Would you like to spend less time packing up… so you can have more time enjoying your holiday destinations?
When we first started caravanning full-time, it would take us anywhere between 2-4 hours to pack up. It was painful. We’d lose a whole morning. But it got better. Sure, it took a few months, but we got there.
Now, packing up can be as quick as half an hour. These were the things that we learned in our first few months on the road that made life easier.
Fix things in place so you can leave them out
This was a game changer for us. We’ve stuck everything we can to the wall with velcro. Now, the alcohol gel stays in the same spot on our bench even when we’re driving. So do the remote controls. As does the hand soap. The iPod. The whiteboard marker.
There are 3M hooks everywhere in our caravan. If there was anything that would fall off the hooks while we were driving, we replaced the hooks with eyelets. A small clip gate, and problem solved. These are just a few examples of our 20+ Items for $20 or Less that Make Life on the Road Easier.
Don’t get things out unless you’re definitely going to use them
This might seem obvious, but one of our early mistakes was routinely getting everything out. Every time we pulled up somewhere it would be deck chairs, folding table, awning, support poles, and bikes. The list went on. Now we have a quick chat before we get out of the car. We work out what we’re going to leave packed away. It’s easy to get things out as we need them. We find there are some things that never actually make it out…
Get rid of the things that are in your way
You will find that you don’t use everything in your caravan or camper. Since we hit the road we’ve sold, donated, binned, or posted. A lot. Get rid of the things you don’t use. You will have more space to store the things you do use. It will make it easier to get your stuff in and out. And really, do you need 4 chopping boards? Probably not, but if you have them you will definitely use them. That’s just more stuff to clean and put away.
Put things away as soon as you’ve finished with them
When we do have days that seem to be slower than others, it’s because there are random bits and pieces all over the place. Your mother was right. A place for everything, and everything in its place. We’re not perfect, but one thing that has really helped us was making sure that everything we own has a home. And everyone knows where that is.
Work out a sequence that flows
Once we’ve reduced the number of steps, it’s all about figuring out what order to do the leftovers. A perfect example (of how not to do it) is when we used to leave washing the breakfast dishes to last. This would stop us from unhooking the water and power. We’d be standing around like council workers waiting for whoever had sink duties. Now, filling the sink is one of the first things we do. Dishes are getting done while one of us is out hooking up the car. By the time that’s done, the hoses and cables can be unhooked straight away. It’s like watching a pit stop change at the Grand Prix. Well, not quite. But we like to think it is.
Use a checklist
There’s lots to think about when you’re packing everything away. Some things aren’t in your face so they’re easy to forget. Antenna down, footstep up, vents closed, tv secure, gas off. You can end up walking around in circles trying to remember them all. Or you could have a checklist. Now, you don’t need to have a piece of paper that you tick things off each time. Just a note in your phone will do the job. The amount of times we’ve gone to drive off and realised we’d forgotten something. Better than being ‘that van’ driving around with the antenna up, waiting to get snapped off.
Mary Poppins was lying when she sang “in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun”. Packing up a campsite will never be fun, no matter how much you try to turn it into a game. But it will get less painful.
One final piece of advice. Every time you get in the car after you’ve packed up, take a moment to think of one thing you could do differently.
Anything we’ve missed? Comment below and let us know.
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Check out our parks in Australia, browse stories from our community of travelling contributors, and start planning your next epic Australian road trip or camping adventure. And remember, download the CamperMate app before you go, to find everything you need when you’re on the road.