Itinerary and car time fun were certaining two big hurdles but the work isn’t over yet. I still need to figure out how to pack for this trip without driving myself crazy. Most of our stays will be between 1 night and 3 nights long; with a total of 23 stops over the 7 week period; staying at campsites, hotels, and with family. Campsites, yes I said campsites, so besides packing what we need personally we will also need camping equipment, sleeping bags, tent and more. Doesn’t this sound like fun already?
On a hunch I test ran something the last time we went camping. When we camp for an extended period of time (5 nights or more) we use plastic drawers to organize and house everything. While unloading our camping gear from the car I spent some time playing with the drawers and as it turns out they fit perfectly in the back of our 2011 Toyota RAV-4 and are completely accessible when the back of the car is open. We might be on to something here!
That was the starting point, but there was still the matter of where was everything else going to go in the car, especially with these drawers in a semi-permanent position in the back of my car? Well this is what I came up with –
Clothes, food, camping gear in the drawers; similarly to how we normally camp. But in this case they would just stay in the car and not be moved into the tent. To this I added two totes; 1 that we use when we camp to take showers, which has a travel size set of toiletry items, towels and room for a set of clothes to take to the shower. The second has nighttime things that we would need wherever we are sleeping (PJ’s, nighttime book, important animals) and a second mini toiletry kit. When camping this will come in the tent as is and in the morning we can pick out what we want to wear from the drawers and dress in the tent. When staying in a hotel or with family upon arrival we will go to our “dresser” a.k.a. the trunk of the car and pick out what we will need for our stay; 1, 2 or 3 sets of clothes.
The end result is that the only thing that should be carried into and out of lodging is our overnight tote. In theory it should work great. No shuffling of bulky luggage in and out of hotels; no moving a ton of stuff into a tent for a 2 night stay; and everything remains easily accessible.
As for all that other stuff we needed – you know that camping stuff. Since there will only be one passenger in the back seat that left room in the backseat for more packing. Although this was possible I didn’t really care for that idea. I didn’t want the car to look full and be a target for a break-in. What I came up with was using the empty space behind the drawers, which would be completely out of sight. In order to get to this space the empty seat easily folds down; and without a backseat passenger it’s a simple operation. Finally, only camping stuff is stored in that compartment so we only need to access it during nights we are camping.
Like every other part of this trip; it’s going to be an exercise in trial and error but this is our starting point. I’ll let you know how it goes (or when we throw out all our things and check into a hotel and spa!)