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Packing tips needed (aka certifiably crazy)

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I need some good suggestions!!

 

Up 'til now I've only been able to attend agility trials close to home and only for 1 day due to my schedule, but over Labor Day weekend we'll be trialing in Chapel Hill, NC. :D Only two are entered (and ouch did those entries add up fast), but I'm bringing Kes for the socialization since he'll be trial ready in a year. I'm hoping Maggie can finish up her USDAA P1 title this trip as she really isn't too "into" the agility trial scene, but does a great job of humoring me. I've told myself that once she gets her final legs for it I'll retire her, but I want to get it because it would be a great tribute to all she and I have learned from each other (and a good culmination of 8 years of very infrequent trialling)! :rolleyes:

 

I honestly have no idea how I'm fitting 2 adult humans, 3 dogs, and all our stuff for a two day trial into my Subaru Impreza. Helpful hints are welcome and you can be sure I'll be posting pics of our packing job at some point lol. I do generally like to crate the pups while traveling, but the only way to do that in this car will be to crate Maggie and Z in once crate and Kes in the other as I have no space for more than 2 assembled crates in the car, so I am open to other suggestions. We do have a hotel room (yay) and covered crating (also yay!), so that will help cut down on some stuff, but not a whole lot.

 

Car pics with one of my crating setups (36" wire crate for two girls, 30" mesh for Kes), are below. :D

 

Side view:

IMG_3061.jpg

 

Wire crate in position, mesh out

IMG_3057.jpg

 

Wire and mesh crates in position

IMG_3056.jpg

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Haha, that sounds like me. 2 humans, 3 dogs and my Mazda Protege Hatchback. Stuff things in all the little corners! Be sure to put your mat (if you use one) on top. I will never forget the time I put it on bottom, so I had to unload everything at the trial site that morning just so that I could start setting stuff up in the building, what a pain. Good luck, it's a new adventure every Friday when I'm trying to fit everything, and then every Sunday trying to figure out how I got it all in there to begin with.

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I'll be the last to give packing tips, because I always get to my destiny only to discover that I've left a critical piece of equipment. This week I left the crate. Several weeks ago I forgot dog food (it was an overnight stay).

 

Fortunately I have friends who have come to the conclusion that I am a ding bat and they tend to prepare for my mishaps. This week one of my friends just happened to bring an extra crate and had it set up and waiting for me when I arrived. My advice would to be to make friends with very competent people.....

 

All joking aside, I try to leave the nonperishables in the van: crates (I take 2, 1 to leave in the hotel and 1 to leave at the trial), toys, poop bags, dry dog food, camp chair, water bottles, water and food dishes, etc. I have a full sized van, so I can do this. The night before the trial I then pack items that would go in a cooler.

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I just moved from MA to KS with 4 BCs in a Corolla. I had 2 crates and 2 xpens broken down in the trunk along with camping gear, a folding chair, clothing, dog supplies, some fragile things I didn't trust the movers with... I also had a cooler on the front seat. The dogs rode in the back seat (not ideal, but no choice). I can't imagine how I looked to anyone who peeked into my car. :rolleyes: It was really a matter of prioritizing what I really needed and using every last inch of space.

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I have no idea how to help you except perhaps to say that my wife and I have a system after so many years of three dogs and lots of travel. We have it narrowed down to space dedicated. For us it is humans, one bag and dogs, the entire rest of our jeep. Sometimes we even have a little room left over for food.

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I didn't know you could get a roof top bag for so cheap!! I already have a roof rack to anchor to as my Impreza came with one standard. :rolleyes: Great idea!!

 

I have gotten pretty good about packing for single day trials by using footwells, but usually I don't have another human so the front passenger seat works as storage, too.

 

Oliva, the trial is hosted by PBH Agility and is being held the 5th through the 7th at the PBH Training Center in Chapel Hill. Entries close on Tuesday at 6pm. I'd love to meet up with a fellow BC-Board-er if you might come!

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I didn't know you could get a roof top bag for so cheap!! I already have a roof rack to anchor to as my Impreza came with one standard. :rolleyes: Great idea!!

 

Just one thing to keep in mind is to keep the bag a tight as possible. If you have a loose corner or something it can flap around a bit and fray after a couple uses. We've used duct tape to chinch around a loose spot in the bag to keep it from whipping around on a longer (MI to VT) trip. But all in all they work really well, especially for the price!

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(get a bigger car...lol)

I used to have a little red hatchback - a little mazda 2 door 4 seater. We went camping several years ago in it with 3 dogs, 2 people and all our camping equipment and 2 of the dogs had to be kept seperate at all times. This car was too small to get even 1 crate in so I had Hannah and Turbo in the back hatch area, and Jetta squished into a small portion of the back seat and then ALL our stuff on 2/3 of the back seat, and up the footwells as high as it could go. I had all 3 dogs with harnesses and attachments to either seatbelt or hooks in the back (better than having them totally loose in case of an accident).

