4 Things To Consider When Packing For Your 4WD Road Trip
Learn how to make the most of the room in your 4×4 before your next adventure.
WHEN IT COMES TO travelling off the beaten track in your Ford Everest 4WD, most people, particularly first-time adventurers, try to take way too much stuff. The amount of stuff that only Dr Who’s TARDIS could comfortably accommodate.
The key is to ensure you’ve got the essentials, that you maximise the space available to you and that when you’re camping, there’s a minimum of unpacking and re-packing to get to what you need most.
Don’t just think you can stuff everything into the back of your 4WD and drive off into the sunset… the first thing you need to do is fit your 4WD wagon with an approved cargo barrier which your friendly Ford dealer will be able to supply and fit to your Everest 4WD. Only after that should you start thinking about drawers and fridges.
Knowing the space in your 4WD
Most people tend to think about ‘storage space’ in their 4×4 as only being the room in the back of it, but there’s so much room inside a 4WD to stash things that won’t get in the way of usability. sometimes there’s room under the front seats and if you’re only a travelling couple, then folding down the second and third-row seats (if you don’t need them for passengers) gives you a huge amount of space for storage.
Adding to the space in your 4WD
Beyond the ‘built-in storage’ there are a host of companies that produce all sorts of holders for in-cabin use, roof racks, roof rails, battery trays, long-range fuel tanks and storage drawers. Fridges can be mounted on top of drawers with other odds and ends stashed away in the drawers themselves.
Determining exactly what you need will depend on where you’ll be travelling, how often you’ll be travelling off the beaten track and whether you need the back of your 4×4 wagon left standard.
How to pack your 4WD
Once you’ve looked through your 4WD at all the available storage space and the expanded space you might have invested in, you’ll need to figure out what you’re going to take away with you. Obviously, this will differ from trip to trip and the time away from home.
Common sense dictates that the less you load into your 4WD, the better off you’ll be but, be methodical and make a list that covers: must have; should have; and nice to have. Once you’ve done that, make note of the weight (household scales can help here), size, fragility and security of the items you want to take.
Once you’ve got all your items and their size noted down you can work out where it all needs to go. Packing a 4WD isn’t a matter of just putting things where they’ll fit. Nope, you want to ensure anything heavy is packed as low and as far forward in the storage area as possible (ignore this and you run the risk of bending your car’s chassis). This will ensure the weight is distributed across your vehicle’s chassis and suspension rather than bearing down on one spot only.
Access is a prime consideration when packing your 4WD – some gear you’ll rarely need, other gear needs to be quick to hand. For example, sleeping gear will only be accessed at camp setup time, but camp tables might need to be pulled out at any stage.
What about your trailer?
When it comes to loading a trailer, much like loading your 4WD you want to keep heavy items loaded low. With a trailer this means placing them slightly forward of the axle to ensure even weight distribution; never place heavy items at the rear of a trailer as this can lead to a loss of control.
There a multitude of hacks to maximise storage space inside your caravan, from using nesting bowls to using plywood sheeting to split cupboards and drawers to stop items from moving around while you’re driving.
The key is to compartmentalise your stuff and always pack light. As you’ll read in our other articles, it’s important to learn how much payload you have for carrying gear inside your caravan or trailer or even in your 4WD itself. Knowing how much weight you’ve got to play with is as important as the room itself, so, you might end up weighing what you want to take and toting up the amounts to ensure you stay within your load carrying limits.