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How car journeys can risk your dog’s safety and add points to your licence

dog sitting in car boot

Once a four-legged friend joins the family, it’s only natural that you’ll want them to join you when you’re out and about. But because not all trips can be made on foot, it’s often necessary to transport dogs by car.

Taking a dog on a car journey, however, isn’t as straightforward as simply letting them jump in and sit on a car seat. Allowing a dog to sit unrestrained in a moving vehicle can be incredibly dangerous, both for them and for other passengers in the car. It can even mean the driver is breaking the Highway Code, which states:

“When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you have to stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars."

Driving without due care and attention because your unrestrained pet has distracted you can see you fined up to £2,500 and given nine penalty points. What’s more, your insurance policy is unlikely to cover any damage caused.

To find out whether people are aware of this regulation and to determine just how safe dogs—and their owners—are when travelling by car, we surveyed the British public.

Here’s what we discovered…

Alarmingly, 45% of dog owners admitted that their dog roamed freely in the car, either on the back or front seats, in the boot or in the footwell.

labrador sitting in back seat of car

Of those who restrained their dogs in transit, using a dog guard in the boot was the most popular method, taking 29% of the votes. Not only does this comply with the guidelines set out in the Highway Code, it also ensures that the dog is safe, comfortable and unlikely to cause the driver any distraction.

TOP TIP: Ensure that your dog doesn’t soil or damage the interior of your car boot by fitting a wipe-clean bootliner—perfect for after muddy walks and essential if your pet is prone to chewing or travel sickness.

A further 24% of the public chose to secure their dog in a harness during transit, again complying with Highway Code guidelines.

TOP TIP: If using a harness for your pet, never secure them to a front seat whose airbag is activated. If you were to crash, the airbag could cause your dog considerable harm.

Another popular way to transport dogs is in a crate in the boot, a method favoured by 13% of those surveyed. This helps ensure the dog is comfortable and in familiar surroundings, especially if you also use the crate as the dog’s indoor bed.

TOP TIP: Again, a bootliner will help protect your car’s interior when lifting the crate in and out. Some models can even be configured to protect the car’s tailgate.

Meet the experts

As well as surveying the public, we also asked pet care experts for some top tips on keeping dogs safe and comfortable in transit. Here’s what they had to say…

ryan white

Ryan White

Managing Director of We Love Pets

we-love-pets.co.uk

We Love Pets is an award-winning pet care business, offering professional dog-walking, pet-sitting and boarding services.

Ryan has been teaching animal care and behaviour for eight years and has 25 years’ experience of working with dogs.


louise self

Louise Self

Dog care coordinator at Barking Mad

barkingmad.uk.com

Barking Mad is the UK’s number-one dog home boarder, offering dog sitting and home boarding.

Louise is an experienced dog owner and trainer and regularly hosts dogs in her own home, as well as arranging suitable matches with other families.


gemma harrison

Gemma Harrison

Owner of Walkies with Marley

walkieswithmarley.com

Walkies with Marley is a family-run dog-walking and pet care business based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

Fulfilling a lifelong desire to work with animals, Gemma (along with Marley, her four-year-old Border Terrier) provides a personal pet care service, making the most of the fabulous walks on offer around the Peak District.

How would you advise transporting a dog on a car journey? Does this differ according to the size of dog/number of dogs?

Ryan: Definitely! People often assume that larger breeds are more difficult to travel with due to their size, but actually small dogs could be just as much of a hazard in a moving vehicle as their bigger counterparts.

Distraction could increase the risk of an accident, which is why an appropriate safety harness that fits correctly or a cage to secure the dog is paramount. Where is the dog? Exactly where you left it—there’s no need to keep checking. The dog is safe and so are you and your passengers.

If you have more than one dog, each dog needs to be restrained in a safe and appropriate manner, no different to that single dog. It’s important to ensure that any equipment is fit for purpose. If it’s too tight, it could rub and cause discomfort, making the dog unsettled. If it’s too loose, it may cause the dog to free itself and startle the driver, causing a distraction. If the dog is in a harness, it’s important that long leads aren’t draped loose as this could cause the dog to become tangled and lead to injury.

Louise: There are many ways to transport dogs. My preferred favourite is in a crate in the rear of the car as the dogs can move around and have space to change their positions for maximum comfort. When you have more than one dog, it eases stress as the dogs remain together all the time.

Dogs don’t have to wear seatbelts, which can aggravate some, particularly if they’re not used to wearing a harness and being restrained. Never attach a seatbelt to a dog’s collar as it can cause a neck injury or potentially strangulation. They also tend to be damage-limitation in the form of preventing the dog being thrown forward in the event of a collision and don’t really offer any protection to the dog.

Gemma: You must restrain your dog when travelling in a motor vehicle—failing to could invalidate your insurance if you have an accident, and land you an additional fine. Personally, I’d strongly advise using a crate, especially for younger giddy dogs, or where this isn’t possible, a doggy seatbelt. As a dog walker, I use multiple crates in the back of my van and on the whole have each dog crated individually. I do have some larger dogs that I’m unable to crate due to their size, so I have them attached to a short dog seatbelt to keep them in place, safe, and at no risk of getting tangled.

dog in seatbelt

Do you have any tips to help dogs suffering from travel sickness?

Ryan: The most important rule is to always plan your journey! Make sure you don't feed the dog immediately before or after as it may cause them to have an unsettled stomach.

