The Tetris-like challenge isn’t half as exciting when its real life and one bad decision can lead to broken goods, blocked views and angry words when your tyres burst and you have to unpack all the contents to reach the spare.
Luckily, after many frustrations, side-of-road tantrums and loading and unloading boots, we’ve got a few tips to help you pack your car safely and (almost) stress-free.
Watch your weight
Unlike Tetris, where you have little control over what blocks are thrown your way, when it comes to packing your car you have total control. Every vehicle has a load capacity, so know what yours is and make sure you don’t overload the car (including passengers). Not only will it create safety issues and affect the handling, but you’ll also use more fuel.
Stick to the bottom for the big stuff
Big and heavy items should be loaded first and try to get them in the middle of the boot to help with weight distribution. It’ll also give you more space to pack lighter items on top.
Avoid creating missiles
Small, loose items can become projectile missiles. Make sure everything is tied down and maybe consider a cargo barrier for wagons, SUVs or even sedans with rear seats folded down, if the car allows for it.
Don’t pile it up
Another safety issue is blocking your rear vision – pretty obvious really. So don’t pile your luggage so high that is obscures your vision.
Allow easy access
There’s nothing worse than when the kids start screaming for their favourite toy or blanket, and you realise it’s not only packed in the boot, but it’s also right at the back, under a bunch of other stuff. Pulling over to the side of the road to pull out suitcases and bags, just to get to said item is never a good idea and not only is it an inconvenience but also results in a longer-than-necessary tantrum. Pack the things you need access to in a convenient spot – remember side door pockets and under seat spaces too.
Same goes for the spare tyre
You may think that it’ll be unlikely you’ll need to access your spare tyre. But ask any of the families stuck on the side of a freeway, in less-than-ideal weather, unloading the contents of their boot just to reach the spare tyre whether they wish they’d packed more effectively, and you can guarantee they’ll say yes. Things will inevitably be packed on top of the spare tyre, but an try and do it as neatly as possible – use containers or large bags, and try to keep things to a minimum so if you do need to move things out, it’s only one or two items, rather than several.
Keep an eye on your car’s temperature
Loading a car can force it to work a little harder than normal, and cause it to overheat. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge and if you start to suspect your car is under too much pressure, pull over and give it a break.