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As we enter Spring and hopefully exit lockdown (for some of us) we thought it was a great time to share our top tips for smarter (and safer) packing.
If you’re anything like us, when you finally pull up to your campsite you’re just itching to get set up and settled in, drink and nibbles at the ready. But if you’re anything like some of us, the excitement of hitting the road might have you packing all the gear in the van with a “she’ll be right” attitude only to realise she won’t be right when you get to the other end.
Packing isn’t exactly fun, (especially if you can’t decide what to pack) but if it’s done right, it saves you from a damaged van, strewn belongings, unwanted veggie mash, and most importantly it gets you set up in no time.
So, what work should you do upfront to avoid heartache when you reach your destination?
Tip 1 – If In Doubt, Chuck It Out
Manufacturers don’t specify aggregate trailer masses for fun. They do it so campers can safely remain within the correct loading weights. Many sensible travellers get their packed van weighed to avoid accidents and potential insurance issues and follow the ‘less is more’ rule to pack. It’s a tendency for newbies to over-the-top pack, meaning everything and the kitchen sink goes in the van (one should be enough). The most practical tip we can offer is: if in doubt, chuck it out! You’ll find most of what you need at the local shops along the way.
Tip 2 – Balance The Load
When packing, work out the location of your water tanks. Spread any heavy loads low down and balance it from left to right, then front to back. Also, take into account the weight of a full fridge and its location. If the van and car still aren’t sitting evenly, then a weight-distribution hitch is critical to balancing the load of the van and car as a package. It will restore steering and braking for safer towing.
Tip 3 – Slide control
Anti-slip matting is indispensable for the inside of drawers and cupboards, and on benches to stop items sliding about. This matting also protects the van’s surfaces, which is useful when considering a re-sale.
Tip 4 – Think containers!
Consider where, and for how long you are traveling. Bulk buy and vacuum seal foods, bust out the good Tupperware to avoid breakages, consider packing cubes for your clothes and carry the appropriate tools.
Tip 5 – A Full Fridge Is A COOL Fridge
The best way to run a fridge economically is to keep it full. When food or drink is removed, replace it. This stops food from rolling around and being damaged. Why not keep a couple of spare beers handy to fill the space?
Tip 6 – Avoid Veggie Mash
Secure heavy vegetables at the bottom of your storage and lighter vegetables and fruit on top, but make sure they’re packed tight so they can’t roll around leaving you with a bruised mess to serve for dinner. Consider using your empty rubbish bags or a spare pair of trackies to fill any excess space.
Tip 7 – Keep The Chocolate Close
Caravans offer a multitude of storage areas which is great until you forget the excellent spot you decided on 3 months ago to keep an extra stash of toilet paper. A practical tip is to keep things you use often in locations that are easy to access by everyone on the trip. Avoid frantic searches for toilet paper, the first aid kit, and especially the chocolate stash!
Picked up your own tips?
What are you waiting for? Share them with your fellow travellers in the comments below…