Frequent short journeys are best and try to avoid lots of windy roads and roundabouts where possible. The most important thing in preventing travel sickness is enabling the dog to gain balance. The dog needs to feel secure. Lots of deep bedding will support the dog and allow it to feel far safer. Once the dog starts to realise it can regain balance with the movement of the car, you can start using less bedding.

Louise: If a dog suffers from travel sickness, it can help for them to travel in the front passenger seat provided they are well secured. I’ve found that driving particularly smoothly helps—for example, if stopping at traffic lights etc. brake slowly in anticipation and don’t pull off suddenly. Also ensure that the dog doesn’t eat for at least two to three hours before they travel. There are various medications or stress remedies on the market but I’ve never used them, finding the above combats all but the most serious car sickness.

Gemma: I’ve found that, like people, dogs can be travel-sick when they can’t see out of the window, usually when they’ve been positioned in low crates. Elevating the crates to enable the dog to see seems to help! Also, don’t give your dog a big meal before travelling—feed them literally nothing if you can help 

What problems (if any) have you encountered transporting dogs?

Ryan: I’ve never encountered any problems personally. I’ve worked with dogs for over 25 years and it has always been instilled in my mind to always expect the unexpected and have mitigations for every unexpected incident. Fortunately, prior planning has always prevented any incident. All of our franchisees we recruit have training at Wiltshire College and gain a City and Guilds qualification, which prevents any mistakes or misjudged acts. All of our franchisees and their teams follow our health and safety policy and training guides that we put together at head office, which dramatically reduces the likelihood of an incident occurring. In the unlikely event that an incident occurs, all of our team are pet first-aid trained, which means they can deal with emergencies swiftly and confidently.

Louise: I’ve never encountered any problems transporting dogs. I find they like the radio or music on and soon relax and enjoy the journey.

Gemma: No major problems to report.

dog eating outside car

Would you approach taking a dog on a long motorway journey differently to a local journey?

Ryan: I would always exercise and toilet-break the dog before any journey—long or short. If it was a long journey and the dog was fit and active, the exercise prior to leaving would be more significant. Feeding a dog before a journey or letting them drink lots of water could lead to complications. Whether the journey is long or short, a dog would benefit from not having a full stomach.

Louise: I would take more items to entertain a dog on a long journey, particularly if they do tend to find travelling stressful. Something for the dog to chew would be helpful as this both occupies them and helps relieve stress. Also if they have a favourite soft toy or blanket that gives them comfort, put that in the crate with them.

Gemma: On longer journeys I’d make sure that they are comfortable with a soft towel or a blanket on the seat or in their crate. If using a doggy seatbelt on a long journey, you obviously need to ensure your dog is safe, and on a leash which is not too long but long enough for them to relax and lie down and sleep. Ensure you break up the journey for a leg-stretch and toilet stop and bring plenty of water.

On shorter journeys, especially when I’m working, I still put towels in the crates to make the dogs more comfortable. It also helps to dry them off a little when transporting them home again. I always have water, which is especially handy on warmer days, but to be honest we generally go where the dogs can have a splash and a drink in the rivers.

Is there anything you could recommend to help ensure the dog is as comfortable as possible in transit?

Ryan: It’s always really important to ensure the car is well-ventilated on a hot day with either air conditioning or open windows, especially on long car journeys. No air flow and warm weather can be detrimental to a dog’s health.

Louise: Open the window slightly to let in some air, drive carefully and be responsive to the dog’s needs. A comfortable full-restraint harness if travelling on a seat and your dog is happy with this.

Gemma: In the summer, keep them cool and hydrated, and in the winter keep them warm and comfortable. The problem with crates is that the majority have a plastic bottom, so without a towel or a blanket dogs can feel like they’re slipping about. Also ensure you buy the correct size of crate for your dog, especially for longer journeys.

Has transporting a dog ever damaged the inside of your vehicle? How have you prevented this?

Ryan: Restricting a dog and not allowing it to roam freely in a vehicle will immediately reduce this risk. I’d always advise if you have a dog on a harness on the back seat that the dog is already familiar with the harness. Wearing the harness supervised within the house and normalising it will prevent the dog from chewing it. Dogs can get bored easily and release anxiety by chewing so don't leave the dog unattended for a long period of time.

Plan your route with suitable areas to exercise the dog and allow it to have a toilet break as this will help settle the dog. Familiarisation is key for dogs—new things can cause excitement or anxiety and both of these behaviours can trigger chewing.

Acclimatise your dog to the car by starting with shorter journeys closer to home before you start with longer journeys. Always look out for signs that your dog may be stressed such as panting, barking, fidgeting or panting heavily.

Louise: I’ve never experienced damage to the interior of my car due to the dogs being in a crate.

Gemma: I’ve used a material seat liner in the past that attaches to the front seat and then straps onto the back seats. Liners are a great idea, as they help to protect the seats then just lift out so you can shake them off and give them a clean.

How taking care of sporting equipment can save more than money

High-adrenaline extreme sports are increasingly popular here in the UK, with more and more people heading out to the back of beyond to leap, climb, scale and ride and ultimately push themselves to the absolute limit.

As any fully-fledged boy scout will tell you, the first rule of hitting the great outdoors is to be prepared, so taking time to seek out the right training and source the correct specialist gear is essential. Investing in high-quality equipment will undoubtedly help improve performance and keep you safe, but it’s not going to do its job if you don’t take proper care of it.

Cleaning, maintaining and safely storing equipment between uses is far less exciting than using it to scale a vertical rock face, but it will help prolong its life—not to mention yours! There’s no point buying top-of-the-range equipment if you’re going to just dump it in the back of your car, so it’s well worth investing in protective storage for transporting it. Wipe-clean bootliners will stop equipment from rattling around in transit and help prevent unnecessary damage—to both the gear itself and your car.