Now I have an xterra and its awesome. I can have 2 crates side by side in the back hatch, or I can fold down the seats and get 3 crates in the car and still have some room for stuff. We also have a roof rack plastic carrier that will hold a lot of our stuff. Its definitly come in handy to have!

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I have downsized sort of from a short wheel based minivan to a 2010 Chevy Equinox. For me to take everything we want to take on trips (2 humans and only 2 dogs sometimes 3) for 23plus hours in a car I will have to switch from crates to seat belt harnesses. I would prefer to crate but I have to make a concession but still want some safety so will just harness the dogs. I will also put a hard roof carrier on top if needed. I usually have 3-4 crates with me - 1 ea for the hotel, 1 ea at the site (and I would use the site ones for the car).

 

Pack light and conservatively. Most times we all pack way more than we need.

 

Create yourself a list of what you need to take with you this will help you make sure you have everything especially for the dogs.

 

Have fun

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hehe - I'm already shopping for the next vehicle (should be actually purchasing one in a year or less). I'm going to try and get a smaller SUV, but we'll see. My top picks right now are the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander (and the Subaru Tribeca if it weren't so expensive), but I also have the CRV, RAV4, 4Runner, Equinox, Outlander, and Santa Fe on my list as well, pending the crates fitting. :rolleyes:

 

I'm looking at some behind the seat storage things online right now in the hopes that it might keep me from having to unpack the whole car to find one thing; dunno if they are worth the price though. I'll be checking out roof bags tomorrow. Luckily I already pack fairly light (I took a grand total of 13lbs of luggage for 3 weeks in Europe lol), so it's the bulky stuff like our camp chairs that will be toughest I'm thinking.

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Luckily I already pack fairly light (I took a grand total of 13lbs of luggage for 3 weeks in Europe lol)

 

:rolleyes::D:D and you're asking us for help?!?! Jeepers - I couldn't do Florida for a week with less than 20# :D

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I used to trial at PBH a lot when I lived back there. I'll suggest to bring a book! ha! They are NOTORIOUSLY SLOOOOOOOOW for course changes, just to warn ya. The covered crating can get crowded, so I'd get there early and stake out a good spot. Most of the locals don't use it though, so you might be ok (it's been a few years since I've trialled there though so things may have changed). I don't know if they still have problems getting workers too. Used to be no one wanted to work for Val because of an incident once. Oh and bring your own food (just buy it there if no room to bring)!

 

I used to fit 3 dogs (2 crated), 2 humans, an expen and all our gear in a Jeep Wrangler. I wish I would've taken a pic of that, it truly was an art in packing. lol The key is to pack in stacked layers as much as you can. Crates can act as a good platform to put things on top of (or underneath if you put the crate on a platform), so before you decide to forego the crate, think about what you can put on top of it that you normally couldn't put on top of a dog's head. ;-)

 

Good luck! I hope you nice cool weather, it can be icky there, even in Sept. although I'm sure you're used to that being from SC.

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Where'd you live near PBH Rave? I've always been curious about the Triangle/Triad areas in NC.

 

I'll be sure to bring some of my "things to read" pile lol. Thanks for the heads up. Quick question - do you think it would be safe to leave two camp chairs, our floor tarp, and a wire crate at the site overnight? We're driving up Friday evening so I might take advantage of their set up hours then if you don't think my stuff would get stolen. Otherwise I'll plan to be there at 7am on Saturday.

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Hey Erin,

 

No, I won't be there. I only trialed there once, it was a miserable experience and I decided I'd never go back. The covered crating was full so I crated under my canopy thing. Had to walk a long way across a pasture, lugging all my crates, canopy, etc, to get to the ring from the parking site. Then after I got set up I went looking for water for my dogs' bowls, couldn't find a hose or anything, asked someone and was told that they didn't provide water but she pointed to a kiddie pool that my dogs could use for water that was filthy. So bring your own water. They didn't have food on site so take lunch food. The course changes took forever.

 

The worst part was that I broke my leg running a gamblers course, had to be helped off course and helped to a chair. My husband-at-the-time went looking for ice for my leg and to ask someone how to get our car up to the rings so he could load all the stuff and get me to a hospital. They refused. He told them that if they didn't let him bring the car he'd call an ambulance and they would force the site to open the roads. They let him bring the car around but again, didn't help in any other form. Not only did they refuse to allow our car up but no one from the club even stopped by the canopy to help him take down everything. Fellow trialers did all the help. They were great, getting the crates packed and the car ready to go to the hospital where the poor dogs had to sit in the car for 4+ hours while I was getting fixed up.

