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Organizing your Car for a Long Road Trip

Last June 2019 my son and I took an epic road trip to Yellowstone National Park from Chicago. We had 14 days and over 3,400 miles of memories to make.

Growing up with a father that loved the mountains and hiking where others did not dare to venture surely is part of the reason for my decision to turn my car into my own little CaRV. Adventure runs in my veins!

Yes, we slept in our car and LOVED IT!

Organization for such a trip as this is imperative. With a mattress taking up the entire back of the car, I had to make space in every corner, floor, and compartment for the things we would need for two weeks. Living in a car takes planning. I had to envision and rework the space so that we didn’t drive ourselves crazy when we needed to shower or eat.

Here are the things I learned:

  • Keep shoes to a minimum. For us, two pairs of sneakers and one pair of sandals. Put these on the back floor "closet" with your clothes for easy changing.

  • Use Ziploc bags. Place a t-shirt, pair of shorts, socks, underwear, and jewelry in one jumbo Ziploc bag and squish the air out. You will end up with easily transported clothes to the campground showers.

  • Plan out your menu and only take what you need in your cooler for two days. You will only need to take a small cooler which is easier to move when you get to your destination. Invest in a well insulated cooler to keep your ice from melting quickly. We did not do this and it was a hassle. Lesson learned.

  • Place all your cooking supplies on other side of the back floor to create a "kitchen". Take only what you need. Camping stove, butane, utensils, table cover, coffee pot and cups, igniter, and a few camping cooking tools (think s’mores…yum).

  • Think about investing in a car carrier. Use your tow package or roof rack on the car to your advantage. This will free up your bed to just crawl in at night. If don't have these on you vehicle, you can transfer things to the front seats easily before going to bed.

  • Bring a battery pack for cell phone battery emergencies.

  • Make use of solar powered lights for night. We hung a camping light from the two back ceiling handles with a bungee cord for late night reading or searching for things.

  • Use a command hook on your back window to hang your car keys at night. We started our car a few times to roll windows up in the middle of the night. Rain sneaks up on you.

  • Invest in back window screens. I bought some inexpensive ones on Amazon. You need air circulation at night or condensation will happen.

  • Use a small containers for little stuff. I used pill containers from the dollar store for spices.

  • Forgo suitcases and large containers. They take a lot of precious space and cannot be squished into smaller areas

The more organized you are, the easier it will be to find things at your destination. Be diligent to place items back in the same area of the car when leaving the campsite. We had a spot everything: safety items, medical kit, flashlights. kitchen supplies, clothes, and other necessities. Everything could be found without much issue.

Good luck on creating your own memories on your epic road trip!

Epic Adventure Road Tour 2019 (slideshow below).


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