To learn more about why looking after specialist sports equipment is important, we spoke to Richard Goodey, co-founder of Lost Earth Adventures. As a qualified rock-climbing instructor, Mountain Leader, Level 2 Caving Leader and mountain bike instructor, Richard knows a thing or two about extreme sports. He’s also wilderness first-aid trained, a white‑water rescue specialist and has a Recreational Avalanche Certification—making him the perfect person to talk to about equipment safety.

Here’s what he had to say:

How important is it to keep specialist equipment in good condition?

Richard: People rely on us to guide them and keep them safe, whether we’re mountaineering, caving, canyoning or mountain biking in the UK and the highest mountain ranges on earth. Nothing is worse than a crampon slipping off when climbing a steep ice face, leaving you to precariously climb hundreds of metres one-footed, or your brakes failing while descending the longest mountain bike descent on earth at high speed above a cliff! Both of these problems could be fatal so spending a lot of money and time getting the right kit, maintaining it and educating yourself about it is incredibly important.

Obviously not all cheap kit will kill you and budget is always something to take into account, but it is important to get your priorities right with adventure sports and make sure you have efficient, professional and top-quality gear. Most adventurers have spent long, cold nights in sub-par waterproofs in a downpour or had shoulder straps break on their rucksacks with 10 miles still to hike at the end of a long day. You don’t need money to be an adventurer but if you want to push limits or give people a successful and enjoyable time in the mountains, you need to make sure everything is A-OK.

Do you have any tips for preventing equipment from becoming damaged in transit?

Richard: Keep it away from battery acid and other chemicals. Most kit gets thrown in the boot of a car then taken back to a storage unit or an instructor’s house for cleaning. This would normally be stored in duffel bags to protect it against any foreign liquids or sharp or moving parts.

Old head-torch batteries should be kept separate from any fabric equipment or ropes as battery acid destroys rope by making it brittle. The worse part is you might not notice the battery acid has affected the rope until it’s too late. Always check ropes before every use and treat strange stains with caution as chemicals can cause rope to degrade.

Apart from that, just keep your kit away from anything that isn’t mud, rocks or water. Outdoor kit is designed to be wet and muddy and if it isn’t constantly then you should get out more!

Once you’ve committed to a particular sport, should you buy or hire equipment? What are the pros and cons of each?

Richard: If I’m committed to something and keen to progress in the sport and spend regular time on it, I would always buy my own kit. Rental gear is usually heavy, doesn’t fit quite right and isn’t that glamorous. However, I regularly rent mountain bikes because if I’m away for a few days I don’t want to leave an expensive bike in the boot of my car.

Sometimes it’s better to split costs with friends if on a budget—for example, you can buy the climbing rack and your mate buys the rope. You can always do things on the cheap—climbers are known for that! If you’re going to be climbing on a shoestring, spend all your money on climbing gear and sleep in your car to save on accommodation costs—it’s about prioritising the right things.

Does equipment you hire out often come back damaged?

Richard: Yes, people never treat rental kit like their own. What’s that mountain biker's expression? Ride it like you rented it!

What’s the main cause of equipment getting damaged or broken, whether while it’s being used or through improper maintenance/storage?

Richard: Our main issues are excessively worn ropes, broken headlamps and damaged mountain bikes. The ropes get worn quickly due to people not being as careful as if they were their own. Rushed set-ups and not taking care on rough rock means ropes wear out more quickly—you can buy padding to put round ropes on rough rock. Headlamps are delicate and people are heavy-handed with them and don’t shut the battery door properly so water gets in.

Often big groups on some kind of celebratory adventure go hell for leather and they fall off and break parts (and themselves). Most other outdoor kit is pretty hardy though so we don’t have many other issues.

What measures can people take to ensure their specialist equipment lasts as long as possible?

Richard: Clean it after every use, wash grit out of it and store it in a dry, well-ventilated place out of harmful UV rays from the sun.

How often should you expect to replace equipment such as ropes, harnesses and clips?

Richard: Ropes and harnesses can last up to 10 years if stored properly and barely used but somebody climbing twice a month would normally get three years’ usage. We replace our ropes every year if they are out several times a week. Metalwork will be good for 10 years normally but you should always check the manufacturer’s recommendations as every manufacturer is different and by law will have recommendations on when to replace after different amounts of use.

Many people share Richard’s passion for the great outdoors—although not always to such an extreme! But whether you’re more suited to a gentle stroll through the countryside or a full-on white-knuckle experience, the principles remain the same—look after your equipment and it will look after you.

Get ready, set and go — Your complete checklist for the ultimate road trip

Putting the feet on the dashboard whilst on a road trip

As John Steinbeck famously said ‘people don’t take trips, trips take people’ which is just one of the many reasons why the lure of the open road appeals to so many holiday makers. Taking a road trip is a great way to experience every aspect of your holiday, and making the most of the journey — rather than focussing purely on the destination — means that your adventure starts the very moment you put your foot on the pedal.

As with all types of holiday, a little bit of pre-planning can make a huge difference to the ease and enjoyment of your trip. This handy road-trip checklist will help ensure that your trip goes as smoothly as possible…

Get roadworthy

When it comes to road trips, the difference between the trip of a lifetime and the holiday from hell depends largely on the condition of your vehicle. Giving your vehicle a bit of TLC before hitting the road can help prevent any nasty surprises.

