One thing we are asked from time to time, especially by people new to caravanning is how we pack. If you put everything in the caravan that you wanted to take for a trip, it would make life so much easier… but will probably go over the caravan’s weight limit.
It will take a while to find your own routine for packing but here’s how we do it to make life simple and easy, or so we think.
Like a lot of people we keep out caravan in storage, so the chance to ‘pre load’ with everything we need for a trip one or two days before setting off is a bit limited. Sue has a couple of large bags.. I think they are laundry bags bought from a store for a couple of pounds, that she packs all the clothes in, so when we go to pick up the caravan, it’s a simple matter of unloading the two bags into relevant cupboards and anything for the wardrobe is hung up before it gets chance to crease up and it doesn’t take that long to do.
As we do like to cook in the caravan, one of the heaviest ‘group’ of things is food and trying to store this in the caravan before a trip would take time so we have a different solution.
We came up with a list of essential items that we take, mostly things that we need when cooking and core ingredients. All these are stored in plastic boxes at home ready to go. Storing them at home means we can keep an eye on expiration dates and restock from a list when required. The boxes are from The Really Useful Box Co so they stack neatly and fit in the back of the Land Rover Freelander easily. They also contain things that we can use to make a few hot meals if we get delayed en-route (I’ve never had to make a meal while held up in a traffic jam for hours on the motorway… not yet anyway!)
The ‘comestibles’ boxes as we call them stack in the Freelander along with the Cadac BBQ and stay there until we reach the campsite, where we transfer them to the under bed locker. No need to unpack the boxes as we know whats in there and can simply access them either by lifting the bed or from the outside locker door. If we are moving sites or packing up to come home, it’s just a simple matter of transferring the boxes back to the Freelander.
We have a cool box that we load all the items for the fridge and freezer into along with a couple of ice packs so all we have to do is transfer these into the fridge. So far we haven’t had any issues with not ‘pre-cooling’ the fridge. Once the cool box is empty, we just load it with the wine/beer and an ice pack and it stays in the back of the Freelander until we arrive on site.
Collecting the caravan from storage usually takes about 20 minutes, while Sue unpack’s the clothes I load the fridge and re-load the cool box and prep the van for towing. Arriving on site it takes only 20 to 30 minutes to set up and there isn’t much backwards and forward between the car and caravan. Handy when it’s raining!
We recently obtained a Dometic Waeco S16 DC Thermoelectric Lightweight 12V Cooler from Leisure Shop Direct which intend to use to keep the all important sammiches and water cool while we are travelling. As we like to buy local produce wherever we stay its going to be handy to keep anything we buy cool until we get back to the caravan. In a couple of outings so far it’s proved extremely efficient and we think it is a good addition to our kit. We will be doing a full review of it soon.
The box system works for us and we have extended it now to include a box that has all our cycling equipment – helmets, lights, locks, straps, gloves etc. so if we take the bikes, It’s easy to just load the box with everything in it. I also have one that we keep the towing kit in – steady drill, jockey wheel handle, gloves, gas cylinder spanner, towing mirrors and 13 pin to 12N/12S adaptor lead (just in case the caravan has to be towed by a vehicle only fitted with 12N/12S electrics) and when we hitch up the AL-KO hitch lock and wheel lock is stored in there while travelling.
For us the boxes just keep things organised, both for storage at home and while away. It gives me the chance to check everything a day or so before we go and so far it’s worked well. It might not be right for you, but at least it’s given you some ideas I hope.