There isn’t anything quite like summer in the Pacific Northwest. After months of grey, wet, dark weather, we emerge each summer with a true appreciation for everything it offers. Get the most of the season by preparing with these summer must-haves.
A Good Sunscreen
If there’s ONE thing you take away from this roundup, please let it be sunscreen! Protected skin is happy skin, and reapplication is key. There are two main types of sunscreen: Chemical and Physical/Mineral. Chemical ones work with the skin to absorb UV rays, converts them to heat, and releases them before they cause harm, and mineral/physical ones work to deflect the sun. Both are effective, but it’s good to find one that works well with your skin. For example, folks with sensitive skin might try the mineral ones, since they’re less chemically and potentially less irritating, but people who need something more sweat or water-resistant may lean towards the chemical sunscreen.
Try: All Good sunscreen products, Think sunscreen products
Some Solid Sunnies
Fine, I’ll say it: I DID lose last year’s sunglasses, but I know I’m not the only one in Seattle who did, so don’t look at me like that! And not just any will do, look for glasses that offer both UVA and UVB protection. Make sure to keep a pair or two by the door or in the car for anytime that elusive, glorious sun hits.
Try: icu Eyewear
Natural Bug Repellent
There’s nothing worse than setting up a campsite after a long drive only to realize NO ONE brought bug spray. There are so many wipes, sprays, balms, and even diffusers out there these days that you can pick and choose the ones that work best for you (and actually smell good!)
Try: Murphy’s Naturals insect and mosquito repellants, Pranarom Outdoor Defense
Totes and Coolers
Summer is meant to be spent outdoors, which means we’re (happily) hauling food and drinks to the beach, park, patio, you name it. Make it easier to take your party on the go with a solid cooler, insulated to keep everything nice and chilled all day long.
Try: Picnic Time, Polarbox coolers, eqpd LastBag
Picnic Blankets and Outdoor Tablecloths
A solid picnic blanket is extra important to summer-ers in the PNW; there’s a not-impossible chance that it rained recently and the grass/park table/etc. is a bit damp. From colorful blankets to spill-proof, rinseable tablecloths, find one that’ll keep you dry and the food from getting dirty.
Try: Picnic Time, Chilewich, Splash Fabric
Shatterproof Dishes and Glassware
I’ve lost one (or three…) too many wine glasses to the outside elements. Between kids running around, patio tables on uneven grass, sudden gusts of summer wind, and eager-to-say-hello puppies, outdoor dining can get a little messy. Enter: The durable dining set. The key term you want to look for in choosing your outdoor set is “shatter resistant.”
Try: Fortessa Sole Collection
If you’re someone who loves to grill but lacks the space (Seattle apartment renters, I see you), then a portable grill can offer some freedom to roam. Look for one that’s foldable for easy transportation and storage. Plus, they’re great for spontaneous camping trips!
Try: Lodge Sportsman Pro
Outdoor Board Games
Some of my favorite summer nights on the patio include three things: a group of friends, a bottle of wine, and a just-simple-enough board game. The board game really serves as a backdrop for hours of conversation and laughter.
Try: Gentleman’s Hardware
We know how quickly the sun can come and go; on any given summer day, you can wake up to rain but leave work to a sunny, cloudless sky. Pack a summer ‘go-bag,’ full of some of the essentials above, so you never have to miss out on an adventure.