart, and I'm here to share that with you.

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Since I was 15, I have been a counselor at various summer camps. I have been a Program Aide at Girl Scout camp, a counselor at church camp, and a counselor at a day camp. These were all camps that I attended as a kid, so they already had a special place in my heart when I got a chance to work at them.

After being a camp counselor for five years, there are things that I have learned on the job that has helped me in life. Being a counselor has also helped me grow as a person. It's helped me gain skills that I don't think I would have learned in other jobs. I'm here to share what I love about the job of being a camp counselor.

1. You get to be the leader/role model

As a kid, there were many counselors in my life that I looked up to. They were people that I strived to be alike in my life, but now that I'm older, I get to be that person for the kid. What I say and do will influence how the kids around me act. That comes with a lot of stress, but it's also empowering. You can be a positive influence in a kids life, and hopefully, teach them important life lessons.

2. You can be your goofy self

One thing that I love about working with kids is that I can be silly around them. Kids won't judge you for being silly because they're silly right alongside you. They feed off your energy, and it can help them explore the world around them through communication. Plus, when was it not fun to be silly?

3. You get to hang out with kids all day

This reason might turn people off from the job, but it's a part of why I love being a counselor. Hanging out with kids tires me out at times, but they also motivate me to keep going. They're little balls of energy, and I feed off of other people's energies well. The kids also help me feel youthful and like nothing matters. Everything is fun to them; they help me keep a positive outlook on life.

4. Your coworkers become your best friends

Working at a summer camp can be difficult at times. It's emotionally and physically draining as well. But having a good support team helps with that. The counselors that I have worked with in the past have become my best friends, and I still stay in touch with some. They're there for you when no one else is, and they understand what you're going through. You know that their feelings for you are genuine, and they want to help as much as they can.

5. You get to watch the kids grow

Over the summer, I get to see the same kids every week at my camp. I get to see them grow as people over the summer and it's a rewarding experience knowing that I was able to help them. Watching them become leaders and grow into little helpers by the end of the summer is one of my favorite things.

I'm excited to have the opportunity to work at a summer camp again this year. I know that it'll provide an opportunity to grow as a person and I can't wait to see my favorite kids again.

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