Best Last minute way to secure cargo?


New member
We don't have the funds right now to get something installed in the back of our van to cover the cargo (I've seen the link to the cargo things for vans). I was planning on just putting everything in the cargo bag on top of the van. It rained all day yesterday and is rainy today, too, and our cargo bag is not waterproof. Not to mention that climbing up on top of the wet van to get it all hooked up would be a major issue.
So, what's the best way to pack my van so that it's safest? I'm packing in duffles, not hard suitcases. We'll also have an ice chest for snacks. If it's all packed tightly in the very back, in the cargo space, I assume that would be best? Shoving stuff under the seats if possible?
We're just driving to GA for the weekend, so an 8 hr drive and just 3 full days there, so it's not too much luggage, but with 5 of us now, 1 being a baby who wears 2 outfits most days and cloth diapers... it adds up LOL.
I moved the MA to the 3rd row so that if the baby gets fussy one of use could move to the middle row beside him to keep him company, so the 3rd row is out. Stuff crams on the floor between the middle and back row pretty well, too, and with the two of them in carseats, their feet are no where near the floor so they aren't in the way. Really the ice chest is the biggest concern. We usually put it on the floor in the walkway at the side passenger door.


New member
It was a good idea to nix the bag on top of your van. :) Not only does one add more wind resistance where the drag increases your gas usage, it also creates more of a top heavy imbalance on your van. If you have to make a sudden swerve, especially in adverse driving conditions, it could be the straw factor that causes a rollover.

When packing, a rule of thumb is to place the heaviest items on the bottom on the floor, then cushion upwards. Will your cooler fit in the space between the back seat and tailgate?
Or can you use a couple of small coolers tucked into the footwells? There are soft sided inexpensive coolers available. They're basically a rectangle bag with insulation and work well especially with a blanket or a towel over them to keep the temp stable. DH usually has one under his legs in the passenger seat for water & sandwiches.

Have a great trip... Supposedly over 36 million drivers are hitting the road for Thanksgiving. I"m not one of them though. MIL flew here :D


New member
Oh, great, now we have to think about the pros/cons to having cargo on top and increasing risk of roll over or having it inside and it slamming into a head! Life is not fair!
Yeah, it will fit in the cargo section in the back. I had thought of that. We'll have to stop and unload all the time just to get drinks and stuff out, but oh well.


New member
Last time we took a trip we removed a seat and bungeed the cooler to the floor hooks for the seat... with a million bungee cords... we had to unhook it each time we wanted something, but for the most part the cooler was only for our special foods (dd has severe food allergies) that we needed for breakfast/dinner, and in the hotels if we stopped.

Packing softer things on top/around works too, though it does take a bit of extra work.

We are moving in a week, and dh is going to drive the van full of stuff (he will be the only passenger) and I'll have dd and dog with me in his car, and stuff only in the trunk so we don't have to worry about flying objects. We need to take one load of stuff ourselves, the movers will bring the rest, so we decided one of us was better off taking a risk than filling both vehicles and having kid/dog in there too.


Senior Community Member
My SO has a little Civic: he just bought the parts at an auto shop & hooked it up to tow a small Uhaul when he moved -- I *think* I'd rather do that then add the thing onto the roof....

But, anyway, for a regular trip just try to minimize what you pack & fit as much as possible in the cargo area -- at most try to keep extra stuff under seats or at passenger's feet.

Beyond that just drive safely & make sure the passengers are properly buckled ;)



Active member
Shove all the heavy items in the back between the rear seat and the tailgate. With the concern of roll over just try to keep the center of ballance as low as possible. Remember not to take to much weight off of your drive wheels (only if its a front wheel drive, if its a rear wheel, weight on the back is good :cool: ). If you need to put items on the roof rack keep light stuff on the top and tarp it. For strapping light loads 1" rachet straps are cheap, and are rated for 200#, but make sure they are'nt rubbing on something and fraying. keep them tight too! As long as you keep most of the weight on the bottom, a little weight on the roof isn't going to have an effect on rollover. Wind resistance will most likely reduce fuel milage, but having heavy weights in the vehicle will also increase road resistance, reducing economy. If you have something to strap to inside the van, you may be able to strap your load inside the van too, if you are worried about the load shifting, or of being a risk to passangers. You could also keep drinks, snacks, and diapers on the floor below the baby seat. As Morganthe mentioned, don't let your van get top heavy, and make sure heavy items are on the floor of the cabin, and not on the roof rack.


Active member
If you're load is below the seat tops in the back don't worry about strapping it. When I haul the bee boxes for my bees I stack them right on the floor of the box of my 1/2 ton and use 2 1/2" rachet straps if they are above the box walls. I probably should have a headache rack, but under normal driving conditions the load doesn't shift.


New member
I'm back!
Our cargo bag that we put on top is fairly small. Fits 2 big suitcases, or a few small duffels. It's just a bag with a zipper and straps that hook to the cargo bars on the roof.
But, due to the weather, we did just stuff it all inside. we'll be using it in Dec though, for sure. We have no towing hitch so that isn't an option.
We'd moved the MA to the 3rd row though, and with both Britaxes in the back, there's no way stuff could have flown, which actually freaked me out. there were, I'd say no more than 4 inches between the backs of the MA and Husky, and the rear window of my van. Nothing we had in there could have flown through that space, but MAN the thought of a hard rear ender freaked me out. A few smaller things went under the seats, diaper bag and a canvas laundry basket in the front holding all the cloth dipes and such. we made it though.
I saw an SUV, maybe an explorer, with the cage/fence installed behind the rear row. I want one of those once i get a new vehicle!! (I'm thinking conversion van in a couple years)

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