Packing for a narrowboat holiday

If you’ve arrived at Gailey Wharf by car and taking advantage of the free secure parking, then where to store your bags once unpacked is not a problem. Skip to Storage Tips and Tricks below…

But if you’re one of our many overseas customers and arriving by transit, you may be wondering how best to pack for a narrowboat holiday. We hear you! We do this trip from Toronto at least once a year and over time we’ve learned a thing or two…

Travelling not-so-light

It gets harder to pack more than a second pair of underwear these days without being surprised by extra baggage charges at the airport. But a narrowboat holiday – like many outdoor pursuits – is one of those trips where you’d be wise to prepare for all weathers… which invariably results in more luggage.

Space is at a premium not only on a narrowboat but also in many European city hotel rooms. So you don’t want your empty luggage bags to hog it all.

So make sure you choose wisely and use a set of bags that can be packed into each other once you’ve put your togs away.

Also, we’ve found it’s a good idea to make your second hold bag of the soft, ‘sports equipment’ type, which collapses to nothing when empty. I don’t so much pack, as throw things in a bag – I find even the most sophisticated suit compartment fails to stop creasing so why bother; I’ve stopped ironing underwear a long time ago – and this type of luggage folds away to nothing when empty.

The large Samsonite hold bag of my wife’s (background) is about as large you can get. We bring a lot of Double chocolate Hobnobs and Walkers Roast Chicken crisps back! But it also means the rest of our empty bags pack into it.

Once onboard and we’ve unpacked our clothes into Kodran’s 3 wardrobes and under-bed drawers, our entire set of empty bags then stows away either into the bottom of one of the wardrobes, or into the utility space at the back of the boat.

…and where do you put it all? More storage tips and tricks.

Assuming you squeezed that extra kilo through the check-in, where do you store it once on the canal? Packing for a narrowboat holiday needn’t be a worry. With narrowboat KODRAN we think we stumbled on the answer.

Built by JD Boat Services, the interior was also designed and built by them with the narrowboat holiday market front and centre of mind. In fact, the newer boats in some national fleets have no-where near the storage flexibility and capacity of KODRAN’s marque.

Storage Wars

KODRAN’s flexible accommodation is described in an earlier blog post which you may have been directed to in order to select the sleeping arrangement you need. Underneath the slatted bed bases there’s plenty of drawer space accessible from the side of each bed. In the double configuration, you can make use of the space beneath the second bed for occasional or bulky items that you don’t need regular access to.

Similarly, the benches in the saloon – which also play double-duty, making up to three single beds – have a lot of storage underneath. There is cupboard-style easy access for everyday items and deep spaces beneath the slatted base for occasional items. We have a suitcase that fits perfectly out of the way to the back under here, with plenty of space for a case of wine at the front.

KODRAN has two wardrobes (or closets), one in each of the cabins and a third hanging area in the kitchen cupboard. The under-bed drawers in the cabins compliment the closet space and replicate a hotel bedroom storage experience, albeit on a smaller scale.

There’s an airing cupboard in the rear washroom which is great for wet towels – or clothes; we’re not going to pretend the British weather is anything but ‘changeable’. Our first narrowboat holidays taught us that! And there’s hanging space in the rear ‘utility’ area to store wet weather/outdoor gear.

Vacationing afloat on KODRAN has taught us that we don’t need all the clutter normally associated with the day-to-day. But if you absolutely have to bring that extra sweater, we’ve probably got the space for it!

If you’re a regular nomad and you have travel tips to share, leave them in the comments below. We’re definitely still learning. There’s more information in the FAQs – there’s a summary post here – and tips on the homepage including suggestions on where to go once you’ve settled in.