7 tips for packing the trunk more efficiently

Published: November 1, 2020 · Updated: November 9, 2020

A man loading bags into the trunk of his car By Vera Petrunina/Shutterstock

Packing the trunk for a cottage weekend or holiday road trip can turn into a puzzle. Especially when you’ve got little space and a lot of gear. Wanna be more efficient? We asked Linda Chu, the national spokesperson for Professional Organizers in Canada and the founder of Out of Chaos in Vancouver for a few tips.

1. Use soft-sided duffle bags instead of hard-shell suitcases. Duffle bags conform to the sloping sides of the trunk. Unless you’re transporting fragile items; obviously, in that case, a solid box or bin is better. A combination of boxes and bags is good because you can shove soft bags into corners to maximize space—and stop those annoying rattles!

2. Pack heavy items on the bottom and as far forward as possible. Then, if you have to slam on the brakes those items won’t move very much.

3. Store your car emergency items (jumper cables, air compressor, first aid kit, etc.) in a dedicated bin or zippered bag—a gym bag or backpack works well.

4. If you’ll need to get into your cooler several times during the trip, don’t pack large, heavy items on top of it.

5. If you’re travelling with pets, bring collapsible bowls with lids. Keep a large jug of fresh water close to the opening of the trunk.

6. Got a pickup? When driving, the air flows down over the cab and into the cargo area. This creates “lift” and items can fly out easily—so use a cargo cover or a tightly-secured tarp. Got an SUV or a hatchback? Don’t pile cargo too high; it will block your rear view and make your blind spots bigger. Consider covering your gear and luggage with cargo netting or a blanket and strapping. It’ll be more secure when you travel (not to mention hidden from potential thieves when you leave your car solo during a rest stop).

7. Once the car is packed, take a picture. If you need to pack it again quickly—say, in an emergency—you’ll know where everything fits best. Plus, sometimes you just want to make a speedy getaway to beat the Sunday cottage traffic back home!

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