Beat the heat.
If you're heading somewhere hot, set aside a corner of the cooler for meltable items, such as lipstick and crayons, and for fluid containers that might leak, such as sunblock bottles. Use frozen gel packs or freeze some box drinks—both stay cold longer than ice cubes.
Divide and conquer.
Instead of a huge piece of luggage, suggests Anne McAlpin, author of Pack It Up, load smaller totes that are easier to carry. Color code them—if you don't have different-colored bags, use stickers or ribbons—so you'll know which bag to grab: blue for the beach, red for camping gear, yellow for sports equipment.
Compress and collapse.
You can save space by using compression bags that will reduce your cargo volume by as much as 50 percent. Also look for collapsible crates and coolers that fold up when you're not using them.