1: Have a plan
A well thought out trip /adventure will minimize excess gear being brought along while ensuring you have the right gear to cover all activities as well as the “what if’s”. The website http://www.overlandbound.com is a great resource for vehicle-dependent travel and adventures. If you register, you will have access to their great planning resources which we like to use. https://www.overlandbound.com/overland-trip-planning/
2: Use checklists
To save time and Make sure you bring everything that you will need, use a checklist and mark-off the items as you pull them from your gear storage area. We assure you that a detailed checklist is worth the extra effort and will save time packing along with the frustration of missing gear when you arrive at your destination.
3: Soft gear packs tighter
We are big supporters of packing in duffle bags since they conform to the shape you need and compress under load, especially when stuffing a cargo area in your vehicle. We also recommend purchasing a few compression sacks as they can greatly reduce the volume consumed by tents, sleeping bags, clothing, etc.
4: Heavy gear -pack low
For safety reasons, pack the heavy gear lower than the bottom of the headrests in a vehicle. This will prevent injury during a panic or emergency braking situation should the load shift rapidly forward.
5: Order of operations
Pack like-items together such as kitchen supplies in one duffle bag and shelter set-up items in another. Then when loading your vehicle, think through the order you are going to need to access those items. Load so that the first items needed at your destination are readily available. You do not want to pack the tent behind all other gear so that the whole vehicle needs to be unloaded to access the tent.
6: Take a picture when done
The photo above is the Adventure Mobile packed for a SCUBA diving charter on a Lake Michigan shipwreck. If you like how the vehicle loaded and it worked for your adventure,take some photos of the load. It will serve as a great reference for future adventures!