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Originally published Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 9:54 AM

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Savvy storage solutions for long road trips

For a year-long car trip, a couple is figuring out the best ways to organize storage — and daily life — in their Jeep.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service


Long-term road trips can require lots of gear and supplies particularly if you are traveling with a family, making your meals, or are carrying specialty items for activities like kayaking and mountain biking. Factor in additional variables such as multiple medications for each family member, climate changes and the need for professional gear, and things can begin to get complicated.

These issues made their way onto my travel radar recently, as my husband and I have struggled to develop storage solutions for a year-long road trip we’ve embarked on with our dog. While we’re still working out the kinks and will likely incorporate additional changes and equipment from the road, we have found a number of solutions that are working well: : .

Seat covers: Many seat covers come with built-in storage in the form of pockets covering the back portion of the seat itself. We got ours at Cabela’s for roughly $25 a pop and put them on each of the two front chairs in our Jeep. The back pockets serve as easy-to-grab storage for things like highway atlases, insect repellent, lint rollers and cleaning wipes.

We are still searching accessories and add-ons that will provide additional storage along the sides of each seat for other items we need to reach on a daily basis. Our search for visor covers has proved challenging as well. Most options we’ve seen thus far are designed to hold music discs, which doesn’t fit our day-to-day use patterns of receipt containment, brochure organization and accessibility for backup pens and pencils.

Containers: Loose items such as groceries, tent poles and cooking utensils can cause chaos if left untamed.

One thrifty solution we’re trying is the use of the clear kitchen storage tubs available in the sandwich bag aisle of the grocery store. We purchased a small collection of the largest ones to store things like barbecue skewers, salad tongs and our chef’s knife. Additionally, a narrow plastic tower of drawers will allow us to access things like oatmeal packets, flaxseeds, and tea bags from one of the back side doors. Because we’ll be supplementing our camping excursions with hotel and cabin stays, it’s important to be able to scoop up basic supplies without having to unpack all of our camping food at every stop.

Carriers: The Yamaha rooftop car carrier we purchased years ago is being pressed into service once again. We are using it for the camping gear we won’t need to access every day.

Because we didn’t want to tow a travel trailer or small camper right away, we opted for a hitch-mounted cargo box. Ours is produced by Thule, and adds 13 cubic feet to our capacity. At $431, it offered an affordable alternative.

Securing our storage solutions to the vehicle has been a huge part of the equation. Roof bars, carabiners and zip ties have been our constant companions. We also added a towing hitch, which was necessary to carry our exterior cargo box. By throwing down $280, we were able to get a sturdier model which will enable us to immediately upgrade to a towable unit later if we feel we need the space.

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