Hi, Juneau! Having a great Fourth of July? I know I am. Nothing says perennial patriotism like fireworks, saltwater taffy, and that yearly reminder that yes, a glockenspiel can be heard from over six blocks away. Whether you’re enjoying the downtown/Douglas festivities, are out with some friends, or just staying home and having a sunny day off, I hope your Fourth of July is fantastic!
Which reminds me! I’ve been stewing around this idea lately of putting that Boy Scout motto of “always prepared” to some good use. There’s so many things to do around the Juneau area, but I often find myself ill prepared, or saying “maybe later, I have to go pack” instead of saying “yes!”
That’s why I’m putting together an Ultimate Juneau Preparedness Kit. Of course, different kinds of people will want different things on their lists. However, I find myself needing the same basic categories of items. I often need tools for maintenance and weather protection, gear for outdoorsiness and harvesting, stuff for hanging out with friends outside, inspiration for boredom, and picnic material. So, this list is definitely geared to my tastes, but I think this covers most of the basics, and can easily fit in the trunk of a Subaru. If you think I missed something, send me a message! I’d love to know what other people want in their UJPK.
First, the basics. Obviously you’ll need a vehicle maintenance kit. This should include, at the bare minimum, a spare tire, a tire iron, jumper cables, and flares. Do not mistake your boat’s flare-gun for normal road flares, however. It is so much more expensive to get towed by the Coast Guard. Bonus points for a bag of sand you can use to get your car or truck out of icy spots. (You know the rest: wiper fluid, oil, gross-smelling Christmas tree cut-outs, etc).
It’s also smart to keep an ice scraper and a shovel in your car. Other weather related items: sunglasses and sunscreen. (“What? Sunscreen?” I can hear you say. Yes, coconut-flavored umbrella sauce is surprisingly important here, especially on water or snow.) Oh, and an extra pair of ‘tuffies. Remember, two ‘tuffies is just enoughies!
Ok, basics out of the way. What if the moment spurs you on a hike, a walk, or even an impromptu camping trip? A snazzy first aid kit, a knife, water bottle, and a hammock will make you look like the Daniel Boone of Sunshine Cove. Add a bivy sack, sleeping bag, compass, and walking stick to upgrade yourself to Davy Crockett.
As long as we’re talking about the beach, if you want to be the cool guy or girl at the party, always keep some wood in your car, and a hatchet. Also, a 6-pack of Alaska Freeride, in cans. I would also keep a cheap musical instrument in my car exclusively for singing Wonderwall and Sweet Home Alabama.
“Whew! My trunk is almost full now. What else could I possibly fit?” you ask me. Oh ho ho, I answer. We’re only about halfway!
To TRULY be ultimately prepared, you have to consider many angles. Going into bear-territory? Bring a can-o-spray! Fish-territory? A pole and tackle. Berry-territory? Don’t be caught filling your pockets — keep a berry bucket! Church? Pocket Bible! Extra bonus points for a trail guide and a plant ID book.
Going downtown? Always keep a cash cache. Great for tipping, impulse buys, parking, pels, or public transportation. Also, you’re so much more likely to go see a movie if you actually have a Gross Alaska card. Also, keep a bunch of takeout menus in your car. Just trust me on that one. Makes decision making 13x easier.
Ok, almost there. Bonus round! My ideal UJPK includes a blanket. Also, large trash bags can be used for like 20 different things, but one of their best uses is making wet spots dry for sitting on. For a similar reason, keep a tarp! It’s also good to have a bus schedule, plenty of duct tape, a lighter, fire starter, plenty of rope or twine, cliff bars, a change of clothes, stain remover, toothbrush, a laminated and thoroughly-written zombie apocalypse contingency plan, and a Frisbee! Boom.
So anyway. These are some ideas. What would you have in your ideal Ultimate Juneau Preparedness Kit? Let me know by sending me a message! Anyway, have a super fun, super safe, and maybe even an exceptionally spontaneous and well-prepared Fourth of July!
• Guy About Town appears the first and third Sunday of every month and includes seasonal musings on what changes and what doesn’t in a small town. Guy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.