☐   Check that all vehicle documents are up to date. Ensure that your road tax, insurance and MOT are valid and will not expire while you are away.

☐   Book your vehicle in for a service. Don’t chance it that you will get a last-minute appointment, reputable garages are often booked up in advance.

☐   Roadside assistance. This could turn out to be invaluable if you break down in the middle of nowhere. It is often inexpensive and the cost is far outweighed by the peace of mind it offers.

☐   Consider hiring a car. Especially useful if your car is prone to being unreliable. If you have problems with it at home it is highly likely that it is not going to last the length of your trip.

☐   Prior to leaving, double-check the following:

☐   Tyre pressure

☐   Windscreen wash

☐   Engine oil

☐   Petrol

Plan your route

Getting lost can sometimes lead to the best road trip adventures, ‘sometimes’ being the operative word. Knowing where you are going and how to get there will eliminate stress and most certainly reduce the chance of navigational disputes!

☐   A recently updated Sat-Nav can be a godsend when travelling through unfamiliar areas.

☐   A trusty map is worth its weight in gold if you lose GPS signal, or if you want an overview of the wider area.

☐   Plan your route via the scenic route. Detouring from the motorways can open up some stunning scenery and views.

☐   Research guest houses, hostels and camp sites along your route in case your plans have to change for any reason.

Pack smartly

How much you pack depends on three elements: how long you are going for, the size of your car and the number of passengers. Packing everything you need while maintaining passenger comfort can be a tricky balance to strike, but the right equipment can definitely help.

☐   A roof box will free up space inside the car and is perfect for storing lightweight yet bulky essentials such as sleeping bags, camping chairs and clothing. It is worth noting cars become considerably less aerodynamic when fitted with a roof box, which may negatively affect petrol consumption.

☐   A protective boot liner fitted to the exact dimensions of your car boot will help prevent the car’s interior from being damaged when packing and unpacking bulky luggage. It will also protect the boot from the mud, sand and wet that inevitably gets transferred into the car whilst out and about.

☐   Pack smartly and make sure that your actual bags and cases aren’t adding on unnecessary bulk to your luggage. Handles and wheels can take up valuable space so think about lightweight alternatives, especially if your luggage is staying in the car or going straight from the boot to your accommodation. Consider using laundry bags for clothing. Stackable, clear plastic boxes are also great for organising general belongings, especially when camping.

In case of emergency

It’s always worth preparing for all eventualities so keep a box of emergency essentials tucked away. If possible, include:

☐   Emergency breakdown triangle

☐   Hi-vis vests

☐   Torch (with working batteries)

☐   Spare tyre/puncture kit

☐   Water and snacks reserved for emergency use

Get comfortable

Sitting in the same position for hours on end can become uncomfortable, so it is important to make regular stops to visit the loo and stretch your legs. Maximising in-car comfort will help make long stretches of the journey more bearable.

☐   Lightweight blankets can make driving at night cosier for passengers and will reduce the need to crank up the heating — which can cause tiredness due to dry eyes, not to mention burn more fuel.

☐   Supportive neck pillows can help passengers catch forty winks while in transit.

☐   Sharing the drive will undoubtedly ensure that all parties enjoy the journey. Make sure all drivers are insured on the vehicle prior to departing.

☐   Do not underestimate the power of snacks. Stock up on snacks that are easy to munch on the go, plus water bottles to keep you hydrated. Insulated flasks are great for keeping hot drinks warm, and they can be re-filled at service stations throughout the journey.

☐   In-car entertainment such as portable DVD players, tablets, guessing games and a few good playlists will help while away less scenic stretches of the trip, especially if you are travelling with children.

…and hit the road

A bit of smart planning can make a huge difference to the success of your trip and ensure that the journey is every bit as fun as the destination. So get prepared, get packed, get comfortable and get going!

The new Hyundai boot liner is here for the Hyundai Ioniq

Blue boot liner for the Hyundai Ioniq 2016 onwards

A Hyundai boot liner that goes with your new Hybrid Ioniq

A new Hybrid hits the road

‘’ Time for a little competition’’ the Koreans said. Although the Toyota Prius is the world’s best-selling hybrid car, the Koreans have taken on the challenge and brought their own to the road, the all-new Hyundai Ioniq. The car comes in three versions of electrification: the pure electric vehicle(EV), the hybrid model with a petrol engine combined with an electric motor, a plug-in hybrid – that’s basically the same as the hybrid but with a bigger battery for more range that you can charge externally – and a pure electric vehicle (EV). These three convenient vehicles have a one thing in common, the Hyundai boot liner for the Ioniq will fit them all.

What you will notice with the Ioniq Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid, the performance is pretty good as the petrol engine and electric motor work together. This makes both model versions quicker than a Toyota Prius, but on the other side slower than, say, a Volkswagen Gold GTE. The Ioniq has been set up to handle urban areas well with light steering that’s easy to manage. However. if you want to use the Sport mode - this adds too much weigh.

Relax in style in the Hyundai Ioniq

Passengers in the Hyundai will have no trouble getting comfortable, as there is room to adjust on offer, however, when it comes to the back-passenger area, the Hyundai Ioniq offers some space, but there isn’t quite as much room for adults as there would be in the Kia Niro or Toyota Prius. If you are over six-foot tall, you will likely find yourself with your head close to touching the roof and knee room to be a little tight. On the other hand, if you need to be able to carry up to three kids in the back, you will see that there is plenty of space.

