Summer packing – how to do it properly
As long as I can remember, my dad was always very good with puzzles; especially jigsaw puzzles. He had the patience to put things where they belonged to benefit him later. Maybe that helped him when he had to pack the family vehicle for summer vacation. He always had a good place for everything. To be honest, I’m glad I inherited that family trait from him. With four kids, it certainly has come in handy over the years.
One thing I’ve learned is to keep the larger objects like coolers and full sized suitcases on the bottom when packing a minivan or SUV. They can withstand having heavier items on top of them. They can also improve the driver’s visibility if they can remain below the sightline of the top of the backseat. Without visibility from the rear, it creates problems for the driver in heavy traffic or if they have to back up at any time.
Speaking of the backseat, the highest you should pack is to the top of the backseat in a minivan or SUV. Objects above that level can fly forward as a projectile if the driver has to stop suddenly. This could injure someone or distract the driver from their driving decisions. I’ve seen the back of vehicles piled so high there was no way the driver could see through the rear window. This makes lane changes much more difficult.
It’s a good idea if you can put the smaller items inside larger items as that can also save space. For example, put all beach equipment or fishing rods in one large bag. If needed, find a rooftop carrier so you can put items in it that you won’t need until you reach your destination. Items you may need during your trip should be placed near the opening of the storage compartment. This way you can get to them with ease any time you stop at a rest area.
Keep a smaller cooler handy so on long trips you can have easy access to the juice, pop, water and snacks. If you’ve got room, use the floor behind the driver’s seat to put larger items that won’t move around, perhaps that smaller cooler. This would make it easier for your passenger to reach them. Don’t ignore the front of the vehicle. Having your maps at the ready, but secured, for your navigator to use. Secure all loose items so they don’t create distractions for you.
Packing your vehicle takes time to ensure you can do it safely. Perhaps pack it the night before you leave. This gives you time to think about it and do it properly. As an add-on, don’t forget to plan where you’re going to stop for breaks if you have a long trip. This allows everyone to stretch their legs, use the washroom or even get a snack. Packing and traveling doesn’t have to be a negative experience, if you take the time to do it properly.