Pitchers and catchers have officially reported for Spring Training, and I’ve started my seventh season as a travel baseball mom. Packing for a baseball weekend away from home can be like packing for a camping trip. It can be a lot to pack. There
are times when we get to the ballpark at 8 a.m., stay long enough to grab the team Subway, and don’t leave until 8 at night. One of the most asked questions from mommas on Facebook groups that are just starting with their kiddos on this journey
is, “What do I need to bring?”
Here is a list of items that I’ve gathered over the years to bring with us to survive a weekend at the ballpark:
- The Baseball Wagon. This one is a must! There is no way that you can carry all of your necessities into the park without one of these. Do not go cheap on these. You get what you pay for. I especially like the wagons with straps to hold everything
in. Nothing is more frustrating than being all packed up and having your items fall out of your cart over and over again from the car to the field.
- Baseball (outdoor) chairs. Find a big comfy one that doesn’t weigh a ton. Keep in mind that you will be sitting for hours in this chair. I prefer a dual lock portable chair; is great for comfort and accessibility.
- Weather Pod. You can get these portable huts in singles or big enough to hold your whole family. These will keep the wind and rain off of you, and get surprisingly warm if you are sitting in the sun.
- Mr. Buddy Heater. These are so nice. They keep your feet nice and warm. We put a couple in the dugouts as well to help the boys stay warm. Fair warning… these things get hot. Do not get near them wearing nylon athletic pants. They will
melt the pants—just speaking from a coach’s experience. The whole dug out reeked like burnt plastic nearly the whole game!
- Sunscreen. My son is pale and a red head. Even when it is chilly or cloudy outside, he will burn. I found sunscreen sticks last summer that work well. They are easy to apply to his face, and it doesn’t run into his eyes.
- Sleeping bag. These will keep you warm. Just step into it and sit down. Make sure to grab one for each member of your family.
- HotHands Warmers. Our whole family uses these. My ballplayer keeps one in his back pocket of his baseball pants to help keep his hands warm.
- Extra pair of socks. I grab a spare pair for my ballplayer, as well. You never know when rain will hit, and I couldn’t imagine trying to play ball in wet socks.
- An umbrella. I find myself wanting shade during the long games. If you have smaller kids, this is a nice thing to have around.
- Waterproof blanket. Another thing to grab if you have younger kids is to find an easy, cheap, waterproof blanket. You can find these in-stores or online, but I grabbed a couple of them for my family and me.
- Drinks and snacks. Food and drinks are expensive at ballparks. Do yourself and your wallet a favor, and bring your own. I use a cooler that is easy to carry and keeps everything cold all day.
- Cooler. Like I said above, we pack the cooler with water, Gatorade, string cheese, blueberries, strawberries, lunch meat and whatever we may be thinking that day. We also pack things like pretzels, Ritz crackers and peanut butter, jerky and beef sticks.
My kids and their ballpark buddies love to eat!
- RCT Jug. My ballplayer prefers the stainless half-gallon jug over a plastic one. We put a carabiner hook on it, and he hangs it on the fence in the dugout. It holds ice better than other plastic half-gallon water jugs we’ve had in the past.
I use one of these while I’m at the ballpark also to make sure I’m drinking plenty of water.
- Battery-operated fan. This is great on really hot summer days during or between games to cool off your player. It’s also great to keep your younger kids cool during the day.
- Froggtogs. Last year, my son played in a World Series in Florida. Heat index was over 106 degrees. It was terrible. I started to look up ways to keep him and his catcher cool. We took their Froggtogs; put them in a small cooler of ice water
that had a couple of drops of peppermint oil in it. Seemed to work wonders.
- Dollar store goodies. My daughter always makes new friends when she’s at the ballpark. She also plays with other baseball sisters. To keep the girls busy, I make a run to the dollar store before heading out of town. I grab sidewalk chalk, bubbles,
a few coloring books, crayons and a ball for the kids to throw or kick around. If I know it will be a long tourney, I’ll also pack the portable DVD player and DVDs.
- Clothes, gear and toiletries. Last but not least, don’t forget to pack clothes and toiletries for the whole family, your son’s bat bag, cleats, turf shoes, belts, cups, pants, socks and multiple jerseys.
I know this list can be overwhelming. It’s a lot, and I get it. I didn’t buy all of this stuff in one year. It took years to acquire all of these things. My husband thinks all of this packing is ridiculous, until he asks me where the HotHands
are. I’d rather be prepared than not, and then have to run to the store to buy something that I already have at home.
When I’m not actively being a baseball mom, I’m an insurance agent. Rest assured that I give the same thought and preparedness to all of my insureds and all of their assets that they’ve worked so hard for. I’m available for
any curve ball that life could throw at you. I’m part of your community, and I’m here when you need me.