Handy Storage Makes Car Travel Pleasant
- What: Rubbermaid Back Seat Organizer
- When: 2 years and up
- Why: Keep kids entertained and store tons of stuff
- Where: Amazon
As part of our holiday extravaganza, we hit the road for an eight hour drive (ten hours total trip time) after we crossed the country via air. On the way to our destination, we stuck all three kids in a borrowed car and headed out. We barely made it a couple hours without feeling like screaming, thanks to busy holiday traffic, accidents, and the constant whining from at least one kid at any given time.
Courtesy of generous grandparents babysitting, I managed to go on a shopping trip to better equip a car that didn’t belong to us for the joys and pitfalls of traveling long distances with three under eight in a compact space. I bought two back of the seat organizers, which made all the difference in our return trip.
Although we’ve never used these before, I don’t know how we made it this long on so many trips without them. We bought two of the Rubbermaid kind, one for each seat back, which offer tons of pockets to store items big and small and a surface that folds down. (In case you can’t find that exact one, this one from Tsumaby on Amazon also has a tray that folds down.) Think an airline seatback tray, but in a car and with way more pockets. The tray had two cup holders on it, as well as a place to store five or six writing utensils.
I dumped the contents of our car busy boxes and sorted the items out between three kids and then installed the organizers. I had one kid who colored for almost six hours, and the only issue we ran into was losing crayons or tiny markers into the void between car seats never to be seen again. They had no trouble eating on the desk surface, and using it for books and coloring.
You can’t fold up the tray once you put cups in the holders, but that was a minor issue since we rarely got in and out of the car. We had tight enough spaces that we had to fold up the tray to enter and exit the vehicle, but all their work tucked neatly inside and it still fastened thanks to the twisting lock in addition to strong Velcro dots on either side. Anything extra fit into the mesh pocket with elastic on the lower portion.
I stuck three or four books, a traveling color kit, crayons, and an age appropriate coloring or activity book in each organizer. The organizer has two separate straps on top that attach with Velcro to go around the bottom of the headrest of the front seat. At the bottom, each side has two strings so the organizer doesn’t swing forward. Instead, once you secure the sides by tying the string to whatever you can find, the organizers lay flat against the seat in front of them.
My middle child couldn’t reach all her pockets, so I got smart and moved my seat back until she could. While that wouldn’t work well as a driver, as a passenger it was downright luxurious.
I held back one four pack of travel sized games, and pulled those out just before it got dark. Those games entertained them for another hour and half and by that point, we had less than an hour remaining. The first six hours or more went by with hardly a peep from the backseat. We loved the organizers so much we brought them home. They fold flat, so tucking them into a suitcase was a no-brainer, and I look forward to using them again and again (and moving my seat back further for more legroom) on future car trips.