my summer grab & go bag essentials

Summer is officially here! That means we need to get out and soak up the sunshine as much as we can (I mean, it’s Michigan it could snow tomorrow *wink.*) One thing I’ve learned since having two kiddos is that it helps to streamline our “get out of the house to the car” time as much as possible. I mean, on a normal day it can take me 20 minutes to coral the kids out of the house and to the car!

After I put together our Mary Poppins gone fishin’ bag it hit me, I needed a Summer Grab & Go Bag! This way all the things I could possibly need are in one place – no more hunting and running around last minute to find the sunscreen or a hat. So now whenever we leave the house, all I have to do is grab this bag on our way out the door. Besides, when we’re out running around town you never know when you might hit up a splash pad and need a towel!

the essentials

So let’s start with the bag. I didn’t want a plastic bin stored in my car all summer long — who has room in their trunk for a plastic bin,  a stroller and groceries? Not this mama. I knew I needed something smaller, more flexible. Something that I could keep by our back door so that either myself or my husband could grab it, depending on whoever is  heading out with the girls.

I decided to repurpose my Mom2Mom shopping bag for the summer (it’s an old Thirty-One bag, you can find a similar version here.) It’s great because it has all these pocket compartments all the way around the outside of the bag for extra storage.

Summer Grab & Go Bag |

Now for what’s in my bag…

Summer Grab & Go Bag |

Summer Grab & Go Bag |

Summer Grab & Go Bag |

Most of the items on the list are there for obvious reasons, sunscreen, sunhat, basic First Aid Kit, snacks, etc. but some things might not be as clear…

Carabiner // I always carry a couple of carabiners to clip our water bottles to a diaper bag or my purse, but these mini-carabiners are perfect for holding extra hair ties for the girls. You never know when you’ll need to put their hair up in a pony on a hot day!

Sunglasses // no matter how many pairs we buy we always seem to lose them! So I picked up a pair from the Target dollar section to keep stashed in our grab bag

Wet/Dry Bag // These things are amazing! I started to carry this one around with us when Grace was potty training (I could hold an extra pair of underwear in the dry section and our travel potty seat in the wet compartment) and I absolutely loved it. I picked up this cute summer version in the Target dollar section for $3.

Towel // I knew I needed a towel for those spontaneous stops at the splash pad, but didn’t want to lug around a bulky one. I found this one at Target ($10 – but it’s currently on sale for $8) and it’s large enough that both girls can share yet thin enough that it doesn’t take up my entire bag.

Bug Spray // For those nights you happen to be out late at the park and need to keep the pesky mosquitos away. You can find small versions like this in the travel section (I found this one at, yes, you guessed it…Target.)

Sweatshirts // It’s Michigan. You never know when you’ll catch a chilly night, or maybe you’re down by the beach and it’s a breezy day. Either way you don’t want to be caught out and about and cold!

Hand sanitizing wipes // These are a must with little kids! I usually carry these around in my purse and diaper bag, but I also like these Purrell wipes in case I need to wipe down a dirty slide or swing.

Outdoor Blanket // My SIL had this outdoor blanket and when I saw it I knew I had to have one too! It’s the perfect size for the beach or a picnic and folds up easily — bonus it has a carrying strap!

Disposable Placemats // You never know when you need a clean spot to eat on. I started using these at restaurants when the girls first started to eat table food (you know because sometimes the plate was too hot to touch at the restaurant.) Then one day we were at the zoo with my SIL and niece and stopped for lunch at one of the picnic tables — no amount of wipes could make me feel like it was a clean surface. But luckily I had a few of these stashed in the diaper bag, my SIL thought it was pretty clever. Ever since I try to keep a couple on-hand, just in case. I’ve found Buy Buy Baby to be the cheapest but you can also find them on Amazon or Target.


We tried out the bag last weekend when my hubby sporadically said “let’s take the girls fishing tonight!” I grabbed the bag on our way out the door without hesitation of missing something. Granted when I got in the car Michael looked at me and asked “what  is that?!” thinking I overpacked (again.) But as I explained to him what it was for, and how we could use it this summer, I saw his expression change as he gave me props, “oh that’s a great idea!”

What would you add to your Summer Grab & Go Bag?