Plenty of space in the Ioniq's boot

The Hyundai Ioniq boot should not be underestimated - with its 443 litres you can easily fit the pram, the dog and your shopping in the boot. Plus, if you’re thinking of heading to the top, then you can easily store heavy loads in the boot, as the boot opening has quite a large opening. The seats also split 60:40 split, which comes in handy when you need to transport both passenger/s and very long items.

A Hyundai boot liner for the new car on the block

For all the Hyundai Ioniq car owners we are happy to announce that there is a Hyundai boot liner available to protect your boot. Come choose one of our seven colours for the right fit for your Hybrid, along with the choice between a Standard boot liner, a Rear plus and a Rear Split option. The latter two options are ideal if you want to be able to fold your rear seats down. All of our boot liners come with an array of other Ioniq accessories so you can customise the perfect Hyundai boot liner for your lifestyle.

Take a look at our Skoda accessories for both the Karoq and Kodiaq

You can keep your car boot staying in style with our Skoda accessories

The perfect mat for your Skoda

Our boot liners are not only handy to have after beach walks with the dog, but also following a hike. Here at Hatchbag we offer the perfect Skoda accessories to give you the full protection for your boot. Plus, at the same time offering a comfortable place for your dog to ride in.

Control the odours in your Skoda car boot

Skoda accessories - Odour Control pet mat We offer an array of Skoda accessories for your Skoda Karoq and Kodiaq. Not only do we offer a boot liner for each model but also the choice of one of three mats for both you and your pooch. One of our mats we offer is the very special odour mat. After-all, as much as we love our dogs they do get very dirty and smelly after all the fun activities. So, with this in mind, we have developed a quilted blanket style mat which contains activated carbon to absorb and eliminate bad odours. These are tailored to fit inside a Hatchbag Boot Liner. Plus, the Odour Control Pet Mat has a special finish to repel hair and dirt.

Give your pooch some comfort with one of our Skoda Hatchbed Mats

Skoda accessories - Hatchbed Mat The second mat we offer is the Hatchbed Mat, which comes in pairs. This way whenever one is in the wash (washing machine and tumble drier suitable) you have a spare one ready to go in the boot. The second great feature is the top section is about 25 mm deep of carpet - very comfortable for your pooch! These mats are designed and tailored to fit inside your boot liner and come with a unique non- slip rubber backing. Plus, our Hatchbed Mat is recommended by Vets and Pet Care Professionals.

Protect your Skoda Karoq and Kodiaq car boot from heavy loads

Skoda accessories - Rubber Mat Last but not least is the Rubber mat. This one is very handy for customers who use their boot for heavy use such as, carrying tools or heavy loads. The mat allows objects to move across the surface without ‘’snugging.’’ Thhe mat is also anti-slip, so will prevent both the mat and objects from sliding all over the place.

No need to fluff up the carpet

For the Skoda Karoq and Kodiaq we offer a Frequent Use Tabs kit, available on our skoda accessories page. These tabs act as a sandwich between the liner and the carpet, to prevent the carpet from fluffing up. Each kit comes with thirty-two tabs, so you have more than enough to protect your car boot's carpet.

Skoda accessories for you

When it comes to these two models, there are a number of car boot floor variations on offer. For the Skoda Karoq, we offer one floor version and for the Skoda Kodiaq, we currently offer a liner for both the 7 seater and 5 seater version and for the latter we offer two but soon to be three floor versions. Make sure you check out each boot liner page to see if we offer the version for your vehicle. However, if we don’t then make sure you contact us, as you never know the version your after may be the next one we do.

Hatchbag car boot protector for the BMW X3, VW T-Roc, Mercedes CLA now available

Keep dirt from your brand-new vehicle at bay with a Hatchbag car boot protector

Hatchbag introduces the BMW X3 2018 boot protector

BMW X3 New Hatchbag Car Boot Protector Get ready to have a new driving experience & Hatchbag car boot protector that will fuel any of your ambitions, especially with all the space that is available. This car gives passengers in the front enough head room and most importantly leg room, making it a very enjoyable ride. It is no secret that the BMW X3 is among the best large SUVs in having so much space at the front. In addition, the BMW X3 has an impressive family boot that can carry up to eight suitcases. Plus, if you need more space for loading bulkier items, the rear seats split in a 40/20/40 configuration, giving you more flexibility and space within the boot. For those who like to go bike riding, or hiking (or just a walk on the beach) we have a new car boot protector for the two floor versions the BMW X3 has to offer. We also offer a version with a net on the nearside, which is ideal for those who like outdoor activities in keeping your boot clean, and at the same time have access to the net to store any equipment. The second option is for cars that have no net on the nearside. This will give you a bit more space as there is no net and the recess is a bit deeper.

Keep your VW T-Roc boot tidy with a Hatchbag car boot protector

VW T-Roc Hatchbag Car Boot Protector Volkswagen has again proved that they know what to bring to the market with the new VW T-Roc, a car that will make you stand out from the crowd. Whether you are looking for a car with a red roof and a white body, they have something for everyone. The car also comes with an optional 4MOTION, to give you the opportunity to tackle almost any terrain. What is also very interesting about the VW T-Roc is its driver assistance systems, which will assist you on long journeys, making sure that you stay alert and avoid accidents. Here at The Hatchbag Company we have just what you need to accompany your long journeys: a VW T-Roc new car boot protector, available in 7 colours and with various optional extras. We have designed two boot liners to fit the two floor versions the VW T-Roc has to offer:  a raised floor version and a low floor. With the low floor version, there is more space in the boot for to carry heavy equipment or to give your dog that bit more comfort in the boot. If, however you don’t need all that extra space, the raised floor is ideal. Please look at our Vehicle Identification document before placing an order on the website, to make sure you are buying for the correct version.

