I'm stepping up my game this year when it comes to trip packing. I sleep in the back of my truck so I've been packing everything in Pelicans that get loaded out at the end of the day and loaded back in the morning.
In years past, some of these cases were ridiculously heavy and needed two people to safely lift, particularly the 1650 that was full of spares and fluids. By the end of the trip, everybody hates my Pelicans.
This year, I decided to attack the problem in two ways: first, I greatly reduced the amount of crap I carried. I went through every last spare (down to fuses and spare battery terminals) and chucked everything that wasn't essential and reduced quantities of everything else. This brought my spares and fluids down to a single, manageable 1610 that I can lift by myself without hurting my back.
The other thing I improved on is how I pack the cases.
Previously, the spares were just tossed in the case or put into plastic organizers. This made for a giant mess and it was very hard to find anything quickly. The bulk was huge and it took the whole 1650 to hold it. Worst of all, the fluids sometimes leaked and everything would get doused in brake fluid or 90W, ruining parts and making a nasty mess.
To get the spare parts organized, I tried to sort things into categories: vehicle spares, electrical, repair/quick-fix items, and hose clamps. Each kind of item (like fuses) went into its own sandwich baggie and the categories were made up of sandwich baggies bundled into gallon-sized baggies. I added an inventory sheet to each gallon bag like this:
Larger spares were carefully packed into a cardboard box and arranged so that things like the one-shot tube wouldn't get crushed or punctured. I filled in the gaps with wadded up packing paper so things wouldn't bounce around and taped the box. This box will stay inside the Pelican. This is not regular-access stuff so I won't have to worry about it getting unorganized when I go looking for some brake cleaner or whatever:
For my fluids, I ditched my old technique of duct taping lids of oil bottles and putting them in bags. I did some research and found that some of the ADVrider guys put their fluids in HDPE Nalgene bottles. I found some 48 oz bottles on Amazon and put my 90W and some MTL in them.
I carefully loaded all of this into a 1610 and wedged extra shop towels and rags and my work overalls in the case as padding to keep everything still and quiet. Here's what it looks like before the padding:
My kitchen Pelican was another source of frustration--probably the worst of them because I was constantly in it and it was a total disaster. Stuff was tossed everywhere and it made a lot of noise with stuff clanging around. Things like my old pot set got ruined over time from being smashed.
My first idea was to build a grid out of Starboard but wouldn't really pad anything and it was heavy. I did some more research and found out about a product called TrekPak:
It's not cheap at all but the results are amazing. A customized layout that fits my gear perfectly and pads everything to stop damage and rattles. It's so much nicer than Pelican's padded divider set. These dividers don't rely on Velcro, take up much less space, and are sturdier.
The kit comes with a little cutter that makes custom-sizing the sections easy, along with some sturdy steel pins that hold everything together:
Here's the basic organization of my kitchen case now:
That's my new Primus cookset, a full Snow Peak cast iron set, the knife and cutting board, the Jetboil and gas for it, the big Snow Peak mug, a cone coffee filter, utensils, the Zassenhaus, and a pound and a half of coffee. There's still plenty of room for things like my Ove' Glove and filters to get stuffed into crannies:
I love the system so much that I'm going to order one for my food Pelican. If these cases weren't so heavy, I'd pack my clothes into one and organize them this way, too.