It’s something that thousands of us do every year – packing a car. Be it for a weekend away, a mad dash to the airport or a summer holiday break, making sure that you’ve packed everything you need can, at times, be a little stressful.

But as well as ensuring that you’ve stowed away all of your essentials, it’s a good idea to make sure that everything has been packed safely too. So, let’s take a look at how you should be loading your car properly.

Make sure you’ve protected the boot floor

If you’re planning on loading heavier items into the back of your car, then it could be worthwhile using a sheet or blanket to protect the boot floor. This will be a particularly good idea if you’re heading off camping and will be taking heavier and bulkier equipment with you.

Do this and you’ll prevent accidentally marking the carpet as well as damaging any trim at the side of the boot. If you want a more long-term solution, then it might be worth investing in a boot liner.

Do you need to lower the rear seats?

This depends on whether or not you’ve got anyone else travelling with you but if you do need added space then you might want to lower the rear seats to boost luggage room. If you’re heading off on a family road trip then you’ll probably want the most amount of seating space possible of course, but there are some workarounds if you need more room for luggage.

Most cars have seats that are controlled via a lever or handle. Lower the rear seats and you’ll find that you’ve got more space for larger or longer items. Or, if you want a more flexible solution, a lot of cars come with split-folding seats so you can still carry one or two passengers but load larger items.

Start with heavier items

The aim of the game here is to keep the weight in the car as low as possible. In doing so, you keep the car’s centre of gravity lower which will ensure that the extra weight from your luggage or items won’t affect the handling of the car. This is particularly important when you’re packing a small car, too, as it will be more affected by the additional weight.

So try to load in those bulkier, heavier items first and, if you can, make them sit as flat as possible. This will help with the next stage of the plan.

Move on to lighter items

Once you’ve got those heavier items lining the bottom of the boot, you can move on to lighter things. This could include coats and blankets, which take up quite a bit of space but don’t weigh all that much. If you’re packing a car for a long road trip, then you might want to store the things you’ll want more frequently at the top too.

It’s also a good area to put things in that you might need to quickly access if you stop. If you’re loading items quite high in the boot, then it could be a good idea to secure them with a strap to stop them from sliding forward under braking. Also, try to keep the rear screen clear so that the driver has an unrestricted view out of the rear of the car.

Need more space?

If you’ve filled up the boot and need a little extra space, then the rear-seat footwells could provide some precious additional litres. Packing a car is all about maximising the space you have to hand, so using up those smaller areas can really pay off when it comes to the outright storage room.

Remember your tyre pressures

If your car is fully loaded, then you’ll need to adjust your tyre pressures to compensate. Because all that added weight is putting more pressure on your tyres, it’s vital that you adjust how inflated they are. This will help to ensure that the car brakes effectively, while properly inflated tyres help to improve your fuel economy too.

You’ll find the required pressures in your car’s handbook, or sometimes they’re located in an information panel inside the fuel filler cap. You might also find them on a panel inside the driver’s door. Check them and adjust your car’s tyres accordingly.


Now you’ve successfully packed your car, it’s time to head out on the open road and enjoy the adventure. Plus, now that everything has been put in the right place, you’ll know where all of your items are located – making it easy to find anything you need first time.