Protect your Mercedes CLA Shooting brake with Hatchbag

Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake Hatchbag Car Boot Protector The new Mercedes CLA Shooting brake is very stylish yet very practical, which makes it an exciting and alternative family car. This Mercedes has extra space, so ideal for whoever has a dog or needs that extra space for leisure. The boot has enough space for that trip you would like to take and any suitcases or a buggy. And should you wish to fold down the rear seats, your space will be boosted going from 495 litres with the rear seats up to 1354 litres with them down. This is a very easy process as the seats split 60/40, and they pretty much lie flat, offering you as much space as possible. At the Hatchbag Company we did not want to miss out on bringing you a Hatchbag car boor protector. Our selection for the Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake has two versions, for those who have a net in the boot nearside and would like to keep using it. This can be used to store some drinks when you go hiking with your pooch, or to store small equipment. For those who don’t use it, we offer a liner to cover the net part. We have seven colours to choose from and some interesting optional extras, such as a bumper flap to give your pooch the chance to jump out of the boot without leaving marks! Our hatchbag car boot protector will keep your boot clean with all these new adventures the new BMW X3, VW T-Roc and Mercedes CLA Shooting Brake are going to bring you. Not only do you have a choice between seven colours, to find one that will nicely match your car, but there are also many other extras you can choose from.

Hatchbag welcomes a new family member - the Peugeot 3008 boot liner 2017 onwards

Choose the perfect options for your Peugeot 3008 boot liner

Peugeot 3008 – a great family car

The new Hatchbag Peugeot 3008 boot liner has been launched to coincide with Peugeot, who have upgraded their previous Peugeot 3008 so that they can bring a more stylish and sleeker SUV to the market, in order to compete with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar and Seat Ateca. Plus, not only is the Peugeot 3008 a great car for drivers but, also for passengers, which makes it a great SUV for families.

The benefits of the boot space in the Peugeot 3008

One great feature of the Peugeot 3008 that will benefit the whole family as well as their pooch is the boot space. The inside of the boot boasts of 591 litres - this means plenty of space for your four-legged friend(s) as well as transporting suitcases, picnic baskets, fishing rods etc. To make it even better - if you would like more space in the back for your dog or need to take a load to the tip, then fold down all the backseats to enjoy a car boot volume of 1670 litres.

How a Hatchbag Peugeot 3008 boot liner can help keep your car boot clean

And having all that boot space available, you will want to keep your new car boot clean. Luckily here at Hatchbag, we offer a boot liner and options to suit your needs. In addition to this, the Peugeot 3008 also has two floor options, a raised or low floor, so you can set the floor to the needs of your family or your dog. And here at Hatchbag, we have taken this into consideration and designed two Peugeot 3008 boot liners, to accommodate both floor versions. This way you can take your dog to the beach or go hiking, without having to worry about cleaning a big boot afterwards. For more information and to see the options and colours we offer please click here

Why a boot liner is the perfect accessory for your lease car?

You've got a new lease car, but, you need to protect your boot when transporting your dog, pram, fishing gear, DIY tools, bikes etc. Here is where Hatchbag steps in with our array of boot liners in seven colours. Plus our boot liner extras such as, bumper flap, rear seat flap, tailgate cover and a choice of three mats; rubber mat, hatchbed mat and odour mat. All of our boot covers act as a second skin to your car boot and will prevent your lease car boot’s interior getting covered in dog hair, scratched or damaged. And you may be thinking this all sounds great, but, if I use self-adhesive tabs to attach the boot liner to the car then will this damage the interior? The answer is no. If your car boot is made from carpet and is self-adhesive tab friendly then you will not have to attach any self-adhesive tabs to your car. You may want to consider our frequent use fitting kit, which consists of thirty-two double-sided adhesive tabs. These tabs act as a sandwich between the liner and the boot carpet, so that when you remove the liner the carpet does not fluff up.
Cleaning your lease car boot
If your car boot is made from plastic, you will need to attach self-adhesive tabs to the boot. Before you do that, we recommend the following cleaning procedure: - Take two lint free cloths and Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover. - Soak one cloth in Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover and clean down the sides. - Take the second cloth and dry the sides to the point the cloth is dragging across the surface. - Test a piece of self-adhesive to see if it adheres to the plastic. If yes, continue attaching the remainder tabs. If not, please repeat the above steps. When you come to remove the boot liner and self-adhesive tabs from the boot, we recommend the following procedure: - Take Autoglym Intensive Tar remover and a cloth - Soak the cloth in Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover and clean down the plastics to remove any residue. - Then take any valeting product and valet the sides of your boot If you return the car after your lease is up then the car boot will be in the same condition as the day you got the vehicle.

33 top tips for taking the stress out of camping with kids

There's no doubt about it, having children makes you do things differently – holidays being a prime example. Unless you have unlimited funds, foreign jaunts invariably go on hold when there's a young brood to cater for, presenting the question of how to find a cost-effective yet fun holiday to suit all members of the family.

One great family holiday option that ticks all of these boxes is camping. Not only is a brilliant way to escape from reality, it's the perfect way for kids to connect with nature, develop some valuable life skills and ultimately let loose and simply be kids.

