But luckily, there’s help. There’s stuff out there to make it easier on you. These are the seven things I absolutely must have when I leave the house.
Why a top-7 list instead of top-10? Let’s be honest. When was the last time you were able to sit down and read an article from beginning to end? I thought so. I figured you can get through seven, but not ten.
1. Messenger bag ($90-175, www.crumpler.com)
Mine has held up forever, and it’s made by Crumpler, but really, I know you’re just looking for a diaper bag that isn’t covered with flowers and crap.
If you’re smart, you’ll pick up a couple Gerber bottle carrier coolers to go inside the diaper–er, messenger bag. I don’t know who’s on the bottle and sippy-cup design team these days, but the only question isn’t if those containers are going to leak, but when, and at that time, how much of your personal electronics collection you’re going to have to chuck. As a wise man once sang, “You gotta keep ‘em separated,” and using these Gerber cooler bags is the best way to do it.
2. Toobalink ($34.99, www.toobalink.com)
Okay, I know–this is for the kids and not you, but I actually have two of these nifty construction sets, and I keep one in the car at all times. It comes in handy, believe me. It uses old cardboard paper towel tubes and toilet paper tubes, and your little ones can use it to make swords and stuff. Super cool.
3. and 4. Simms Rainproof Jacket ($229, www.simmsfishing.com) and LL Bean Stowaway Rain Pants ($159, www.llbean.com)
Want to stay dry? These two do the job nicely. And I don’t mean you come out with a huge wet circle around your neck, up your wrists, and in your, ahem, midsection. I’m talking 100% dry. Keep them in your car and you won’t be sorry. And if you get peed on, they wipe clean.
5. Keen Brixen Low shoes ($100, www.keenfootwear.com)
They easily slip on and off, which is crucial for hands-free parenting. Waterproof–for real. Thermal lining, so they’re great in winter.
6. Ray-Bans ($125-210, www.ray-ban.com)
7. GoPro Hero camera ($199-$399, www.gopro.com)
Seen all that bizarre footage of Russian car accidents? Or anybody’s helmet shots from skiing or mountain biking? Chances are, they used one of these babies. It shoots HD, and it comes with a tough-as-nails waterproof casing, so you can film underwater, or totally wipe out, and the rig will come out intact. And you’ll have some gnarly footage to show for it. If you’re not an action guy these days, try this out instead: hook it to the end of a fishing rod, flip on the video option, and lower it into the depths for some undersea shots. Very cool. GoPro recently came out with the Hero 3, but I have a Hero 1 and it’s just grand. Pick up a used one.
And that’s it. Looky here! Look at you! You’ve actually finished this article, from beginning to end. Good for you, man!