 

I've never been to a trial that was less accommodating. No water for the dogs?!

 

This was a couple of years ago so I hope they've got their act together by now and you have a great experience!

 

Have a great trip! Run clean, run fast!

 

Olivia

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EEK! No wonder you didn't want to go back! I've gotten pretty good at setting up my area in as few trips as possible and I always bring H2O to avoid tummy issues, but now I'm wondering if I should go ahead and bring a canopy and reflective mesh stuff (which I'd have to buy since we haven;t needed those in the past). At least I've got the heads up tho - fingers crossed!

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I'm not sure when Olivia had her horrible experience there, but whenever I was there, they had temp. loading zones for dropping off/picking up equipment (not that they announced that though), and a few accessible water spickets. However, I haven't trialled there in 3 years now, so things may have changed since then. Cars used to get stuck in the fields there when it rained, but I think she's put down gravel now from what I hear. Keep in mind PBH is a place where it's better to ask forgiveness than permission. ;-)

 

I lived in Cary (a nice suburb SW of Raleigh) and before that, Raleigh. I loved living in Cary, it was 45 minutes to the 3 major training/trialling places there, so I had tons of trials where I could stay at home. Plus they had some great restaurants, lakes and parks for the dogs. The agility competition and instruction weren't that good when I was there (I was one of the rare few instructors who actually ran and could train a fast dog at the time), but since then a few more competitive people have moved into the area and raised the bar a bit. Flyball was and still is competitive in that area though. :-)

 

Oh and it's definitely safe to leave equipment there overnight. One more thing, check to see if there's an at-home game at UNC-Chapel Hill that weekend. If so, traffic may be bad, since the exit for the Uni is the same for PBH.

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Hey Erin,

 

I don't have a canopy or silver mesh thingy either since they are kinda expensive. I am a volunteer with my local border collie rescue and they allow me to use their canopy whenever they don't need it if I let them store it in my garage. Check around, you may find one to borrow like that. The silver mesh thing I went in with some friends for, since we always trial together anyway and we rarely trial outdoors, we bought one big one to use with the canopy for the occasions when we need it.

 

My bad experience may have just been an anomaly but it left such a bad taste in my mouth that I can't bring myself to want to go back. I could handle the venue if water was provided, I guess it was the unhelpful and uncaring people that put on the show that really bothered me.

 

I do hope you have a great time though! Let us know how it goes!

 

Olivia

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The premium did mention loading/unloading (limited to 15 mins per car), so they must be improving a bit lol. Thanks for the heads up about the game - will check on that. Any idea when that exit/entrance would be clogged if there was a game?

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I found a nifty thing that may be rather helpful at Target: a back of the car seat organizer for, of all things, baby stuff that includes a cooler section and lots of pockets and straps *and* turns into a messenger bag style tote when not on a car seat back! The best thing: $20! I'm looking at diaper bags for toting my agility class supplies now too lol!

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Depends on what time the game is. You likely won't hit traffic in the morning, only in leaving for lunch and/or for the day, and if you go out that night.

 

I just checked - they're playing a home game Saturday Sept. 5 at 6pm. Tailgaters will start getting there in the afternoon. Is your hotel at the same exit?

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I feel your traveling pain. I have the same size car (WRX) and am sooooo thankfull I got the cartop carrier for it. (actually "borrowed" it from my ex, but that's another story :rolleyes: ) I have a Yakima Space Booster and it holds most of the trial stuff and then some. Without it, I'd be lost. I also bought a canapy at K-Mart for $50 last summer. Also a super investment. It's not top O' the line, but gets me by for what I need it for. I only have one side cover for it and move it around with the sun to help keep the dogs cool. This doesn't fit in the car though and you might have to strap it to the top without the carrier.

 

Good luck at the trial!

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So we just finished our first day of the trial and I was able to get everything and everyone into the car for the trip last night. :rolleyes: Pics are currently uploading - we packed the car *full* but didn't need to use the rooftop carrier I bought just in case.

 

This trial is smaller than most of PBH's as I understand - we were all done by 3:30pm today. I'll post the final results tomorrow evening or Monday morning, but for now I'll just say that Z's doing great. :D

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Here are the pics! Car contains: 2 30" mesh crates, 36" varikennel, backpack of snacks and drinks, tote full of dog stuff, leash rack, 2 gal H2O, 2 duffles for human stuff, ground tarp, reflective sheet, 3 towels, laptop, purse, extra shoes, rainsuit, 2 camp chairs, two stacking containers for miscellaneous small stuff, and a regular size pillow.

 

Passenger side:

IMG_5534.jpg

 

Via back hatch:

IMG_5535.jpg

 

Front:

IMG_5536.jpg

 

Exterior side:

IMG_5537.jpg

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