Nothing is more exciting than the promise of a driving holiday; a road trip along the coast, a 4WD adventure into the outback or a quick getaway to the mountains. You’ve prepared your route, booked your accommodation and all that’s standing between you and the road is packing the car. Here are six tips that will have you packing for your next 4WD trip like a pro:
1. Choose the right bags
Before you start packing, it’s important you select the right luggage. Whenever possible, pack soft bags instead of hard suitcases, which can be squashed down and make optimal use of space. Vacuum-packed bags are also a great option if you need to pack a large amount of soft items into a small space.
If you’re packing for a serious camping trip, plastic, waterproof tubs can be invaluable. Allocate one for cooking utensils, one for dry goods, one for camping furnishings and another for tents and sleeping bags. Ensure they are labelled well, making for easy access to the exact items you’re after. The best part about tubs is that they stack on top of each other, and you can simply stack them in your garage or home when you’re done. Ensure they are secured tightly, and slot together well, so they won’t shift around as you drive.
2. Order by weight and size
When packing your containers and bags in the back of the car, ensure you are packing from heaviest and bulkiest, to the lightest. Evenly distributing the weight in the back of your car means it won’t interfere with how your car handles. The lighter items will also help anchor the heavier ones and if anything comes loose it will be smaller and less likely to cause damage or injury if you brake suddenly. Plus, if you find something you’ve already packed, it’s far easier to lift a few lighter items out of the way than your heavy, bulky items.
3. Make lists
When packing, create a list of everything you’ve put in and where it’s located. Alternately, take photographs as you pack. This way, when you have that cold sweat moment thinking you’ve forgotten something vital, you can easily check if it’s packed without pulling the whole car apart.
4. Invest in extra storage
If you road trip regularly and need more room to pack your essentials, think about investing in some roof racks and a rooftop pod. A pod allows for hundreds of litres of extra storage, and is also lockable and waterproof, ensuring your valuables are safe and dry.
5. Safety first
When packing, keep in mind that you’ll want to be able to still have adequate rear vision, so don’t stack tubs and bags all the way to the roof. It may also be important that you have easy access to a spare tyre (if it’s located in the boot), and this is where stackable tubs come in handy, as they’re easy to take out and put back in. Most importantly, you want to avoid small items becoming airborne should you need to brake suddenly. Ensure everything that could come loose is strapped down and secured.
6. Include a few 4WD essentials
If you’re heading off on a 4WD adventure, there are a few essential items which can help ensure your safety and security. The key is to make sure you can attend to any injuries and get out of any sticky situations you may find yourself in while you’re roughing it. A first aid kit is a must, along with 4WD recovery gear (at minimum, a snatch strap and maxtrax), a sufficient amount of bottled drinking water, and a spare key for your vehicle.