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I'm torn over what to pack stuff in. Part of me thinks pack clothes in soft bags, and everything else in boxes, part of me thinks why not just pack everything in boxes clothes and all, and the lazy part says "ah go on just throw it all in the back, it'll get messed up anyway".
Firstly, what vehicle are you packing your gear into ? did you get a Panda ?
I have used rectangular boxes in the back of the Defender 90 - as the inside is the same shape - for clothes, food and spares - clothes boxes have lids to keep sand/dust out - well worth doing.
look at the vehicle interior shape and go from there - a few boxes for cooking gear/ food(easy to access), with some soft bags for clothes to fill in around any curves - strap things down too to stop them bouncing around - or worse taking your head off in an accident.
The Defender has 3 levels of storage - heavy vehicle spares and service gear goes at the bottom - under alloy shelf - then food and cooking boxes above, easy to pull out and access. Bolted permanantly above, to another alloy shelf are the clothes boxes.
Its easy to drill holes etc in a LR - its a big mecchano kit !
Having done Tunisia twice using soft holdalls for clothes, boxes for spares/tools and a drawer for the food, I decided this time to use boxes. Plastic storage boxes from Staples, in fact.
We had a Mobile Storage Solutions drawer to store the food, on the Discovery boot floor, with the boxes on either side holding the tools. Food was always easily accessible for either a quick stop or an overnight. Weight of tools at bottom.
On top of this we had the wooden wine boxes with the spares.
Finally, the plastic boxes, one per person (4 of us), no loose bits shoved in the gaps, blankets, cooking utensils and plates were all in boxes as well.
The boxes were clear so you could see at a glance what was inside. They stacked 3 high by 3 across.
This was the best option for us, never really couldn't find something and even if what we wanted was in the bottom box it only took seconds to remove those on the top.
Having travelled extensively in 4wd's from crossing the Simpson Desert and the goat track to Cape York, I can highly recommend either clear or opaque (hope that's how you spell it) stackable plastic boxes. I have tried full drawer systems (lose too much usable space and are heavy), wooden home made creations (vibrate to bits and rattle), the clear plastic boxes do not rattle and you can see what you have put in the wrong box the night before when you were drinking. Soft and light gear like clothes and tent etc are good in soft bags inside a dust and water proof roof rack bag.
boxes every time. make sure they are square sided, not tapered so that when you tie it all down they stay put and if they interlock with the one above then a ratchet strap will hold it all in place when something goes wrong. I use euro size 600x400 in a range of depths from Karcher - these have been used and abused for five years now and are as good as new.
So you can see space is going to be at a bit of a premium.
Actually that's one of the reasons I joined up here, I figured I could learn from the bikers, after all they pack light.
It's not actually arrived yet, but having pored over one for the weekend, I think it'll be a case of taking the rear seat out and packing, it's only held on with two bolts. Drilling holes? well we'll see. Thanks for the tips on straight sided boxes, I'd just thought of something similar to the storage boxes I use at home but I can see the wasted space all round their tapering sides.
for my upcoming trip I'll replace the bottompart of the rearseat with a keyboard flight case, so there will still be a bench for the occosional hitchhiker or whover wants to travel along. Further I've been using euroboxes as well, but unless you plan on giving up the rear bench completely I think they're too bulky to make efficient use of the space. I few kit bags are easy and space efficient if you ask me. They don't convert into a table so easily though.
Nice one Alex !
Keep us up to date with the modifications...
A good mod I did on the 90 was to use heat reflective 'dark smoke' film, on the inside of the rear window and alpine windows - good to keep your gear out of eyesight and keep the interior cooler - might be worth doing on all that glass behind the front doors.
Rob, clever use of a keyboard case !!! - a 'jump seat' is very handy if you pick up a guide or backpacker.
I like experimenting with boxes so for some items I've found regular old cardboard boxes work well. You never have to clean them, when they get dirty, you use them as kindling and they're available in every country.
Bags don't work for anything, especially clothing!
During our 1 year 4x4 trip through africa we used plastic boxes called "really usefull box". They are transparent, square, not to expensive and very strong. We had about 10 of these boxes in many sizes and only one box broke. But that was because it was air born during an unwanted carjump and the box landed on the foot of the High Lift jack. We bought them at Office Centre (I think this is an international store) but you can find them on Google. I can really recommend them. Note that you always must lash boxes down.
I think it depends on how much and what type of travel you do. The container boxes available from office supply stores are ok, but after one or two trips they end up cracking and splitting, but they are cheap and easy to replace.
I've also used "Wolf Boxes", I think they are a South African military design, Zarges Aluminum boxes (handy to bolt to the roofrack), but now I've settled on a combination of Pelican cases (usually 1600 or 1610) and kayak-type waterproof (and dustproof) duffel bags. The Peli cases work well for me as I can check them in onto a flight and slot them into a vehicle and be off quickly. I like to have the duffel for clothing too as it's easy to secure the vehicle and take the duffel into a hotel. The Peli cases are not cheap, though they are guaranteed for life and if you travel a lot I think they're worthwhile. After all, the Camel Trophy and any modern film with the military in it can't be wrong!
There are lots of options, and if it's a one-off trip, go for the cheap boxes.
I've done a few trips in a now sadly demised Citroen AX and can confirm you have to really think about what you are taking almost as much as a biker in a small car. (Cool idea by the way, nearly everyone seems to go the sodding great 4X4 route!)
I packed my 'personal' stuff like wash kit and clothes in a standard hold-all which made it easier to carry in and out of hotels etc. Everything else (except my tools) was strapped into the boot in stackable plastic boxes straight out of B&Q. They worked very well. Try and get ones with a good seal to keep the dust out. I had a few things of low value turfed in the back where it didn't matter if they were seen: my camp chair, extra spare wheel (£10 from a scrappy) camping mat etc.
I'd avoid the 'toss it in the back' approach, you'll just spend most of your trip looking for stuff!
Alternatively you could make up some boxes out of thin (say 4mm) ply on baton frames, screw and glue them together. They would be bomb proof and you could make them to exactly fit the space required.
*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
Last edited by Matt Cartney; 26 Apr 2007 at 15:54.
Thanks for all the ideas they all sound good really.
Carboard boxes sound like the cheap option, and I'm quite tempted, but the lack of space means things may have to be stacked and also everything's bound to have to be unpacked on a wet day to get to the one teensy but important thing at the bottom, so this time round no carboard (although it did stirling service in the back of a Mini on the Tower to Tower runs I used to organise.
Pelican cases sound lovely but expensive (they do have a colour which matches the car though), I might drift towards them if things have to be put on the roof though, and the waterproof (Ortlieb?) stuffsacks sound ideal for the nights when I do get to stay somewhere other than a tent.
So it looks like it'll just be some cheapish, plastic boxes then, and I'd completely forgotten about how the sides often slope inwards so you waste loads of space. I've found some at my local dive store which look good though, they don't seem to have a brand, but they have lock down lids, sit securely on top of each other and also seem solid enough to sit on (so no need for camping stools then.
I'm also going to throw in a couple of those collapsable plastic boxes as well, as they've got perforated sides, which I figure could be useful for throwing soggy things in so they don't develop that nice musty smell.
Panda's still not arrived, but when it does I hope to take out just one of the split fold seats, and use the mounting to construct some simple barrier to stop everything going everywhere, and keep the other seat for waifs and strays (sorry hitchikers) or a place for me to sit should I get in a moody with Cameron, my co-driver and fool.
It's looking like none of this trip is going to get off the ground before 2008 now though, pity as I've seen a good few people going my way too.
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