The benefits of camping with kids

Far from being Enid Blyton idealism, camping really does put a different spin on spending time together as a family. We are all guilty of wasting too much time on our electrical devices – children included – so getting away from our screens and back to nature is a welcome change for many families, as numerous studies carried out by The Camping and Caravanning Club highlight:

  • 98% of parents said camping makes their kids appreciate and connect with nature.
  • 95% said their kids were happier when camping.
  • 93% felt that it provided useful skills for later life.
  • 4 out of 5 parents believe that camping had a positive effect on their children's school education.
  • Almost three quarters of parents think social media is affecting children's ability to interact and engage with others.
  • 64% of campers believe that taking their children camping improves social skills and mental health.
  • Over 50% of campers felt cooking when camping had a positive effect on their children's learning.

Despite these facts, camping does not appeal to everyone, not least parents of small children. This is no surprise because for first-time campers the idea of sleeping under nylon and cooking over coals can sound pretty daunting. With this in mind, we have compiled a 'camping must-have' guide, complete with 33 useful tips to help camping newbies work out what to buy, pack and prepare for a stress-free family camping trip.

33 top tips for stress-free family camping

Where to start?

  1. One of the best ways to venture into the camping world is to talk to – or even tag along with – friends with children who have camped before. Learning from other families' camping successes – and failures – is a great way to get a realistic view of what to expect.
  1. Before investing in all of the camping gear it is worth trying to beg, steal and borrow as much equipment as you can to see if you actually like camping. More often than not, seasoned campers will have refined their 'must-haves' and worked out what gear is necessary, which will give you a good idea of what to buy if you decide to commit to tent life.
  1. There are a wide range of campsites available, all offering different amenities and attractions, so think about what you want out of your holiday. Very basic sites are great for 'wild' camping but they may be a little ambitious for first-time family camping. In most family-friendly sites you can expect to find showers, toilets and pot-washing facilities; many also have a small shop in case you have forgotten any essentials. Some sites have playgrounds and arranged activities, while farm sites often allow children to interact with the animals.
  1. Another benefit of choosing a family-friendly site is that other campers will be sympathetic if your little darling decides to throw a midnight wobble. The camping community is generally a friendly bunch, who will have most likely experienced exactly the same with their own children at some point or another.

Choosing the right equipment

  1. Before going wild in your local outdoor store, consider the size of your car. Although most camping equipment is designed to fold down flat – even a large tent can pack away into a pretty compact holdall – it will still fill a car boot pretty quickly. Investing in a roof box for stowing lighter belongings may free up valuable space inside your car.
  1. When selecting your tent think about how you will use it in regards to your children's ages, sizes and needs. Tents with individual sleeping pods positioned around a living area are especially helpful in bad weather when the whole family has to be inside the tent in the evening, or if toddlers have daytime naps. Families with older kids are also likely to benefit from the additional privacy these extra compartments offer.
  1. Everything is better after a good night's sleep – not least dealing with small children – which is why it is worth investing in good-quality air mattresses and sleeping bags. Unless you are hiking to your campsite, roll mats aren't really advisable and they may take the concept of 'connecting with nature' a step too far for family camping!
  1. Plastic storage boxes are a lifesaver when camping for keeping belongings dry, clean and insect-free. Use separate boxes for food, cooking equipment, toiletries etc. so that everything can be easily accessed then stacked neatly away to maximise space in the tent.
  1. Camping with little ones will undoubtedly be easier if you have an electric hook-up. Not only will it make heating up bottles – or making a well-needed brew – much easier, it is also much less stressful than constantly monitoring boiling pans of water on the stove.
  1. An electric cool box is another reason why you may want to invest in an electric hook-up. It's a great way to ensure that food stays fresh throughout your whole trip, not to mention keeping drinks ice-cold for essential BBQ refreshment. If you prefer a traditional cool box, double up on freezer blocks as many campsites have facilities for refreezing.
  1. Boot liners are invaluable for protecting the interior of your boot from mud, water and damage from lugging bulky equipment in and out. They also transform your car boot into a storage area for muddy boots, wet-weather gear and play equipment – basically everything that you don't want cluttering up your tent.
  1. Tent carpets may sound like a gimmick but they really add to the cosiness and comfort of the tent, especially if children want to play on the floor. Alternatively, as a cheaper option you could use a few plastic-backed picnic blankets to cover the tent floor.
  1. Even in the nicest weather the grass is likely to be wet with dew in the morning so don't rely on picnic blankets as your only seating method. Telescopic canvas chairs and camping tables will certainly make meal times and child entertainment easier.

Cooking and eating

  1. Preparing food whilst camping doesn't have to be daunting – realistically it is just a simplified version of how you would cook at home. You will only need basic cooking equipment such as a stove, BBQ, kettle, frying pan, saucepan, plastic or tin crockery, cutlery, utensils and a chopping board.
  1. The key to eating well on a camping trip is to keep it simple. Think picnics, BBQs and easy-cook staples like baked beans or pasta. Cooking outdoors on the BBQ or gas stove is one of the best parts of camping, but it is certainly not the speediest way of putting food on the table. With this in mind, make sure you bring plenty of snacks and nibbles to keep everyone going between meals.
  1. Don't forget a washing-up bowl, cloths, tea towels and washing-up liquid. Get the kids involved in outdoor pot-washing, making the most of the fact that camping crockery is practically indestructible! The washing-up bowl can also double up as a splash bowl for toddlers.

