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Boxes stacked in the Freelander ready to be moved to the van

One of the things that came easily to us when we started caravanning was packing. We’d read on ‘the forums’ about people packing experiences and how long it took to “pack and load”, but honestly we never gave it a second thought. I then started to wonder why. I figured it goes back to our early days of flying in small… really small aircraft where it was the norm to shorten the bristles on your tooth-brush to save on weight.

We had developed over the years a packing technique that seemed to lend its self to the caravan quite easily. Now we can “pack and load” quite quickly as the key is prior organisation. We opted to use boxes from The Really Useful Box Co which makes things easy. Their boxes come in a multitude of sizes and the lids lock on securely allowing the boxes to stack neatly. We chose boxes that slide under the front bench seats and will also pass through the locker doors.

“Set-up box” – guy rope, pegs, wind break bits, elasticated cords, storm straps… everything for setting up in one box!

Boxes are designated for key things and given locations. One had all the bike bits – helmets, lights, trip computers, bags and security cables in it along with the straps for the bike rack. This travels in the back of the Freelander as it is heavy and when on site as the Aquaroll and Wastehog are removed from under the bed, its slid under there via the  side locker. The food boxes are the same. Normally they stay at home so we can fill as required from a check list – heavy items like tinned items, Rice, Pasta, etc. things that you only need access to infrequently are in one box, which like the bike bits, travel in the Freelander then are moved to the under bed locker on arrival. Sue has a smaller box for her hairdryer and other bits and pieces…. it travels in the Freelander then is moves to the caravan on arrival. Having an organised system makes it easy. We have large sealed ‘Tupperware’ type box that stays in the van that has spices, coffee, tea or anything that would be affected by damp or could attract unwanted guests…  and we have a list of what’s in this box so its easy to keep a check on anything running low. Everything else in the comestibles department is in the stacking boxes, so at the end of a trip or when we are changing sites, its easy to just stack them back in the Freelander for the move. So with our little system, the only thing we have to move is five boxes…. which makes it so easy to “pack and load”. I just wish we were this organised with the clothes!

Bike Rack question….

Someone asked about our bike rack…. they had seen our bikes against the A frame on the van, but no bike rack on the Freelander and asked if we weren’t using the bike rack. Well we were. One of the really neat things about the bike rack is that fact we can simply lift it off the Freelander and set it next to the A frame without having to take the bikes off the rack. It means that even for an overnight stay, we don’t have to have the “is it worth taking the bikes or not as it’s so much hassle” discussion. The rack simply lifts off in a minute and sits next to the A frame, without having to spend ten minutes unstrapping each bike and lifting each bike off. The bikes and rack can be secured using a couple of motorbike cable locks and connected to the caravan alarm. At the moment we are using a simple nylon cover to put over the bikes, but we have been looking at the versions that are offered by two companies – Bags4everything and Taylormade Screen Covers to use both on and off the vehicle. If anyone has any experience of either of these or any others, we’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading