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Packing The Jeep - Catching up (With Katie)

Jeep Cargo

Levi JansmaPhotographerKatie JansmaWriter

It’s June. The year is half over, which means it’s wheeling time! OK, in my state it does. Colorado isn’t the best for all-year-long wheeling and more so with a six-year-old and a four-year-old. Being as cold as it gets here, they get extremely grumpy, and no one likes grumpy kids! It makes the wheeling day utterly frustrating.

Packing up a Jeep is one of the trickiest things for me. Why you ask? For most of you, it’s as simple as getting your snacks, water, and tools and you are good to go. Being a family of four, we have to pack twice has much as most. I would like to keep the weight down in the Jeep as our ’12 Wrangler Unlimited is the family rig and is heavy enough by its self, but some of the heavy things are necessary.

No matter what, when we go out, I have a case of water with us because about 80 percent of the time someone will forget or not have enough. I live on the desert side of Colorado, so we get into the hundreds in summer time. Of course, we make sure we have tools. You never know when something is going to break. Let’s face it: something always does, we drive Jeeps! We make sure we have the small air pump, recovery kit, a shovel, some type of handsaw, fire extinguisher, extra clothes for the girls, and of course, a first aid kit. My first aid kit has Barbie, the movie Frozen, and Batman Band-Aids in it. Hey, I have to keep my girls happy, and you never know what mood they are in because they are girls after all.

The most important and critical thing for me is food. That’s right, I’m not the one that has Lunchables, chips and such. I’m the type that will get up early and make homemade lunches and snacks. I’m a little bit health-nut crazy, but don’t get me wrong, I still love a good burger. I’m still a fat kid at heart.

Let’s get back on track now, shall we. I use wraps instead of bread for two reasons. The first is bread takes up more space in a cooler and the second is no one likes soggy bread. Wraps are also delicious. I will put some kind of deli meat, cheese (normally Swiss), and then depending on the vegetable sales, it can go anywhere. For the girls, it’s more complex. Lucky for me, they eat well and love fruits and veggies, but they still love a good Lunchable. I mean, who doesn’t? So I take the time and make them a healthy version of one. Yes, I’m that mom and ruin it for them. Crackers are the tough part. Normally, it is whole wheat kind. I would prefer something better for them, but as long as I get them to eat their lunch when we are out on a trail that is all that matters. They often will get ham or turkey with American yellow cheese, because to a four year old, color matters. For sides, it can be anything from cherry tomatoes to squeeze apple sauce. Snacks are even more difficult because of the bumps and rocks on the trail. I let the girls eat veggie straws rather than potato chips. Of course, they have fruit snacks. However, the words, “I dropped my fruit snacks,” are just about as bad as, “Oh crap, what did we hit?” to my ears. It may take more of my time, but at least my family is still eating a good meal on the trail. If you are wondering, yes, there are cookies after lunch, of course. I’m not that selfish to take away the cookies, mainly because I still love cookies.