Practicalities

  1. An absolute must-have for any camping trip is a first-aid kit. Stock up on plasters, bite and burn cream and antiseptic wipes, as well as kiddy-strength paracetamol and ibuprofen.
  1. Trekking across a field in the middle of the night to take a small child to the loo isn't ideal so don't forget a potty – or a lid with a bucket – plus lots of loo roll to facilitate night-time toilet trips.
  1. Although most campsites have shower facilities, wet wipes are a godsend for keeping little ones – and big ones – clean and fresh.
  1. Insect bites can sometimes be a nuisance when camping so it is well worth stocking up on insect repellent spray and lighting a few citronella candles to keep bugs at bay. Seasoned campers swear by putting a bunch of sage on the campfire as an additional deterrent.
  1. Torches and lanterns are also essential, both for lighting the tent at night and finding your way to the amenities after dark. Low-light night lights or battery-operated fairy lights can be helpful for comforting young children at bedtime as there will invariably be unfamiliar noises during the night.
  1. If you are able to park your car close to your tent it is a good idea to leave the bags containing clothing inside the car and take items out as and when you need them. This will prevent clean clothes from getting unnecessarily damp or muddy.
  1. Modern tents come complete with many useful features, but blocking out early-morning daylight isn't usually one of them. Being forced awake to entertain small children at daybreak can be pretty brutal so investing in sleep masks for the whole family might prove to be a real sanity-saver. Obviously sleep masks aren't advisable for babies and toddlers but you could try positioning a portable blackout shade by their cot to reduce the glare.

Weatherproofing

  1. Always check the weather forecast before you go and be realistic about whether camping in gale-force conditions or 30-degree heat is a good idea! If in doubt, pick a site that isn't too far away – worst-case scenario, you can always pack up early and come home.
  1. Although there is nothing better than glorious sunny weather for a camping trip, it is easy to get sunburned without realising when you are outside all day. Make sure you pack some high-factor sun lotion and sun hats and, if possible, create a shady play area for the kiddies so they can escape the fierce midday rays.
  1. Extra blankets always come in handy on a camping trip. Aside from being great for snuggling up in around the campfire, they also double up as makeshift sun shades, pillows, picnic blankets or even play dens.
  1. Wet-weather gear is also worth its weight in gold if the heavens open. Drying sodden clothes can be a real chore in a tent so prevention is definitely better than cure here. Dress kids in lightweight waterproofs and they can enjoy the great outdoors regardless of the weather, whilst keeping clothes dry underneath.
  1. Even if the weather is glorious in the day, temperatures can plummet at night so take plenty of layers to wrap up in. It's also advisable to pack a hat and gloves just in case. Fingers crossed you won't need them but it's better to have them unused in your bag than not at all.

Entertainment

  1. Don't forget to pack some games suitable for playing outside the tent – balls, skipping ropes, bubbles, Nerf guns, boules etc. can provide hours of entertainment. Calmer activities such as board games, colouring books and playing cards also provide welcome entertainment in the evenings or if rain stops outdoor play.
  1. Windbreaks can be handy for cordoning off a play space for children whilst obviously providing protection from the wind.
  1. Another great way of containing tiny tots who may be prone to wandering is to multi-task their travel cot as a play pen.
  1. Research the area and see if there is anywhere local that could provide a family-friendly outing. While away the walk by creating a simple scavenger hunt, challenging the kids to tick off sightings of streams, flowers, wildlife and landmarks.
  1. Finally, don't forget to bring a couple of home comforts such as favourite toys or special blankets to help your little ones settle into the unfamiliar environment.

Bad weather ‘most stressful part of UK car holidays’

Over a third of Britons find the poor weather in this country the most stressful part of driving to UK holiday destinations, research shows.

A survey carried out by boot liner manufacturer Hatchbag asked members of the public ‘What is the most stressful thing about driving around the UK on holiday?’.

More than a third (34.4%) named ‘bad weather’ as the most stressful element of holiday trips around the UK.

Despite the unpredictable UK weather patterns, the popularity of ‘staycations’ has rocketed among Britons in recent years. Research carried out by travel marketing group Sojern shows that last summer saw a 23.8% rise in UK holiday bookings compared with the same period the previous year.

Claudia Finamore, the commercial manager at Hatchbag, said: “More and more Britons are choosing to holiday in the UK – regardless of the weather – making the most of the stunning scenery and coastline that the country has to offer and increasingly embracing the great outdoors. And why wouldn’t they, Britain has some of the most beautiful landscapes found anywhere in the world.”

Camping, glamping, and idyllic forest-style retreats have put a new spin on domestic tourism. Increasing numbers of Britons are turning to the less expensive — and environmentally friendly — UK-based option and away from the hassle and inflated costs associated with holidaying abroad.

The shift has led to a significant boost in the UK tourist industry, with market analysts Mintel predicting that the caravanning and camping market will be worth £3.2 billion by 2020.

Another issue associated with UK holiday road trips was ‘space management’, with one in five people admitting to finding packing and unpacking the car vexing.

This was particularly true among 25 to 44 year olds — the demographic most likely to be holidaying with children.

In fact, cramped conditions and mess created by mud and sand brought into a vehicle were cited by 17.9%  as a point of stress.

Claudia explains: “Unfortunately the car journeys to and from British holiday destinations can be stressful, particularly for young families who are likely to fill every bit of space in the car with holiday necessities.

“One way to help make car journeys more pleasant is to fit a wipe clean, protective bootliner into the car. Aside from reducing the amount of mess that is brought into the car, bootliners also help simplify packing and unpacking luggage and equipment. Bespoke configurations also allow flexibility with different seating configurations, ultimately increasing passenger comfort on the journey.”

According to Tourism Alliance statistics for 2017, almost 20 million UK sightseeing trips were taken by car.