If you often go away on camping trips, you’ll know that getting out of town for a decent period can involve a substantial amount of gear. With any luck, you’ll have a decent sized ute or 4WD with plenty of space and a good roof rack to load everything up. But effectively packing your camping equipment, tools and other gear is somewhat of an art. Here are some handy tips you may find useful.
Tip #1 – Don’t Over Pack
It makes sense to minimise your load before you start packing. Don’t include more things ‘just in case’. The lighter the load, the less the strain on the vehicle and that means better fuel economy, less chance of breakdowns, flat or blown tyres and broken suspensions. Less load also means less time spent packing and unpacking every day.
Tip # 2 – Use an Organiser
Unsecured objects in your 4WD can slide from side to side, causing spillage, breakage or damage. An organiser like Stayholds can stop this from happening and keep everything tidy.
Tip # 3 – Pack the Load Up the Front of Your Ute
As most of the cargo space is behind the rear axle in utes, it’s important to load the heavy stuff right up front of the tray.
Tip # 4 – Attach a Canopy to Your Ute
Utes generally have less storage volume than a 4WD but attach a canvas or steel canopy to the tray, and you instantly double it. Plus your gear will be more protected. Bear in mind that many canopies won’t be totally weatherproof and you’ll need to lift up sides or windows for easy side access.
Tip # 5 – Always Carry Water Containers
Even if you’re packing to full capacity, it’s essential to carry water, even on a day trip, as you never know when you might get stuck. Bear in mind water requirements range from two to five litres per person per day.
Tip # 6 – Utilise Drawers in Your 4WD
Installing a set of drawers in the back of your 4WD can make packing easier and save time on your daily repacking. Essential items such as tools, the stove, spares and recovery gear can be put away in the drawers and easily reached if required.
Tip # 7 – Secure Your Load
If you’re going off-road, then you’re likely to hit bumpy terrain and different angles which can make your gear shift around. A sliding load is dangerous as it can cause you to roll over or something might fly out and hit the back of your head. Securely mounting or strapping everything down is vital. Bungies will do this job but they can spring loose. Ratchet straps are better as they hold gear tightly and are undone safely.
Tip #8 – Use Nets
Once you’ve packed your ute you don’t want anything to fly out. If you want to take extra precautions, a cargo net can be used as a load barrier.