Check out the best car storage for every (nearly) every activity

Best Car Storage

Road trippers have a particular need for finding the best car storage for a trip. Not only are you packing your clothes, sports and work equipment, food, and souvenirs, but you’re also packing all the bits of treasure you find along the way. It’s important to have solutions that keep all your valuables safe, protected from the elements and from one another AND that shady dude at the rest stop. That’s a tall order, but it’s important to remember that you don’t need one solution to do all of those jobs at once.

What you’ll need to pack for a road trip really depends on three things:

Going on a mystery trip means you’ll have less time to plan for at least two of the three. Last-minute excursions are a thrill, in part, for that reason, but sometimes it leads to wasting money you could spend on activities or dining out. In this article, we’ll show you how to always have what you need on hand and how to safely store it.

How to Pack for a Mystery Trip

How do you pack for a trip when you don’t know where you’re going? That’s the big question, right? How can you know what you’ll be doing or what kinds of equipment or clothing you’ll need until you find out? It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you think about packing for a trip in this way, but try to remember that you are you no matter where you are in the world. If you’re not a fan of the great outdoors, you’re not going to suddenly need room for a skidoo or snowshoes.

Consider the Kinds of Activities You Enjoy

Are you more the fine dining, museum wandering, introspective type or a crowd surfing, circus loving extrovert? Wherever you go, there will be things you’ll want to do out of your comfort zone. It’s more practical to plan for renting equipment in these situations than buying new items you may never use twice. So, feel confident planning for storage for gear that you use at home on a regular basis.

One of our sons was fine going on a long road trip … as long as he was able to bring his Playstation gaming system along for the ride. The big challenge was finding a carrier that would protect it from being jostled around or rained on. Thankfully, he isn’t the first person to have this concern. Nearly every system on the market has a console travel case.

We also tend to visit a lot of theme parks as a family, so it was important to have secure, waterproof storage for our wallets and phones, as well as somewhere to store bug spray and sunscreen without making a mess of things.

While on vacation, we almost always stay at a hotel with a swimming pool, so having a way to store wet suits was also a big priority.

We tend not to shop much, if at all, and we only eat in restaurants for one or two meals. This means the bulk of our storage would be used for food we brought from home and clothes.

Pack for All Climates

One of the reasons mystery road trips are so mysterious is because your other travelers have no idea where they’ll end up. Packing for all seasons helps keep that magic alive, but it can be a pain in the butt. Packing a swimsuit and a snowsuit might be a little much. Instead, take a look at the climates surrounding your area. Check the weather forecasts and cover relevant bases.

Top of Car Storage

Having additional storage on the top or rear of your car can be very beneficial. Just make sure you lock the zippers/closures and straps, so a thief doesn’t make off with one or all of your belongings.

Many of our readers preferred the waterproof soft storage options. They’re more affordable and require fewer permanent modifications to your vehicle. However, they can be a hassle to get on and off your car, and they have a noticeable impact on fuel efficiency. In the long run, a soft case will probably cost you more money than a hard, aerodynamic or rear hitch solution.

Hard storage sometimes require hardware installation, but they can have a better impact on fuel efficiency, heightened security … and let’s be honest, they look cooler.

Maximizing Interior Storage to Get More Fun From Your Trip

Interior organization, ranging from net pockets in the trunk to separate sports gear from sleeping gear to back-of-the-seat storage can make for more enjoyable rides from place to place. Some of these can also work as extra cup holders or garbage bags. Our readers did not prefer ceiling to roof storage unless they had larger 3rd row SUVs. Ceiling nets aren’t suited to trucks or passenger cars, as they wind up blocking the driver’s field of vision.

Finally, remember that thieves will break windows to access valuables that are left in your car. If you’re unable to remove them all from your car, consider using window shades to hide the contents.

Using Stow N Go for Additional Storage

Those drivers with seats that store in the floor have built-in storage units under their feet. However, it isn’t easy to access these areas while you’re on the move. You also need something to store your items in (grocery sacks, netting, packing blocks, etc) because items can get lodged in nooks and crannies. That might be fine during your average trip, but it’ll be a problem later when you need your Stow N Go features.

Best Rear Storage Options for Your Road Trip

If you have a serious amount of sports equipment, you might consider a toy hauler over a hitch tray. While they impact your driving, travel trailers provide you with a ton of storage space. Just be sure to your vehicle with a reliable trailer lock. Get the beefy one! Every year (probably every day) people wake up to missing trailers, even boats, they assumed thieves would leave in place. And yes, get the expensive locks. The flimsy $20 ones just provide you with a false sense of security. Under pressure, they quickly fall apart.

If a trailer is overkill, try a rear hitch attachment. Some of them will fold up and out of the way or to the side when they’re not needed. It’s important to note, however, that on many SUVs, these units may prevent your trunk from raising. (I know, that doesn’t make much sense to me either.) Just be sure to do your due diligence for your make/model before purchasing.

Exterior storage is especially helpful for specialty equipment, like bikes and kayaks. The question is whether you’ll use them enough to take them on the trip. Sometimes, it’s cheaper to skip the hitch attachment and rent gear once you get to your final destination.

When choosing the best car storage for road trips – especially mystery trips – focus on security first. Then consider what you’re likely to really need. Covering those bases will take care of 90% of your storage needs all by itself.